Why haven’t I done this before? That’s what I asked myself, repeatedly, after my first parkrun last Saturday.
The family was off to Edinburgh for the start of half term (booked ages ago when there was the promise of a baby panda, ah well) and I’d just signed up with parkrun two days before the holiday. Oooh, I said to myself, wouldn’t it be lovely to do my first parkrun in Edinburgh, I wonder if there is one, and of course there is.
So, we arrived at about 7.20am into the station, took our time getting dressed – I was ready in my running gear all ready to go first – then got a cab over to the start of the Edinburgh parkrun. We were about an hour early, and the first volunteer was just arriving as we did.
The venue was pretty spectacular, a view to Cramond Island over the Firth of Forth. The sun was still coming up over the hills, “There’s pinkland!” my daughter said. So after a bit of shell collecting and stone skimming, I dispatched the family to the café so I could get down to business.
As it was my inaugural parkrun, I was obliged to listen to the newbie chat, the importance of the barcode, and the funnel – don’t overtake anyone there or bring your mates in as it could all go horribly wrong – at the end needed explanation. The 9.30 start time was upon us and he was still talking, but he assured us they wouldn’t start without us. They didn’t.
I didn’t have any game plan for the run, I’d just arrived on the sleeper, I don’t normally run 5k, my general everyday runs are 10k, I rarely run less, regularly run more. So I just thought, you know what, just run, run like you’re having fun and there’s no goal, aim, time or whatever.
So, I settled into the pace dictated by the smile on my face – blue sky, my “oh my god I’m running right next to the sea this is bloody brilliant” feeling – and just ran. I ran just over three miles at 7:32 minute mile pace. And it was, to quote my 8-year-old, “awesome”.
I loved that because it was a short distance, you could just go for it, and I surprised myself, because I’m a lone runner normally, I loved being a part of something, seeing the T-shirts with 50 parkruns and 100 parkruns, the community, I’m hooked.
Then, later in the day, I got an email from parkrun with all the stats, an official time of 23:42, I was 175 in a field of 410 and was the 24th lady, 4th in my age category. That’s fired up the competitive streak in me.
There are three parkruns really close to where I live, the hard part now is to choose which one to do first.