This weekend’s parkrun marked a return to my usual form of A Bit Slow rather than Completely Useless. I picked Dulwich this week because a) descriptions of the course on the parkrun Facebook group made it sound appealing b) I was staying at my mother’s house in Beckenham, and she offered to drive me there.
I think this was my second favourite parkrun venue ever. Dulwich Park is a lovely, smart, well-kept park with clean, self-flushing (!) toilets and a pretty café. It is blob-shaped, and the course is simply three laps of the blob, starting and finishing in the same spot (Queen Mary’s Gate). The paths are amongst the best I have ever run on – smooth, wide, no camber, no potholes, puddles or other trip hazards. There is one very slight mound (you really can’t call it a hill) near the beginning of the lap and the rest is very slightly uphill, very slightly downhill, and very slightly uphill again until you are back to where you started. There are no corners, and no major landmarks, so it can be slightly disorientating until you get to know the little pointers. There are also no marshals out on the corner, and while you don’t really need them as it’s impossible to go wrong, this made me a little nervous. I didn’t want a repeat of my Valentine’s Detour! The course is described as “particularly suitable for wheelchairs” and I’ve seen pictures of elite-looking wheelchair athletes there (I was going to put “running there” but that’s not right. What is the verb for what wheelchair athletes do at a parkrun? Wheel? I don’t know…) I thought this also sounded particularly suitable for clumsy people, and was hopeful of getting a good time there.
Unfortunately, on Friday morning I started coming down with a stupid cold! This was so unfair as I had only just recovered from the Hacking Cough that I have been whinging about in my last 59 posts. Still, there was no point in not running, I just had to accept I might not be coming home with a new PB. I took some Day Nurse and shoved a tissue in my bra.
Fortunately, the combination of the Day Nurse and the easy running conditions meant that I was back to my usual speed. In fact, faster than my usual speed! I ran at a fairly steady speed with a couple of nose blowing related pauses to finish in a narrow personal parkrun best of 35:19 (with my Garmin saying 5km at 34:17). This is my fastest 5km ever if you don’t count the running track. So I went home very pleased, although slightly irritated that I didn’t quite manage to get below 35 minutes this time. Maybe if I’d stuck to the insides of the paths better or not blown my nose!
I would definitely do Dulwich again. It’s too far for me to attend regularly and not hugely convenient by public transport, but it is a lovely scenic course and definite PB potential.
Huge thanks to my mother for transport and cheering squad. She didn’t want to run this week as the Dulwich crowd tend to be a lot faster than the Bromley crowd, but she is planning on going back to Bromley with her local friends sometime soon. My next parkrun will be Chelmsford Central in two weeks’ time. Plan for this week is to shake this stupid cold and get back on track with the marathon training.