No-Lydiard parkrun Run Report Number 37
Ten years ago, on a grey November day, not unlike this one, I was introduced to Swindon parkrun.
At 8.45am, I joined 109 other runners and hi-viz volunteers at the front of Lydiard House for Swindon parkrun Number 36.
At 9, we moved up to the path crossroads and got a lovely welcome from a small, smiley, and feisty run director, one E Creighton. In a firm but friendly un-megaphoned voice, she told us what we could and should not do, like be nice to park users and not to barge other runners.
Before long, actually 28 minutes and 34 seconds later, I crossed the finish line to the cheers and applause that greeted every finisher.
What a great feeling! I was smitten.
On subsequent Saturdays, I carried on discovering the weekly surprises and joys of being beaten by lovely middle aged women, overtaken by muscled men pushing prams, and enjoying the weekend-long buzz of happy endorphins.
But maybe the best discovery of all was the easy-going, supportive, super-friendly, and constant camaraderie that is the magic part of parkrun.
Those were delightful days. But they got even better as numbers increased.
Soon we were joined by the lovely likes of one G Whitehead, who regularly found himself walking up the last hill with times close to 30 mins. Now, he regularly runs 5k in under20! Another newby, one J Stephens, used to chase ageing vets in times close to 40 mins but now leaves them trailing her 26 min wake. Not to mention B Thomas and Patch, R Mcadam and her speedy family, and J Bateman and D White, two super vets.
And in subsequent years, lots of others signed up for parkrun, too many to mention, but all of whom soon discovered that a seemingly simple weekly 5k run, jog, or walk with other people could change their lives.
Helping to make those changes possible were the pioneers of Swindon parkrun. Among these was dour and speedy runner S Heavens and calm and kindly M Hunter, both of whom doubled up as regular runners and all-round helpers and volunteers.
Those were the days when there were few enough runners and volunteers to be able know them all by name. Now, it’s easier to know them by their leggings, their laughs, and their barcode-line banter . . . but alas, not at all in lockdown.
Talking of which, the latest one is about to end and there is talk of Junior parkruns making a return early in the new year.
But for grownups, it looks like the wait will go on well in to spring.
Let’s not despair. We can still do our regular runs, and doubtless many people have plenty of other ways of getting outdoor exercise.
Here is some, at least for the performers in this a little interactive film www.farmyardcircus.com/projects two of whom are Lydiard parkrunners.
Till we meet again, keep well, keep running, and, if you’re a Town fan, enjoy the buzz from today’s result. -J