Monday, 5 November 2012
Hey parkrunfans, please find this piece that I penned for Edinburgh parkrun a while back. I'm thinking that there will be many more parkmates out there beyond Edinburgh who will recognise themselves here as much as I described my thoughts and deeds as well as I could. Enjoy!
I felt like my lungs were fit to burst but I was being spurred on. Spurred on by the very person who would never know but I certainly knew him. He was called Nemesis.
We both turned up religiously every Saturday, I would see him and he would probably see me I guess but he would never really know me. The most frustrating thing about our meet was that he confounded me by always finishing ahead of me. I had to find something within that would turn frustration into inspiration.
I’d try to ignore his presence at the start but my gaze was always drawn back to his stupid baggy shorts. I’d pretend he wasn’t there which in turn was very difficult as he was always in front of me. I’d slag him off under my breath and wish for the God of all stitches to play havoc with his performance. Worse than that, he turned up week in, week out with his gimpy knee strapped up. Jeez, he wasn’t even fit and yet he owned me. Damn you Nemesis! He’d miss a week then I’d miss a week but we were largely better than regular attendees so my whole event would be hijacked week after week with such mockery.
Then came the day. 1k, usual. 2k, usual. 3k, usual. Ho hum! 4k, wait a minute, only twelve runners between us. Right then, quick physical. Legs? Aye, not too bad. Lungs? Not too bad either. Pace? Room for improvement. Determination? Oddly, reported for duty late but suddenly inspired. Ten runners, eight, seven, five, nearly there. I was coming to get you Nemesis and you had no clue. Four, two, Nemesis and then the trees. Those damned trees. Just when you think it’s in the bag at the trees, it’s not. There's three hundred metres to go and that finish line just seemed to keep disappearing into the distance but that was all in my head. I surge past, victory will be mine at last. I heard the thump of rubber on asphalt behind me. Was this his push to snatch victory back from my hands? No matter the line was but strides away then yes, yes, yes, job done and he’ll never know but I sure as hell did.
In the finish funnel came a congratulatory pat on my back and as I turned to chat thinking I knew who it would be, it wasn’t. Indeed the participant behind me thanked me for an inspirational sprint to the line as for week upon week I had been, well, HIS Nemesis! My Nemesis? He finished four behind as he was out sprinted by others who in turn were likely chasing theirs too.