From a marshal's point of view "what a glorious day!" and I had the motorbike gate under control - nothing but humans, dogs and pushbikes squeezed through. Bright and breezy the Hadders parkrunners stream down hill into the sunshine but, from some of the worn out sweat ladened runners coming back up the Flint Hill "it was hot hard work our there on the range" (Or Mock Hill as one young man calls it - because it look very my like the end hill, that final push hill and the he realises the boulder are next - true grit young one!)
Being a marshal is my only chance to ever see those mystical gazelle like front runners - who feet touch the ground but once or twice as they navigate the course to be back under 20mins! Then come the amazing runners who can keep a good running speed up all the way around up hills and boulder. They make it look so easy and finish before 30mins.
Then the hardcore crew trickle trickle through with intent of a better PB, and plans not to let this tough hard flint hill beat them, determination, a lot of heavy breathing and a question of how long now. All I can say is not far, but a lot of up and you will hear the cheering as you get closer to the (dare I say it) zigzag finisher. They will all be home and in the shady tree by 40mins. Sometimes I am in this gang!
Then, again sometimes I am in the gentle runner's gang - enjoying the view - seeing if I can walk up the green hill backward to stretch my legs. Chin waggin' with the newbies to parkrun or the course and trying not to give the secrets of whats to come away! Its best discovered by ones self. Slow runners, dog walkers, small legs (kids) and amazingly pushchairs (none this week) Kudus to you all - showing adventure, true grit and up n at 'em for the morning.
My favourite bit is actually a well deserved cuppa at the cafe. On this Sat. morning I met Dan & Steve - tourists! They like to roam, Bexley to Basildon and all surrounding. We had a good chat about the benefits of parkrun and I was given useful tips (which I will put into practice even if I look like something from the ministry of silly walks). Dan, said he had actually been on 'Keith Flints' last run which prompted talk of mindfulness.
It is lovely to see the smiles and waves as people pass when you are a marshal but it is even better to have a cheer from everyone and anyone really as you get through the finishing funnel. Keep the smiles and good will to other runners.
There were 233 people out and running for parkrun #134 'Good show ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. Our first man back through the finishing tunnel was Damien Harvey 18:37 mins wowzwer and extra wowzers our first lady in (and 5th runner back) was Vicky McElligott 20:50 mins.
This weeks Run Report was bought to you by Kathy MacPherson.