I don’t know about you, but waking up this morning to the sound of the howling wind and staccato rattle of the rain against the bedroom window didn’t immediately fill my heart with joy. But then, as I slowly came round, the realisation that it was Saturday morning - parkrun morning – certainly helped lift my spirits…….…and then the rain hit the window again.
As any Portrush regular will know, there’s two pieces of vital information you want on a Saturday: what’s the tide doing (low tide at 10:32 today - hurray) and what’s the wind doing (well that was already obvious but for the statisticians amongst us, 25mph SE gusting to 40 odd - boo). This meant good sand but a tough run out to the flag today.
Slowly we gathered, the volunteers assembled and duties were allocated. As always mentions in dispatches for you all: Davy Blair, Clare Carruthers, Nicola Cooke, Anne Jack, Jonno Johnson, William McKnight, Martin Smith, Mervyn Thompson, Claire Vaux, Stuart Vaux, Andrew Wilson and Jonathan Workman. Ladies and Gentleman we salute you. parkrun can’t take place without our volunteers, so please don’t be shy, introduce yourself and take a turn.
Mervyn was without his two trusty lieutenants this morning who were both confined to barracks with the dreaded lergy and so a number of conscripts were drafted in to help with the refreshments. Thank you to all and get well soon Faye and Pam (preferably by next week please as Mervyn’s on holiday).
As we huddled in the Watersports Centre our resolve to step outside to await the run brief was undermined when George announced that he had just been out for a warm up and had come back colder than when he started. But the siren called and out we trooped.
The run brief was remarkable for the fact that we had no celebrations and no declared visitors (was I the only one quietly giving thanks that all relatives had now returned home after the Christmas break?). I say “declared” as a closer look at today’s results would seem to indicate we did indeed have three visitors. Two, all the way from Limavady and one from over the water; Yorkshire I would guess: a belated welcome to all three of you. We also had five first timers, although only a couple were brave enough to raise a hand. Welcome Ciaran, Catherine, Jacqui, Niamh, and Dean: we hope you enjoyed your first parkrun experience and look forward to seeing you again.
At the end of his brief, Mervyn commented that we were a muted bunch this morning; but then Ruby and Roxy (accompanied by Stuart) appeared to have been banished to the beach already.
We made our way to the start line and suddenly, now out of the shelter of the Centre, the true extent of the South Easterly became clear and knowing looks were exchanged. The usual canine chorus started, articulating what we all thought: “I’m ready, let’s go”. The shout went up and we were off; charging towards the estuary and wet feet all round.
We battled with the wind and rain, we battled with our own determination to push harder and yes, we battled each other (although management has asked me to point out that parkrun is a timed run and not a race
The return leg was certainly easier than the way out and our tail walker, Clare, was able to get home in a respectable 50minutes much to the gratitude of our start line volunteers.
Given the conditions today, special mention should be made to the three runners achieving PBs: Adam McDaid, Stanley Simpson and Catherine Scullion.
Back in the welcoming warmth of the Watersports Centre it was good to see so many rising to the Eco challenge and bringing your own mugs for tea and coffee, each one helping to aggregate those marginal gains and so save our planet just that tiny bit more.
So next week, DFYB and DFYC (don’t forget your cup).
Hope you enjoyed your start to the weekend, I know I enjoyed mine.