Running 5k the Parkrun way

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Five kilometres / 5,000 meters / 3.1 miles, however you look at it this distance will now forever be associated with parkrun .

Fareham’s¬†Cams Hall estate had a cold and crisp feeling to it but when combined with the Autumn sunshine¬†and the waters edge track, it makes for¬†a great location.

With 342 people eagerly awaiting the standard nine a.m. start I observed the multi-coloured assembly of people in their running/walking attire. I pondered what do these weekly events mean to people.

To Mo Farah it’s a 13 minute romp,¬†however, with the average¬†Fareham parkrun time being 30.20 this shows what an all inclusive¬†fitness phenomenon¬†parkrun has become and ………… it’s free !!

Now, it’s worth saying at this point that I’ve only¬†done 16 parkruns, however, I’ve been running for thirty years and I can honestly say the fact that no one has a race number pinned to their chest “really”¬†does make a huge difference.¬†Taking away the¬†pressurised feel of a race means¬†you can run/walk or jog at its purest form. You are running for you, whatever your goals are.

An unbelievable 1,803,378 people had participated in parkrun ahead of this Saturday, that’s in the UK – not Fareham !! ūüôā

 

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What also makes parkrun unique is the army of volunteers and the core teams within this. Setting up, marshalling, token sorting, result publishing and packing up … it all takes time, effort and dedication. These volunteers are the ultimate reason for parkruns success.

I bumped into numerous local club runners, some who I see on the trails and¬†some who I haven’t seen for ages.¬†There were¬†people from work and complete family groups who’s kids I’d never met before.

The course quickly skirts Fareham creek and runs parallel with the golf course. Another enjoyable feature is that it’s an out and back route so you get the chance to say hello or well done to potentially every single person taking part !! The track is fairly narrow so be warned as the fast boys come back towards you at quite a rate ūüôā

After the initial rush of blood I found my pace and eased off slightly. Three miles need pacing just the same as a marathon !! Set off too fast and you’ll regret it. As we passed the boats bobbing up and down¬†in the creek¬†my first mile was¬†7.55 and I had Martin and Debbie that¬†I know as markers ahead.

The pace meant¬†my lungs were certainly being worked harder than normal and as I passed Alison marshalling at half way I knew I’d¬†need to maintain this effort. The motivation of numerous shout outs, given and received, can’t be underestimated and even though¬†the second mile dipped a little I geared myself up for the final push. In the end I was just¬†outside¬†my pace but regardless of this I had a big smile on my face.

I generally run my marathons at a 9/10/11 minute pace so a time of 25.06 was quite pleasing (8 minute miles) and so was my 85th position. Talking with Dave and Amy that I know, below, we all agreed Fareham is a great location and the 9 a.m. start sets you up for a productive day.

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So, in summary, to all my running readers we know parkrun is a great community event and its worth making time to pop along more often, I know I will.

Secondly, to the wider blogging community if you’ve heard about parkrun but haven’t ventured¬†along ….. as a famous clothes manufacturer says #justdoit !! The benefits aren’t just physical, there’s a whole new community waiting to welcome you.

Find a parkrun near you with this map UK events

Thanks for reading

Roger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IOW Marathon

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The weather forecast for the Isle of Wight marathon promised wind and heavy rain but as it turned out fortune favoured the brave with the warnings only being accurate up to an hour before the start – thank goodness for that !!

Ryde Harriers were hosting the 62nd running of this event which promised an undulating course (1,450 feet) as you can see from the graphic above. The route combined quiet country lanes, a section of old railway track, occasional sea views and some busier roads.

My marathon running buddy Paul Coates and I had chosen this race for its location and we weren’t disappointed.

We drove to Southampton, with both the windscreen wipes and our imaginations working overtime as to what lay ahead.

iow1Boarding the Red Jet high speed catamaran bound for West Cowes the view out of the window felt more like a car wash than a ferry !! The £17 return for the 25 minutes each way meant our international experience was about to start #ferry #sailing #abroad !!

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Once on firm ground we jumped on a bus that took us up the hill heading out of Cowes to the IOW Community Club which had changing rooms, a variety of facilities and lots of like minded people.

iow3With three quarters of an hour left before the 11.30am start the rain (which had been forecast until 1pm) had virtually stopped. Gathered on the start line there was a noticeable sense of relief that the elements had been kind to us !!

Now, with no idea where we were running I’ll try my best to describe the 4 & 3/4 hours I was out on the course.

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Paul, is much quicker than me so, after some banter and video with his GoPro he headed off in front of me after about 2.5 miles, just as the rain reappeared.

After 4 miles of a steady 9/10 minute pace¬†I developed a curious tightness in my “right buttock” !!! (expect the unexpected on a marathon)

Stopping to stretch¬†wasn’t a problem and in the scheme of things I only wasted a couple of minutes even with three short loosening up attempts. If anything it was more embarrassing at such an early stage of the race.

All sorted,¬†errrr “no” – ha ha, next my big toe started rubbing, only a mile later !! So, it was off with my trainer and a quick inspection.¬†By mile 6, with hardly any swearing at all, (kind of),¬†I was back into my pace and¬†running happy….. Quite a buzz.

What I’d like to¬†mention here is¬†how enthusiastic¬†the marshals, locals¬†and¬†the Harriers on their push bikes and in their cars were. Motivational comments¬†are always welcome in a marathon ūüôā

I¬†passed a signpost to the West Wight Alpacas farm near Wellow and then one advertising Alpaca Jumpers, you don’t see that every day.¬†Glorious sea views appeared at about mile 9 as we were on the outskirts of Yarmouth then next, as I headed back inland, I was surprised to be guided off road at about 11 miles. This turned out to be the old Yarmouth railway line and a brief let up from the tarmac.

The railway station has been converted into a restaurant and it was full of supporters, “again”.

Half way was marked with the 4th feed station, fresh oranges and flat coke … “spot on”. I was on course for about 4.40 at this stage but was aware of the 300 feet elevation between miles 22 and 25 as well as the numerous smaller hills we’d already negotiated. Location wise we weren’t that far from the Needles but heading back up towards Cowes.

The weather was cloudy by now and the temperature was starting to drop but I benefiting from the steady early pace. I overtook a few runners between 15 and 21 miles and started using the sponges that were on offer between the feed stations.

Time¬†wise I was around 10.20 mile pace and revelling in the IOW peace and quiet, apart from the vintage buses that rattled by occasionally. To be fair I was largely on automatic pilot for an hour or so and that’s¬†exactly what I enjoy. The¬†tap tap¬†of your trainers,¬†the mile markers passing you by and the knowledge that you are “reasonably” in control.

As promised the three miles between 22 and 25 heading towards Northwood¬†were quite challenging, but I do like¬†a good¬†hill.¬†Using a run walk strategy when needed, again I overtook a couple of runners. Sometimes not knowing a course can be a benefit because you simply manage what’s around the next corner and you aren’t planning ahead at all.

It’s definitely worth a slow jog on hills rather than the easier option of walking, straight away. I read a phrase the other week that applied to those last miles, “There’s comfort in your discomfort” and that’s very much the case when you know you only have a parkrun’s distance left.

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As I crossed the finish line in 4.42 I was pleased with my run and were I am in my training. Completing a training run marathon¬†was very satisfying.¬†Your run is just that, your run, it doesn’t always have to be about speed !!

Paul had finished earlier in 4.06 which is testament to the athlete that he is considering he ran 3 marathons over last weekend in Cornwall. As the ferry docked we were asked to disembark and thanked for travelling with Red Funnel.

I felt a bit light headed on the trip back home because¬†it dawned on me I hadn’t eaten since breakfast time and according to my watch I’d burned 3,812 calories. Thankfully I knew a¬†large chicken roast dinner was waiting for me at home.

Thanks again to Ryde Harriers and Paul for a great day out. The Isle of White is certainly worth a visit whether as a tourist or a runner.

 

 

 

 

Running Awards : Best Blog

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I’m pleased to say my blog has been nominated for the Best Personal Blog in the Running Awards competition. If you enjoy reading my blog and you’d consider voting then follow the link and navigate to the Blog listings that are in alphabetical order.

Click here……¬†¬†¬†¬† Voting Link

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You do have to log in and create an account but this is simply to stop anyone voting numerous times for themselves !!

Thank you for reading and hopefully thanks for voting ūüôā

I promise I won’t endlessly remind you all !!

Regards Roger

Don’t Quit

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Have you lost your running mojo, are you finding training tough, have you considered dropping out of a race ??? – read on ……………

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will, when the road you’re trudging seems all uphill, when the funds are low and the debts are high, and you want to smile, but you have to sigh, when care is pressing you down a bit- rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns, as every one of us sometimes learns, and many a fellow turns about when he might have won had he stuck it out. Don’t give up though the pace seems slow – you may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than it seems to a faint and faltering man; often the struggler has given up when he might have captured the victor’s cup; and he learned too late when the night came down, how close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out – the silver tint in the clouds of doubt, and you never can tell how close you are, it might be near when it seems afar; so stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit – it’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

Running is a metaphor for life, you only get out what you put in, so don’t quit.

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