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 –
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.
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