A PB doesn’t always have to be about speed!

Ive struggled with today’s report. I’m mindful of the fact that some of you may not be interested in PB’s, some of you may be disappointed that you didn’t manage to get one today, or maybe you did but secretly wanted a better time than the one you got. Before I start I just wanted to say well done to ALL of you for coming today. Whilst Event #151 was focused on giving people an opportunity to run with a pacer in an attempt to improve their previous course PB’s, for some of you, your PB this morning may have been the fact you put your trainers on and turned up, so thank you for your effort.

There was a slight chill in the air as everyone begun to find their place on the start line. Amongst them were 9 pacers wearing new pink bibs with the numbers ranging from 21-37 on them. After welcoming visitors from Australia, Dean C (Run Director), congratulated a couple who were spending part of their wedding anniversary doing parkrun with us all (sorry I can’t remember your names). There were no parkrun milestones to celebrate, so he went straight into the “Rules of parkrun” speech. Finding himself in competition with a barking dog on the front row of the start that was keen and eager to begin running/sprinting with his human it was time for Matilda to start the countdown …… 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, ………. And they were off ……..

320 people completed the 5k course, some sprinted, some ran at a gentle speed, some jogged, some walked, at one point someone was even seen to be skipping, buggies and wheelchairs were being pushed and several squeals of excitement were heard to be coming from within them. Today was a day of encouragement, “strangers” supported each other, giving each other a smile or a “well done” to a “don’t stop now, you are so close to the end”, to a (sweaty) hug at the finish line.

Here are this week’s statistics
Participants - 320 runners (M = 183, F = 137)
1st timers at Lakeside – 46, of which 19 were doing their 1st ever parkrun

PB’s - 72 ……… broken down as follows
-21 paced by Gary A – 6 (M=4, F=2)
-23 paced by Matthew M – 5 (M=5, F=0)
-25 paced by Lee G – 14 (M=11, F=3)
-27 paced by George Q – 5 (M=3, F=2)
-29 paced by Barry S – 11 (M=4, F=7)
-31 paced by Colin G – 8 (M=4, F=4)
-33 paced by Leanne H - 6 (M=2, F=4)
-35 paced by Clare B – 9 (M=2, F=7)
-37 paced by Anthony Q – 3 (M=0, F=3)
-45 self paced – 5 (M=1, F=4)

If you didn’t get the PB you were hoping for, there are many of us that I’m sure would be willing to run/walk with you individually one week to try and help you complete the course in the time you want – please don’t wait for the next official pacing event – just come and speak to the RD who can point you in the direction of someone who can help if it’s arranged in advance.

I just wanted to round up by sharing something personal. When I started running I quickly became fixated on each run having to be better/faster than the last. I’d been running for about 18 months when my daughters decided to join me at parkrun, but them having youth on their side meant that they were soon much faster than I was, and still to this day (26 runs later) I’ve still never finished faster than my 11 year old.

Each week I would leave parkrun disappointed, but then something changed ........ a stranger approached me a few weeks after she’d had a difficult run to tell me that the smile and clap I’d given her as I’d passed in the opposite direction was enough to get her to the finish. At that specific point in her run she’d had enough and was going to stop short and then never come back. All I did was smile, but it was enough to make a difference to her. That was the day I tried to stop focusing on ‘numbers’ and now I get far more enjoyment seeing and helping others achieve things they didn’t think they could.

We all have an important part to play within the parkrun ‘family’. We all have different qualities and abilities and the ones you have, well, you never actually know who you are encouraging and inspiring each time you come. Keep it up and thank you for being YOU, not the person you may think you should be, thanks for being YOU. Thank you also to our volunteers today, who without them parkrun would not have been able to happen.

Run Report by Clare Belcher