Picture the scene... It's February, 2021, it's -3C and we are all stuck in our houses due to the lockdown. It's cool to exercise with one other person but it's also -3C so it's also too cool to exercise with anyone. You probably dreamt of being able to rock up at your favourite parkrun (even in your tights and bobble-hats), run around, get warm, have a chinwag with your runner mates and have a post-exercise coffee with even more chinwagging. Well that moment is back! (P)parkrun has returned to England for a month now, and it almost feels like it never went away.
I have to admit I felt quite emotional driving to Hogmoor (the best parkrun IMHO) for the first time in over 18 months on Saturday. I'd been excited about it all week but I almost felt kinda numb when I got there. Maybe because I was spending most of my time picking up my two spaniels' poop but probably because it felt so surreal, like nothing has changed in the world but also everything has changed at the same time.
I love Hogmoor because it's the perfect mixture of everything for a course... some fast flat bits, some challenging sandy bits, beautiful woodland and you get to run by everyone at least twice and say hello to the parkrun community. The volunteers are always awesome (especially Christine who runs 'rave corner' most weeks) and it's the ideal blend of people looking to run fast, going for PBs, just looking to get round, meeting up with mates, people pushing buggies, running with doggos - all wrapped up in that beautiful environment. It was so nice to see lots of friendly faces for the first time in ages, even if I did feel a bit overwhelmed due to the dream-like state this scene had conjured in my mind.
Run wise - I really enjoyed running with my dog, Frenzal. He's a little bonkers (just like his owner) and we went crazy off the start line but soon settled into an easy pace with a few stops for puddle-drinks. My other dog, Jeff, was attending his first parkrun but only managed one loop with my friend, Ian, because he saw me on the second loop and wouldn't run anymore. LOL. Frenzal also brought shame on the family by doing a massive poo in the finish funnel out of his thinnish tunnel. After the run it was great to be able to visit the new cafe and have a coffee and chinwag with my friends - just like I'd dreamt about in those chilly and dark February times.
SUMMARISE: Turning up to parkrun feels like visiting an old friend you haven't seen for sometime. At first, it's kinda awkward but after a while it feels like the most natural thing in the world. Thanks Hogmoor, looking forward to running with you again soon. And sorry about my dog pooping on you.