You feel tired yet energised. Exhilarated even. As your breath and clarity return, you realise all the pain and self-doubt while you ran – hopefully replaced by gritty determination part way round – were ultimately worth it.
You're steadily getting fitter. Able to go further. And gradually faster.
There's also the mental health benefit, let's not forget that – especially as Wednesday was World Mental Health Day, when the positive impact of exercise on our state of mind came through loud and clear.
Running brings clarity. As you pound the pavements or trails, you're concentrating on your breathing, your technique and the end goal – not all the stresses and strains that occupy our overburdened brains and increasingly busy lives.
It's for all those reasons I started running and first attended parkrun. But they're not the main reasons the latter makes me feel good.
For one thing, it's the spirit and the camaraderie.
The way that everyone's welcomed by volunteers and runners alike, regardless of running prowess. How, if you're having a tough week, there's always someone who'll forsake their own PB to talk you round or just talk – so you almost forget you're running at all and, suddenly, you're home. The way that, sometimes, that's your role for the morning.
When I see 300 to 600 people lining up on the starting line (363 today, incidentally – not bad for a blustery day), waiting for the go signal and wishing each other well, that makes me feel good too.
I must say, with the wind this morning it also made me feel slightly concerned. I half expected to see those resolutely guarding the posts and ribbons in the starting funnel sailing skywards like multiple Mary Poppins. Fortunately, they were out of there just in time.
Volunteering myself makes me feel good too. So far, I've been a funnel manager a couple of times, a number checker (tiring job, that!) and now the report writer.
I find playing a part in this caring club is a great way to give something back. I just wish more people would do it – for themselves as much as everyone else. If everyone volunteered once every 10 runs the roles could all be filled every week.
So why not sign up to receive volunteer emails and give marshalling or another role a go?
It will make you feel good.