Parkrun – Got to Start Somewhere

It’s only 10am and I’ve yomped 5km.

This morning we did the Rhodes Parkrun (www.parkrun.com).  This is a body that organises free, weekly, timed 5km runs on Saturday mornings all over the world. Neil comes with me for support (ie to make sure I don’t slide off to a cafe instead).

My approach is “well it’s only 5km, it’ll be a nice walk followed by a coffee somewhere sunny”.

Wrong.  Wrong.  Wrong.

Got there and it’s wall to wall runners in lycra and pressure socks.  There are some slightly tubby, unfit-looking people at the back so I decide to stick near them and Neil can do the proper run.

We all set off.

The overweight & unfit immediately head to a cafe so it’s just me. The sainted Neil sticks with me.

The first 25 meters are ok, I even attempt a cheery jog but soon realise that it’s not sustainable. Neil’s competitive instincts kick into panicked overdrive because he’s being overtaken by absolutely everybody – something he’s just not used to. He shoots off, walking very fast – there’s no way I can keep up.

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The view from the back

After a short but bad tempered exchange, we realise that we’re both freaked out and intimidated by the whole thing. I twice ask him if he wants to go on ahead but he stays. Amazing.

  • At the 1km point, I’m over it. Can’t see myself finishing, not enjoying it at all, total sense of humour failure compounded by sheer embarrassment at being so publicly unfit
  • At the 2km point, a perky, blonde gym-bunny volunteer attempts to provide motivation “well done – not far now…” Oh get stuffed.
  • At 3km we’re overtaken by someone in the 80-84 age category (yes, really)
  • At 4km, the sweeper at the back tells us we’re the last. (Oh really? I hadn’t realised; thank you for pointing that out….). I ask how long they keep the course open for and he says ‘as long as it takes’. Oh no. I suggest to Neil that we don’t bother finishing as I’m so embarrassed at being last but he keeps me going
  • At 4.8km we overtake a woman with a knee brace

I came in 3rd last (Neil let me beat him by a step), in 50.42 mins which surprised me . I was 183rd out of 185.  The average time to complete the 5km is 31 minutes, so clearly there’s room for improvement.

In summary, I absolutely hated it while I was doing it, but I’ll go and do it again next Saturday.  Better than going to the gym.

Like that’s going to happen ha ha.

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2 comments

  1. Grace, hi and great to get this feed. Long time huh !! Am currently in Hvar (Croatia ) spending the kids inheritance but would love to reconnect upon my return to Oz late october. You made me laugh out loud reading the latest instalment so great to see you still have the knack of writing perceptive and acerbic pieces . Will contact you when’ve get back. Best, Michael

    Sent from my iPhone

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