It seems like years since I was standing, shivering in the Bois de Boulogne last weekend. A lot has happened in one short week, not least of which is a total change in the weather. Today called for shorts, t-shirts, sunnies and sunscreen! I'm not entirely sure how we decided on today's venue, but Prospect parkrun was chosen, probably because it was fairly nearby and none of us had run it before.
We found our way easily enough, parking in the carpark at a nearby Asda (two hours free parking if you are a customer, so we had to buy some Easter eggs!) and walking/jogging to the start in the middle of Prospect Park. The park is Reading's largest open space, the name deriving from the views across the Kennet Valley. These views are best seen from the highest point of the park - the Mansion House - which is now a Harvester. There are loos available near the start, and should you wish to have a post parkrun game of bowls there is a bowling green for your pleasure.
The first timers' briefing and the main run brief all take part near the start. I was surprised to bump into a friend I hadn't seen for ages and ages - a reminder of how small the parkrun world really is. As you might discern from the photo we wore our Paris finisher shirts with pride, the man in the background in the 250 shirt with the beard had also run the Paris Marathon last Sunday. The start was wide allowing us to set off at a fine pace....up hill!
The course is two laps, all on grass, neatly squashed into the lower half of the park. This is fine, as the other half of the park is up hill! I set off way too fast, so the second and third miles were a case of just hanging on and hoping that the wheels didn't fall off totally. I know that all parkruns are the same length, but some of them seem much longer than others. Today was a long one! Whether it was being tired after last weekend and an emotional week I don't know, but a part of me thinks that parkruns when you can see just how much of the park there is still to run though seems to make it even longer. On the plus side, it is all relatively flat and, in this weather, nice and firm under foot. A few bits of uneven ground but nothing to worry about. I can only imagine how muddy it can get in the wet winter weather - I don't think I'll be back to visit then! The marshals were friendly and encouraging - especially another friend who called out my name as I ran past!
I didn't realise that Husbando was seconds behind me all the way around. He was just a bit too far away for me to be able to hear his breathing, and too close for me to spot him behind me as we ran around the corners. Apparently he tried to catch me, but didn't have it today. We finished in 29th and 30th places, I was first in my age category and third lady, just 11 seconds slower than my overall parkrun PB.
After we'd had our barcodes scanned we walked up to the Mansion House for post parkrun tea and coffee. How lovely to be able to sit outside in the sunshine, and what lovely views! Thank you to all the volunteers for another super parkrun!