Parkrun #59; volunteer #60 (tail walker) plus challenge complete

Strava walking challenge

Challenge complete.

Strava has all these challenges you can join to encourage you to get plenty of exercise. I usually sign up to the monthly 5 km running challenges; this month, I also joined the March Walking Distance challenge to walk 50 km during the month.

I wasn’t completely convinced I was going to complete it, but when I looked at Strava yesterday, I saw I had seven days left and only 4 km to go. It must be all that walking from Ely to Soham and back and all that traipsing across Cambridge from the station to a writing meeting to a piano bar in one day and all that park-walking that did it.

So, this remaining 4 km? Well, conveniently, I had a 5 km walk planned for today: tail-walking at parkrun, which I walk to.


I was tail-walking with Pete, who normally manages the funnel. As part of the finish funnel team, we have to wait around till everyone has finished, and it ain’t finished till the tail walkers cross the line. They’re free to take as long as they need, of course, but when the wind is bitter, it’s nice if they cross the line sooner rather than later. We had decided to see how long it really takes to tail-walk at our parkrun and duly signed up on the volunteer roster; it takes 57 minutes and 37 seconds (official time).

Tail-walking splits and the route of the winter course.
From Strava.

We might have been faster, but we were walking with lovely Luna, whose daddy thinks she’s getting a bit too long in the tooth to run the 5 k, but she can walk for most of it till he finishes. Luna usually sits beside me at the finish funnel, so this walking round malarkey is a bit different. This is the second time we’ve walked together: the first was when we assumed the parkwalker roles introduced in October 2022.

The wind was up today, which wakes Luna up. I get a bag of sweeties to give her if necessary – usually given to distract her from the fact her daddy has disappeared from view. Today, she had minty sweeties; we wondered if she’d like them; she scoffed them, so I think they were acceptable.

Luna kept stopping to look back after she saw her daddy go the other way. She was convinced forever after that anyone coming up behind us must be him. We had to physically turn her round to get her to continue; when even the treats distracted her, it was for only the time it took to wolf down. I didn’t mind though: she’s too lovely to mind.

Pre-parkrun: the ominous clouds were itching to dump their cold load on us as we each went round the course in the best way we could.
Meanwhile, the lines on one of the football pitches on the big field were repainted.

Luna’s daddy came and collected her when we were approaching the last edge of the big field for the second time. By this time, she was quite the soggy doggy, because the earlier fenland wind blew some very cold rain over the course, which blew right into our faces when we were facing the wrong way, which was most ways. As we approached the finish, the wind blew the rain away, and the sun came out and warmed us all up.

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