My first “parkrun”

Today I ran my first parkrun. If like me you’ve never heard of them:

parkrun organise free, weekly, 5km timed runs around the world. They are open to everyone, free, and are safe and easy to take part in.

Pretty simple really. You just register for free on the website for a personal barcode, print it out then turn up and race. You just register as a runner, not for individual races, it’s up to you which races you attend.

The parkrun in Bristol is held in Ashton Court, a pretty simple out-and-back course that takes you up a hill then back down it.

The races starts at 9am so I left the house a little late at 8:40 but thought I’d be ok. I underestimated how rubbish my bike is, how strong the wind was and how slow I am. It too me 22 minutes of flat-out cycling to get to the start line. Luckily the race started 5 minutes late so I was able to join in (heart still beating like mad!).

As usual, I started near the front over-filled with optimism. Half way up the climb my pace slows to a crawl and I realise I left all my optimism at the start line. I plod on.

At the half way point of the course you’re at the top of the park and turn back on yourself. Panoramic views of Bristol spread before you and you realise it’s all downhill from here. The optimism has caught me up and I smile. I probably look like a complete idiot when I run downhill, bouncing with huge lanky strides. I don’t care, it feels great, I love running downhill. The wind is also on my back and it just feels like flying. I start picking off the people that overtook me on the climb. Clap clap, my feet pound the path picking up dangerous speeds. This can’t be good for my bones. It doesn’t even feel like hard work, I can feel my heart rate dropping. Did I mention I love running downhill?

If you’re expecting me to say I won the thing, well, I was nowhere near. I guess I finished about 30th and I forgot to stop my watch so don’t really know what my time was (although it’ll be on the website later). That doesn’t matter though, it was a good, fun race. Well, I say it doesn’t matter but I’m far too competitive to leave it there. I wonder if I can get into the top 20 before the end of the month… 😉

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