Saturday 2 September 2023

One day one photo - 2: Park Run - Saturday morning motivation

Park Run in Crystal Palace Park, London

I have been into running ever since I can remember. As a child I took part in little running races at school and really looked forward to sports day. I regularly went to an athletics track in the local area, Dorothy Hyman's Track Club and my athletic prowess earned me a few medals and trophies. I was 13 then - very much a distant memory and practically another world. Over 40 years later, I am far from winning any medal now, but I am happy to say that I still run (when I am not dealing with one injury or other) and generally enjoy it. Hopefully, all being well, I will take part in the Paris - Versailles 10-mile running race later this month. 

Today I planned to run between seven and eight miles as part of my training. Sometimes I have to work to make my runs interesting and varied in order to stay motivated. On a Saturday morning it's the easiest thing in the world to do to roll over in bed and get an extra hour's lie-in. Very handily, as it's Saturday morning I could turn up at any one of the dozen or so Park Runs near my home and incorporate the 5km mass participation run into my longer outing. 

So that's what I did - a one-mile run to Crystal Palace Park, do the 3.1 miles of the Park Run, and then take a long route back home to make up the mileage. In the end I did 7.75 miles. I'll take that. It's a good job that I don't try to get a personal best when I do the Park Runs, as this run was well off my potential. I was quite happy to plod around at my long slow run pace, and not get involved in any sparring match with other runners. The beauty of the Park Run is that any level of runner/non-runner can take part. There are those who can rattle off the distance in a little over a quarter of an hour, while there are others who walk the entire course. Then some run with their children or their dogs. Mind you, don't underestimate their ability. Some of them are pretty swift. I crossed the finish line with a time just shy of 36 minutes, in 197th place out of 258. There was something quite liberating about running around slowly and seeing a newbie runner who is slightly overweight huffing and panting, straining every sinew to romp past you in the last 50 metres before the finish line and get a sense of satisfaction. I'm good with that. I hope they don't get too disappointed when they look at the results and see that my personal best on that course is more than 11 minutes quicker!

No comments: