I like Parkrun, I think it's a fantastic idea: a free 5km timed run local to pretty much everyone. Despite thinking it is a great idea and enjoying them, I must admit that actually getting out of bed on a Saturday morning in time to make the start line is pretty rare.
So when I found myself once again at Ferry Meadows Country Park for another Peterborough Parkrun I had my eye firming set on beating last week's time. Thinking back to last week I had started reasonably easy, due in part to starting in the main pack. Not this morning, I was prepared, I positioned myself reasonably close to the front. I wasn't going to start off easy today. The thing with a 5km is that if you want a good time you've got to be prepared to go off hard. That I did. In fact I ran the first kilometre at about 3000mph – you may think this is an exaggeration – but it's not.
After 2km my legs were feeling the fast pace, the voices in my head asking, “Why do you run 5km? It's too short. You're not fast enough!” It felt like I was running through treacle, and bloody thick treacle at that! However, it is at about this point that you begin the second lap and start lapping people – that's always good for self-confidence.
By 3km I had calmed down, of course my legs were still struggling, but less than ten minutes running left, I might be ok. The positivity began to pump through my veins. I looked ahead – I could see a girl – I don't like being beaten by girls. I had a target to chase. It took a while but I caught her up – and passed her – things were going well. It was at this point that it dawned on me that I wasn't wearing a watch – no big deal – sometimes it's nice to just run as well as you can and see what time it gets you. But it would have been nice to see how it was going.
As the 4km marker came into view I finally worked out what had been bugging me for most of the race – there was a fella ahead with something stuck to his back. What was it? It looked like a number. It was the 20-minute pacer! I wasn't even that far behind him!
Suffice to say that I never caught him up. I crossed the finish line about 10secs behind him. My legs were knackered. My chest felt like it was going to explode. But I was happy. Finishing time 20.08. Position? Amazingly… it was 28th again. Lovely jubbly!
Although saying that, do you remember I don't like getting beaten by girls? Well I was. By two! And one of them was only 14 years old!!! Oh well, like I said, I am a middle-aged old git.