Keeping up with Kingdom
Well, what a beautiful event for Kingdom parkrun #42. The sun was shining, temperature relatively mild, and a great turnout of parkrunners and parkwalkers! This is my second time at Kingdom, and what a great atmosphere to come to for my 50th parkrun! I forgot how friendly the volunteers are, both all the marshals but also the cheer squad you get at the start and finish area when you complete a lap – its really quite encouraging to have a cheer squad when your on your way home from your 5th out of 7 night shift in a row! I really hope to frequent Kingdom more often, as I’m sure it must be up there with one of the most beautiful parkruns in the country, despite the carousel of undulation 24m of eleveation difference. The trees and mud make it thoroughly enjoyable with some amazing views. I also learnt today that the seven sisters tree that sits where the run briefing is done is the oldest living tree in the British isles – I didn’t quite manage to ask for her age though as she supervised our runs today.
Kingdom parkrun really embodies the community feel of parkrun. It was so nice to turn up to a time 5k by myself and feel supported the whole way around. It reminds me of why I came back to parkrun after my first one in February 2017 and have now reached my first milestone of 50 runs. I came to parkrun having never run further than the Sports Relief mile at school or however much I’d run on a rugby pitch, which to be honest probably isn’t much as I’m a forward and not a back! I personally feel like parkrun has done me the world of good for motivation, goal setting, my health and realising that asthma isn’t a limit for what I can do. That first parkrun in 2017 has led to now over 50 timed 5ks, multiple 10k races, five 10 mile races and two half marathons. I really hope to see those at the beginning of their parkrun journey to stick at it, those first runs or walks may feel challenging and I’d like to say it gets easier but it doesn’t, we just push ourselves harder and start to look forwards to being awake and active at 9am on a Saturday morning – something I never thought I’d enjoy doing three years ago! It’s just amazing and crazy to me that all it took was one parkrun nearly three years ago to turn me into one of those people that I’d said was something that only crazy people do and enjoy.
Anyhow, time for some numbers! Kingdom parkrun event #42 saw 143 runners complete 5k, with 52 of those identifying as female and 79 as male. We collectively ran 715 kms, over three beautiful but muddy laps, with multiple upwards flat bits. There were 28 pbs, 21 first timers to Kingdom, and 12 unknowns (Don’t forget your barcode next week guys), as well as 18 fantastic volunteers. We also had multiple dogs, a few slips (this is definitely one for the trail shoes at the moment) and one on demand Australian to fill the request for ‘anyone from Australia?’ question in regards to parkrun tourism. Our most-runniest runner was John Matthews who has completed a jaw dropping 463 runs, edging closer and closer to that coveted blue 500 tshirt. Helen Todd is only a few letters away from completing the alphabet challenge and also helped me complete my run today with some much appreciated coaching. Our male first finisher was first timer to Kingdom Nicholas Sharp, and first female finisher was Ali Farrall. We had representatives from 14 different clubs, with Tunbridge Wells Harriers having the most representatives. All in all it was an enjoyable morning, and I look forwards to returning to Kingdom again soon.
Elise Foster (Canterbury parkrun)