Saturday, 16 August 2014

Woking inaugural parkrun

In a radical break from tradition, and by prior arrangement with Elaine, I decided not to wear my 100 club tshirt to the inaugural Woking parkrun.  Instead we were pretty in pink!   Our 'Don't be sh*t!' tops were sold to celebrate the achievement of Steve Way and to raise money for Julia's House Hospice.  They come in many colours, but we'd both chosen pink.

Due to a rather late night on Friday I had not checked the directions to the start and decided to rely on my Sat Nav, which got up almost there.  We were less than quarter of a mile from where we needed to be, but the road was blocked by bollards!  Luckily we'd left enough time for such emergencies and were soon parking in the free carpark at Woking Leisure Centre.   My first impression was that there were hundreds of parkrun shirts! I then realised that I knew loads of people.  I think it is quite possible that I knew more people at Woking today than I know at my home parkrun.  parkrunners had descended on Woking from far and wide and it was lovely to see so many friendly faces.  I just wish that there had been more time to catch up with people.  

The run briefing took place at the start line.  I think the start line must boast the closest loos to a start line at any parkrun (although I am happy to be corrected) as they are just a couple of steps away from the start.  The briefing covered all that needed to be said, thanking volunteers, mentioning the sponsors etc. without going on too long.  And then we were off…. 

Three laps of the park sounds very simple and straightforward, but it was a twisty, turny route that wend its way into and out of woodland and over bridges.   Most of the course was on tarmac, with the bit through the woods being on trail.  The marshals were amazing, unfailingly cheerful and supportive as they cheered us on each and every lap.  I ran with the Fredster.  He wasn't happy as he was tired and grumpy following a very late night on Friday.  Still, thinking about how to cheer him up did take my mind off my hangover.   I got to chat to runners while I ran, meeting a lovely lady who was running her first 5k.  The twisty nature of the course meant I not only got to cheer on/hurl abuse at the the speedy runner as they lapped us, but also to see people I knew on various bits of the course as they ran around the convoluted loops.  

After scanning our barcodes and collecting bags, dealing with a fainting child and taking photos we made our way to the leisure centre for coffee.  I am not sure that the coffee shop there were quite prepared for an influx of parkrunners all in need of post run coffee, tea and cake!  

Thank you to all the organisers and volunteers who made this morning possible for me and 289 other runners.  I hope your event goes swimmingly and grows in popularity.  I'll be back soon I hope!

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