Saturday, 4 February 2012
It was the chile-est parkrun of the year so far at -7.5C, according to the temperature gauge in the car. I scraped the windscreen, started the engine and after releasing the handbrake didn't move forward an inch. Too cold for the brakes to work, norway that car was going anywhere! So a quick change of plan and I jumped on the bike round to my good friend Mr Slatford's house, which turned out to be a pretty decent 10-minute warm-up in the end. Arrived 5 minutes later than planned and after a quick czech realised the beard, sunglasses and headdress were all still intact. Phew.
Paul came to the door and we jogged up to the park together for a slightly-shorter than normal warm-up to allow for the late-running and pre-run awards ceremony. Not quite so many friendly waves and tooted horns on the way there as the Santa outfits had received a month or so earlier, but we still felt very pleased with our matching Arab costumes.
We arrived at the start line a good 20 minutes before 9am and met up with a few of the Coventry parkrun regulars. A few left-handed handshakes and twiddles of the beard later and the crowd was ready to be addressed. First up was the winner of the Women's Points Competition - Ruth Mahon. Many congratulations to Ruth for her efforts over the last 12 months. Great to see her getting into the spirit of 'Countries of the World' too with a Hawaiian grass skirt and flowery headpiece, neck piece and wristbands. Secondly, the winner of the Men's Points Competition - Andy Wilkinson (aka me). The presentations made and the cakes spread all over the table by the finish and we were ready to run.
Jason got us underway dead on 9 o'clock as usual. The resistance of the tunic meant there was not quite so much Arab spring in my step at the start but I still wanted to post a sub-20-minuter for the first run of the new points year. On completion of lap one in exactly 10 minutes, Paul and I decided to try and get a few seconds in the bag down the hill to the park main gates. Halfway around the second lap and we were only 20 seconds ahead of having to run at full speed to make our 20-minute target. A decision needed to be made. I lifted the pace slightly and quickly pulled a few yards ahead of Paul. I wanted him to come with me but I wanted the 19:xx finish time more. I crossed the line in a satisfactory 15th and 19:54. Time for some birthday cake.
One mini-roll, two shortbreads, two slices of birthday cake (with yummy icing), a mini-magnum and a pint of Mallory's Nesquik / For Goodness Shakes drink (to be confirmed) later meant there was no need for a bacon butty from the cafe this morning. Paul and I had another go at uploading the final results ahead of Jason's week off in 2 weeks' time. I think one more week next week with Jason on hand to answer any queries and we will have it sussed. Two hundred and thirty nine finishers today, a great turn-out for a great occasion. Many happy returns Coventry parkrun!
Thursday, 2 February 2012
Roundhay is perhaps one of the most challenging but picturesque parkruns and takes in 3 laps around the central area of the park in front of the mansion.
It all begins with the obligatory 8:50 rendezvous at the Victorian shelter (bandstand) close to the mansion at the top end of Roundhay Park (North East Leeds), before walking 100m downhill to the start line. A few announcements later and we're off!
It's a slog from the outset, heading back up Carriage Drive towards the Mansion house. A left turn takes you along the main promenade in front of the mansion and visitor's centre for about 500m and almost to the Street Lane entrance. This stretch is relatively flat before another sharp left takes you down the slope (referred to as Hill60 although I have no idea why!) to the cricket pitch and then left again round in front of the pavilion. By this point you've just about caught your breath from the initial climb.
The path curves left, away from the cricket pitch and then turns to the right as it drops down once more to the children's playground, Lakeside Cafe and the corner of Waterloo Lake. If you're having a gentle stroll around the park, this is the place to be. However, on a Saturday at 9:05 for those 100+ runners this is the point where things get a bit tougher.
You've perhaps run just over 1km at this point before taking the final left hand turn to head back uphill towards the start.
Lap 1 is okay, lap 2 is harder and you just dig in for lap 3! It's always the 500m uphill stretch that hurts, and on the final lap you run through the start and continue back up to the bandstand at the top of Carriage Drive to the welcoming sight of the finish line.
It's a fantastic and scenic route that's now run for nearly a year and gathers new momentum each week.
Of course, as you've been so virtuous in leaping out of bed and into your running shoes early on a week-end morning, you can feel completely justified in dropping by the Roundhay Fox for a post-run breakfast.
Good run. Good company.
Tuesday, 31 January 2012
I found it so difficult to wake up on Saturday morning and realised finishing so late on the night before wasn't a genius idea. I proceeded with my stretches and a large coffee then off I went . One of my daughters, Nikita & Buzz (my Chi dog) accompanied me.
I arrived at the Park just as the briefing began. Immediately, I was a little disappointed with myself as I really wanted to get there early enough to warm up properly (my fault). Upon start up I meet a work colleague .. Oh dear. For some reason I was rather put off because I keep my Parkrun separate from work (it's my private zone). I felt as if work had followed me on my day off to the park; I guess you are thinking silly woman!!
Anyway, the whistle blew and off we went . The weather was icy and dry. The start went well, but by the end of the first mile I was slowing down. However, I remained the same pace for the next mile and half. My final half I did manage to step up my pace hoping I beat my personal best. And I did.. I beat my PB by 1 second .
How did I feel? Rather disappointed that I only managed my PB by 1 second. Reflecting back now, I am pleased even if it was a second
Lesson learnt : NOT to work double shift day before. To wake up earlier and warm up properly. To be grateful for participation and being part of my weekly Parkrun.
5th in my age category
57th lady out of 272 runners
Looking forward to this weeks run. Shall keep you posted.
Kind Regards, Kim
I aim to run 30 parkruns. Could that 50 shirt be realistic by this time next year? I have 7 runs under my belt so its one big commitment.
I will volunteer 3 times. First time is already on the rota.
I want to get my time into the 30 minutes. This is going to be the toughest. I am not a fast runner, but after another PB last week its feeling more achievable than a month ago.
Did anyone else set targets? How are they progressing after a month?
I doubt that Coventry is the most beautiful, or the least, but Coventry parkrun is my home parkrun and I want to describe it for you in words and pictures, so that all parkrunners can get a better idea of what a parkrun tourist trip to War Memorial park in Coventry would have in store for you.
Firstly the logistics....There is a massive free car park within the park, adjacent to the course and only 500 metres from the start line. The car park is signposted as the "park and ride" for miles around. I can't see Coventry parkrun ever becoming too big for this car park.
The course is in a capital B shape, starting at the mid-point of the straight line and heading upwards, then doing both the humps of the B before completing the the lower half of the straight line. The B is only 2.5km long and is therefore run twice in the same direction.
The course starts alongside the building housing the main cafe and fairly close to the hardcourt tennis courts and childrens playground. Conveniently, the public conveniences are also located in this building and these are (now) always open before parkrun. The view from the start line:
The first 150 meters are flat and tree-lined, running alongside the crown-green bowls area, before decending downhill for the next 200 meters or so, again tree-lined, bearing slightly to the right half way down the slope. The view downhill:
There is another 90 degree turn to the right, slightly tighter then those before it, and then a narrower path with a couple of minor kinks, again slightly downhill for 150 metres, to complete the first kilometre.
The second kilometre starts with a steady uphill straight for 200 metres alongside the tennis courts. This returns you very close to the start finish area. There is a 90 degree left hand turn with a tricky steeper uphill section for the next 50 metres. This reaches the highest point on the course. Another 100 metres on and another 90 degree left hand turn takes you along a 300 metre long, gentle downhill, tree-lined section to the recently refurbished golf pavillion. For the first year or so of Coventry parkrun, this was the finish straight.
Beside the golf pavilion there is a 90 degree right-hand turn. A slight up and down stretch of another 150 metres and a further 90 degree right-hand turn brings you to the main car park. The car park section is about 200 metres long and is the only part of the course that is not lined with trees on both sides. At the end of the car park we have reached the 2km point (4.5km on the second lap).
We then take yet another 90 degree right-hand turn and head uphill for about 300 metres, to return to the highest point of the course.
We are then into the final 200 metres, 50m downhill and then 150 metres flat onto the start finish straight beside the cafe.
The good news is that you then have to do it all again!
The finish line is about 50 metres on from the start line, eye-balling at you at the start, tempting you at the end of the first lap and welcoming you home after the second lap.
I hope that this has helped give you a picture of the Coventry parkrun course. And if it has tempted you to take a parkrun tourist trip to Coventry then I hope to see you there someday.
Monday, 30 January 2012
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia with an approximate population of 4.6 million people. As the site of the first British settlement in 1788 it is the historic capital, and today it is also Australia’s commercial and economic hub. As such Sydney needs a great parkrun, and we need Sydney to be considered a truly national organisation!
Yesterday’s launch had been a long time in the planning. I was first contacted by Event Director Paul Wilcock in April last year so, just like having a baby, it has taken 9 months from conception to birth. Initially we were planning the first Sydney event for Centennial Park however at Paul’s suggestion we decided upon Sydney Park located in the inner-west suburb of St Peters, sitting along the borders of Alexandria, Newtown and Erskineville. Formerly a brick works and a municipal waste tip, Sydney Park is 109 acres in area, which makes it the third largest park in inner-city Sydney and perfect for a 5km parkrun.
Ably assisted by Aaron Pidgeon, the former remedial massage therapist at Main Beach parkrun, Paul has been leading keen punters in Sydney Park for the last few months for ‘unofficial’ parkruns as a way of building momentum and gathering support from the local running community. Paul and Aaron did a fine job of this as the event had 137 registrations prior to the launch, not to mention well over 200 ‘likes’ on the ‘Sydney parkrun‘ Facebook page.
On launch morning itself the overcast weather threatened rain but ended up holding beautifully enabling the 64 runners who attended a perfect first St Peters parkrun event. Congratulations to Sato Ashida who came in first in 17:12 and is, for one week at least, the course record holder! I came in 7th place in 19:47, a pretty good time considering the ‘heartbreak hill’ we had to battle up mid-run!
So thanks to Paul, Aaron and the other volunteers who made 21 January, 2012 a special day for parkrun in Australia. Our next event launch will be Kirra parkrun on 18 February, our 2nd event on the Gold Coast. See you there!
Added on behalf of Tim Oberg, country manager for parkrun Australia.
Sunday, 29 January 2012
What do I mean?! Well, when I first started running I used to use my ipod with a random collection of songs on so I could sing my way through my run. I found though that I knew most of the songs on my ipod and so knew when the end of the song was and how many minutes I would have been running by the time the song finished. I decided to ditch this and rely on my watch with a countdown of 10 minutes which would be roughly a mile of running. Then with my phone, I found an app which clocked the route I was running, the time etc etc etc and had a voice shouting out when I got to each mile (which could be changed to a different distance). I found in recent weeks though that the phone was getting heavy so I have invested in a gps watch which I have found to be very good. Not only is it light, it is giving me decent stats on my run which I'm finding a great help!
While running events and taking part in parkrun, I have seen people with a gps watch, headphones or neither. What do people find works for them?
In my parkrun at Brueton this weekend, (picture above) I finished in 82nd place in 27:28, it was my 15th parkrun and I enjoyed running with Rus who finished 1 place and 1 second ahead of me! (Jenni who was volunteering on registration thought that it might have helped if we had concentrated more on running than chatting as we went round the 1st lap!) I really enjoyed the sprint finish over the last 200m! We also had with us Peter who usually runs at Brockwell parkrun who finished 4th overall in training for his London Marathon in April