With the weather behaving itself again for the second week after taking out our A and then B courses earlier in the month we had another dry calm day for Trentham Memorial parkrun #25. Eighty two of us appeared from the morning mist to line up on the start line for the second running (and my first experience) of the two lap course C.
My verdict on course C? I like it and personally want to keep it (not that we have a choice for the next few months!). It is definitely faster than course A. I think this is mainly because more of it is on tarmac path, but being 2 laps with an out and back really helps too. On an out and back course, being at the front of the pack can be a bit lonely. With course C, I see everyone after the first km and start overtaking people on the second lap, which can really help spur you on to a faster time.
Last week was also the comeback of parkrun in the UK after a 17 month hiatus. It’s great to see the start of a return to these events across the world. Lets hope the good news can continue.
I’ve been asked to give a quick rundown of my own parkrun history and how I approach the event as one of the more speedy parkrunners. I did my first parkrun in Bushy Park in 2008 – back when that was the only one in the world and it wasn’t yet called parkrun. I’m one of the faster parkrunners, with a parkrun PB of 15:32 that I now have to work very hard to get within a minute of. I consider myself a good club runner, and have won a couple of races, and finished first at Bushy 50 times before moving to New Zealand. This prompted one of the regular volunteers there to give me a special bar code with the first finisher number on as well as my personal barcode and “First Again!” written on it. I gleefully use this whenever I manage to cross the line first! Having said all that, I am nowhere near the phenomenal standard of a professional athlete. I managed to finish second when Andy Baddeley set the parkrun world record in Bushy when the 2012 Olympics were on. I managed to keep pace with Andy for about 400m, and I ran a good time for me. But he crossed the finish line before I’d reached the 4km mark! Being fast is definitely relative which is why setting your own goals and running to your own schedule is so important.
Anthony Jackson - parkrun original!
So, how do I approach a parkrun? Well, the first thing to say is I’m competitive. My coach often tells me to take a Saturday easy or just do a tempo when I’m training for something specific. I find this hard because when I do an event I like to go fast. So when I really need to take it easy (I’ve got an event on the Sunday or need an easy week), I’ll skip it, which is why I’m not yet on 300 parkruns after 13 years. I often need more distance on a tempo run on a Saturday as well, in which case I’ll do the parkrun, then complete a session (e.g. 5x3min efforts) immediately after. Knowing I’ve still got a hard session to do stops me going all out for the parkrun itself.
I’m not a morning person so wake up about 7am, eat breakfast much later than I should and use the cycle to the park to warm up, arriving in time to do a few drills before the start. This is not recommended – but I seem to get away with it and run better than on an empty stomach. Once at the start I always look out for people I know are fast, hoping for some competition. I much prefer to be pushed and racing somebody than to be out at the front on my own for a parkrun. I know a parkrun isn’t a race, but for me it is, but it’s a race to get a time, and occasionally to beat one specific person (I’ve had some good rivalries), not to finish first. Running fast on your own is hard, even if you are winning, I’m never going to run as fast on my own as I will trying to chase down somebody. So If I’m feeling good I want to see someone I know is faster than me, so I can hold on as long as I can. If I’m feeling less good I’m hoping to see someone slightly slower, so I’ve got someone to push me to go faster than just a tempo. I’m sure many of us have that one big milestone time and/or person they try to beat every week. It’s exactly the same at the front, at least for me.
This Saturday for me was one of the days where another speedster didn’t show, so I was expecting a slower than usual time since I also wasn’t feeling great. I was therefore pleasantly surprised with what I managed, and put it down to the new course and all the lovely parkrunners out on it.
18 people recorded PBs today – very well done to Ann King, Anthony Beckett, Bruce Mccardle, Christine Osullivan Robertson, Dwight Brbich, Geoff Iremonger, Graeme Fountain, Jacob Lord, James Entwisle, Janette Beckett, Jason Braun, Jocelyn Fountain, Matthew Bell, Michael Walton, Michelle Willis, Ngaire Heeni Hodren, Olivia Fountain and Richard Sevicke Jones.
Two people achieved parkrun milestones this week - Simone Hadley and Amanda Jayne Sellers both reaching the the lofty heights of 100 completed parkruns. That’s the same as running from Trentham Memorial, all the way to the startline of Hamilton Lakes parkrun!
Welcome to 12 parkrun tourists - Joe Ede, Melanie Macgregor, Simone Hadley, Amanda Jayne Sellers, Craig Anderson, Fiona McCardle, Andrea Harvey, Julia Fink, Billie Macgregor, Paul Hewson, Dion Macgregor and Kate Harvey.
A huge thank you to all the volunteers this week who put in the time to keep the event running smoothly: Wendy Chrisstoffels, Allan Hartley, Neil Haxton, Sarah Jantscher, Ryan Ledbrooke, Heather Leslie, Glynis Ng, Christine Osullivan-Robertson, Mark Pearce, Oliver Quinn, Michelle Willis