It really doesn’t seem like 9 years has passed since I toed the start line at the Beijing Olympic Games marathon in the best shape of my life. In 2008 I’d finished top European at the world cross country championships and set my marathon personal best of 2 hrs and 28 mins at the London Marathon. Although I didn’t achieve my target top 10 finish in the Olympics (I got tripped at broke a rib after leading at mile ten) some runs just standout in your mind as opportunities to learn much more about yourself.
On Saturday at Moors Valley parkrun (I’m a Poole parkrun local but my husband Martin was hosting a Marathon Talk camp for 100 runners in the New Forest) I had another standout run. My daughter Ruby is 7 years old and was born the year after Beijing. At Moors Valley parkrun on Saturday we ran our first parkrun together as Mother and daughter.
Contrary to what you might think the children of runners don’t necessarily like running themselves! We almost didn’t make the start as Ruby couldn’t decide until the very last minute if she wanted to join in or not. It’s a careful parental balancing act here of encouragement, praise and positivity without being pushy, insistent or coercive. As a family we’re trying to instill a lifelong love of being active, moving and being in the outdoors. That’s not something you can force in a young person. If Ruby didn’t want to run, that would also be my run over. She’s teaching me a whole new relaxed approached to running! Eventually, we started right at the back of the field. Moors Valley parkrun is fantastic for things to see and talk about as we ran. We play in the ‘den building’ area about 300m from the start when we visit Moors Valley as a family and so Ruby recognized that, we also laughed with other runners, picked out bits of the play trail, I encouraged her gently and for the first time ever she pretty much ran the entire way (well, just one piggy back as we approached the finish around the lake) and mustered a sprint finish to beat me across the finish line in 40:52 and 459th place! Being out sprinted never felt so good!
That’s one of the amazing things about parkrun for me. Back in 2008 at the peak of my racing fitness opportunities to run with my daughter in an inclusive, non-judgemental, happy, fun and encouraging way were not as accessible. Now they are every Saturday and Sunday (for juniors) and I hope at Moors Valley this Saturday my daughter took a few more gentle steps towards loving being outside, active, with family and friends.
Daniel Tobias ROBINSON (VM35-39) of Birmingham Running Athletics and Triathlon Club, was first over the line in 16:29 - first appearance.
James GILFILLAN (VM35-39) (Unattached) was second over the line in 17:06.
Jamie MARLOW (VM35-39) of Dacorum & Tring CuAC, was third over the line in 17:17.
Hayley HIGHAM (VW40-44) (Unattached) was first (18th overall) over the line in 19:00 - first appearance.
Ali YOUNG (VW40-44) of Chiltern Harriers AC, was second (27th overall) over the line in 19:22.
Sarah DUDGEON (VW35-39) of Abingdon AC, was third (30th overall) over the line in 20:02.
The following runners recorded the best Age Grade scores:
Mark HAVENHAND (VM50-54) was graded 83.18% for the time 17:44 (6th overall).
Hayley HIGHAM (VW40-44) was graded 82.19% for the time 19:00 (18th overall).
Trevor HILLIER (VM45-49) was graded 82.13% for the time 17:49 (8th overall).
This week there were 489 runners, of whom 113 were first timers and 92 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 84 different athletics clubs took part.
Moors Valley parkrun started on 7th November 2015, and since then 4,294 different runners, including participants from 327 athletics clubs, have completed 17,729 runs covering a total distance of 88,645 km, and there have been 4,175 new Personal Bests.
The female record is held by Caroline HOYTE who ran in a time of 00:18:34 on 30th July 2016 (event number 38).
The male record is held by Iain TRICKETT who ran in a time of 00:16:22 on 10th December 2016 (event number 57).
The Age Grade course record is held by Caroline HORDER who recorded a 91.48% run (22:30) on 20th February 2016 (event number 15).
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Moors Valley parkrun Results Page.