A friend that I haven’t seen for ages contacted me recently. She’d seen I’d done my fiftieth parkrun, which prompted her to tell me about a running group she’s in.
They have all done the couch-to-5k (C25K) programme, and this group helps them keep going. I haven’t done C25K, but I do need motivation to keep going – to keep going out running and to keep running without stopping once I am out. They meet on Mondays and Thursdays; the former clashes with my Pilates class, but I can do Thursdays. I signed up.
On Thursday evening, it was cold, dark and drizzly. I’d seen a group of people hanging round the bike shed in fluorescent colours and wondered what they were doing. Now I knew, and I thought I’d better wear something bright as well: I borrowed a lightweight wind-proof jacket that Colin uses for his walking trips, and wore it over my new parkrun 50 t-shirt.
I was the first person there; I was a bit anxious until someone else turned up. We got chatting, and soon there were five of us, including the run leader, who took the register – it seems the arrangements are quite formal. My friend couldn’t make it after all, which was shame.
The leader went through the route – we were to go up the dreaded hill – but it was all on paved surfaces. We did a little warm-up and set off. The others are better runners than me; one lady had said she couldn’t talk and run, so she ran at the back. I can’t talk and run either, so when the race leader started chatting to me, I fell quite far behind. Still, the chatting took my mind off the running, and slowing down every so often allowed me to get my breath back.
Overall, the time wasn’t great, but it’s not about that: it’s about going out and running. I felt like stopping a few times, but the company helped me to keep going, which was my hope and my aim. That’s why I like parkrun: the encouragement and support helps you round the course.
When the leader and I had caught up to the others at the end, we had a nice chat, then I walked some of the way home with one of the others. They all seem like lovely people who I think will be good to run with again; I’ve signed up for next Thursday. I will keep going.