Tuesday, 1 October 2013


On Saturday I finished my 7th Parkrun. For people familiar with Parkrun this probably doesn't sound very exciting - after all there's the 250 club for those who have completed over 250 parkruns! For those not so familiar I'll give a brief summary. Parkruns are timed 5km runs that take place in parks around the UK and is spreading around the world, managed by volunteers and free for everyone to take part. All you need is to register for your free account where you can see all your results and print your barcode, and then take that barcode
with you when you run.
I started going along because my boyfriend has been going for a few years. He earned his 50 shirt earlier this year and now wears it with great pride each week. We run at Bushy Park by Hampton Court Palace in west London, which aside from being a glorious place to run, happens to be where Parkrun all started. As such it's hugely popular - over 960 runners this week. I find this brilliant; there are the really serious athletes (they get a few international level runners) all the way down to families running with their dog. Running in such a large group does slightly magical things to your times...they're much much faster! Before my first Parkrun (when I was really aiming for 30mins) the best I could manage was just over 32 minutes. On the day I ran 28:38 and finished with a huge smile. I was on such a high for the rest of the day. And I was hooked.
This week, after sitting admiring the view, I was pretty determined to set a new PB. I went armed with my Nike + running app, and my wrist stopwatch. But here's the downside to running with all the lovely people; it takes a while to get across the start line, and there's a bit of weaving along the way. Result being, the watch starts before you actually start running and you end up running a bit further. I was happy because according to my GPS data I ran at the pace I was aiming for and my Nike app thought I'd run my quickest 5km, but my watch showed that I'd missed out by about 10 seconds. But the best thing about Parkrun? There's always next week...
And the coming Saturday (5th October) is Parkrun's 9th anniversary. If you've never been I'd really recommend finding your local one and turning out on what's sure to be a bumper week. Unfortunately I have other plans for the morning (involving running) that I'll chat about later...

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