Sunday, 25 March 2012

parkrun tourist virgin

This weekend family circumstances took me to Birmingham. Despite lots to do I was determined not to miss a parkrun unless the world as we know it came to an end. So on Saturday morning I headed to cannon Hill Park, Birmingham for my fist stint as a parkrun tourist.

I turned into a bit of a family affair. My Mum (72) came to watch. I have tried to persuade her that its never too late to start running but she'll have none of it. It was also a chance to meet up with my nephew Chris, who introduced me to parkrun before Christmas.

I have fond memories of Cannon Hill Park. I grew up in Birmingham and spent many hours at the park as a child. It formed an important part of my courting days when I first met my husband and I used to take my own son there when he was young enough to think adventure playgrounds were fun. Its a beautiful park close to to the city centre with lakes, an old historic building in the grounds and two cafes - one in a newly refurbished Arts centre.

I still get nervous before every parkrun. This week the nerves were as bad as the first week I ever attended my home run in Coventry. I'd looked at the results pages for cannon Hill and was pretty certain I wouldn't come last, but the times seemed fast. Its close to the Uni as well so it attracts a lot of club runners. Within minutes of arriving one of the volunteers came up to me to ask if it was my first time. I explained it was my 14 (13th as a runner) but first time at this venue. He explained how the course worked, where the start and finish were and told me where he would be standing as a marshall - just at the bottom of the hill of the final stretch.

The briefing was done at the assembly point, not the start line. People who had achieved their 50 and 10 shorts had their names read out and celebrated in a mini awards ceremony. there was a young lad, Joseph, who was running his 50 parkrun that day so we were all introduced to him and asked to encourage him round the course.

The course itself is two laps round the park. On the second lap there is a slight detour down the cycling path parallel with the river. Its a long straight stretch there and back and lends itself to achieving a pretty decent time I imagine. On the approach to the finishing line the event director for the day was standing cheering every one up the hill for the last few metres.

i had a brilliant morning. While my heart stays with Coventry parkrun I will go back to cannon Hill whenever I am in Birmingham. I will also try and venture to other parkruns now that I am no longer a parkrun tourist virgin!

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