Until very recently, my running was exclusively on very hard surfaces, at night and except for a very small number of races (4), on my own. In mid December my daughter, her of the blog Diaries of a Marathon Widow, introduced me to Parkrun. Without a reason not to, I decided to try my local one, Riddlesdown. Well, there could have been a very good reason, having to be up before 8.00 am. Since retiring 3 years ago, ‘before 8.00 am’ is just a blur. That time is only witnessed if something special is happening, such as a race, having to get an early flight for a holiday or a hangover/badhead; but these events occur infrequently.
So on 15 December, barcode and senior bus pass in pocket, I was out of the house at 7.50 am. The closest bus stop dropped me 2k from the start, so a useful walk to loosen up and ponder. I really had no idea what to expect. How many would be there? Would everyone be experienced and super-fast? Were there possibilities to get lost? Was the run along proper ‘paths’, well trodden grass or just across the countryside? Am I insane?
I shouldn’t have been so apprehensive. About 70 Boys and Girls of all ages and running pedigrees were there. The one thing they all had in common was their enthusiasm (well, maybe they were all slightly mad as well!) At the start the underfoot conditions were described as “very wet and muddy”. After a few minutes I was able to confirm that was an accurate pre-run observation and I got to the end without getting lost, encountering all of the types of terrain I had pictured and I was able to feel pleased with myself for finishing, not too far out from my 25 min target (9s).
Today I have completed my 4th Parkrun, including the Christmas Day event. I was beginning to think I had jinxed Riddlesdown, as before today the running conditions had gradually deteriorated such that on Christmas morning we were told that if the conditions observed during the previous day’s inspections had been the current ones, it would have been cancelled.
I now run to and from the event, certainly a necessity as on a Bank holiday such as Christmas there are no buses, and I refuse to take the car as seems to defeat the very initial object of my running, to get somewhat fit. Whilst not actually addicted to them, I will aim for a (golden) jubilee red 50 T shirt before the end of 2013. I might even do 2 (or 3 is an option) on New Year’s Day, which would be a great started to Janathon.