Parkrun: How to Start the Weekend

On Saturday I finally attended my very first Parkrun.

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So this is what Southsea looks like at 9 on a Saturday morning. Who Knew.

I’ve been wanting to try Parkrun for ages but having been living in Amsterdam the only opportunity I’ve had in the last two years to actually make it to one was when I was home for Christmas and I was obviously far too full of Miniature Heroes to even begin to contemplate anything other than my new Breaking Bad box set and more food (I think it’s important to note here that on any other previous year I’d have been full of Celebrations as they were always the superior variety of assorted chocolates. That was until they made the ludicrous decision to replace Galaxy Truffles with TWIX and I quickly boycotted them before they ruined Christmas. What even is that? Anyway…).

Now that I’m back in Blighty, top of my list of important things to do, alongside having a roast dinner and catching up with a bit of Phil and Holly’s charming British-ness on This Morning, was to finally get myself and my Nikes to my local Parkrun along the Southsea esplanade. Obviously when you reside beach-side it’s essential to forego the park and run parallel to the sea.

The course is a lovely straight out-and-back.
The 5k course – a lovely straight out-and-back.

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The event is free, you just register online so your time is recorded, you show up, a couple of perfunctory announcements are made by a volunteer (‘there are building works today so you’ll be running partly on shingle’, that sort of thing), t-shirts for veteran Park-runners are awarded, and then you’re off!

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There I am, Little Miss Unknown. I finished in 21:23 on my Garmin and ran just a tiny bit over 3.1. I have a lot of work to do before I’m in PB shape again.

After the event everybody’s times are available to view online and they keep a log of your runs and how you compare to others.

Parkrun is unifying, not just amid the individual city groups but nationally. Knowing there are thousands of other runners and volunteers all setting their alarms on Friday night to wake up at 9am on a Saturday, collectively eating bananas as they pull on their trainers, congregating en masse to pound out 3 miles and wage an inner battle with themselves to PB, or just enjoying the camaraderie and the early morning endorphins, before refueling with post-race coffees just makes me smile. Forgive the obvious and probably worn-out condemning of the digital-age, but it’s a lovely little hour of shared human interaction and light relief from surface to kick off the weekend, even if just for an hour. It’s restorative to know so many people take part.

Post run coffee and my brand new timing chip, so next week I will have an identity on the results table :D
Post run coffee and my brand new timing chip, so next week I will have an identity on the results table :D

I really like the fact that it’s a great way to practice Race Day, it gets me up to start the weekend when I may otherwise dawdle over catching up on social media etc before leaving the house, and it’s an awesome way to meet people you wouldn’t otherwise cross paths with. It’s definitely going to become a regular event for me, especially with all the races I have coming up in the autumn.

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