I wanted to make my 50th parkrun something special by setting a new personal best time for running the 5km. Saying it is one thing, but doing it is quite another, except that I did it, I really did and not just by the skin of my teeth either. I knocked a whole 20 seconds off the PB I’d set two weeks earlier. Oh what a glorious day, I think I’m going to burst with joy.
I was so excited as I crossed the line I nearly somersaulted over the ropes to hug Sam, who’d given me such a boost a few weeks earlier with the sound advice that if you want to go faster, then move faster. Simple, but effective. It worked.
Ever since I was introduced to the parkrun, I’ve been impressed by the ethos of an activity which encourages anyone and everyone to give running a go. The weekly 5km event is held in towns and cities throughout the country and now across the world. It’s simple and it’s free. You register online, print off a barcode and turn up with just before 9am on a Saturday morning. By afternoon, there’s an email with your time, position and, most importantly for someone of my ahem maturity, an age-graded score. So today, while I was 254th out of 382, with the grading taken into account, I was 100th. Age grading takes your time and uses the world record time for your sex and age group to produce a score.
Today wasn’t just my 50th parkrun, it was the 5th birthday of the Leeds event, so I really wanted to go for it. There were a couple of other girls I knew who also wanted to beat their PBs. Taking Sam’s advice we cheekily placed ourselves near the front, to be quickly overtaken by those who would beat us by more than ten minutes. But we weren’t racing against them, we had something to prove to ourselves.
Afterwards I had this wonderful message from Sam:
“Another inspirational performance this morning. I was delighted to see you cross the line, amused to see you nearly fall over the finishing ropes, and proud to congratulate you. You epitomise parkrun. Nice one.”
Thanks, Sam, thanks, parkrun! Now I’m looking forward to getting the special teeshirt awarded to all who’ve done 50 parkruns. And joy of joys, they’re red!