Tuesday, 7 February 2012
My first parkrun
It was with some apprehension that I headed up to Mile End Park to take part in the first parkrun on Saturday. My first proper parkrun on possibly the coldest day this winter and with snow forecast for later in the day, what on earth was I thinking.
I had gone up for the test run the previous Saturday and had been made very welcome, but this was the real deal, and as a relative novice at running I was convinced I was going to look foolish. I hadn’t even heard of parkruns until a few weeks ago but spurred on by securing a place in the National Lottery Olympic Park run on March 31st I had decided this could be one way of ensuring that I kept up my training.
When I arrived, the hardy volunteers were already there setting out the course, and there was also quite a crowd of runners. It was lovely to be greeted by name by people who had been there the previous week and I was immediately struck by the camaraderie and friendship displayed.
Carole introduced me to Cathie who had volunteered to be the tail runner and we agreed to run together. After a slight delay, so that we could use the centre facilities before the run, we all lined up and then Carole blew the whistle and we were on our way.
Cathie and I let everyone else go and then we set off with Cathie matching her pace to mine.
It was a lovely morning, but bitterly cold. It was great to see the line of runners stretching out ahead, but gradually more and more of them disappeared from view.
The volunteer marshalls were standing in the cold to point the correct route to us as we carried on. The course was two laps and obviously we were eventually lapped by the fast club runners; but strangely, I didn’t mind. I knew I was going to get round however long it took. There are a couple of hills on the route and they really tested my determination but I felt ok about walking for a few metres when necessary.
As we were the last runners, Cathie was able to tell the marshalls they could head back to the start when we completed the second lap. They must have been so cold but they all encouraged us with a cheerful shout out. Cathie made me up my game as we neared the finish line and grabbed my hand as we crossed it. It was great that all the runners were there to cheer us over the line and Carole had a huge box of jelly babies to share out.
It turns out there were 63 runners, which was impressive for such a bitter morning. Thanks to Craigie Lee and Carole for all their hard work and to all the volunteers who turned out. Nobody fell in the canal or frightened the wildlife. It turns out I was first in my age group. However I was also the only runner in my age group!
I am going to volunteer next week and probably run as the tail runner which won’t be hard. Even better there may be coffee next week. Can’t wait.