I was planning on helping down at Bushy parkrun today as I’m racing this afternoon in the Surrey League Cross Country series…. However, after talking with PSH (Mr ‘parkrun’ himself) on Friday and checking on a map I found out that Bromley parkrun is only 10 miles from Coulsdon - where the afternoons XC race was being held. A new plan was hatched - why not go to Bromley parkrun, have an easy jog round the course, tick that one off of the list and then run XC later in the day.
I left home at 7:15 for the hour or so’s drive to Bromley. I’d hate to do the drive in traffic on a weekday, but at this time on a Saturday morning it was fine. As I got closer to Bromley the rain came down, and down. The weather has been horrific and the forecast was for more of the same. There are flood warnings all over the south of England so I knew it was shaping up to be a wet day of running ahead of me!
As I arrived in the car park, which is only 30 seconds jog from the start line, I saw PSH so I jumped in his car for a chat and to listen to the thunder and lightning outside. There was a strong chance that the race would have been called off but the lightning subsided (although the rain didn’t) as it got nearer to 9am.
We went for an easy warm-up jog and found ourselves at the start of the 12th Bromley parkrun. There were just over 25 runners on the line. The rain was pouring down, it was blowing a gale, it was getting cold and we just wanted to get on with it.
As soon as we started I headed off with the lead group and within about 15 seconds found myself at the front of this group - that wasn’t the plan. I felt comfortable so just carried on. Before long I noticed I had a lead of maybe about 5-8 seconds which I was happy to maintain.
The course is mostly on grass around the perimeter edge of a large field. It was extremely wet with some big muddy puddles to run through. I was so glad I had my trail shoes on this morning as it must have been pretty slippery in normal ‘runners.’
My GPS clocked my first mile in 6:12 which was a comfortable pace and the second mile in 6:22. Much of the slowness was because of the wind and almost horizontal rain. Oh, and the soaking wet grass!
Probably at just over 1km to go the person who’d been trailing me all the race came up behind me and pulled up beside me. We commented on the weather (just like all English people do as a past-time!) and then pushed on (this ‘conversation’ was a good way for us both to gauge each others effort). Rounding the field near to the start line area I decided that it was time for me to push hard from here as I didn’t particularly want this to end in a sprint-finish. I pushed on and in the final minute my pace was slightly under 5:30 miling - it was a hard slog to the end but I couldn’t turn down the chance of a parkrun win.
I crossed the line in first place with a time of 19:36 followed by the second place runner coming in 10 seconds later. In third place was PSH himself - a cracking run and his first ‘podium’ finish.
Really I shouldn’t have been running this morning because of the Surrey League race in the afternoon, but I was happy to have an easy jog around this parkrun (as was the plan). However it didn’t turn out to be too easy in the end (I would have been foolish to not go for the win as it was served up for me), but I think I’ve got enough energy to get me round this afternoons race! As I’m not fast enough to count in the scoring team for the cross country races then it shouldn’t impact the team results. The next few hours will tell…
Finally, well done to the Bromley team for putting on a great event and for the volunteers who stood in the rain this morning - it really was appreciated.