Ah, Saturday. Or, if you like, parkrunday. Glorious, wonderful parkrunday, which always seems to bring something to be happy about.
For the last couple of weeks with this horrible bout of poorliness I’ve been feeling pretty sorry for myself. I finally made it to the doctors on Tuesday to have it confirmed that yes, it was a nasty sinus infection and also labyrinthitis alongside it which was what was making me dizzy. He gave me antibiotics but as of Thursday night they hadn’t really kicked in and I was still feeling pretty rotten.
Woe is me, I kept thinking, wrist to forehead on the sofa. I’m so ill, and I’ve not trained properly for about four weeks. The doctor had told me my resting heart rate was 76 during the appointment. He thought that was really good, and I was horrified. It’s usually about 56. Just how much fitness would I have lost when this thing was done?
And so to parkrunday.
I’d felt a lot better on Friday, the tablets must have finally kicked in because the dizziness had gone. We’re part of a little parkrun tourism group organised by a club mate, and on the first Saturday of each month we head to find a slightly traily parkrun somewhere not too far away. Today was due to be Richmond. I’d promised myself that as long as I wasn’t feeling dizzy I could go along. After all, I could always walk if I needed to.
That’s the beauty of parkrun – it’s always been open to everyone, and since they’ve introduced the concept of having a tail walker as opposed to a tail runner it makes it even more clear that you don’t have to be speedy to take part. Everyone has their own story at parkrun.
There were loads of us today and so many different approaches to the run. There was me and another poorly Eagle, both recovering from bouts of Really Unpleasant Lurgy. We ran-walked it and kept each other sensible. There was also a little group walking the whole way because of injury, including our tourism group leader who hasn’t been able to run properly for ages but still takes the time to arrange these jolly jaunts, because she is kind.
One of our number has decided to make it a running goal to get a whole alphabet of parkruns and was ticking this one off as a new course. Another spends so much time volunteering and helping others with their running that she’s made the decision this year to make parkrun about her own running (about time too, she does so much) and was enjoying focusing on her own pace for once.
One club mate brought a friend from Canada – that’s what I call tourism! Mr. Duff used running to Richmond and completing parkrun as the first long run of his Spring marathon training.
And one of us was intending to walk, having not run for a really long time for various reasons, and came storming past us within the first mile with the bit between her teeth and too many layers on. She shed two jumpers on the way but ran her first parkrun in ages today and it was so incredible to see her back out there it made me thoroughly ashamed of myself for worrying so much about missing a couple of weeks.
We went for breakfast and cake in the cafe afterwards and had to rearrange the furniture to fit everyone in. Because that’s the other joy of parkrun and club running in general – the friends you make because of it and the time it affords you to spend in their company.
And the cake itself, obviously.
Parkrun is praised for being a brilliant thing all the time, but that’s because it really is. It doesn’t matter what you bring with you to parkrun. Any age, any pace, any story, any reason for running.
Parkrun is your friend, and it will always be there for you.