parkrun - always the best way to start the weekend, but parkrun Mob Match puts an extra spring in my step, with the added incentive of a friendly race against one of our rival running clubs.
Sadly, the spring in my step seemed lacking when I woke up on Saturday, exhausted after a rather stressful and tiring week at work. I took an extra 5 minutes drinking my tea in bed and finally got up at 8.30am (the advantage of being only 2 blocks from Gladstone Park), making sure I was vaguely presentable for the 8.50am photo call.
As I entered the park, I saw a sea of stripy Hoopsters. It looked like there was a great turn out. It was so good to see all the familiar faces, as well as Hoopsters I hadn’t seen for a while, who had come down to join the challenge against Sudbury Court. We gathered for the photo-call, quickly grabbing Race Director Sofia from her duties. There was confusion….who was taking the picture….which way should we look…there were so many of us, whoever was taking the picture was standing so far back we couldn’t spot them amongst the crowd.
(Sofia, always impartial)
Sofia took up position on the table tennis table to start the race introduction… and what a race introduction it was! Parkrun #450….hooray! Mob run between Queens Park Harriers and Sudbury Court….Sofia proudly reveals she runs for both clubs and is wearing both vests…..hooray! Milestone hero, and fellow Hoopster, Peter Reupke running his 250th Parkrun….big hooray!!...Peter’s son Adam’s 100th Parkrun….hooray!!....and volunteer Bev’s 150th Parkrun as a volunteer….huge hooray!! ‘Be like Bev and volunteer’ shouted Sofia, ‘Be like Bev, volunteer, and feel warm inside’…..hooray!!
Then off we all went to the start line. I thought I’d be brave and go a bit nearer the front than usual, starting with Saikat. The last mob run I missed a PB by 4 seconds, could I get one today? My legs certainly didn’t feel like it. Then we were off! Susan only-just-recovered-from-Covid Kennedy shot off like a racehorse in front of me looking very strong. I was not feeling strong but went off faster than usual. Just over the bridge Saikat overtook me and headed off into the distance. This is a familiar occurrence in all the races we do together, so I was not put off by this. ‘Keep him in your sights’, I thought, knowing my time would be good if I wasn’t too far behind (I lost him at some point but can’t remember when). As I ran towards the playground, I saw my neighbour and regular Parkrun volunteer Steve, he cheered me on and I thought ‘I bet he feels warm inside like Bev’.
I took a quick look at my watch, pace was good, could I keep this up? It certainly didn’t feel easy but the sunshine and beautiful spring morning was a helpful distraction. On the second lap I was getting overtaken, not a good feeling, but I just concentrated on pushing on, trying to spot some Sudbury Court runners as incentive to push harder. On the final stretch I spotted one in front on the hill down from the playground. I gave it everything I had and overtook him! Sadly, it was short lived – he suddenly picked up speed on the bridge and overtook me beyond reach. I’d decided not to look at my watch earlier on so just put as much effort into the final push as I could (always slightly wary of tripping up on the grass in the final stretch). Then it was done. I looked at my watch, it’s always a bit of guesswork without my glasses on but I thought it looked a good time. It was only when I got home, I realised I’d got a PB – only 6 seconds faster but I’ll take that! 28:02 (28:01 according to Garmin) – 1st female in my age category. Next mob run I’ll be trying for sub-28.