on... "Eng er land"!

This week, I abandoned my local parkrun (Newport) in favour of catching up with a few friends down at LongMeadow parkrun, Taunton in glorious "Eng er land".

Katie used to run parkrun Newport every Saturday, where we enjoyed many a sprint off, with neither of us giving up. I attribute much of my recovery through the year to chasing Katie round the park, until such point that she was chasing me and that worked just as well. A few months ago, Katie moved back to Taunton, where they started a new parkrun just for her.

To make it even more fun, I managed to persuade another friend to come up from the South Coast to see what parkrun's all about. Juliette had run the "Race for Life" earlier in the year, and treated the intervening months as a quality recovery.

LongMeadow parkrun is pancake flat, run across mainly grass paths with a short muddy section and a few short, narrow bridges (thankfully also flat). There's a long open wooden barn in the middle and we had to run round twice.

We arrived, had an emotional get together, and Katie was all set in her Lliswerry vest. The girls followed my patented warm up routine, before heading over to the barn. There was an enthusiastic briefing, then we were sent to line up. On Katie's instruction, we went towards the front. There were two other instructions - watch out for where you start the finish sprint, and there was something about a runner that needed to be beaten. Now, non-disclosure prevents me from saying who and why we had to beat her, but I was up for the challenge. In return, my goal was to pace Katie to finish just under 22 minutes. Juliette took the challenge of keeping the tailrunner company.

We started on a "three, two, one, go!" and hoofed it to the first bridge. There, we were met by a man coming in the opposite direction... on a bike... with a dog... on a long lead! "Bike" we shouted before coming so a complete standstill.

Recovery was swift and I settled into a comfortable run, only to check my watch at 1K to find that it went through in 4:12. Wow - I was meant to pace Katie in for 22:00, so should have been about 4:22 - 4:25. Tell you what, let's see how it goes, 2K 4:15. OK, my shoulder has been playing up, so I couldn't risk looking behind to see where she was, and I kept on going.

4:17 for the killer 2 - 3K section (Katie says that I always slow down here), good gosh, I'm on for a PB if I can keep it up. Pretty much just kept it going with this thought, started to see people faltering at the 4K mark, always a sign to keep going. I'd forgotten about my 22 minute challenge at this point, sorry Katie.

I checked the tank, and there was plenty in there to pick it up a bit for the finish. Just as I came to the final bend, I shouted to Juliette as she completed her first lap, then flew into the finish funnel for a new PB. How on earth?


Katie came in about a minute later, picking up "first lady" for the day, putting her at the top of the points table too. Mission accomplished.


So, how did that PB come about? In no particular order...

  • New Course (dry, flat and fast)
  • Getting up early (05:45 to be precise)
  • Properly fuelled (through the week and a proper breakfast because of getting up so early)
  • Amazing company!
  • Wearing the "maroon and white" (Lliswerry vests make you go quicker over the bridge, fact)
  • Target to chase
  • Weather conditions - absolutely spot on - sunny, not too hot

Warm-down was a wander around and sooooo many photos. Runners team "selfies" are so much fun, but I think we've got a few too many from this run (not to mention that video). Then headed off for breakfast and a catch-up before going our separate ways.
parkrun - not only good for meeting new friends, but great for keeping in touch too.

Only concern now was how I'd fare in the next day's Cross Country run!

Eat, Sleep, Race, Repeat.
Eat, Sleep, Race, Repeat.

Nigel (with apologies to Fat Boy Slim)