My 30th parkrun and Steak!

We’re still going back in time to catch up with my runs…

On 5th May I completed my 30th parkrun. I was apprehensive after my disastrous morning run on the Wednesday before. Even though I’m learning not every run is going to be amazing, I still worry what if they all feel bad. I was also apprehensive because of the heat. It was already very warm when I left at 8.40am.

Today I was running with fellow parkrunner Janette. Janette used to regularly run parkrun but now due to work commitments has struggled to attend so she was looking for a gentle plod. And if you’re after a gentle plod, I’m your girl.

We ended up running with Ange too. Both of them were really lovely whilst we were running, continually checking if I was ok as I’m really not good in the heat. Gingers aren’t made for heat waves!

I actually managed to do quite well though. I walked twice, once at the top of the mini hill where I just needed to catch my breath and then again on the shingle section as I’m just so scared of turning an ankle on the deep parts. Shingle is not easy to manoeuvre over.

I managed to finish in 45:24 which I was pleased with. When I was walking to parkrun that morning I’d said to myself if it’s too hot just walk it as I really do struggle with heat. My average pace was 14:22 minute miles and mile 3 wasn’t my slowest for once! Meaning I actually sped up during mile 3!

30th parkrun

In the evening we went to Miller and Carter with my Mum as it was her Birthday. Miller and Carter is a steak house and I’m pretty sure it’s nationwide. I had a ribeye steak, my favourite, and a side of Lobster mac and cheese. I’m so disappointed in myself though as I didn’t take any pictures apart from one of the coffee I had at the end of the meal!

Post meal Latte

On the way home we stopped to look at the sunset, which was beautiful.

Beach sunset

Do you prefer to run in the warmer weather or cooler?

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An Early Morning Disastrous Run

On Wednesday (2nd May) I decided to try and get an early morning run in as I’d missed going to my run club night the night before. I set an alarm for 4.45am and was out of the house by 5.10am. I thought it would be light but it was actually still dark and it was a little drizzly but nothing too major, however the wind was absolutely horrendous. My original plan had been to run the parkrun route but because the beach is so open and exposed I knew the wind would be even worse there so I decided to try laps of a 1 mile route I’ve worked out near my house.

I set off and at first it seemed to be ok. However, I set off too quick and by the end of the first mile I was struggling. I was battling the wind too on one stretch of the lap and it was like running through treacle. I was moving my legs but not going anywhere. I also had to run past the bakery on the High Street who were already baking something that smelled absolutely divine and of cinnamon. It was lovely but also stomach turning at the same time? Maybe it was the ungodly hour!

By the time I started my second lap I was hating every second so decided to battle out this one lap and then quit. After having such good runs I was a bit gutted by this run but  I’m slowly learning that not all runs are good and that’s ok. Looking at the positives the miles were all under 15 minute miles again so this is good, especially since I was battling the wind.

What’s the earliest you get up to run?

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Alver Valley Run

I’m really behind with my blog posts so forgive me as we head back in time just a little to catch up.

Following my good run with Mike and Janet on Saturday at parkrun I was keen to keep the momentum going. I’ve always heard good things about Alver Valley Country Park which is right on my doorstep. Despite this I’ve never been! I’ve heard it’s good for running so I decided to go there on the Sunday (29th April).

Before we left my husband plotted us a 5K route on a path that seemed to go through the centre of the park. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting when we got there. I thought it’d be a nice off road trail route. Instead we’d got a concrete path that was pretty much a road!

We still had a good run though. My husband and I struggle to run together as his pace is faster than mine but I can run for longer than him. However we stuck together and it actually meant he had a good run too as he ran the 5K without stopping, well other than our picture stops, like this one.

Blossom Tree

We ran across Apple Dumpling Bridge which I’ve heard of a few times. It’s infamous for flooding but luckily for us it was fine to cross. We also ran past a pond/lake which was pretty and seemed to be popular with birds. There was a hide too so you could sit and watch them.

All 3 miles were under 15 minute miles so I’m pleased with that. It was nice to explore somewhere new to run but I’m going to be honest, it didn’t quite meet my expectations.

Where do you like to run? Trails/Road/Beach?

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Finally A Good Run!

Well as the title says, I’ve finally had a good run! On Friday night I put a call out on Facebook asking for someone to complete parkrun with me. My lovely friend Mike responded saying it was his 100th parkrun if I wanted to run with him. Naturally I said yes! Running with Mike has really worked for me in the past. He has a slow yet steady pace which has helped me achieve running for a mile without stopping, then it was a mile and a half, and then two miles. I’m truly grateful to him.

Mike’s wife Marie ran behind us the whole way and captured the occasion on camera.

Lining up ready to start

We were also joined by Janet who is part of the wonderful volunteering duo Cliff and Janet.

We set off at a comfortable 15 minute mile pace. We were chatting, saying well done to friends and before I knew it mile 1 clicked up on my watch. I felt comfortable both in my legs and with my breathing and I hadn’t felt the need to walk.

Mile 1

We were chatted about Mike visiting a North London parkrun, about Janet’s half marathon last week in Southampton and my return to Scotland in September. The time just passed by so easily and we reached the turn around point (just over 2 miles) without me even really thinking about it. I didn’t hurt and I didn’t have those little voices in my head.

Turn around point

We were soon at the end and Mike suggested a sprint finish. Janet told me it was too early for a sprint so we let Mike go off.

Mike finishing

I love how happy everyone is for him. Note Cliff on the right with his arm in the air (Janet’s husband).

Janet and I finished in a time of 46.12. Not my fastest but I was so so pleased as I’d managed to run it all and more importantly it had been comfortable.

End of the run

I needed this run. I needed a run to finally feel manageable and comfortable. I was beginning to think I’d never have a run like it again. I’m relieved and pleased…and eager to get out there again!

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Not A Lot of Running

I’m really struggling with my running at the minute. I seemed to come on in leaps and bounds and now it just feels really difficult all of the time and with that my motivation is waning.

Since my last post I’ve run 3 times. 3 times in 13 days. Not good. One of those runs was only because I realised it’s 6 weeks until my first 5 mile race and I’ve yet to run 5 miles! I need a good kick up the butt. I need to work on my nutrition too as this will make running a bit easier too.

So, since the 9th April when I ran my new 5k PB I’ve run one parkrun, it was horrendous. I set off too quick which meant after mile 1 I felt dire, it hurt and I couldn’t even keep up with the run 1 minute/walk 1 minute pacer. This didn’t help my  motivation.

I then ran at club. I did the three mile slow and steady run. I tried to learn from my mistake at parkrun and stuck to the back with a lady I know runs around 15 minute miles. This then felt too slow, it was painful. I can’t win!

I then ran yesterday. I said I would as I thought I’d feel pumped. As it happens I had a stomach like a washing machine all day. Nothing  came of it though so I forced myself out for two miles. It was crap, it hurt and I got lost. Google maps saved the day though.

I’ve also had to miss spin classes due to going to Wales and work commitments.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. In none running related news I went to Wales. After only recently discovering Gavin & Stacey, the TV show, we went to Barry Island and went to some of the locations from the show.

I’ve also been out for dinner with the legend that is Anna and her friend Mike to Casa Brasil. Anna was still on a high from running a PB at Brighton which I loved hearing about. I’ve also been to Sprinkles with my spin partner/colleague Maria after a night out turned disastrous. That brings us up to last night.

Today I didn’t have my day off as usual but I did manage to get to a spin class and bashed out a new PB on distance of 14.4 miles. Before my PB was 13.3 miles so that’s made me feel good. The class was so quiet too, only 6 of us. I guess the New Year resolutions are well out of the window now.

Tomorrow we’re going out for dinner for a friend’s Birthday which is great but it means I miss another run at club *sigh* I am, however, off work on Thursday morning so will try and squeeze in a run in the morning.

What do you do when your motivation gets low?

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What I’ve Done This Past Week

It feels like way more than a week since I did my catch up post! But I already feel like it’s time for another.

Last week after parkrun I bought the kit home as I was to be the RD the following week.

On Easter Sunday I went to spin class with Maria, my spin partner in crime, and work colleague. We go to Virtual spin and it was my favourite one, RPM 75. There’s one section of it that I absolutely love. So much so that I’ve downloaded the track that goes with that section.

As this week was Easter I got another day off in the week as my usual day off is a Monday but obviously it was the Bank Holiday so I was given a Wednesday as my day off. This was great as it meant I could prep the kit for parkrun mid week and get it all done in the day rather than charging it over 3 or 4 evenings. However I had to go in to work for a meeting at 6pm and I always feel like I’m clock watching when that’s the case.

I also wanted to get a run in on Wednesday but it threw it down. It looked like it was stopping so I quickly went and put on my running kit only to come back downstairs and find it had started throwing it down again so I, begrudgingly, did a run on the treadmill. I did a 2 mile run and it was just awful. Running on a treadmill is now so hard! Before it was my comfort blanket. Now I literally hate it. I’m definitely converted to an outdoor runner. Just not in heavy rain!

Thursday was spin class again. Unfortunately the bike I used seemed to have a faulty speedometer and it only recorded 10 miles. I always do around 13! Frustrating but nothing I can really do.

On Saturday I was RD at parkrun. I had all the kit prepared and got there nice and early to set up. I was about to announce the new runners briefing and asked someone to turn the PA system on. They tried but it wasn’t working. It’d switch on for a second then fade out. We’ve had a couple of problems with the PA system and it looked like today was going to be another problem. Well, good job I’m loud! I shouted that the new runners brief was starting and when that was over I shouted the whole run brief to 350 people and was heard! Yep, I’m that loud. Thankfully the rest of the run and the uploading of the results went off without a hitch.

Giving the run brief

Hollering the Run Brief

Sunday I was tail walker at junior parkrun. As I’ve completely lost my mojo I thought this would be a way to get me out and running. As it happens I ended up walking the whole thing! It was actually really nice though as I walked with a fellow RD’s daughter who I presented with her half marathon wristband in this post. She was just so sweet chatting away. We talked about her pets, her running, her dad’s running, her school friend, foxes honestly the list goes on.

Sunday afternoon I was back at spin class and somehow I managed to get on the same faulty bike again! What a nightmare. It recorded only 8 miles this time despite my watch telling me I’d actually burnt more calories than usual. I felt like I’d worked really hard too so it’s a shame I don’t know how far I really went. A lot of the time the speedometer was telling me I was doing 1mph when I obviously wasn’t so I let the receptionist know that the bike is faulty.

That brings us to Monday. I finally got outside and went for a run. The weather was so rainy but I waited it out and managed to get out when it was just spitting/drizzling. I ran part of the parkrun course and then ran from there to Hillhead beach. It was really quiet out because of the weather. Although I did see some people and it’s funny what people say. I passed a lady for the second time and she said “Ooo you’ve gone far” I didn’t really know what to say so I just did an awkward laugh. I then passed two elderly gentlemen and one said “You go for it girl” ha I said thanks and jogged on. Bless them, they did make me smile though. Somehow I managed to get a new 5K PB! Amazing what being well rested and well hydrated can do! I’m now at 42:13. Ever closer to 40 minutes! Now I just need to try and replicate it at parkrun!

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2018 Running Goals – An Update Part 1

2018 Running Goals

As we’re now a quarter of the way through 2018 (wait what?! How did that happen?!) I thought it was time to update my running goals. I’m going to be honest. I’ve forgotten what some of them are so this will be interesting!

My current parkrun PB is 43:27, which I set in February. I’ve lost my running mojo a bit since then and I’m not really sure why! I think the holiday to Scotland and not running that week bar the parkrun knocked me off schedule a bit and I’ve just found it hard to get back on track. I’m hoping a 40 minute 5K is still something that is achievable in 2018.

I’m now an outside runner. I prefer running outside. I never thought I’d see the day to be honest. I always thought running outside was so much harder than running on the treadmill. Now I’m completely the other way. I hate running on a treadmill and have to make it bearable by watching YouTube videos. The last few weeks it feels like all it’s done is rain so I have done a couple of runs on the treadmill. This is definitely contributing to my lack of mojo but I’m just not a rain runner!

OK so obviously I can’t complete this goal until October but I can definitely tell you how my training is going. If I had have done this update at the beginning of March I’d have said my training is going really well. I was up to 4 miles and running well and without injury. However, I haven’t done a run longer than a parkrun since 4th March. I really need to get on this and find my mojo or else the Great South Run is going to be a very painful 10 miles.

I haven’t completed any other races yet in 2018 but I certainly have a busy race calendar coming up. If you want to read my post about what races I’m taking part in, it can be found HERE I’ve also added one more race since that post which is the Southampton Airport Runway Run.

So all in all how are my running goals going? Well so so. I just hope I can find my mojo again and pronto!

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A Bit of a Catch Up!

Since getting back from Scotland in mid-March I’ve not blogged much. I thought I’d do a bit of a catch up instead of lots of posts that I feel behind with! This way I can get caught up in on fell swoop and I’ll be back on track.

Running/parkrun

Since getting back from Scotland I’ve both lost and found my running mojo. When we were in Scotland I only ran once at Aviemore parkrun. We did lots of walking though which I thought would make up for it. My first parkrun back was horrendous. I put it down to all the good eating in Scotland and potentially being a bit dehydrated from the long car journey the day before. My friend Lorna, who is funnily enough Scottish, came and ran with me. I met Lorna at junior parkrun but this is the first time we’ve managed to do a full parkrun together. parkrun were running a competition to win a mattress for anyone that ran in their pyjamas, so in our pyjamas we ran! I ran all the way bar the shingle section but my time was absolutely terrible. I wore my “Let it Snow” pyjamas which was a bit tongue in cheek as we were due to get the Beast from the East 2.0 that afternoon…and we did!

Lorna and I at parkrun

There were talks of maybe having to cancel junior parkrun the next day. However, unlike the adult parkrun, the junior parkrun has a field beside it and we were able to offer a 2km run on the field. It was covered in snow but was safe for a run as it wasn’t becoming compact ice like the prom was. We only had 20 children turn up but they had so much fun. They were making snow angels and throwing snow balls whilst completing the course. Hopefully they made some memories that day that’ll last a long time.

snowy junior parkrun

Finish funnel set up in the snow

The following Saturday I ran/walked parkrun with the run 1 minute/walk 1 minute pacer Sam. He was brilliant at spurring me on and when I started to slow he asked me what I was feeling. When I told him he told me I was dehydrated and he was probably right. I must learn to drink more.

I went to see the physio again. I told him I get the niggly Achilles that’s plagued me since last September. He told me it’s because I have high arches on my feet and recommended I buy a pedi roller to roll out my feet after running. He also suggested getting some heel lifts for my running shoes. Afterwards he gave me a massage to help the Achilles and oh my word it was so nice! I honestly could have fallen asleep laid on the table. Afterwards he said not to see him again unless I am injured which was good.

After my physio session I went to the printing shop where my running club use as their stockist for the t-shirts and hoodies etc. that they offer. I ordered my t-shirt that you get for free upon joining. Since I joined way back in October or November they had no record of my ticket but luckily I was able to get the membership  secretary to email them and confirm I was indeed entitled to the t-shirt.

On Good Friday, as I was off work I made a conscious effort to ensure I was well hydrated ready for parkrun on Saturday. My plan was to join Sam again and run/walk as I hadn’t run since the Saturday before (Uh oh!) but when I got there my friend Claire said she wanted to run with me. I explained my plan of run/walking and she firmly told me we’d be running it and all I had to do was set the pace. Not going to lie I felt a bit worried as I hadn’t run all week again but we set off and actually I felt good. I ran the whole of it bar the ramp as the wind was making it hard to catch my breathe. Now, usually when I run the whole of it I’m a good couple of minutes slower than my PB but we finished within a minute of my PB! I couldn’t believe it. I felt really pleased and it’s actually made me feel like I want to run more whereas before I’d been struggling to find the motivation.

Claire and I in the cafe after parkrun

Claire and I in the cafe after parkrun

Spin Classes/Strength and Conditioning

My attendance at spin class has been somewhat erratic but since getting back from Scotland I’ve been on every Thursday and Sunday since so that’d good and I’m wondering if that’s helped my running on the Saturday after Good Friday. I got within 0.2 miles of my PB distance on Thursday. If I’d have known I was that close I’d have pedalled like mad to try and make it up!

I’ve also been attending a Strength and Conditioning class with my physio. It’s on Monday nights and costs £5. This has proven to be really good value as, so far, there’s only ever been 4 of us in the class. I’ve been going Paul, the ED of junior parkrun and my good friend Maggie’s husband. I went in to that first class a bit clueless I have to admit.  I thought it might be yoga based, whereas Paul suggested it might be circuits. Paul was right! I didn’t expect to really sweat in the class but my word I was pouring with it. My legs ached as soon as we left the class but it only got worse and it was Friday before I could walk upstairs without really feeling it! After the 2nd class my legs weren’t too bad at all which was a relief. However, my physio is now going for an operation so won’t be holding the class for the next 3 weeks. I didn’t want to undo all my hard work so after last weeks class I wrote down all the exercises we’d done whilst it was fresh in my mind and then did my own version of the class last night. I hope the strength and conditioning pays off and helps with my running.

Bits and Bobs

And just to finish off. I thought I’d just include some pretty pictures I’ve taken over the last couple of weeks.

A sure sign of Spring is daffodils. On the sea front is a large grassy area where all these daffodils have popped up.

Daffodils

Shortly after taking the picture of the daffodils the sun began to set so I snapped a picture of that too.

Sunset

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My Holiday to Scotland

Last week I spent the week in Scotland. We stayed on the South side of Loch Ness, or the quiet side as some people call it.

We stayed in a lodge/log cabin in a tiny village called Whitebridge. The lodge was spacious and decorated beautifully. We had a log burner and hot tub. The location was really remote and there was no mobile signal!

living room bedroom

Our lodge had a view of a mountain called Bienn Sgurrach. When we arrived at the lodge the staff provided us with walks around the area and a route for hiking up Bienn Sgurrach.

We arrived on a Friday afternoon and went for tea at The Whitebridge Hotel which was a 5 minute walk from the lodge. The food there was delicious and just what we needed after a long car journey. I had the special of Chicken Curry and Rice whilst my Husband ordered Chilli Con Carne from the menu.

On the Saturday morning we went to Aviemore parkrun which I blogged about HERE.

On the Sunday we went for a drive over to Ballater which is a small village in Royal Deeside. We’ve visited Ballater many times before but wanted to see how the village is doing after struggles with severe flooding and fires. I took this photo of a snowy banked River Dee.

River Dee at Ballater

Not far from where we were staying was Loch Tarff and on the bank of  Loch Tarff was a fallen tree. It had pulled some of the land up with it and revealed it’d roots hidden underneath. I was just amazed by this. Sometimes nature shows itself in strange ways. The roots underneath reminded me of a spiders web

Fallen Tree at Loch Tarff

The following day we returned to Aviemore with the sole purpose of visiting Roo’s Leap restaurant. The restaurant has a somewhat Australian theme and the food is always scrummy. It’s in Aviemore train station so if you choose correctly, you can have a table overlooking the platform there and if you’re lucky, the steam train will pass through.

To start, we shared the Awesome Onion Blossom which is very similiar to Outback’s Bloomin’ Onion (If you know, you know). This was followed by the Monster Bob Burger. The description of this burger is:

“Specifically designed to satisfy the needs of a very, very, very hungry person. This is our double meat, double cheddar topped with mushrooms, onions, bacon and chilli”

It was incredible.

Onion Blossom

Monster Bob Burger

From there we went to Loch Morlich which is just outside Aviemore. It is so pretty there. I’ve been at various times of the year and it never fails to amaze me.

Loch Morlich

I’ve track of what days we did what now so I’ll just tell you where else we went. We visited Inverness centre. I have to say I’m a sucker for a gift shop and I think we went in every single gift shop in Inverness and along the side of Loch Ness! Whilst in Inverness we went for a walk alongside the River Ness near Bught Park.

We also hiked up Bienn Sgurrach. We followed the map the lodge owners had given us.

Bienn Sgurrach Mountain

We climbed up a steep path, in to a field and continued upwards. It was very muddy in places and also waterlogged in places too. We had to go through a field of sheep who didn’t seem too impressed with us! We’d read the views from the top were magnificent but to be honest there wasn’t much to see! So we had a drink and came back down a bit disappointed.

We also walked to Fort Augustus, which is a small village at the end of Loch Ness. As we were quite high we got some good views over Loch Ness.

Loch Ness

On our last day we discovered a great little tea rooms close to the lodge. So annoyed we discovered it on the last day as I’d have loved to have gone back to try some other offerings from their menu. All the food was home made and absolutely delicious. The staff were also really friendly and were keen to hear about where we’d been so far and where we planned on going next time we stop in September. After leaving we saw a deer sat down. I wanted to snap a picture but thought I’d spook it as I got closer. Turns out it wasn’t spooked at all and just sat chilling out, until she walked right by us I hardly dared breathe!

Deer

Deer Close Up

I absolutely loved Scotland. It really does hold a special place in my heart. I’m really looking forward to going back in September and having another crack of the whip at the River Ness 10K. If you want to read about my disastrous trip there last time, then be sure to read this blog post.

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Aviemore parkrun

I spent last week in Scotland! There’s a holiday update coming soon but let me tell you about what we did on our first day there. We went to Aviemore parkrun.

I adore Scotland, the beautiful scenery and miles of lush countryside just waiting to be explored. It’s perfect. I particularly like the Cairngorms National park and have visited many times so when I heard Aviemore had it’s own parkrun I knew I wanted to go next time we were there. I then heard it only gets around 50 people. Then I definitely wanted to go! My local parkrun gets between 350-450 runners. As a slower runner I’m always near the end so the prospect of a top 50 finish was very alluring!

Aviemore was only an hour from where we were staying so after a quick check of their Facebook page to make sure they were on, as there was lots of snow in Scotland, we set off with my obligatory Belvita and cup of coffee.

parkrun selfie

Pre parkrun picture

When we arrived I introduced myself to Pete the Run Director and told him where we’d come from. He gave us a warm welcome but did seem slightly bemused that we would travel so far! He gave the Run Brief, then we walked to the start. It had said on the course page that it was a short walk to the start but I didn’t expect to have to go through a tunnel! How cool is that?!

tunnel to the start

The tunnel to the start

Anyway we set off and I soon found myself running beside the tail walker. She introduced herself as Claire and we started chatting. She was such a lovely lady and we chatted about everything from pets to races we had coming up. The run starts by heading through a woodland area and soon opens up. The whole run is on a firm woodland track. I imagine it can get a little boggy but the ground was very frozen when we were there. There were a couple of patches that were sheet ice that I chose to walk over. I didn’t want to break my leg on holiday!

The course is described as an undulating out and back course. However because I was chatting away to Claire I didn’t notice the hills too much which surprised me as all my running is on pancake flat roads! We reached the turn around cone and started to retrace our steps and then there was the moment! The moment that sets this parkrun apart from any other is when you turn and see the Cairngorm Mountain. It’s beautiful. It’s absolutely breathtaking and seeing it covered in snow gave it an almost magical feeling. That moment was incredible and rendered me speechless…for about 30 seconds. I like to talk…a lot! I just wish I’d thought on and snapped a picture!

There were some nice downhill sections on the way back which were great but then Claire told me we were at the last kilometre and it was all uphill. When we got to the start of the hill I, somewhat foolishly thought, “It doesn’t look that big” but it was. It was big and long! Claire gave me a good tip of taking smaller steps and that helped. Usually I try to lengthen my stride on the mini mountain of my local parkrun.

As we reached the end I was given an almighty cheer by the volunteers which was awesome! The volunteers were all so lovely. I was given my finish token and was just about to get it scanned when I thought to check my position number and was super surprised to see I finished in position 28!! I told the barcode scanner I just needed to take a picture of my token which amused her! Claire then explained to her about our large numbers at my home parkrun and it soon made sense.

finish token

After taking a picture I thanked Claire and thanked the other volunteers. We then went to the designated café which was upstairs above a lovely homeware shop. I ordered the smashed avocado and eggs on toast which had been recommended in the run brief and it was absolutely delicious!

When the results came through I was pleased to see I was only 2 minutes outside of my PB despite it being a hilly course!

We both really enjoyed Aviemore parkrun and would definitely go back. It reminded me of the much more local Moors Valley parkrun so I feel the need to revisit there again soon.

What’s the furthest you’ve ever travelled for a parkrun?

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