Category Archives: parkrun

Halloween parkrun

Saturday (27th October) was the Halloween parkrun. Fancy dress was of course encouraged. This week I was running with Kerry who is a member of Fareham Crusaders, a fellow blogger and a Women’s Running magazine cover girl!

Kerry dressed as a zombie nurse and I wore my 99p from eBay pumpkin t-shirt!

Halloween parkrun

This week I was running for 2 minutes and walking for 3. I’d done a mid week run on the treadmill which had gone well so I was hopeful this would easily transfer on to the tarmac! It was near perfect running weather for me as it was about 2c! I run so much better in lower temperatures as I just get so hot whilst running.

Kerry and I chatted easily about working out, routines, running and injuries. We kept up a good pace and I noticed that slowly but surely we were moving our way up the pack. We soon caught up with my lovely friend Mike and then ended up playing cat and mouse with him. He overtook us every time we walked, and when we ran we caught him up.

At the end I was surprised to see 420 on my finish token! There were more people there than I had realised! Usually I finish somewhere in the high 300’s. I was even more surprised to see my finish time! I finished in 43:53, a mere 26 seconds away from my fastest ever parkrun! Incredible, especially considering there’s still so much walking! I’ve knocked 6 minutes off my time since the beginning of October when I started back at parkrun after my injury. Mind blown!

Did you dress up for a Halloween parkrun?

If you did, what was your costume?

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Feeling Good!

I’m almost up to date with my parkrun updates! On 20th October I ran with two friends from parkrun, Richard and Penny. They were both running the Great South Run the following day so had agreed to run with me the day before. I’m always grateful that people are actually willing to run with me.

This week was 1.5 minutes running and 3.5 minutes walking so nothing too strenuous for them as they would be running 10 miles the next day. As we ran/walked we chatted about where best to spectate the Great South, I’d told them I was thinking about spectating at mile 9. We talked about parking and the best method of getting there etc. I’d been thinking of getting the Gosport Ferry over to Portsmouth but was still unsure of what was best. The time flew by and conversation flowed really freely between the three of us.

Just as we were heading towards the finish we saw Richard’s wife Gemma. She’d already finished but had really hurt her leg. She was starting to head back to the café so as soon as we finished Richard dashed off to catch up with her. Penny and I however took a selfie. She looks like we’ve barely run a step whereas I look like a tomato!

Penny and I

I improved my time again this week, dropping it to 45:08. I’m not looking at my watch during the run at all as I just want to run and make sure nothing hurts. However I do allow myself a look as I head towards the finish and this week I made a dash for it just to get that little bit closer to my PB. In October I’ve knocked around 4 minutes off my time which I’m pleased with.

Have you run the Great South Run?

Do you prefer running with friends or going on a solo run?

 

 

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Introducing a Friend to parkrun

As you probably know if you’re a regular reader, parkrun means a lot to me. Obviously I talk about it to others as I’m there every weekend. If someone asks me what I’ve done at the weekend, the answer is always parkrun. To date I’ve volunteered 159 times and run 33. I always tell people they should try it if they’ve never been and someone finally agreed!

On Saturday, Maria, my spin partner, came to join me at parkrun! We arranged to meet at 8.40 so we could walk down and take her to the New Runners Briefing. However I was quite glad to attend it to as there was a change of route due to there being some works on the beach.

We got ourselves in to the starting pen and were soon setting off. I’d told Maria I’m a slow runner and if she wanted to stick with me we could walk whenever she needed to. We soon caught up with my lovely friend Mike and I was pleased Maria got to meet him as I’ve told her about him before. Maria didn’t need a walk break until after we hit the first turn around point! We had a quick walk and then were soon off running again.

As we continued to the next turnaround point (about a half mile earlier than the normal one) it was very warm and muggy. I struggle so bad in this weather. I’m definitely ready for colder weather again when it comes to running.

Because of the works on the beach we had to go past where the finish funnel would normally be. This definitely messed with my head despite the fact we’d turned around early. As we were running towards the new turnaround point I developed a pain in my groin every time my left leg went down. It wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t complete the run but it was definitely uncomfortable.

Maria did so well. She only walked 3 times and a fourth because I asked her too as I was struggling with the heat. I finished with a time of 45:18.

Finish

Afterwards we went to the café for breakfast and Maria got to meet the core team as we were all there. She commented on how friendly and encouraging everyone had been which made me feel proud. Even better though, she said she’d like to come again! Hurrah, I have made a parkrun convert.

Have you introduced anyone to parkrun?

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Gosport Road Runners parkrun Takeover

Just over a year ago I wrote this post – My One Year Plan – On 19th May the final piece of the plan came to fruition.

We host 4 takeover a year at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun. My favourite one has always been Gosport Road Runners takeovers and this year, as a member, I was allowed to volunteer and take part as a member.

I had volunteered to pace. This is a role I’ve never done and I know you’re probably thinking “Woah, you paced?!” but don’t worry. I was only the Run/Walk pacer. That’s probably the only one of the pacer roles I could do.

I got down to parkrun early as I was also volunteer co-ordinator. After giving the volunteers their instructions I put on my pacer vest and found my place in the pen.

I started the run with a lady who told me she’d played squash for years and it had wrecked her knees. Now she was trying to run but had never done an out door run, just running on the treadmill at the gym. She told me she couldn’t run for that long so I explained to her how the run/walk would work. After maybe 5 minutes or so she said she felt she could run a little longer than the run/walk offered so she’d run on.

I felt a bit disheartened. I was excited to be the run/walk pacer for the first time but I had no one to help! I decided to treat it as my own interval session instead. I ran a little faster than I normally would on the run sections but then walked at my normal walk pace on the walk sections.

I love this picture Chris captured of me going one way with the 30 minute pacer heading the other way.

Run Walk Pacer

As the run went on I definitely felt it. I pushed harder and by the end I was thankful to be nearing the end! So many people asked me if I was ok when they saw me walking. I guess they didn’t realise I was pacing and they’re used to seeing me running now.

As I entered the finish funnel I was definitely ready for the run to be over! Intervals on no fun on 3 miles!

Run Walk Pacer

I’d aimed to come in somewhere between 45-50 minutes as run/walk pacer. I came in with a time of 45:09. I was pleased with that.

Have you ever paced at parkrun?

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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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The Beast From The East

I’m a little behind with blogging so forgive me for having to mention the The Beast From The East! On 3rd March I was due to be Run Director at my local parkrun. There had been forecasts for snow but being on the South Coast, snow is quite a rarity. I’d prepped the kit naively thinking there wouldn’t be any snow, or if there were, there wouldn’t be very much of it.

Thursday afternoon came and so did the snow. It got so bad that work started to send people home. I left just after 2.30pm. The snow continued and in to Friday. We were given a snow day at work on Friday which meant I could make the final checks on the kit. By Friday night we were starting to think of a plan for the Saturday morning.

Myself and another RD agreed that we’d meet at 7am and walk the course to see how the promenade was looking. However, once she arrived at my house we already knew it was a no go. I couldn’t stand on my drive without sliding on the ice. When I managed to get off my drive the pavement was hard compacted ice. We made the decision to cancel.

Myself and the ED went down to our starting point at 8.45 just in case anyone hadn’t seen the announcements on our social media. We turned 4 people away which wasn’t too bad, it meant the message had got through. We did feel really bad for once fella. He’d travelled to us from Chichester after they had cancelled the night before. He told us he’d not seen the announcements on social media but this was to be his 99th run and the following week he’d travel to Manchester to run his 100th run whilst his brother ran his 200th. Now he was going to have to run his 99th in Manchester! Oops!

We were definitely justified in making the cancellation but I did feel bad for him!

Snow on the prom

The next day was like the snow never happened. It all melted, there were blue skies and sunshine! Crazy!

I went for a 4 mile run the next day. I had a rough idea of where I’d run that would be around the 4 mile mark but decided to take a couple of detours, you know, to explore? Yeah I got lost…twice! During the run I struggled too. I know some days you have bad runs and this was definitely one. It just felt hard. I managed to do it slightly quicker than my previous 4 mile run though so that’s good. I also got a little boost when I passed by two friends from parkrun who were making up for their missed run the day before.

4 mile run

Obligatory post run picture and stats! Excuse the filter, sometimes I do like to dabble with a snapchat filter!

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A Small Piece of parkrun Fame

Every week parkrun UK ask a question on their Facebook page. Sometimes it’s just “Did you join us this week?” or “Where did you parkrun today?” Sometimes they might ask something a bit more in depth e.g. “How does parkrun make you feel?” etc. Occasionally I answer these, if I feel I have something to say.

So imagine my surprise when I left work one night and had a Twitter notification from Anna telling me I’d been featured on parkrun UK’s Twitter page. A few days later I was on their Facebook page!

Facebook

Imagine my surprise when the following week I was featured again!

I absolutely can not get over how many likes on Facebook this one got! A whopping 761! So many people congratulating me and lots of people complimenting my t-shirt! It’s from OBD Clothing in case you’re wondering!

I’ve loved my little two minutes of parkrun fame!

Have you ever been featured on parkrun’s social media?

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A Birthday parkrun

Last Saturday it was my Birthday. Since my Birthday was on a Saturday I knew it had to start with a parkrun. I actually contemplated going away for my Birthday and doing some parkrun tourism, but in the end I knew there was no where else I’d rather be than at my home parkrun with my friends.

After a cup of coffee and a Belvita breakfast bar, I took the long way to parkrun to have a warm up. I actually live 0.2 miles away from my local parkrun start line so I actually have to go well out of my way to get a warm up in!

As soon as I got to parkrun people started wishing me Happy Birthday. Then Auz (the guy that was integral in getting our parkrun started) came over with a Happy Birthday helium balloon for me. I was so flattered that he and his lovely lady Rachel got me a gift. 😊

Now I was holding a balloon, lots of people wished me a Happy Birthday. It was so lovely. As the run brief began I positioned myself behind Mike who I ran with in this post. He runs at such a consistent pace I really wanted to try and keep him in my sights.

As we set off down the prom I thought to myself “If I can run to the first shelter I’ll be really pleased” as I’d never managed to run that far before, but low and behold by matching Mike’s pace I reached that first shelter and kept going. My focus now changed to the second shelter and I knew I’d be pleased if I could get that far. But guess what?! I did! My thoughts kept changing “If I can make it to the sailing club, the turn around point, if I can make it back to the sailing club, the second shelter, the finish funnel (We have to run past the finish funnel at around 1.4 miles) I made it to the bottom of the ramp before just needing to walk the ramp and catch my breath. The bottom of the ramp is 1.5 miles in to the course.

I RAN 1.5 MILES WITHOUT STOPPING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to cry, happy tears of course. However, Mike was calling me and telling me to come on. So when I reached the top of the ramp we were off again. I took a couple more walk breaks but actually ran a lot of it. I was so pleased with myself, what a Birthday treat! Oh and my balloon? The string on it snapped as I reached the second turn around point and turned in to the wind 😢 I was gutted as I’d been planning my Instagram post, me and the balloon in front of the parkrun flag. But no, the stupid wind took it for a trip to the Isle of Wight! Below is my Instagram post minus the balloon!

After parkrun

Never mind, the joy from running so much of the parkrun outweighed the sadness relating to the balloon.

Have you ever parkrunned on your Birthday? Is parkrunned even a word?

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Stokes Bay junior parkrun

junior parkrun logo

I thought I’d give you a little update on how Stokes Bay junior parkrun is progressing. We started on June 4th where we had an epic turn out of 184 children. With the inaugural event, you always expect a bigger turn out but we’ve now settled in to around 80-100 runners a week, occasionally a little more or less.

We’ve not had any major incidents other than the odd scraped knee, but have had a few challenges. These include a sailing competition, a duathlon and a 24 hour running event all sharing the same piece of prom. Everyone has been really understanding though and told their competitors to be aware of children running on the same route as they are, or where they’re moving their boats!

I’ve been Run Director twice now. It should have been three but I had to miss one due to illness. Part of junior parkrun is collecting the milestone wristbands when a child has completed the set amount of runs.

junior parkrun wristbands

Image courtesy of parkrun.com

When I was Run Director I had the opportunity to present the Half Marathon wristband to my friend and fellow junior parkrun RD’s daughter.

junior parkrun RD

It was an absolute honour to be able to present her with her Half Marathon wristband. The blue Half Marathon wristband represents 11 junior parkruns completed. The green Marathon wristband represents 21 runs and the orange Ultra Marathon wristband represents 50 runs. Parents are also sent a link to print off a certificate for their child.

I also stepped out of my comfort zone this Sunday just gone and took on a volunteer role I have never tried before. I was tail walker. I’ve put my name down to do this before at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun but chickened out as I just wasn’t sure I could keep up with the last person. However at junior parkrun the distance is a lot shorter and usually there is a lot less running involved. The role of the Tail Walker is to stay at the back of the field and be the last person to cross the finish line. Typically as it was my first turn at doing it I actually had a lot of running to do as a child dropped out, and another was in and out of a buggy, and when she was in the buggy, her mum ran! Fast!

I’ve now volunteered at Stokes Bay junior parkrun 14 times and so far we haven’t had any rain!! *touch wood!* This takes my volunteering total for parkrun up to 116!

Want to read my other Stokes Bay junior parkrun posts? The links are below:

Stokes Bay junior parkrun Test Event

Stokes Bay junior parkrun Event Number 1

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Returning to parkrun

parkrun logo

On 1st August I injured my Achilles. I’ve rested it, iced it, stretched it. It’s got a bit better. When I first did it, it hurt even without weight on it. Now it only hurts walking down stairs and it’s not exactly a pain, just uncomfortable.

On 19th August I walked a 5k and it was still a little painful. I’ve continued looking after the injury and today wanted to try out walking the parkrun course.

I walked the course with Kieran We also walked with Jade, the tail walker.. Jade is one of my fellow RDs at Stokes Bay junior parkrun. As we walked the Achilles felt absolutely fine. We kept up a good walking pace and chatted all the way round. It was really lovely, the sun was shining and I was chatting away with two friends and also improving my health at the same time. That’s the beauty of parkrun.

It was only towards the end, at the short uphill section, that I even felt my Achilles and again it wasn’t a pain, just uncomfortable. As soon as we had finished it went away and as Kieran and I walked back to the café I couldn’t even feel it.

After the run we took the standard post parkrun finish token photo. Kieran had his Birthday this week just gone and he got a new iPhone 7 plus. His post parkrun finish token photo was so much better than mine! I can not wait to get a new phone. For now though, you’re just going to have to deal with my picture.

parkrun finish token

We completed the course in 56:19, a good time for walking and still beats the first time I ever did parkrun and walked. I was surprised how hard it felt after a month off though! To be honest I thought we might have dipped over an hour but thankfully it didn’t. Now, the next step? A little try at running, possibly tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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