Sharon and I seem to be visiting a few different parkrun’s at the moment and with two ‘local’ ones starting this past weekend (Greenwich and Swindon) was thought we’d give one of them a go. After reading this weeks parkrun newsletter we saw that PSH (the parkrun ‘boss’) was going to Greenwich so we thought we’d offer him a little company.
7am on Saturday morning and Sharon, Kirsty, Paul and myself jump into the car for the drive to Greenwich – or Avery Hill Park to be precise.
There’s ample car parking, toilets right by the start and its a small 3 lap course with each lap being just over 1 mile in length. This is a perfect parkrun for those who are not yet up to 5k (3.1 miles) of running, as you could run a lap, walk a lap, run a lap etc. I’d also say its a pretty child friendly course as you’re never more than about half a kilometer from the start/finish area if you need to stop short.
After recent rain the past week has been dry and Saturday was no exception – the trouble was that part of the course was a bit waterlogged and extremely muddy – and thus slippery underfoot. I didn’t bring trail shoes and just had my standard ‘runners.’
After an introduction and course description we were off, all 18 of us (nice low key numbers for this first Greenwich parkrun). Immediately I found myself in the lead and I was glad I’d run a warm-up lap beforehand to work out the course (there’s great signage on the course which makes it extremely difficult to make mistakes).
I kept my position at the front and just ran solidly steady. It was hard work on the slippery mud/grassy area (in the summer the lower part of the course will be just fine, but for the other three seasons it could get messy). Towards the end of each lap you head onto a tarmac pathway and there’s a slight incline to the finish/lap point. Plenty of marshals were on hand to let you know where to go, and to encourage you to keep on pushing. Thanks.
My run wasn’t fast but I led the field home to my third parkrun victory (after Bedfont and Bromley in 2009). My finishing time was 21:16 and probably one of the slowest ever winning times. According to my Garmin my mile splits were fairly even (6:48, 6:43, 6:43). This, er, winning time means that I currently hold the course record for the parkrun. A record that will surely fall this coming Saturday.
As for the others in our little ‘outing’, Paul finished in second place, and Kirsty was first lady. Sharon’s back was playing up (she hurt it at work a few weeks ago) and she was way off of her best. Her form/fitness will return. You just mustn’t rush these things.
Overall it wasn’t an easy course, and this was mainly because of the mud and I’d say hill-wise its got a little more climbing that the Bedfont Lakes parkrun. I’d say this is a lovely little parkrun, even though the cafe was being re-furbished and wasn’t open on the day!
Because of the cafe situation we had to head into Eltham, just up the road for a coffee and some cake, so all was well. I then spent most of the journey home fielding mobile phone calls for Paul as a result of a little computer issue back at parkrun HQ. I think I spoke to probably most of the parkrun race directors during that journey home!