The Scribbler

13 August 2011

First Durham parkrun

Filed under: Parkrun,run — The Scribbler @ 19:54
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What do you know…there’s a new parkrun in town! Well here in the North East of England, in Durham to be precise. And despite ramping up the mileage already this week and planning a long run for tomorrow, I couldn’t resist the chance to say I’d been at the first official event.

I arrived at the Graham Sports Centre, Maiden Castle to sunshine and smiles. A really good turn out of friends and fellow parkrunners today, including my running buddies Jeff, Penny, Rob and Tove. Some I don’t see as often like Dave, who has just returned from Christchurch New Zealand, helping with the restoration after the earthquake there. And there was a great turn out from Elvet Striders (which must be one of the friendliest running clubs in the North East), including my good tri and bike buddy Peter.

So we were all excited and keen to give the new course a try. There were around 150 runners in total and plenty of enthusiastic applause for the efforts of the volunteers and marshalls as we assembled on the track for the race briefing. It was great to see so many parkrun first timers giving it a try too.

The run starts with a lap of the running track then ventures out along the grassy edges of the sports pitches. The field soon thins out to get through the gate onto the fields, but there’s always space to run. I had told myself to take it easy, but it felt good to be bouncing along the rack and over the damp grass in the sunshine. Dave skipped ahead of me early on, but I resolved to try and keep him in my sights.

Around the rugby pitches and I managed to overtake a couple of runners whilst settling into a nice pace that I felt I could hold. Not pushing for a PB run, but still enjoying a good blast in the sunshine. Piling over a wooden bridge was a new experience and made me laugh as it  changed my running rhythm.

The sun was making it rather sweaty work, so it was a relief to turn onto the riverside path and the shelter of the trees. I’d been gaining on Dave for a while and managed to work my way past him coming into the last kilometre or so.

That’s when I got into a great mini race with another Elvet Strider. I’d drawn level with him and he put a spurt on so I couldn’t get pass. I reeled him in again and he had another go. For once I actually felt strong in the last kilometre and seeing the line of runners heading for the finish on the other side of the river spurred me on. So I edged up on the Strider and as we turned over the bridge, put on my own burst of speed and made it stick.

Now it was just the home straight into the sun. The bandstand and the blue flag ahead marking the end of the run, I picked my spot and went for the sprint finish and crossed the line in 25:45. Not my fastest 5k, but probably a bit faster that I’d intended to run. I got a ‘Nice racing’ from my Elvet Strider friend too. A bit of friendly competition can certainly help get the best of you in a race.

A bit more catching up with friends and comparing race notes at the finish, then a nice warm down walk back to the track. I think Durham has a great new event and hope it gets the loyal support and volunteers that have made Newcastle and all the other parkruns so successful. I’ll more likely be back on home ground for my next one, but it was great to be there for their first run. Well done to the Durham parkrun team.

Stats and stuff:
5k 25:45
kilometre splits:
1. 5:07
2. 5:22
3. 5:22
4. 5:18
5. 4:37

I finished in 81st place and was the 11th lady out of a field of 157 parkrunners, coming 5th in my age category.

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