Park Run and Me

It’s no secret ParkRun and I haven’t always been on what you’d call friendly speaking terms. Holy smoke, I waged war against these guys two years ago (HERE)

That’s all in the past now. These days I’ve really hit my stride with this Saturday morning five kilometre weekly ritual fun-run. You might even say I’m cruisin’.

Three years ago when I first commenced doing ParkRuns, my running ‘style’, for want of a better description, looked not unlike this –

Now, I’m happy to report, I can maintain a steady rhythm that on a good day looks more like this (minus the collar and tie) –

Last year I completed 26 ParkRuns. That works out on average one each fortnight. That figure surprises me somewhat since I couldn’t get motivated to turn up to a single ParkRun the whole of winter.

For those who are interested in this sort of thing, out of those 26 runs my fastest time was 28 minutes and 3 seconds (November 9th) and my slowest time was 31 minutes and 36 seconds (January 12th). The vast majority of my run times were in the 28 minute range.

In the name of humbling comparison, these are the current world records for running five kilometres –

Male – 12 minutes & 37 seconds (set in 2004)

Female – 14 minutes & 11 seconds (set in 2008)

Need it be said both these time-slaying, cork-popping, chiseled in history records were set by Ethiopian runners. Ethiopia (population 114 million) recorded bronze medals in both the male and female 5000 metre running events at the Rio Olympics back in 2016.

But I digress…

My own humble record-setting feat – I’ve been doing 7am ParkRuns since 2017, with 2019 being my most consistent ‘run’ of completion – was achieved across a total of five different ParkRun locations.

The most scenic of these places was without doubt the ParkRun I completed while on holiday down in Tasmania. Here’s a picture of me crossing the finishing line, with daylight second –

Daylight second huh? That seems to suggest either I finished way ahead of everyone else or dead-stone motherless last. The less spectacular truth is somewhere, actually precisely in the middle of those two extremes.
I finished pretty much in the centre of the field of approx 70 runners with a gap of a hundred or so metres between myself and the next runner at either end.
While down in Tasmania I decided to call in on the Hobart branch of SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK. All’s well (and definitely scenic!) down there.

Anyone who’s ever participated in a ParkRun will find what I’m about to say difficult to fathom. On the Tasmanian ParkRun I actually got lost. I’ll say that again in case anyone is thinking they’re misreading that – on the Tasmanian ParkRun I got lost.

This course was a winding dirt track ‘in the woods’ located right next to Risdon medium to maximum security jail for male prisoners. Among the giants of root and leaf and with the wind blowing with a passion it felt like I was in the land that time forgot.

Actually, what it really reminded me of was the feeling that somehow I’d found myself in a deep woods scene from the Burt Reynolds movie DELIVERANCE (1972). Thankfully I didn’t meet up with any escapees on the run or toothless hillbilly’s while moving through, unlike poor Jon Voight and Ned Beatty in this moment –

Anyway, there I was putting one foot in front of the other amidst the Tasmanian wilderness when all of a sudden the track split into two. Up to this point I’d been careful to maintain sight of the runner about 40 metres ahead but coming around the bend, suddenly my guide was nowhere to be seen.

A ‘go left or go right’ decision lay waiting for an unsuspecting Queensland first-timer and I literally had no clue. So what did I do? I broke my golden rule about never stopping for breath during a 5 km ParkRun and stood and waited. Within 15 seconds salvation was at hand in the form of a singlet- clad 50 something ‘running man’ who steered me on the right path.

And THAT is my peacetime ParkRun story.

PS.

The list below is taken from the website RUNNER’S WORLD (HERE) It chronicles unusual things real life joggers have seen, found or encountered during their runs.



PSS. Not into running? Then you’d surely better click HERE

PSSS. If you’re not into running but more into movies about writer’s click HERE

11 thoughts on “Park Run and Me

  1. It may all be in the angle of the camera Glen, but under severe forensic scrutiny, I’ve come to the conclusion you came a close second behind your shadow.

    Dispute it if you wish, but we have photographic evidence….

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s impressive. First getting up at 7 in the morning. Or BEFORE 7, if you want to be already running by 7. But the running’s impressive too! Props!

    Once when we were training to go hiking on Mt. Whitney, we got lost coming back from a long day hike back to camp. We were exhausted and dehydrated and could not for the life of us find our campsite–we just kind of went left slightly off the trail and just like that, with the snap of your fingers, we were heading in the wrong direction, stumbling, getting more and more tired and lost, and the worst part was, everyone else had already left (it was a Sunday afternoon) so there was no one there to help us.

    Suddenly there was a deer standing ahead of us to the right staring at us. Weirdly, we realized that the deer was standing where we had to go, like it had appeared there on purpose. We walked in that direction, the deer meandered off and away, and eventually we came to our campsite. We’ve always thought it was a strange, mysterious, much-needed intervention!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Just to get up and even contemplate going for a run is one thing but to actually get out there commands massive respect. I’ve tried for many years but I just can’t do it but I like walking at pace. Living in a town filled with hills has it’s ups and downs. (cheesy pun). So now the film challenge to myself has finished the next challenge is to get fit and cut down on the beautiful booze. I’d love to have the finesse in style of the Barack and Joe show but haha that gif above is the only true outcome of style that would be on show for approx 2 minutes before I’m face down in a ditch holding my sides.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We’re all built slightly differently so wear and tear on the joints has never been a problem for me. But I can tell you by the time I cross the finishing line I am a literal ocean of salty-to-the-taste sweat and my shirt is cling-wrapped to my body. Apparently that might even be good for me!

    Liked by 1 person

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