When I sat in my car at 6:00am I hadn't got a clue where I was parkrunning this morning as for the last two and a half years, like the Rolling Stones I have been on permanent tour!
It is not that I am not searching for the perfect parkrun - I am sure if I asked runners at each venue I have visited they would say their parkrun is perfect! Hopefully my constant traveling isn't that I am unwelcome at my home parkun – that is if they even remember me. But collecting different parkrun events has become a hobby – after two years on the road and over 100 different venues maybe it is now an obsession!
Once I had a spreadsheet of must visit venues – postcodes and average Google maps travelling time – mainly based on their region but as I have now collected all the East Midlands and West Midlands my list has fallen away a little and my tourism is somewhat haphazard!
As I sat in my car I pulled up the amazing parkrun tourist tool website to locate my 20 nearest events not yet done – number 15 – Peterborough and as luck would have it a vacancy on the roster for a report writer...
Postcode into Google Maps, Tony Blackburn's Sound of the Sixties playing on the radio and I was off – leaving the rest of my usual touring party at home – who organises things for parkrunday morning?
I arrived early! In fact before the £1 parking for parkrun deal started. I risked it as the lure of facilities called (for other tourists reading this report – open & clean what more could a tourist need?) Thankful the code still worked at 10:40 when I left!
Then as with any tourism the challenge is find the start. Checking the website it said by the café. It didn't lie as there was one of the set up team sticking in the New Runners Briefing sign and parkrun flag! Soon I found the Ian DAVIES this week's RD and Nona BOWKIS the Volunteers Coordinator and managed to grab the vacant Report Writers role.
A sensible runner having all the extra time would run through a mobilisation drill, carry out a gentle warm up, add in some dynamic stretches and be primed and ready to run at 9am. The only muscles I warmed up were in my jaw as I chatted to volunteers and fellow parkrunners – Peterborough parkrun people are just so friendly.
Soon enough 8:50 came round and time to listen to Joanna SELLS' first timers briefing. As I was totally clueless about the course, as I hadn't looked at that part of the website, the breifing is very helpful. But even more helpful for:- Alex SNITCH, Anne COLES, Carey SMITH, Caroline MCSORLEY, Clare WHITE, Cordelia KEBER, Emma SWAIN, Hazel MARRANER, Jacob MEHMED, Jimmy ADAMS, Josh NEWTON, Kathryn ROWE, Lexie SADDINGTON, Louise PRICE, Lucy MARRANER, Nicola FRANCIS, Olivia WALKER, Rebecca MARTIN, Samantha SEVERN & Shannon MANNING as they used their barcodes for the first time. So a huge WELCOME to them for join the parkrun family today.
The main run briefing is important to listen out for any safety information the RD needs us to hear, a great opportunity on mass to thank the volunteers & to hear any runners who reach their milestones, official ones and unofficial. Today 7 runners reached double figures on their parkrun count, but only Robert Bates gets a white shirt icon attached onto his results page (and soon hopefully his parents can order a t-shirt) as he is a Junior runner – sorry Danielle HUNTER, Laura CATTRALL, Louise MORGAN, Reachel KENNY, Samantha OWEN & Susan MASHFORD you are no longer juniors – but well done getting to 10. Four runners hit the 50 milestone... but only one mentioned it to the RD so got to wear a bright pink sash. Don't be shy when you hit a milestone speak up (or friends speak to the RD for you ) 50 and 100 are a lot of commitment on a Saturday. So well done to Asha N PATEL, Ian SWIFT, Karl BOLDERSON, Kayleigh GARZIA & Sue DRAKE for getting to Red – later this week your link might go live to order your shirt so keep checking so you can wear it with pride. I hit an unofficial milestone my 200th run – hence the double sash effect as I ran. A huge thank you to everyone on course that congratulated me. But to be honest the congratulations are to the parkrun organisers and volunteers each week for these wonderful events it has totally changed my life from couch potato to marathon runners!
After a short walk down to the start soon the cacophony of GPS watch bleeps signalled the start of the run on this glorious summer day. After doing the first loop and passing the 1km marker I was already drenched in sweat and panting. Over the next two kilometres I decided I may need to revaluate my post parkrun café. As the leaders looped back past on the right almost effortlessly I realised that I might just need to stick to a skinny latte and hold off on the cake or full English breakfast.
The course was beautiful in the summer sun. I love a water feature and the lakes at Ferry Meadows Country Park provided a picturesque back drop for the run, slightly numbing the pain of the effort I was putting in as I huffed and puffed my way around the course.
As I was making my way around the square lollipop park of the course, first time parkrunner? - Jimmy ADAMS (SM30-34) was racing home in 17:35. As I had to walk a slight incline, Lauren ROSE (SW30-34) finished in 35th place over all in 21:11 to be first lady. As I started the long last 1km run to the finish Morag O'BRIEN (VW25:52) finished in 25:52 but with an age grading percentage of 80.80 %. Superb running!
Returning to Ham Bridge I decided to take a sneaky walking break – parkrun is for runners, joggers and walkers – up the slope. Into the bridge I suddenly felt all wobbly I was fearful that maybe I was suffering heat stroke – but then I twigged that the bridge was bouncy – so when I reach the top and started running again I did with a giggle – and a worry that I might catapult another runner off (thankfully that didn't happen!)
A few times around the course I took a walk break panting noisily in the summer sun and on each occasion a fellow runner or two slowed to check I was okay. This spirit of looking after each other on the run is what I have found at each and every parkrun I have visited – no wonder I have wanted to run each week. Thank you all.
During my walk break I pondered how anyone could run a PB in the searing heat. But 64 runners did manage it today including S CLIFFORD (VW45-49) who running her 130th parkrun (127 at Peterborough) ran a PB her 9th PB this year – great running and I imagine hard training.
My keenness to grab the report writer slot is not to gain a volunteer credit – (It is another role you can run and get a volunteer credit) – I gained my Aubergine a while back but to offer proper thanks to the band of Hi Viz heroes that make the run possible. As I run I do try and thank every marshal I pass but just as today I am often barely able to run and breathe. So a huge THANK YOU to :- Arron FRIEND • Barry LANE • Bianca HOUSTON • Billy SLAVEN • Brian CAINE • Claire SIBLEY • Craig SELLS • David PARKES • Dominic MOSZKAL • Frazer BURLINSON • Geoff HOWES • Henry MOORE • Ian COOPER • Ian DAVIES • James SELLS • Jill WOTTON • Joanna SELLS • Julie SMITH • Katy WILD • Lee JONES • Lorna YOUNG • Marc HORNER • Mark SHORE • Melanie FERMOR • Nick WELFORD • Nigel SUNMAN • Nona BOWKIS • Oliver STOCKELL • Paul STOCKELL • Pauline CAVANAGH • Peggy STARR • Penny ROWE • Petra ELLEN • Roy YOUNG • Simon PARKES • Sophie WATSON • Steve ELLEN • Toby STOCKELL • Tracy MOORE • Trudi MAPLES • Vicki REED who made this event possible. As with parkruns around the world if you fancy giving scanning a go, fancy being the time keeper, marshalling and encouraging others or are happy to help out in any role please look on the roster and e-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org Don't worry if you are unsure what to do the Run Director and Volunteer coordinator will happily show you what to do.
After the run I headed over to the café and what a treat – superb cakes and a great breakfast selection – and 10% off with your barcode. However the huffing and puffing around today was still in my mind, so I decided it was best to forgo the Full English and a cake to follow and went for a latte and toast (well best not to make too many radical changes all at once.) And sat down to a lovely chat with some more cheerful Peterborough parkrunners.
I had a superb time visiting your parkrun today. Thank you for being so friendly and welcoming. Happy parkrunning.