Daily Archives: October 11, 2015

In praise of Parkrun

Perhaps a bit of a cheeky repost here, but given that I’ve now started a running blog, I wanted to talk about Parkrun.  However, earlier this year, when I was contemplating going off to work in Vietnam I did a post all about what is so brilliant about Parkrun and why I’d miss it in another blog.  It seems appropriate to repost this, as the sentiments remain the same, Parkrun is still altogether fabulous, and I remain an evangelist for its many and manifest merits!

Quietly Terrified

Running Scared …

Just over a year ago, if you had suggested to me that I voluntarily get up earlier than is strictly necessary on a Saturday morning, and then willingly drag my weary rapidly-disintegrating carcass to the local park in order to take part in a communal sporting 5 km romp every week, frankly I’d have run a mile.  This is ironic, granted, but it would still have been an over two miles net gain if it got me out of doing a 5 km run, i.e. I’d only have to run one mile not the three and a bit I’d be compelled to cover otherwise…  Well, that was then, and this is now.  Now I am a complete convert, and Parkrun has become such an embedded part of my weekly routine that it is the one thing I know I’ll miss when I’m in Vietnam.

parkrun logo

For the uninitiated Parkrun is…

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Heading for the hills…

Smiley off road run this Sunday 11th is Win Hill from Bamford. Meet at the Anglers Rest in Bamford 9am for a scenic 7 ish miles of forestry tracks, moorland paths and fab views, returning to the cafe in the pub (double bonus)…  some interesting route finding on the recce but can definitely vouch for the tea and scones

Wasn’t sure if I’d be too stiff to tackle this, but woke up ‘the morning after the day before (Wngerworth ~Wobble)’ feeling fundamentally OK.  Not exactly ticketee boo, but just a bit of muscle pain, and if I want to up my game then I think I need to start to toughen up a bit and not wimp out of off-road running opportunities or I’m never going to get any better.

Headed out, a misty morning, but a great one for running.  I was first to arrive in the car park – my fear of being late paranoia dictating a too early start all over again.  I wonder if I’m subconsciously trying to compensate for always being last to finish on the runs.

It was a good crowd of Smileys, about 20 or so, and pleasingly didn’t get as strung out as usual, so it turned out to be quite social, an opportunity to catch up with people various and meet new members – although as ever my ability to converse when running limits communication to a degree!  One person did a face plant early on, flying into a bramble bush and emerging suitably scratched but pronouncing herself OK to carry on.  There are faster runners, but I was pleased that I wasn’t alone in favouring walking up the steeper sections.  It was really lovely to get up to Win Hill, the heather and openness is really appealing.  We met a few walkers all of whom were friendly and amused/supportive of this unlikely posse of women charging across the hills.  We paused for the obligatory group photo at the peak- remembering to remove the one of our number who had taken to the top of the marker for the shot – before we galumphed off again.

win hill group shot

Uphill was challenging on account of it being up hill as well as rough terrain. Downhill was also a problem though. Even though gravity helps, I am nervous on the rocky ground and a bit fearful of tripping on tree roots or slipping on grass.  I also haven’t really worked out how to run downhill if that ‘doesn’t sound too weird.  If I land on my heels I feel more stable, but feel the impact up my legs and that can’t be right.  If I land on my mid-foot or toes, it is quite painful because of the arthritis in my feet and I feel I’ll fall over.  Honestly, mountain goats don’t have these problems.  Nor do other fell runners, I’ve seen the more experienced ones flying downhill (and up to be fair) fearless and lightly springing from foot to foot.  It is nigh on miraculous to me that they can do that. win hill

Even so, it was a lovely run down, through woodland trails, grassy paths and over the stepping stones at the watermill, I am so unbelievably lucky to have this glorious countryside on my doorstep, and the support of an inclusive group of runners who get it together to organise these monthly off road runs out, as well as the weekly training sessions.

bamford millHaving been up and over the hill, taken in the views, and put the world to rights through conversation (not so that you’d notice perhaps, but in our own way) en route, we returned to the Anglers Rest in Bamford.  They were somewhat overwhelmed by our descending on them en masse, but cheery enough, cake was eaten and coffee drunk.  I was the last in the queue to order and the last to be served and it took about an hour (literally ) for my order to come, so it was unsurprising that I found myself finishing off my coffee on my own.  This detail set the scene for a rather unlikely bit of interaction  … I was officially recognised for my running!  No really, this is how.

As I was leaving, some other runners – not with our group, but people who had also been out enjoying the hills and come in for a post run coffee spotted me.  One called out a really friendly ‘hello’ and I turned around, instinctively replying in kind as I did so, before realising that I had no idea who it was.  She helped me out.  ‘You were at the Wingerworth Wobble yesterday’ she said.  I was amazed, this is a conversation that I never imagined would happen to me. It may yet turn out to be a pivotal moment in my running journey, one runner, recognising another fellow trail blazer out in the hills!  It turned out that she was the originator of the inaugural Wingerworth Wobble, though now it has been handed over to someone else.  She rarely got a chance to run in it herself over the years as she was busy organising or marshalling, but she did do so yesterday.  I felt honoured to have met her!  It is further evidence of what a friendly and inclusive lot these Wingerworth Wobblers are, and they do get quite far afield it seems too.  I passed on again my thanks to her for such a great day yesterday – and congratulated her on having set it all up the first place too.

Anyway, I turned away with a spring in my step, pushing to the back of my mind the maybe disappointing, but growing realisation that she possibly remembered me for a reason.  That reason would be the maybe less than flattering one that I was the distinctive apple-shaped runner bobbing my way up the hill some minutes behind the rest.  (Does that make me some sort of apple bobbing champion I wonder). Still, someone has to be ballast at the back, why shouldn’t it be me, and if that is to be my claim to fame I’ll take that.  It is still better to be out there doing it badly, than not to be doing it at all.

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