I guess Barking has inadvertantly become my bogey parkrun. It’s a fast, flat, smooth tarmac, uncrowded course with a downhill start and finish and very PB friendly, but despite this, my first run there has remained my fastest, a not-terribly-impressive 36:50. I’ve not minded too much, because it is such a pleasure to run there, but it’s annoying that I haven’t been able to do it justice. I therefore set out today with two goals: 1) topple that 36:50 2) run faster than Rob can walk. (I initially set out to beat Rob’s all time Walking PB of 34:10 but this was a bit too ambitious given the sunshine and recent half marathon so revised it to how fast he can walk today.)
I have described Barking parkrun in some detail previously so I won’t go into it again, nothing has changed. I set off too fast as usual, but I find my fastest 5ks usually start with a too-fast first kilometre, so this was fine. Two laps passed without event, then as I was rounding the final corner on to the home stretch, I felt an ominous presence behind me. Yes, it was bloody Rob, bloody walking, about to bloody overtake me.
“Oh no you don’t!” I said. “Get behind me!”
According to my Garmin my pace suddenly increased to below six minutes per kilometre at this point. I am not sure if Rob was actually unable to out-walk my running or if he just decided not to for the sake of his health, but I sprinted down the finish line to a 35:17 finish, my second fastest parkrun ever by two seconds. I had to begrudgingly thank him for the encroachment, because if I hadn’t been trying to get away I would probably have been at least two seconds slower…
Post parkrun refreshments were held at Storky’s Cafe in Barking Station which is quite unlike anything you’d imagine you’d find in Barking Station – lots of nice vegan and vegetarian options and hipster decor.
Tomorrow I am doing something very silly which I may be too cold to write about until some time in the middle of the week. My bike is still at the bike shop; I could go and collect it but that would mean I have no excuse not to ride it.