“So…. anyone who’s doing this parkrun for the first time, come and stand over here”
…all but a handful of the runners followed the Race Director across the grass, coming out from under the tree, where they’d been sheltering from the rain.
“The regulars have more sense. They’re all at home!”
It was grey and wet this morning. I’d driven through several “pea-soupers” to get to Lanhydrock. But it was worth it. This was a beautiful course, with friendly people, and I spent much of my time there smiling (except when I was going up the final hill!).
Memorable quotes (ish) from the RD’s briefing:
“This isn’t the course to get a PB. The average time for this course is 29 minutes”
“It’s basically a trail run. Wach out for mud, roots etc. We cleared the paths as well as we could this morning, and moved a fallen tree”
“Monsoon season is in July and August. Come back in September. It’s beautiful then!”
“There is a flat bit. It’s beautiful. Along the river.”
“It’s one lap…..something something….downhill….. climb…. something something…..up…. down…. then it heads up…… then a false flat (you won’t even notice it’s uphill after all that…. up… then a downhill to the end. Take care as you run down there. You won’t get a PB by sprinting that bit.”
This parkrun was a bit of a contrast to my local one, which is 3 and a half laps of the local park (flat, and on tarmac). Several people commented on my shoes at the start of the run. Firstly, they weren’t trail shoes, and secondly, they were very obviously brand new.
“They won’t look like that for long!”
This parkrun has fewer people running it than my local one; I came in the top 100 today! This would never happen at home.
But there is a certain atmosphere at all the parkruns I’ve done. A friendliness, a light-heartedness… almost a camaraderie. And that was still there. I chatted to lots of people, before and after the run. Some were regulars, but many were visiting the south-west, like me. There were some very obviously fast people, but there were also people that you knew would be proud just to get round.
Kudos to the pregnant runner, who appeared to be well into her third trimester. I wish I’d been able to carry on running through my pregnancies. I always swam, and I pulled a bike trailer around right up to the final weeks, but I didn’t manage to run. With my third pregnancy, I was determined to carry on running, but had to give up at the start of the second trimester, after severe morning sickness forced me to stop. (Rachel, who I used to run with at the time, still refers to “that day when you puked into a hedge”. It was the last time we ran together).
I picked my way down muddy, slippery woodland paths. I struggled up some sharp hills. I did walk twice (on two of the hills). But I ran as well.
And I smiled.
At 33+ minutes, it was my slowest parkrun ever (apart from the one where I walked round with my son for part of it, pushing my daughter round in a pushchair for all of it…).
But I thoroughly enjoyed it. And I’m proud of it.