Just another parkrun Saturday

Shang-Chen, one of my youngest parkrun friends, scans my barcode
Shang-Chen, one of my youngest parkrun friends, scans my barcode. Thanks to his mum for the photo.

parkrun may be just a weekly 5km run, but without it, I would never have known how to write Toyko in Japanese, learned that there are no gooseberries in Brazil, understood the hierarchy that makes Prof Brian Cox a mere particle physicist,  or appreciated that I have a unique talent for recognising prime numbers.

Forget après ski, Saturday morning après parkrun is where it’s at if you want surreal conversation in cosmopolitan company. Maybe it’s the endorphins from tearing around Leeds’ Woodhouse Moor with 400 people, just the sheer joy of doing it, or perhaps it’s the eclectic mix of friends from all ages, backgrounds and countries of origin. I never cease to be amazed at the breadth of conversation and depth of discussion we have after our parkrun. On occasions we have been known to talk utter bollocks too

My new parkrun friend Maika is in the city to study sports nutrition as a mature student. I’ve written about her before, she’s in the process of gaining her Yorkshire passport, after eating mucky fat, drinking Yorkshire Tea, telling the absent-minded cafe-goers to ‘put t’wood in t’oil’ (close the door) and venture out to Ilkley Moor without a hat. In exchange she has given me insight into the baffling world of Japanese writing which, I now know, are based on the Chinese characters that are themselves stylised pictures, so Tokyo is ‘east city’. East of where, you may ask – definitely east of Leeds, but in this instance, it’s east of the former capital, Kyoto. Who knew? Well, I do now.

And did you know there are no gooseberries in Brazil? My Sao Paulo parkrun friend Rodrigo was intrigued when I described the sour, prickly fruit as we enjoyed a post-run bacon buttie. They don’t have rhubarb either. I feel an export opportunity coming on, just in time for the Olympics. Gooseberry fool and rhubarb and custard would go down very well over there. Maybe I could look at starting up a parkrun while I’m over there, the post run coffee would be to die for!

Then there’s my parkrun friend Stuart, a physicist and astronomer, he’s even written a book about the cosmos, that’s how clever he is. Evidently there’s a hierarchy of physicists, with theoretical physicists at the top of the pile (think Sheldon in the Big Bang Theory), Prof Brian Cox is further down the line, as he is a mere particle physicist and not an astronomer. Astronomers are at the absolute top, mainly because they have to be on the roof with their telescopes.

So when we were sorting out the tokens and I picked out 277 and 331, I pointed out they were prime numbers. Rodrigo and Stuart nearly fell off their seats clutching their coffees. ‘How did you know that?’, they asked. ‘I just do,’ I said, and then thought about it for a while. ‘I guess it’s a gift.’ Though a gift with no real use or benefit, except to surprise mathematicians and astronomers.

I love my parkrun. I love my après parkrun. I run with so many lovely and interesting people, then I drink coffee with them, learn from them, laugh with them, sometimes cry with them and occasionally talk a load of absolute tosh. Just another parkrun Saturday!

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