It's easy, they said, just make it personal, they said...
So here goes, a slightly abridged version of my personal parkrun thoughts for today.
0700: Oh, not the alarm - wait, it's parkrun day!!! Looks warm. Quick coffee. Where’s my other sock?
0755: phew, not late. Barcode: check. Keys in pocket and zip closed: check. Fully charged watch:…bother. OK, race the battery day. Spot the regulars – morning! Wonder who's touristing today. Run briefing, quiet now, here comes my favourite RD phrase: ‘We start at the start line…’ – BINGO!
0800: GO! Elbows in, find some room – is this too fast? I should really learn to pace better. But it feels so easy right now! If I keep this up, maybe it’ll be a PB day?
1st km down! Such a lovely start to the weekend, hills in the distance, river cruising alongside. And all these other people made it here too - it's quite amazing really. Is that a breeze I feel on my face? WILL THERE BE A RETURN TAILWIND?
2nd km down! Here comes the lead bike – to high five or not high five? Who are the leaders – no idea, haven’t got my glasses on, I’ll shout some general encouragement instead. Good grief, that pace with a pushchair as well? They make it look so easy. Perhaps there’s a zen-like running mindset I haven’t tapped into. I am calm and focused and… look, a seagull!
Turnaround time! Hay, the grass looks dry. Oooh what a pun! Well, I thought it was funny. Wonder how straight the line of cones is today. Also wonder if anyone else notices that. Not too sharp a corner after halfway, lovely job. OK, now just back to the start, let's go!
3rd km down! Only 3? Surely not. What happened to that breeze? Pretty sure this slope has got steeper since we came the other way. Possibly higher, too. Right come on, focus on form, knees up and through, core tall, hands a bit lower – you’re not shadow boxing. Try to smile at the tailwalker – yep, pretty sure that was a grimace. I tried.
4th km down! Finally, the longest kilometre is over. Gosh it's warm. I wonder if I’ve slowed down or if these people passing me are getting a wriggle on – strong finish guys, keep it up! Haven’t seen the photographer yet, might try for a funky pose. Or a flying feet photo! Or maybe just one chin!
Finish is in sight – ah, that’s where the extra pace was hiding! Sounds like someone behind me is coming in hot, am I going to be pipped at the post? Beep, that's it, stay in order, try not to sweat all over the scanner volunteer. One barcode for me, one for you. Do dogs get barkcodes? Quick stretch on the way up the bank, oh hey I didn't see you at the start. Quick scan for anyone coming in – still haven't got my glasses on. Off for coffee – can I join you? How was your run? Well…
Editor’s Note: our first finisher was indeed pushing a buggy, Jeff Ferry in a time of 17.03. We had 298 participants including visitors from Yorkshire & London.