Last Saturday (yes a week ago now!) I ran my first ever park run race. I decided to do it because I could really do with the practice of running in crowds. I find this really hard. Being over a distance of 5k it is a comfortable distance for me.
Registering was really, really easy. I simply filled in a few details and very soon received an e-mail confirming and giving me my unique bar code to print out in order to get my time.
Having laid in bed the night before listening to the rain beating against the window I realised that it would be a wet and muddy run as it is run on tracks. Undaunted I arrived fairly early and sat in my car for a fair while wondering whether I was brave enough to remove my lovely cosy sweat shirt as it was quite cold. Spotting someone I knew I made a very quick decision to risk it and jumped out of the car.
For the first time in …um forever, I did a bit of a warm up. I walked fairly briskly wondering at all these other people who seemed to take the whole business very seriously – sprinting, stretching etc. (Do you warm up? I am terrible at it). Just before the start us newbies were pulled to one side by a very lovely enthusiastic lady who went through the process with us, including the rules. These consisted of keeping to the left and being nice to everyone. I then went off to line up at around the 27 minute mark figuring that I would probably run about this time due to the volume of people.
As expected the start was quite congested and therefore slowish. I tucked in behind someone and followed her path dodging around people to find some open space. The course itself is run over 1 shortish loop and 2 longer ones. There were quite a few tight corners and lots of nice puddles. To start with I was a typical girly girl and tried to avoid all the puddles but soon gave up on that!
This photo sums up the other two main hazards – wet, slippery bridges and dogs running with runners. The former was fine but I very nearly fell over a dog!! It was close to the beginning, just as the course was narrowing. I was on the right as I was overtaking but someone shouted ‘coming through’ so I moved over a bit. I was about to move back when I saw a dog (or rather nearly tripped over it !). I have to say that I really felt that this was a bit unfair but as I survived I cannot complain too much.
As always this was a long time coming. I thought I was at the end, speeded up and overtook several people only to find that it was further off than I thought> I couldn’t keep the pace up and so ended up being over taken by all those I had done! (Oh well you learn). At the end we were fed into a funnel and given a ticket.
We then headed over to the cafe where we had the ticket scanned as well as our bar code. That was it. Finished and done. I found it a bit strange, like I was skiving off early although not really sure why.
Back at home, later that day I had an e-mail telling me my position overall, my time as well as a load of other results. It even knew that it was my first run. Impressive eh?
I will definitely be doing this again. I really, really enjoyed it and found that I pushed myself quite hard – running a fairly good time for me. I had thought that I would not go that fast to allow for fairly easy improvement but that is just not in my make up at all. Can you do that? Do you have any great park runs near you that you do? Oh and the best bit of all is that it is totally free. I really strongly suggest that you give one a go if you can.