Sunday, 4 March 2012
After the parkrun
Our runner has finished and gone home to the promise of bacon butties and mugs of tea where he peels of his socks, balls them up and lobs them in the general direction of the washing machine.
He busies himself trying not to check his texts to see if it was indeed a PB, well after all, its the first time he's managed to pass that big hairy bloke who really should know better than to wear such tiny shorts and through gritted teeth raced towards the finish like the cayote after a small plump roadrunner.
I load up the car, adding this week's discarded items to the growing collection of 'lost property' and head home to process the event.
A short drive later I drag the 'box of tricks' into the house to be greeted by the garish sounds of Spongebob Squarepants and a small child in pyjamas guzzling down whichever sugar laden cereal they've been peddling on Nickelodeon that week.
Realising that my hopes of seeing whether the celebrity of choice on this week's Saturday Kitchen actually gets to eat his heavenly dish of choice or a sauteed pile of tentacles are futile, I open the box and delicately remove the laptop, timer, scanner and tangled web of cables.
The laptop is switched on and I go off to wrestle the only mouse with a working scroll wheel from the sweaty palm of my teenage son who is busy trying to dismember some poor pixilated monster.
Returning to my chair, I gently liberate the holy timer of parkrun from the bag like a precious artifact. I must explain the pressure of this operation as within that box of electonics are all the hopes, wishes, sweat and toil of our parkrunner.
The files are transferred from the scanner and timer onto the laptop where the Godfather of parkrun and his amazing team have created the most amazing web page which magically transforms all those numbers into names, positions and most important times.
At this point it can all go very right or very wrong as you try to make sense of where runners crossed the finish line twice, only actually completed 2 laps or ducked out of the funnel into the bushes to relieve themselves of the 15 pints of Carling consumed the night before.
Now here's where the miracle happens, I press the finish button and all the results are sent off to hq. I like to think of hq as a secret underground bunker, the team sit poised, wearing telephone headsets as electronic files ping in from all over the world, illuminating little orange lights on a huge wall mounted map as each event sends its results.
Our parkrunner is now fed, watered and desperately trying to find something to pass the time without resorting to household chores until his PB dreams are confirmed, meanwhile the busy beavers at hq are inundated with event results, phone wires hum with activity and the map is now glowing from all the light bulbs. Machines whir, numbers are crunched and panicked race directors are wimpering down the phone about that niggling little error.
I turn my attention to the volunteer rota and try to look amused when a small chocolatey hand shoves a drawing of a horse having a poo at me amidst howls of laughter.
It's now time to sort out the position tokens so it's antibacterial cloth to the ready and trying to hold kittens at bay as I sort them into piles of ten and wonder what the heck number 62 did to get the token in THAT state! Once in order it's back onto the string, making a mental note of which ones are now missing and need replacements printing out that week.
And then I'm done, breakfast time at last! I relax into the chair momentarily before a large tabby cat jumps onto my knee and demands food- there really is no rest for the wicked!
Our parkrunner is just thinking that he's going to have to give in and get on with the washing up when 'bing' the text arrives and he punches the air, celebrating his 20 second PB before vowing to beat the hairy bloke once again next weekend.
... Linda xx