Saturday, 19 May 2012

Just call me Fiona...

A new experience for me today. Not only do I have a blog to write, but I was asked to write the news report  from this week’s Eastbourne parkrun. So, donning my Fiona Bruce wig, my come hither eyes and my best sassy voice, I delivered the Eastbourne parkrun headlines. You can read all about it here.

As for the conventional blog – read on...

It was very warm this morning despite the cloud and the sun having an early morning pillow-fight. Cloud wanted the duvet on and the sun wanted it off. It seemed cloud had won as we were greeted by grey skies at the start, but, just as cloud fell back asleep and started snoring, sun peeled back the duvet and shone righteously upon us.

I arrived early to meet Event Director, Stuart Pelling, to receive instructions on how to upload a news report. Instructions were clearly inscribed on lined paper, which was neatly folded and handed over to me. I was slightly disappointed that there was no special ceremony, no trumpeting fusiliers, no royal dignitaries, no handshake photo shoot, not even a Boris Johnson! But, I suppose, in matters of parkrun security, one can’t be too careful when it comes to publicity. I was looking for Top Secret stamped over the paperwork, but I can only summise it had been written in special invisible ink. Apparently, if I hold it over a naked flame I might just be able….. oh bugger, ooooh, owwww, WATER!!!!

We were back on the usual course today, the ditch having dried out to just deep, slippy mud, rather than the fast-flowing river of last week – well, it was more like 2 inches of standing water, but you know how we blokes like to exaggerate things, eh?

I lined up with 68 other hopeful runners, not quite knowing what kind of performance I would be putting in today.

Stuart started us off with a puff on the whistle and off we thundered. After about 100 metres, I was conscious of a young boy who flew his little legs past me like Loony Tunes roadrunner. ‘Beep Beep’, I thought to myself, ‘he’s gone off too fast  - he’ll come back’. I stayed with him for about 1/2 kilometre and then he went! Wile E Coyote here never saw him again in the run.

Here is a photo of him, I and third placed lady, Anne, rounding the bushes not long into the race

I am not sure of his finishing position as I don't think he had a barcode, but I was completely dumbstruck and in awe of this young boy, who clearly has a huge talent (and passion) for running. As we handed in our tags at the end, he was stood by the finish table. I told him how brilliant he had run and how he had beat me by miles. He looked surprised. “Did I beat you, then?” he asked. “You slaughtered me” I replied. He smiled back a small grin of satisfaction and surprise at what he had achieved.  Whilst the fact he slaughtered me is true, and he beat me by absolute miles, I’m hardly the quickest person in the field and I didn’t have the heart to tell him that a one-legged monkey running backwards could beat an ageing 39 yr old short-arse! But what an inspiration he was and I was so chuffed at his performance.

As for me, no trips or slips, but plenty of swinging hips, as I settled into a nice rhythm. But, as usual, come halfway, I was feeling pretty exhausted and while my pace didn’t drop at all, it was hard work just putting one foot in front of the other as I ran at lactate threshold.

At 4km, there were five of us in quite close proximity – myself, a lady, two senior men and a veteran. I latched on to the back of them and chose to hang on to their tech-tee tails until 100m to go. That’s if I could hang on! As we emerged from the ditch, we all bunched up and it was clear that there was some cat and mouse as to who was going to go first. 

Bit by bit the pace increased, when, all of a sudden, one of the men went. The lady swiftly followed suit. I slipstreamed them both until we hit the grass and, boom, off I went. I sprinted clear, a habit I seem to have gotten into each week. My arms and legs flailed like an octopus in a whirlpool as I fixed my eyes on the finishing chute and ran my little socks off. I held them all at bay. The lady finished 3 seconds behind, with the three other chaps in hot pursuit. Even mid-pack plodders can enjoy the thrills and spills of a tactical affair and I was gobsmacked that I managed a 4:31 min/mile pace in the sprint to the line. If I can just get some talent and a lot more endurance speed, I could, perhaps, do a bit better at this running lark.

Here is my sprint finish with valiant pursuers in behind.

Utterly exhausted, I accepted my position tag and the congratulations of the marshall for my sprint finish and indulged in my customary collapse to the ground.

Senses soon regathered, I checked my watch which showed a 24:32 – (my slowest parkrun to date) some 23 seconds slower than last week and a minute away from my course and distance personal best. Not one to be motivated by time, this was no bother to me. I had thoroughly enjoyed the run and I knew, whatever time I achieved, I had given it 110%.

I’ll be marshalling next week so please all do a sun dance in anticipation.

Anyway, it’s time now to shuffle my papers and hand over to Ulrika Fish for the weather…


  1. The double! Something that I am doing this weekend too. great blog post and news-at-ten style event report!

    1. Thanks copy7t. Which event are you? I'll look out for your report...


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