For the past few weeks Saturday mornings have consisted of an early morning swim (about 4.5k - an hour an a quarter of front crawl) in the lake at Princes waterski club, and then at 9am its the Bedfont Lakes parkrun - the latest in the growing empire of free, timed, weekly 5k running events.
It was a welcome sight to see Darren Wood at the start - the first parkrun he’s run at other than the 200+ runs he’s done at Bushy parkrun. We warmed up together - discussed the course (and its little hills) and then lined up for the start.
Its so easy to get carried away at the start and run ahead of yourself but I held back and watched four people run ahead. There were no super-quick runners today so I kept the leaders in sight for the first km. They were only about 10 seconds ahead of me. Just after 1km I caught up with the leading group and edged past them one by one. By 2km I was in the lead! Eek. I’ve not experienced that before. The only thing ahead of me was the lead bike and empty path.
As we headed onto the second lap I knew I was running quicker than I had done for some time, and was afraid of blowing up on slight uphill and watching everything fall apart. I stayed focussed, didn’t push unnecessarily hard (I couldn’t if you’d wanted me to!) and just stuck with it.
In the last km I knew there was a runner not too far behind but was pretty certain I’d be able to stay ahead - and that I did. I rounded the final bend, ran into the finishing chute and collected my token - with the number ‘1’ printed on it. Brilliant. My finishing time was 18:25. The last time I ran quicker than this was an 18:16 at Bushy parkrun in September 2008. I tell you, Bedfont is certainly more than 9 seconds slower than Bushy parkrun, so I look forward to running Bushy in a few weeks time to give the legs a good ‘spin’ on a flat course.
One great thing about this parkrun is that the computer where you register your position is sat on a little wooden table/bench with a seat - so I collapsed onto the seat and registered. Lovely.
So here we go, after running 122 parkruns I’ve won my first race! My other best positions at parkrun are 3rd place a few weeks ago and a second place at Richmond parkrun.