What a great turnout today for Eastbourne's 445th parkrun, and our 9th back since the covid lockdown.
We also celebrated a couple of milestones in the sunshine: James Hookway took part in his 50th parkrun, while I took part in my 100th - dressed as a dinosaur!
I thought I'd share my journey in this week's run report....
I was never sporty or athletic while growing up. I lived close enough to school to nip home during cross-country PE lessons instead of running around the block. The first time I voluntarily went for a run was to avoid Chemistry exam revision in the summer of 1996... I remember feeling like I'd run forever, but having just looked it up on a map I'd barely run over a mile before turning round and walking back home!
At University, I was in halls with a load of sports students. I tried to go running in the mornings with hockey-captain Nigel, but couldn't keep up and struggled to keep going. This jogging regime barely lasted two weeks and was definitely not enjoyable.
While commuting to Brighton, necessity drove me a couple of times to run like a wild banshee and beat the bus to its stop.
Apart from those few occasions (and arguably even during them) I was never a runner.
A move back to work in Eastbourne four winters ago freed up a couple of hours daily travel time. Debs and I decided to improve our fitness and take up running. Our first attempt to run round Princes Park Pond ended in a red-faced sweaty mess partway through the one 600m lap we completed. After this we downloaded the BBC Couch to 5k mobile app (available for Android or iPhone) and started jeffing (a mixture of walking and jogging or running). I really cannot recommend this app/programme highly enough for anybody who is starting to run. It's just three half hour sessions each week, and over 9ish weeks builds from a couple of short 30 second runs, to eventually completing a 30 minute non-stop run. Both Debs and I picked up niggles and injuries during our C25K journey (mine was an ice-dancing injury on a Christmas skating rink) and so took longer than 9 weeks to finish. If you're just starting out, definitely take it easy and don't rush to get through the programme. Some aches and pains are natural during and after a run, but if it's too painful then slow down and pause or stop, and if necessary seek medical advice.
I waited until I knew I could run 5k before coming to my first parkrun around Easter 2018. I still remember feeling really out of place amongst a sea of "proper runners" in their lycra and "pro-racing tops". In hindsight, I realise that there are very few expert runners at parkrun, and those of us who wear posh-looking wicking tops, or brightly coloured running shoes or leggings have simply learned how to make running slightly less uncomfortable! Having been around the parkrun block several times, I can assure you that nobody at parkrun will judge you on your gear, speed, fitness, or form. In fact many other parkrunners will be battling their own anxieties, addictions, body image, and self-doubt. I wish I'd started coming to parkrun much sooner than I did, because it's a really supportive environment, and there will always be others to give you encouragement and a boost.
The most memorable moments from my 100 parkruns include several times where other runners (whose names I am generally rubbish at remembering) have spurred me on, either to resume running after a walk break, with advice to keep breathing on the final section behind the trees, or even just to stay together until the finish line.
Inside the dinosaur today, the sunshine helped to generate an abundance of perspiration. Visibility was reduced to almost zero, so I was incredibly grateful to the parkrunners in neon and bright blue for helping me keep my feet on track. I could hear people cheering me on, as well as others who were eager to catch up or who didn't want to be overtaken by a dinosaur! I really couldn't see where I was going, and stumbled into a low bollard by the playpark where I was trying to avoid the sign and lamp post that I knew were hazards there. Fortunately an apricot runner was on hands to pick me up and point me in the direction of a pink marshal, who made sure I was fine to carry on shuffling to the finish line.
Thank you to everybody who has supported and encouraged me and run beside me during my 100 parkruns. I look forward to seeing you again soon!
This week 308 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 25 were first timers and 53 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 27 different clubs took part.
Congratulations to Liz Lumber who achieved another age category record of 20.14 - AWESOME !
The event was made possible by 29 volunteers:
Alnur HASSAM • Duncan TAYLOR • Mike THOMPSON • Fenella MALONEY • Natalie MCCREATH • Belinda CRAMP • Alex COLLINS • Louise RICE • Pauline KEEP • Chris KEEP • Phil WOOD • Steve DAVEY • Paula WHELAN • Tomm BROOKER • Steve GOUGH • Richard WINSON • Sarah DOHERTY • Scott O'ROURKE • Jo CASWELL • Ben PAWLEY • Gary BURNHAM-JONES • Derek CASWELL • Debs PAWLEY • Sharon PALMER • Helen STILES • Phoebe PAWLEY • Jonathan ROSS • Tina WHICKMAN • Izzy LYNCH
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Eastbourne parkrun Results Page.
The female record is held by Julie BRIGGS who recorded a time of 17:59 on 11th May 2013 (event number 69).
The male record is held by Chris DODD who recorded a time of 15:37 on 23rd February 2019 (event number 380).
The Age Grade course record is held by Jane CLARKE who recorded 90.35% (19:31) on 24th January 2015 (event number 161).
Eastbourne parkrun started on 28th January 2012. Since then 11,196 participants have completed 92,825 parkruns covering a total distance of 464,125 km, including 14,788 new Personal Bests. A total of 782 individuals have volunteered 9,095 times.