Abingdon Parkrun 368
20th October 2018
Patsy Smiles' report on her 50th parkrun
What a glorious sunny morning to celebrate both my 50th parkrun milestone and Richard and David Brooks’ 100th.
I first ran Abingdon parkrun in November 2014. I’d managed to complete the Couch to 5k course on my own earlier in the year with the aim of getting fit ’n’ healthy. I’d never run in my life and hated sport at school. There was always the fear that ‘I’d be last and that non-one would want me in their team’. I did enjoy gardening and walking. However the joke at our wedding was that Mr S fell in love with me at a walking club, because I was the one he could keep up with at the back! I was often the last one as I’d spotted a lovely view or a beautiful flower I wanted to photograph.
My first parkrun got me hooked on running for ever. I thought I might take over an hour and would be left behind and laughed at for being so slow. However my position was 208 out of a field of 227. Everyone was so encouraging and I felt on top of the world. Making friends over coffee and a bacon buttie at Java&Co has opened up a way of life to me that I couldn’t have dreamt of. parkrun became a normal part of life, as did running and exploring the countryside on my own. A new job meant I could only get to parkrun once a month at the most. Emma Moore encouraged me to join an Athletics Club for those weeks I couldn’t join parkrun.
Reaching my 50th parkrun Milestone has given me time to reflect on why I enjoy parkrun so much. Lots of people run parkrun to achieve a Personal Best time. I do love a well-earned new PB. However running a parkrun doesn’t always have to be about chasing a time. Sometimes it’s lovely to catch up with parkrun friends and to encourage someone else along the way.
I often find myself admiring nature and spotting wildflowers and berries on the route. Yes there is a bit of a bottle neck on the course where everyone has to slow down. However life doesn’t always have to be a race and parkrun is advertised as being a run not a race. Sometimes it’s lovely just to enjoy nature. This morning was no exception. The early morning mist surrounding the boats on the River Thames being burnt off by the sun was so atmospheric. There was also some beautiful hops and rosehips to see just at the point where we all slowed down. I also got cheery greetings from this week’s marshals as I’d decided to run a bit slower and was happy to chat.
On the long slog along the track towards Kingfisher Barn there were bright ‘n’ cheery pink and orange spindle berries to be seen. I’ve become known for my love of flowers and often share my photos and sketches. My motto in life is `What is this life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare…’
After a year out with injury I have come back to parkrun this year and achieved my fastest 5k time ever. I’d love to complete the course in under 30 minutes, however that time remains elusive… . Nevertheless I can see from my first photos compared to now that I have achieved my goal of getting fitter and keeping healthy. My posture is so different! However today wasn’t a day for a PB. I wanted to celebrate and enjoy the route in Abingdon. I deliberately took time to talk to friends and chose an outfit which celebrated running the Patsy Smiles way. Dressing as a cheerful Daffodil Flower Fairy seemed appropriate attire. I waved my Flower Fairy Wand encouraging children along the way with `Go Faster Fairy Dust’. One lass took up the challenge and out-sprinted me at the finish. When I started parkrun I didn’t care for the last stretch as I thought I `was on show’. Now I always give it my best shot with a decent fast sprint finish trying to overtake the person in front. It may have been the promise of cake I’d talked about which encouraged her to keep going and out-sprint me. As a thank you for all the friendships I’ve made within the Abingdon parkrun Community and the encouragement I’ve received I brought along cupcakes decorated with edible cake topper photos and sketches I’d made of the beautiful things to be seen on the route.
In my over excitement to share my Milestone cakes I forgot to scan my Barcode! I ran across the line clutching my Barcode ready to be scanned, only to be stopped for a photograph by this week’s Run Director Mike Shepherd. Now Mike very clearly stated the ‘No Barcode, No Result Policy’ at the beginning as usual and applauded everyone for handing in their Finish Token’s last week. I got home to find my Finish Token in my pocket. Oh No! I’ll have to run my 50th parkrun one more time and bake more cakes! In actual fact I had such a lovely time I’d be happy to run my 50th parkrun again!