The summer is almost over. I know this because for me, the weekly Wednesday night excursions to London parks to earn sun-shaped medals are over. There’s one I can’t get to next week, then the Wednesday nights go back to once a month in the Olympic Park until April. I actually feel quite bereft as these Wednesdays are a large part of my social life now. It feels weird to think that only a year ago I was attending my first RunThrough race all on my own… now each race is full of familiar faces and selfies that I’m really going to miss. Here’s a video of me dabbling with a bit of sign language with the amazing Happy Deaf Mike before the start of Wednesday’s race. Congratulations on 350 medals Mike – all with a massive smile on his face.
Anyway. This is the second time I’ve run in Brockwell Park. The first was the same event a year ago, on the hottest day of 2017, and I seem to recall overheating and walking very quickly. (I think I have got better at pacing myself in the heat this year). This year wasn’t so hot, in fact it was distinctly chilly before and after the race and the fact that it is only going to get colder and colder fills me with woe. It was a perfectly fine temperature for running though, and the combination of that and all the hilly runs I have been doing lately made this one feel quite easy.
If my Garmin is to be trusted, Brockwell Park is actually a lot hillier than it feels – less elevation than Gladstone or Hampstead Heath parkruns, about the same as Finsbury Park and unbelievably more than Crystal Palace. Can that be right? I don’t know. I’ll just get on and describe the course. I chose the 5km, partly because I couldn’t be arsed being last (although actually I don’t think I would have been this time) and partly because the 5km is more interesting than the 10k – the 5km is two different laps and the 10k three identical laps. The first, smaller lap, starts near the Herne Hill entrance then proceeds clockwise around the park, taking a right turn up to the mansion house type building. This is the hardest bit – it feels a lot like Finsbury Park hill. Then there’s a short flat bit and a very pleasing downhill which takes you back almost to where you started, and you join the 10k runners on an anticlockwise loop. This begins with a stealth hill. It is not steep enough to actually feel like you are running uphill, but you notice that running has become harder and that you are getting slower, and then suddenly you realise you are way up high with a great view of London and the paths you just ran on beneath you. Then there’s another downhill, but this path is a bit uneven and narrow so it isn’t quite as pleasing as the first. When you get to the bottom of the hill, the finish line is in sight but there’s a bit of a shock in store as you first have to divert up the hill and down again. That final hill is a bit of a killer, even though it’s not as steep as the first – at least I knew it was coming this time.
My finish time was 38:58 and I didn’t walk a single step so I was really pleased. I am definitely getting faster. I hope all those hills and hot, sweaty runs have paid off and that in a few weeks I will be thinking about PBs again and not worrying about coming last. I am going to miss the weekly Chase The Suns so much, but the silver lining is that not running on Wednesdays will make it easier for me to go to the ViewTube track sessions on Thursdays and get a longer run in on my own on whatever day I have off. Summer running has basically just been parkrun and Chase The Sun and I do kind of miss solitary long(ish) runs along the canal. I had better get a few in before Moaning About The Cold Season starts.