Sorry, that should read “it’s the Killer Parkrun”.
Today was my first ever Parkrun. After the dismal failure of handing over the decision-making process to the great and the good (yes, I mean you lot), I made an executive decision and decided to try the Killerton Parkrun (otherwise known as Killer Parkrun). It was certainly a hot morning, with Exeter recording some of the highest temperatures in the country. It reached 29.6C just after lunch and I was very glad that the run began at nine; it was warm enough at that early hour.
Arriving at the car park I was soon accosted by another runner. “Are you a Parkrunner?” he asked. “I am, I guess, but this is my first time.” “Mine too” he replied. As he started to get ready I heard him being quizzed by another new arrival: “is this where the Parkrun happens? I’ve not been before.” It was the blind leading the blind! Eventually the one-eyed man arrived, we proclaimed him king, then followed him to where the run was due to take place.
Being a first-timer I had arrived well before the allotted start time. However, even with half an hour to go, there were a lot of people milling around, limbering up and preparing themselves. I had a slow jog up towards the house and back, did a few stretches then felt a bit self-conscious and went and stood under a tree.
Come 9:00 we had been briefed and were lined up behind the starting line. In my case, I was lined up behind the people lined up behind the people lined up behind the starting line. But I was still behind the starting line.
The hooter sounded and we set off. I won’t bore you with a foot-by-foot account of the five kilometres; instead, here are a few key observations from my first ever Parkrun:
- Don’t spend too much time looking at the view. Yes, it’s pretty. But you will run into bushes.
- The shade is your friend. The sun hates you.
- Stopping to check on someone when they fall over is the right thing to do. But you will feel a bit of a mug when they execute a near-perfect sliding roll, pop up onto their feet quick as a flash and burst past you.
- Seeing people running back past you on a warm-down whilst you’re still slogging away should be demoralising, but isn’t. Well done to those guys and girls who are that quick.
- Ice cream is an acceptable post-run refreshment.