On 7 May 2019, I graduated C25K. Four days later, I ran my first Parkrun. The time that day was 36:45. Back then, Parkrun was simply one of my three runs a week as I consolidated my running at 30 minutes/5k. Soon, the 5k would become one of my runs as I followed ju-ju- 's plan to get to 10k and, when I started moving up to HM, Parkrun become my weekly shirt, fast run.
Of course, what no one knew was that less than a year after that first run, with 17 Parkrun completed, the event would be paused as the world coped with the Covid pandemic.
In a way, ironically, that period was the making of my running. I still did the weekly (not) Parkrun locally, but I added in an extra run each week and started building on the distance. Saturday mornings, instead of being my fast 5k blast, became my long run, typically up to 10 miles, but with the occasional HM thrown in as well.
By the time Parkrun recommenced in Scotland, in August last year, I seldom went for runs of less than 10k.
14 August 2021 marked Parkrun's return in Scotland. I ran the same course as I did for my very first one, Vogrie. My time that day was 25:58. The excitement of running with others for the first time in almost 18 months spurred me to a Parkrun PB that I still haven't beaten.
So, where does the "and a bit" part come in? Well, quite simply, by this time I was typically running 50km each week, 4 × 12.5k and Parkrun's 5k just wasn't quite long enough any more. I enjoyed using it as pace work but only doing 5k on Saturday meant increasing my other runs by about 2k each. As most of my running is after work in the evening, an extra 2k in the summer months is fine, but in winter when I'm running in darkness, it's not so enjoyable. The result, Parkrun (and a bit) was born.
If you follow me on Strava, you will see these appear most Saturdays. Most of my local events are two lap runs. Essentially, I turn up early and do a slow lap (usually the reverse direction to that run) as a warm up, then there is the event itself, and then I just find some local paths/trails in the vicinity to make up the additional distance at a slightly more sedate pace.
It's perhaps Ironic that the "and a bit" part is typically the equivalent of another 1.5 Parkrun, but that's not important.
Today, my other local event, Meadowmill was celebrating its 100th run. As such, it seemed fitting that I went there for me to finally complete my 50th Parkrun. It wasn't a PB (I'm attempting to take it easy ahead of next week's Scottish HM), but it was still a very respectable 27:49.
Here's hoping it doesn't by take me quite as long to complete my next 50...