Ashford parkrun has always been a lovely friendly tourist parkrun for me when I'm down in Kent away from Reading with quite a few good friendships made over the years and with the glorious weather we've been having made it that extra special. Armed Forces Day festivities setting up in the park was coped with admirably by Terry and his Team, after all on the day We all share Victoria Park equally with everyone and fellow courtesy and respect for all out and about...that said it was the craziest of warm up Laps for me as cars and Army vehicles came up the path and across the field towards me
After briefing, We all made our way across to the Start just a few minutes later than normal, all ready for the very hot tough 5k awaiting us. 3-2-1 Go...I sprinted off very fast as I always have done for the 1st km, the next km with the (harder than it looks) turnaround is always good for double thumbs up to fellow runners and friendly acknowledgement and encouragement as you head back in the opposite direction, 3rd km involves some much needed cooling tree coverage, up the hill, more great support, followed by lovely downhill, 4th km (always my toughest and slowest at all parkruns) was where I had to dig really deep.
Never one to be able to maintain a steady pace throughout, I tend to surge run (quite a bit), but with fantastic encouragement from fellow runners catching and occasionally passing me, glancing down at my Garmin I knew I was running faster than ever, With just 1 more final km and the heat really getting to me (and I'm sure everyone else) featuring the hill for the second and final time, I knew I would have to pull something big out of the hat and run my fastest ever final parkrun km by a long way.
With awesome encouragement towards the finish I somehow kept accelerating and as I crossed the Finish Line and into the funnel I heard the Time keeper say 19minutes...couldn't quite hear the rest...didn't need to, but I had finally somehow run my first ever sub 20 minute parkrun (19:57min) at 52 years old, some 8 years, 39 days and 354 parkruns of trying.
Cheers to all the fantastic encouraging Volunteers around the Course, they were well needed and appreciated by everyone I'm sure on one of the toughest hottest parkrun days ever. We all have our individual parkrun dreams, go for them, it's amazing what you can all achieve with the help and support of friendly parkrunners around you, never give up. Well done everyone on a tough hot day today, Cheers Ashford parkrun...will always remember this one
Dave, a fellow parkrunner A61185