By Zoe Buckland
Photos by Holly
On the icy, chilly morning of Saturday 2nd February 2019, members of Herne Hill Harriers athletics club turned out in force to lead a takeover at Tooting Common parkrun, and support the brilliant volunteers who make parkrun possible each week.
And what a parkrun to remember! The previous evening we had been treated to a downpour of snow, and it was a very cold and wet morning. The course was partly flooded on the final straight that makes up the mile triangle, which required some fearless plodding through cold water, and there were icy patches to watch out for on the paths. But despite the weather, many south Londoners braved the conditions to take part! There were 564 participants, including over 20 Herne Hill Harriers and 74 Tooting parkrun first timers completing the course with great resilience and determination in those conditions!
It certainly wasn't an ideal day for PBs. However, we provided pacers for various times between 18 minutes and 32 minutes, with most of them coming in round about on target despite the unpredictable course conditions! A big thank you to all the pacers who turned out! It's always easier to push on through a tough run when you have other people to focus on and run with.
I find the same benefit in running for a club. I have people to run with and push me to get faster and fitter. I did my first Tooting Common parkrun in January 2017 in just over 29 minutes. I found it really tough, I was scared of being out of breath and my legs ached afterwards. I joined Herne Hill Harriers that April and I started training on the track, running intervals on Tuesdays, and joining the club long runs on Sundays. Everyone was so friendly and the sessions were fun and inventive, and as challenging as you want to make them. I found myself knocking minutes off my parkrun time. Two years later, I'm finishing in around 23 minutes over 5k and I feel like I have plenty of room for improvement still if I keep training with the club!
Herne Hill Harriers is a local athletics club - we train at Tooting Bec Athletics Track, close to the parkrun course, and run around the local area to Streatham or Clapham as well. We are a friendly club of children and adults of all abilities and we cover track, middle and long distance, field events, cross country, and road racing. I've made some fantastic friends at the club, and it is so nice to have people locally to arrange to run with.
So if you are looking for a fun, accessible and low cost way to keep fit, or want focused running training, consider trying out the club. Come join us on Tuesday evenings (7pm) on the track at Tooting Bec, on Thursday evenings (7:30pm) at Streatham Common by Rookery Cafe, or Sunday mornings at Tooting Bec Track for an informal long run (always followed by tea and cake!). Check out www.hernehillharriers.org for more details.
I hope to see you at a parkrun soon, hopefully on a warmer and drier day!