Parklife round two

Amidst much excited tweeting, I ran my first Parkrun back in July. Unfortunately the week after saw the start of my hip/knee issues and I hadn’t been back since. However, last week, I was tweeted by Abradypus (who is part of the tribe of nomadic Parkrunners who travel near and far, visiting as many different events as they can) as she was up north and offering a bit of company on a Saturday morning. Both of my nearest runs are about a 40 minute drive away from my house, which is a bit of a contributing factor to my Parkrun laziness. What Abradypus was proposing was driving from London to Leeds on Friday night, and then crossing the Pennines to be at Leverhulme Park in Bolton for a 9.00 start. Phew.

Bolton Parkrun includes an incline described in the route instructions as That Hill. Normally, the route takes you up That Hill twice, but this week the running track was being refurbished and so we would have to run That Hill not once, not twice, but three times. At the start of the race we were informed that we would know when we were on the third lap because “our legs would be screaming”. Yay.

Initially I managed to keep up with Louise whilst still being able to make conversation (albeit slightly gasping conversation at times), but halfway up the first hill I realised that my lack of hill training (oh alright, my lack of much training) would scupper any chance I had of maintaining my early pace. At this point, I released Louise from her supervisory role and off she went while I strolled up the last part of the hill. At this point, I was overtaken by a woman running with a child and a dog. Soon I would overtake them because I am a finely tuned athlete.

Oh alright, her dog stopped to drink from a puddle.

The hill came around again far too quickly and I hate to admit it but I wussed out of running it, deciding to put more effort into the flat bits and try again with the hill on the next loop. I’m not sure who I was trying to kid – I walked most of the third hill as well. Ooops.

I finished in the aesthetically pleasing time of 33.33 and once again was the first woman to finish in my age group. I say first, it would be more accurate to say ‘only’, but I take accolades wherever I can. Looking at the results of the regular Levehulme Park runners, the change of route put about 2 or 3 minutes on people’s PBs, so I was quite happy with my time given how much I had walked. Conditions-wise, it was slightly odd that my July run was completed in the cold and wet, whereas October’s was done under blue skies and sunshine. It was lovely to meet with another Athoner and I’ll definitely be running Bolton again in the future, but maybe I’ll wait until the normal route is resumed.