I was supposed to be tail walking at Alice Holt today, but events conspired against me. It ended up being easier to get to London than 9 miles up the road so I looked for volunteering opportunities in West London. Wormwood Scrubs needed a tail walker and I needed to tail walk as I have a marathon tomorrow.
I spent a year living in Acton while I was a student and passed Wormwood Scrubs prison on my way too and from university on the tube but I had never noticed Wormwood Scrubs Park before. My first impression was how big it was! Then there was the added excitement of a pony on the loose. The pony appeared to have been abandoned, but whoever left it in the park probably knew that there was a pony centre nearby and the pony was soon captured and taken off to the centre.
We gathered at the parkrun pop up flag thingy, chatted with regular Wormwood Scrubs runners and other visitors while we waited for 9am. 95 runners ran two laps of the park. The route is all on grass, today the ground was hard packed but I should imagine it is fairly muddy in the winter. It is also pretty flat. A brisk walk with the occasional short jog kept me just behind the last runner. That last runner ran every step of the way and managed a burst of speed as she approached the finish line - the lengths people will go to in order to avoid talking to me are quite extreme! I think we finished in just under 42 minutes.
After the run we popped into the Thames Valley Harriers club house for coffee. My father in law ran with Thames Valley Harriers in the 1940s/50s, Husbando mentioned this to one of the coaches who pointed him in the direction of some photos on the wall. There are no names with this picture but the man in the glasses in the middle of the photo looks so like photos of my father in law, and the resemblance to Husbando is uncanny. Originally I was planning to parkrun without Husbando. He was working in London this weekend and didn't even have his barcode with him. He decided that he had time to run while we were eating breakfast, so we had to ask the hotel to print off a barcode for him. Had I gone alone I would not have remembered the TVH connection (if in fact I ever knew about it) and would have missed this little bit of family history.