More lessons from parkrun

The horn sounds and we’re off!

Slowly slowly the body of runners and walkers make their way closer to the start line.  Walking.  Shuffling.  A few running steps and we’re off!

Carefully I pick my way through the throngs of runners (190 on Saturday).  Around that walking lady.  Carefully passed the dad and the pram.  A quick sprint around the lady with head phones.  Finally I’m in a space on my own.  Slowly I inch up to the next bunch of runners and the weaving and zooming starts again.  I feel free.  Could this be what flying feels like?

launceston parkrun map

Launceston parkrun starts on the top of a levee bank.  It’s a narrow start line so the field of runners can stretch back for up to 30 or 40 meters.  I’m no good at estimating distances so I asked Pauly – it’s a long way.  It can take nearly a minute for those at the very back from the sounding of the horn to crossing the start line.

I’ve given up on parkrun PBs largely because of the start line.  It just does my head in so I’d rather run and have fun; run to feel rather than time.  I usually start right at the back, giving more room up the front for those who do chase PBs.  On Saturday I wasn’t quite at the back, probably three quarters back.

Pauly at the 1.5km-ish point.

Pauly at the 1.5km-ish point.  The old boy is running strong and fast.

Something strange has come over me.  Despite thinking I’ll just plod and meander my way from start to finish, when that horn sounds I suddenly become like a greyhound leaping out of a starting box!  I zoom forward, I get held back by a slower bunch of runners, I see a break and off I zoom again.  Giving this some thought, it’s the freedom of being able to let the throttle go and put the pedal to the metal – a feeling of total freedom washes over this Unsporty Woman.  It’s my one run a week where I allow my lungs to really burn – my heart to pound out of my chest and my legs to do overtime.  What’s the worst that could happen?  I might have to walk.  And would that matter?  No.  It’s my time to try; and to try in the supportive environment of parkrun where I feel safe.



Some lovely parkrunners doing their thing

On Saturday as my lungs burned I thought of what I’d learnt reading Born to Run.  I reminded myself that my brain will tell me that I need to slow down way before my body actually needs to.  I pushed on.

Just as I was thinking that I might have to bring this fast running caper back to sensible Unsporty Woman pace the very lovely Renee came up behind me.  Go Annie!!! she said.  I couldn’t talk so I fell in sync with her.  One little slope and 700m to go and I felt myself slow a little and Renee crept forwards.  I gave myself a verbal slapping and pushed back to be beside her again.  Just as we were about 400m from the finish Renee says Three, Two, One, GO!!!  Off she went faster and faster with me trying to stay with her.  There was just two seconds between our finishing times.  Thanks Renee, I needed that push at the end.

Pauly's done the loop and is now nearly on the home stretch.

Pauly’s done the loop and is now nearly on the home stretch.


No PB but a great run where I learnt again that I can push and I won’t actually pass out or die or something dramatic like that.  parkrunning and the encouragement I received today are teaching me to become a braver runner.

If you haven’t experienced parkrun look one up and see if there is one close by.  It’s free to register and a great way to start the weekend.

parkrun has benefited my running in so many ways:

  • I’m no longer as nervous in the mush of the starting line at fun runs
  • It’s my weekly opportunity to do a faster run, something I find hard to do on my own
  • But without doubt the best part of parkrun has been meeting wonderful people who I now call friend
One of my favourite parkrunners :)

One of my favourite parkrunners 🙂

And guess what?  This Unsporty Woman was first in her age group (all the fast ladies must’ve stayed in bed) AND I was 15th female over the line.  It’s a bit nice and encouraging when I see results like this AND all because I didn’t give up and got a little help from a friend at the end right when I needed it.

parkrun email

I think it’s fair to say I’ve recovered from that bad run on Friday.  I’m ready to put my Marathon Training Plan on the fridge.  Three marathons in one year?  I’ll be thinking of an Ironman next (winking at Sue).

Happy running 🙂

PS all photos were pinched from the Launceston parkrun facebook page.

Wed had a huge amount of unseasonal rain and the ground was wet! Perfect for little parkrunners to try out their pink-running-gumboots.

Wed had a huge amount of unseasonal rain and the ground was wet! Perfect for little parkrunners to try out their pink-running-gumboots.  I did giggle though when we were warned to be careful of the wet muddy conditions, I’ve seen photos of Killerton parkrun in England where the lovely Shaz from Shazruns parkruns…  I don’t think we know what a muddy parkrun course is!

Anyone would think I like having my photo taken!

Anyone would think I like having my photo taken!

12 thoughts on “More lessons from parkrun

  1. I love reading about parkrun because it’s such a great inclusive event!
    I haven’t run at our local one very much over the last 6 months as usually doing my long ride or working, last Saturday my daughter ran while I just had a relaxing walk, I really appreciated seeing all the newer runners working so hard and with such determination 😊
    I’m glad to hear you’ve put the tough run to one side and are planning ahead for your next challenge and excited to hear IM being mentioned again 😉

    • I swam a whole 1km today without stopping Sam! It wasn’t particularly graceful but I got it done. I was so pleased. Thanks for your encouragement. parkrun is so good, I really am looking forward to visiting Hobart parkrun some day. And sometimes walking parkrun is particularly nice, I do that at Launceston from time to time. Always have some wonderful conversations 🙂

      • You’re doing really well with the swimming, took me a long time before I could do that! Just need to get on the bike and you’re ready to go!
        I’m hoping to do the Launnie Parkrun with my daughter when she goes back to uni and I have the weekends to myself again!

  2. So normal service has been resumed, your bad run is way behind you and won’t put in an appearance for a while now if it knows what is good for it!
    Parkrun is great for pulling some speed out when you and your body least expect it.
    Yes Killerton has mud aplenty, love it as much as I do even I am avoiding it at the moment!

    • I’ve seen the photos and the muddy aftermath of Killerton, we don’t know what mud here in Tasmania! Thanks for your encouragement Shaz, yes normal service has resumed…for now…hope those bad runs stay away for a while at least. I’m volunteering this week and looking forward to it too.

  3. I love your photos that always show you having fun! I always try to do a park run when I’m in Canberra. My daughter and I enjoy the atmosphere and friendliness. Well done, that’s a great time!

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