Time Flies When You Are Having Fun!

Conkers parkrun Non-run run report - 17th October 2020

I can't believe it's 6 months ago already when I was sitting down to write the report for  parkrunnon-parkrun number 5.  They say that "time flies when you're having fun," but I'm pretty confident that there's not many people who would agree with this sentiment in relation to what 2020 has thrown at us so far!  2020 is undoubtedly proving to be one of the strangest and most challenging years that many of us will ever have experienced, and it's times like these when we can really appreciate what is truly important in life.....for me that's family & friends, being fit & healthy and spending time outdoors...in particular with our dogs, whether that's going on walks or taking part in sports like agility (completing obstacle courses) or canicross (running with dogs).

So what was happening back on 18th April when I last sat down to write the non-parkrun run report?  We were all in lockdown, no doubt missing our weekly parkrun fix, heading outside at 8pm every Thursday to "clap for carers"...and a certain Captain Tom Moore was completing laps of his garden to raise money for the NHS.  At the time he'd raised a staggering £22.7 million, but since then his total has increased to a whopping £32.8 million and he was deservedly recognised for his efforts with a knighthood.  Who'd have thought that one man walking around his garden could achieve so much, especially at the grand age of 99?  Truly inspirational and something which really stands out for me as one of the real positives to come from 2020 so far.


Talking of inspirational, there's some real heroes closer to home in our own Conkers Parkrun community.  After writing my non-run report back in April, I heard about the Conkers Collective and the non-parkrun parkrun's which Dennis Dickinson had established as the next best thing to the real Conkers parkrun experience.  I signed up and have ran every week since, yesterday completing my 26th non-parkrun parkrun.....helped out as always by Cariad, my working cocker spaniel who gives my times an extra boost when she decides to unleash full spaniel power by helping to pull me along!   Dennis is doing an incredible job keeping us all motivated, collating results every week and today will be doing this for the 30th successive week - of course, I'd love to be out there doing the real Conkers parkrun, but I can wholeheartedly say that there's no way that I would have completed 26 successive weeks of running every Saturday morning if it wasn't for Dennis' efforts..... I'm sure I'm not the only one who is massively grateful for everything that Dennis is doing, keeping us motivated and playing a key role in helping us look after our physical and mental health through this challenging time.  Thank you Dennis for everything you're doing.


Whilst it's disappointing not to be able to have our usual Conkers parkrun experience on a Saturday morning currently,  I've enjoyed running at Conkers and seeing lots of familiar faces as I run with Cariad around the course that we all know and love.  I'm someone that loves and needs a challenge to keep me motivated and one challenge that I've picked up again thanks to the Conkers Collective is my challenge to run 20 parkrun's under 20:20 in 2020.  I'd manage this feat 8 times at official parkruns when we went into lockdown, but picked the challenge up again in June when I first returned to run at Conkers on a Saturday morning.  I've been keeping a running total: 8+1, 8+2, 8+3 etc. of the times that I've managed to break this magic number, hoping that I'd soon get chance to get the first number (the official parkruns) moving upwards, but sadly it's looking like 8 official + 12 unofficial is likely to be the way things will play out.  Yesterday we managed to get round in 20:16, getting us to 8 + 9, so just 3 more to go!


So what about our next challenge?  Maybe we'll keep the theme going and aim for 21 under 20:21 in 2021.......doing this on the new Conkers course, with its cheekier hill (thanks Roger!) may prove an even bigger challenge than this years one!  Whatever our next challenge ends up being, we love getting our Saturday morning parkrun fix and can't wait till we're able to do this for real again.  I'll apologise in advance for the noise that Cariad will no doubt make on the start line - we've completed a couple of canicross events this year and the excitement levels of being ready to run are very clear for everyone to hear!


Until next time, keep safe, keep running and keep your barcode safe!