I’ve been parkrunning for over 11 years, so it’s an essential part of my Saturday mornings. I’ve been struggling with running since I put a lot of weight on, but I still love turning up to parkrun. This weekend’s run is one that I’ve been anticipating for quite a long time – I finally completed my 350th parkrun.
In anticipation of the event, I bought a box of chocolates to share with fellow runners, as well as a bag of groceries to donate to Southampton Basics Bank. (Fellow Run Directors, Jill and Malcolm, had organised a donation drive).
M has not been interested in running recently, so Stu agreed to push her buggy. Our rule is that if M won’t run, she has to at least walk to the start. On the walk to the start, we bumped into Andy G, a well-known local runner. Andy has been the first finisher at Southampton parkrun on many occasions.
Chatting with others before the start
As M was walking, I had been able to put the bag of shopping in the buggy, which was a relief as it was quite heavy. It was lovely to see Amy (who I used to run with) manning the donations boxes. I heard afterwards that the event was a success and 11 crates of food were collected.
It was lovely to see Kate at the start of parkrun. Kate agreed to run with me as she was saving her legs for a cross country race on Sunday. It was lovely to know that someone would run with me as it helps to keep me motivated. Kate is much quicker than me, so it’s good for me to run with her.
As Kate and I were chatting, Roger came over. I’ve known Roger ever since I first started running. He’s over 75 and a member of the 100 Marathon Club. He regularly volunteers as a run report writer and takes this role seriously, pursuing stories with a notepad and pen. He spoke with me as he’d heard it was my 350th run. It was only after the run that I learnt it was Roger’s 250th. What a legend! Whilst, Roger was taking notes, I spotted Teri. I encouraged her to come over and speak with Roger as her last parkrun was Roosevelt Island DC (USA). I thought Jersey Farm was exotic last week!
Enjoying my 350th parkrun
As usual, I started off at an ‘enthusiastic’ pace – one that I could only sustain for 400m. It was a steady pace for Kate who could easily have completed the entire run at that speed. Once we started going up the first hill, my pace started to drop, but I was determined not to give up and walk. I would love to get back to regularly running 5km in under 30 minutes and I know that won’t happen unless I lose weight and try harder.
Halfway around the second lap, we caught up with Ruihua/Helen. I know her through work and running with Lordshill, whereas Kate knows her as they completed a triathlon together earlier this year. It was lovely to talk with her.
As we got towards the finish I spotted a familiar figure – Andy L, a work colleague. In the final 100m, I tried to outsprint him, but he’s definitely fitter than me now and finished in front.
We had a lovely chat with Andy in the finish funnel and posed for a selfie with him. Andy was also on a milestone run – it was his 25th! Well done, Andy! He’s got some of the same ambitions as me for 2022 – lose the lockdown pounds and run faster – so I’m sure I’ll be battling him again in the finish soon.
How did I do?
I was pleased to coordinate my double-ton at Southampton with my 350th parkrun. Although this was a big milestone for me, there were 9 other parkrunners at Southampton on Saturday who had completed more parkruns.
It was only after receiving my results email that I realised my time of 31:25 was my fastest time at Southampton since March 2020. I’ve now got just 2 parkruns left to improve on my fastest time for 2021. I’d really love to achieve 29:59 or quicker, but would be happy with beating 30:18.
Did you parkrun this weekend? How did it go?