“I’m absolutely sick of getting parkrun times that start with thirty-six!” I proclaimed. “I know I can do sub-35!”
And to prove this to myself, I stormed off to the running track and bashed out 33:09.
“Right, Barking parkrun! Let’s be having you!” I said. Armed with my Cow Cowl, new Vegan Runners vest, Samuel Snail and three friends from viewtube (Deborah, Jara and Ellie) I set off into lovely, flat, pothole and annoyance free Barking park, and sure enough, my time didn’t start with thirty-six…
Thirty seven minutes and three seconds.
I may have said a bad word as I crossed the finish line! Especially as my PB at Barking was 36:50 and it had looked like beating that was in the bag for most of the run.
When I had stopped swearing to myself I took stock of the situation and thought to myself that if I hadn’t run 5km yesterday (plus Ballet Fit class and walking all over Walthamstow shopping etc) then my feet would have been more sprightly this morning and I’d probably have got into the 35s. After all, I know I can do it! I have therefore made a resolution not to do any running, walking or standing up on Fridays when I am going for a good time at parkrun the next day. I’ve also planned a couple of visits to hillytraily parkruns which it is impossible to get a good time at anyway. The trouble with getting good times and knowing you are within a whisker of a PB is that it can be very disappointing when you don’t hit your target. If you know you are going to get a crap time anyway then it doesn’t matter.
Aside from this, it was another lovely morning at pretty, friendly Barking parkrun. My friends, who were all first time visitors, seemed to like it too. Ellie was particularly impressed that when she got too hot and discarded her hoodie, someone picked it up and brought it back to the finish for her to collect. Barking just seems to work really well – you never feel like you are jostling with other runners or park users, there’s no annoying bits on the course and you always know where you’re going. There’s a sense of community that you wouldn’t expect in a such a grotty part of town and the people who come are a really good mix of ages, backgrounds and abilities (because whatever parkrun HQ say about inclusivity, some parkruns are dominated by young white sporty things and can be a bit intimidating). The final finishers came in at 1:06 and were all over sixty years old.
And one final positive note: for the first time in my entire parkrun career, I did a two-lap parkrun without getting lapped!!!