The Scribbler

17 December 2011

Last two races of the year

Filed under: run — The Scribbler @ 11:20
Tags: ,

And I didn’t run either of them. And it didn’t matter a jot.

Newcastle parkrun was always looking doubtful after a smattering of snow and rain and a temperature drop below freezing overnight. But I’d casually volunteered so I wrapped up warm and headed out onto the moor. Even as I made my way across to the start, I learned the run had been called off and the icy paths gave evidence that it was absolutely the right decision.

But still, quite a few hardy souls were out for their Saturday morning fix and decided to do a freedom parkrun. I was surprised how many still turned out in good cheer and how many ran.

Ever faithful Malcolm, our gate guardian had headed out to stand at his usual post, so as I walked towards the start line, I decided to head out to the little gate on the moor to help the runners coming through. I got lots of waves and smiles and thank yous and I even managed to take a few pictures. And it was great to see a couple of youngsters toughing it out in the cold. What a great opportunity and community parkrun is building all over the UK.

A quick dash home to do some chores and have some lunch, before wrapping up again to go out and support the Saltwell 10k. I really enjoyed this race when I did it last year. It’s a tough hilly course that laps round a park, so it’s quite pretty, very wintry and well supported.

I’d entered again this year, but having taken some time off running to sort out a niggly case of plantar fasciitis on my foot and coming down with a stonking cold that kept me off work and in bed most of the day on Monday, I decided maybe it wasn’t wise to run it. So I was very happy to be able to transfer my place to Jeff.

I’d been hoping to blast out one last 10k, with a target of beating last year’s time for this course. And having been twitter stalking Claire, half having in my mind trying to keep her in my sights as long as possible as she’s running well, consistently and just a good bit faster than me.

But it wasn’t to be. I could have just run it as a training run. But I know my competitive spirit and it didn’t feel right. Besides, I’d risk making my injury worse pounding up and down the hilly course. I did get my compensation with a quiet, still, early morning 10k along the quayside on Thursday with Ian. Just a steady pace, talking all the way, stretching at the halfway point and totally shaking off my anxieties about running.

So at Saltwell I was a spectator, and despite being a bit sad that I wasn’t running, I had a great time. I met up with Claire and her lovely support crew, and cheered on Fetchies left right and centre, including Penny, Sue, Jeff, Flip, Anna and Paul, plus loads of parkrunners and random club runners. If you’re an Elvet Strider, you’ll always get a shout from me. I took my serious camera and managed to get a few decent shots:

It was fffffreezing, so shouting and cheering people on was a great way to keep warm. At one point, one of the other spectators asked if I was taking pictures of everyone as I seemed to know so many people. I do enjoy running, but I do enjoy supporting too, and it’s always good to be among friends, especially those you know have supported and encouraged you.

And, it’s not quite the last race of the year. There are still a couple of parkruns that are possible and a Boxing Day race that I’ve never yet managed to run as it’s been called off. I will run on Boxing Day whatever happens this year. It was the first day when I just went out for a run because I wanted to. Not because it was on my exercise plan, just because I felt like it. The first day I knew I was a runner.

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