The poetry of parkrun


I swear it, this autumn day was so beautiful, I wanted to cry with joy. The early start to prepare for parkrun o’clock meant we saw the post-dawn mists rising from the Aire Valley and the leaves swirling across the empty roads, blown by the north wind.

The park itself was eerily quiet. Thousands of people were there the previous night for the annual bonfire. In an hour, hundreds would be turning up to run the 5km parkrun. For the time being it was just us, the council guys doing a pretty fantastic job of making the aftermath of the bonfire disappear, and more gorgeous light and colours than you could shake a poetry book at.

The paths around the park are lined with trees, all of them letting go of their leaves ready for winter. But today, today was stunning. It was like running on different shades of gold, from pale yellow through rose to brash orange, all glowing in the sun. If I could write poetry, I would have penned a verse immediately, but I’m not inclined to rhyme – see what I mean? Instead, I just wanted to stop and shout out ‘isn’t this the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?’. I did in my head, the shouting, not the stopping. I was doing what passes for running after all, and while I wasn’t going to be breaking any records, I wasn’t going to stop, for a start, the folk behind would fall over me like dominoes, and that’s not poetic at all, though the language may have been fruity.

It wasn’t just the colours and the crunching of the leaves under foot, it was being with so many people out in the park for a run with their mates. That’s poetry too, so many lovely folk, such a beautiful day, then coffee and chatting afterwards. I’ll be back next week. Of course.

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