This was the third year running of this event and it would be rude not to give it another go, especially after having a great time in 2011. This is what the event is all about…
“Started in 2010, the idea is simple – On the first Sunday after the longest day of the year, to visit as many parkruns as possible. But while the potential total distance is quite large (35km or 21.7 miles), this isn’t a heavy duty running event, it is first and foremost a social day – there’s no official timing, runners can turn up at as many (or as few) of the runs as they want, and do as much of the courses as they want.”
The weather was much cooler than in 2011 and after getting my heavy old mountain bike ready for the day (i.e., clean and oil the chain and pump up the tyres) I was at Bushy Park at 8:40am.
In a weeks time I’m doing (yet another) ironman distance triathlon so wanted to make sure I took it easy today. I wanted to run (slowish) and steady throughout and together with the cycling between runs would treat it as a very long training day (but not quite as long as the triathlon!).
There were so many people there this year (well over 50) which is understandable as parkrun gets more popular. Lots of us were on bikes (I counted about 15 at one point) so it was good to have a group of likeminded parkrun addicts to spend the day with.
Bushy was first, followed by Bedfont Lakes, then Old Deer Park. I only just got to Old Deer parkrun with about three minutes to spare before the midday pre-run briefing. After this parkrun we headed to Richmond Park where we had plenty of time to relax before the 1:30pm start.
Just as soon as we started at Richmond it started to rain so as we ran past our bikes I took a super quick detour and adjusted my rucksack so that it wouldn’t get rained on too much. Then it was back to the running. We then got bombarded by a very short but intense shower. The rain actually felt cold.
After Richmond is was off to Wimbledon Common. This is where I reached into the rucksack I’d be carrying all day and pulled out my trail shoes. They felt like new shoes after having the running shoes on for so many hours. Wimbledon was muddy and slippery in places but no trouble with these shoes. Good decision.
We then headed to Kingston parkrun where I kept my trail shoes on. This was another pretty wise decision as some parts of the course were really wet and muddy.
Finally we all ventured back to Bushy Park for the final run of the day at 6pm. There was still a great crowd and we had a couple of photos before the run of everyone who’d run all seven (or was about to) and those who’d cycled in between them all as well. I was one of the ten who rode between every parkrun and completed the 5k distance.
They say an interval session is only as good as your last interval so I decided to push pretty hard in the final run, finishing in 19:40, nearly five minutes faster than my slowest run of the day.
So, the scores on the doors….
- Bushy parkrun – 24:13
- Bedfont Lakes parkrun – 24:16
- Old Deer parkrun – 24:34
- Richmond parkrun – 24:11
- Wimbledon Common parkrun – 23:24
- Kingston parkrun – 23:28
- Bushy parkrun 19:40
The Longest parkrun is a great event. When you cross the finish line you normally hang around and wait for every last runner to finish (who you cheer on) and then you head to the next run. The timings are perfect to allow this to happen.
Just under 22 miles were run and with over 30 miles on the bike I’d call that a good days exercise! Now I just need to recover quickly in time for my ironman race…