With the news of the Luton Marathon cancelled at the last minute I had an excellent amount of training in my legs and was after a decent way of ‘unloading’ some of it. The day after the Luton Marathon cancellation came through I chose to run Bushy parkrun. The original plan was for two easy miles ahead of race day, but with no race day I could do whatever I wanted…
So, Bushy Park was covered in snow and I was armed with my trail shoes. I missed out on the snowy parkruns earlier in the year due to injury so was looking forward to this one.
A good warm up was required (it was about -2 degrees out there) and as we all set off I found myself quite high up in the positions, running alongside a few of the regular fast chaps. Turning onto the path at the end of Chestnut Avenue I was just inside the top ten and feeling good (I was at the end of an excellent marathon taper you see). The path was like a bit of an ice rink so most of us chose to run on the grass just to the side of the main route.
Slowly but surely I moved up the field and then found myself gently closing in on the third place runner - Danny. Turning into the final straight I was right beside him. He wanted me to get my first ‘podium’ place at Bushy parkrun, and I was happy for him to get the extra point in the annual points competition… I pushed real hard and was able to get ahead and finish third overall out of 331 finishers. My time was 18:48, which is very slow for a 3rd place but all times (apart from the 15:57 winner!) were much slower than usual because of the snow and ice.
I was chuffed to bits with the run. My name made it into the local paper, but the buggers only had photos of first and second man, the first woman and some Irish lass who finished further down the field….
Just after registering my finish I got chatting to occasional Bushy parkrunner and Olympic silver medalist, World Athletics Champion (and much much more) Sonia O’Sullivan. Sonia, Danny, Shane and myself then did an easy cool-down lap of the 5k course - running with an Olympic medal holder isn’t something you do every day!
Fast forward a week to the 11th December and I’m back at Bushy parkrun, this time after going out in London the night before for a few beers at a catch up with some triathlon/Ironman friends…. Conditions at Bushy were ideal, if a little slippery on the grass/mud in places.
As I set off I was feeling strong and pushed hard down the first straight. After 1k I was in about 15th place. I was in a very small group of people and pushed to the front and off of it by hanging onto the back of Mark G. He was running strong and I fought to hang onto him for the rest of the 5k. We overtook one chap at about 3km and from then on it was just a fight for survival. It was one of those runs where you think you could ‘blow up’ at any point but you just have to keep pushing hard and hope it doesn’t happen!
Running the final km I knew I was on for a fast time and knew I’d be close to my personal best from October 2009 (17:53). Sharon screamed my name in support in the final straight - I couldn’t acknowledge as I was giving everything to get to the finish as quickly as possible.
I cross the line, absolutely bloody knackered but delighted with a new personal best time of 17 minutes 51 seconds. My current run focus is paying off big time and I’m going to keep it going and see what happens over the coming weeks and months as we head into the Spring marathon season…