I have skipped almost every session on my training plan for the past month because I’ve been “too busy” yet on three of the last four weekends I have driven over an hour (each way) to the new parkrun that has just started in Armidale.
On one of those Saturdays, the temperature at the start of the run (8am) was just 0°C. Brrr. It wasn’t a fast run. I think my toes thawed out at about kilometre 4 (of a 5km run). This was the Armidale parkrun launch event.
We are heading off on our holiday (one month in the UK) this weekend and the only thing I regret about booking an organised bus tour is that we will be “so close” to several parkruns on Saturdays but I won’t have the flexibility in our schedule, or a means of transport, to go and participate in them.
There’s just something about parkrun that has me hooked. You can read about my first parkrun experience here. Maybe it’s the anticipation of the email within a few hours of finishing the run with soooo many wonderful facts (I like statistics). Maybe it’s the thought of scrolling through 300 photos on facebook that afternoon, hoping there are some decent ones of you. Or maybe it’s the non-competitiveness of the event. Sure, people are trying to do their best but there are no prizes. There’s no wasted entry fee if you just can’t win the mental battles on the day – it’s okay to walk. There are plenty of other people to chat with and encourage (or leap frog as you take it in turns to walk and jog). And there’s always next week.
One week after the freezing launch (which saw 168 people participating) I was back there again. This time it was 10° which felt quite warm by comparison. The course is mostly on grass and some gravelly surfaces (not much concrete) and I usually only run on hard surfaces. I haven’t researched it so I could be wrong, but it certainly felt like I was using different muscles in my lower legs.
My next parkrun will be the launch of Tamworth parkrun in my own home town! I won’t actually be “running” because I’ll be volunteering but I’ll still be experiencing parkrun at its best. And I can’t wait.
Here are some photos from Saturday’s run. Looks like I fell back to my default “plodding” (incorrect) technique. Photos taken by the volunteer photographer on the day and downloaded from the Armidale parkrun facebook page. At least I was smiling! To top it off, I ran my fastest ever parkrun (36:12) and was 9th in my age group (out of 14 – not 9). I don’t think I’ve ever had a top 10 finish before!
Where is your closest parkrun? Have you tried it out? Maybe I’ll come and visit!
Oh, and I look like I’ll be able to finish my Melbourne to Port Augusta virtual training journey inside of 12 months! It took over two years to cover the distance from Sydney to Melbourne and I’ve already swum/ridden/run further than that this year. And it’s only July!