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The highlight of my parkrunning year? Got to be August the 4th at Bushy parkrun.
Jamie and I had tickets for the Athletics in the Olympic Stadium that night so decided to make a proper trip of it, going down on the Thursday, visiting friends and doing the tourist bit for a couple of days. On the Saturday we realised the only way we could get to Bushy was to catch the 7am train, a couple of others then run about a mile through the park to the start. The trains worked like clockwork getting us there just before 8:45am, then accosting a very nice family in running kit led us to the start- at 8:58 just in time for the run briefing! At such a large run I never expected to see anyone I knew but there was Chris Healey from Bradford, down for exactly the same reasons as us!!
It was going to be a long day so Jamie and I ran together at the back for the first 1k done in 7 and a half minutes. I could see he wanted to go so I let him! It was the most beautiful thing to see him running past 100 people over the next 4k, very sensibly keeping out of the way and concentrating on running perfectly! His 24 min last 4km saw him set a 2 minute plus parkrun pb in 31:32 which cost me a full English breakfast at the café and a Gold Wenlock later in the day!
Breakfast was interrupted by a photo opportunity- Jamie with an Olympic torch!! Even he had to stop stuffing his face for that one!! We were then interviewed by Rodney, author of the Bushy parkrun newsletter who produced a fantastic piece on my little parkrun tourist under the title of “Inspire a Generation”, complete with pictures including the Huddersfield Bunny on Tour T-Shirt! Ray and Ann Coward, the pixies behind the parkrun T-shirts we wear so proudly then gave us a lift back to the station – an hour and a half later we were back at the hotel and Jamie had a kip!!
That night as everybody knows we witnessed 3 British Olympic Gold medals in 44 minutes in the Olympic Stadium. I have never experienced an atmosphere like it anywhere, nor do I ever expect to see that level of performance from a British team in one night ever again. Jamie loved it, and when we finally left about 10:30pm he was bouncing!! The venue was so busy however it took us 90 minutes to shuffle all the way to West Ham station as Stratford was gridlocked! It was only at midnight when we finally got on a train he crashed. A piece of advice- when carrying a 6 year old on the tube at midnight on a Saturday do not change at Embankment- lots and lots of steps and a long walk is not what you need!!
The next day we went to the arranged meet up via the Marathon Talk podcast to watch the Women’s marathon. Arriving a little late we found everyone and spent the rest of the day cheering on the runners, though due to torrential rain I have to admit Jamie hid in the pub and watched on tv!!! As well as meeting some good parkrun friends there (Tom and Helen Williams, Ralph and Eleanor from Leeds parkrun and Danny Norman to name just a few) the best was meeting Danny’s parents! I had been winding him up about having tickets for that session of athletics for ages and it was even mentioned on the Marathon Talk live podcast when I predicted what 10,000m at the coming Olympics would be the best Olympic race ever! The fact I mainly did this to wind Danny up and was sat next to him when Tom read it out was a big bonus, however it was Danny’s mum Lynne thanking me for winding him up for so long that made my day! Incidentally Danny’s parents recently ran their first ever parkrun at Bushy – respect!!!
So there you have it, a perfect parkrun weekend! Ok, so it wasn’t all about the parkrun but if we’d have gone home after the full English I think it would still have been the winner! The only thing left to do was get the train home – meeting a fellow Hyde Park Harrier Matt Jackson at Kings Cross was not really a surprise by this point, even though he was arriving as we were leaving! Sitting in MacDonalds and being joined at the table by Women’s Marathon 13th place athlete Marisa Barros and her entourage certainly was- great to see an Olympic athlete letting her hair down so soon after the event!! I let my hair down when we got back with a glass of wine, just in time to see Usain Bolt in the 100m final…….