I’m a huge fan of parkrun – the free weekly 5k runs that take place across the country (and indeed the world) – but have never ran one. Or watched. Or volunteered.
Almost all take place on a Saturday morning and that’s when my girls have swimming lessons. I want my girls to be competent swimmers. Not only is it a life skill, but it opens up all sorts of fun activities for them as they grow up. And so, in short, I will happily sacrifice a run for them to learn to swim.
However, their lessons are term-time only and so there is a big expanse of swimming-free Saturday mornings available to me this summer. So, last Saturday I decided to give it a go. A new parkrun had launched in our local town the week before and I had registered online and downloaded the barcodes months ago, so I was good to go.
Husband wanted to come to see some of his bootcamp friends who were running and so we set off with the youngest in tow (her self-appointed role job was cheering loudly and running the last few metres with me – something she took very seriously and we had to practice before we left).
We left in plenty of time, as I’d heard there was usually a pre-run briefing, and arrived at what I thought was twenty minutes before the start. We looked over the field to the start and saw a large group of runners making their way towards us. My husband made a comment about them warming up as I realised I had got the start time wrong. Big parkrun fail.
Youngest daughter soon took control and said we basically needed to find a field I could run round while she and daddy stood in the middle and cheered. It sounded like a great plan, but in the end I opted for running the six miles home.
I recounted the story to one of my running friends the next day and she summed it up perfectly… ‘it’s parkrun, it’ll be there next week’. And hopefully, so will I.