I took part in my first Park Run this morning – 5 km (3 miles) over varied, undulating terrain in Sutton Park.
Park Runs are held all over the country at 9 am on Saturday mornings. They are free and anyone can take part. All standards of fitness are welcome and at Sutton Park there was a sign ‘Walking Group Meet Here’ – so there was no need to even run. The events are organised and marshalled by volunteers and there is a friendly atmosphere geared towards encouraging everyone to get outside and move more. The only preparation needed before joining a run is online registration. This is a one-off process which generates a unique barcode for each runner. This barcode must be printed, taken to the event and scanned once you’ve crossed the finish line in order to get a time for your run.
At Sutton Park there was a briefing just before the start for first-time runners. The course was described and I had second thoughts when ‘Hill of Doom’, ‘trip hazards’ and a ‘single file wooden bridge with a slat missing’ were mentioned. My aim became to get to the end without falling over.
With my eyes on the ground I successfully negotiated the hazards. The ‘Hill of Doom’ was short and very steep, so I have to admit to walking here. Everything became easier once the course hit tarmac and I became a lot more confident. It was downhill to the finish and to that lovely feeling of having accomplished something.
Park Run results hit the website later the same day. My time was 34:45 and my results emails says, “You finished in 272nd place and were the 78th female out of a field of 398 parkrunners and you came 5th in your age category”. I don’t know how many were in my age category but 5th will do me!
The similarity between writing and running has been pointed out many times before and my Park Run brought it home to me again. Writing and running are both hard work and we don’t always enjoy the actual process – but the ‘high’ produced by having run or having written can’t be beaten!
#1 by Anne Harvey on January 4, 2020 - 3:51 pm
Oh well done, Sally! Do you think you might participate again? Hope you don’t mind but I’ve copies your blog to a friend of mine who is a ‘runner.’
#2 by Sally Jenkins on January 4, 2020 - 6:01 pm
Hi Anne. Yes, I’ll definitely do it again, probably next week. It was an invigorating way to start the weekend. And I don’t mind you sending my blog elsewhere – the more the merrier! Thanks.
#3 by lynnforthauthor on January 5, 2020 - 10:58 am
Inspiring piece, Sally, and well done for continually pushing yourself out of your (cliché alert) comfort zone. Totally agree with the analogy with writing.
#4 by Sally Jenkins on January 5, 2020 - 11:35 am
Thanks, Lynn. There is that old saying, ‘Do something that frightens you everyday.’ I can’t live up to that but trying something new every now and again definitely boosts the confidence!
#5 by juliathorley on January 6, 2020 - 2:41 pm
Well done, Sally. I did the Couch to 5K programme a couple of years ago, and although I managed to be able to run for 30 mins without stopping I never actually completed a measured 5K. Are you a novice or are you already a runner?
#6 by Sally Jenkins on January 6, 2020 - 4:14 pm
I’m not a complete novice – some years back I did a (slow) half marathon. Then I gave up because I worried about my knees. I started again towards the end of 2019. But there are people walking or half walk/jog. I’m sure you could get back to running for 30 mins, muscle memory is a great thing!