As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m back at home for the Christmas holidays! This return home for the festive period also means a return to the Saturday morning up at Greenham Common for Newbury parkrun! In case you didn’t know, whilst I’m at university I regularly take part in the Havant parkrun where, on top of just running for myself, I write the weekly run report which I try to fill with as many puns as possible each week (this has got out of hand a few weeks). Back home I don’t write the run report but, since I enjoy writing and I have this readily available platform, I thought that I’d attempt to write my own “Run Rundown” for the parkruns that I complete. So without further ado:
Newbury parkrun #47 – ‘Dodge the Cowpat’ and other parkrun games!
Waking up when it’s still dark is never a fun way to begin any day. What’s less fun is finding out that it is absolutely bucketing it down with rain outside after you’ve managed to stumble your way to the kitchen without waking the rest of your house up and got yourself a steaming hot cup of “Morning Fuel” (or coffee, as you may know it). It was at this point, pyjamas on and hair sticking out at all angles whilst staring blankly out of the front window into the cold and rainy abyss outside that I did think to myself: “Maybe I’ll just go back to bed…”
Steeling my resolve, and the fact that I had already promised my friend and university housemate, who just so happens to live in the same town as me at home, a lift to parkrun that morning, I proceeded to get myself ready and out of the door with a towel and a spare change of clothes in the boot of the car. After a brief jaunt up to the common and a rather damp start to my warm up, the rain MERCIFULLY decided to lessen and the jackets came off, ready for the pre-run briefing and shortly after, the start of Event 47.
It was at this point that I remembered that unlike Havant, and many other parkruns that I’ve heard tales of from other runners, Newbury has a special challenge to contend with. the Cows. I was reminded of this fact as one casually sauntered it’s way across the starting line, not particularly caring that there were a bunch of lycra and tech-tee clad men and women (and dogs) waiting to go for a run along the very path that it was standing on. Eventually, Sir Loin cut across to what must be a prime grazing spot (Oh yes, we’re onto beef puns now) and the run could begin!
Newbury is a very flat course, which is lovely because it means you don’t have the moment of sheer pant wetting terror as you plummet down the steep back slope too fast and skin your knees, elbows and most of a shoulder going for a roll along the gravel (I’m not sure anyone has done this yet and I hope they never do. Run safe people!). the other advantage of a flat course is of course, reflected in the times with myself being able to pull almost a minute off of my PB on a more varied gradient course. Crossing the runway and reaching the end of the first kilometre I endured a brief game of ‘Dodge the Cowpat’ and after a few pieces of fancy footwork it was onto the back end of the course and eventually down onto the “Home Straight” which just so happens to be roughly, just over 2km – deceptive.
Coming to the finish, I realized just how much more I had left in the tank, but resolved that I would stick to my pace and finish a nice, relaxed, comfortable parkrun. And that I did. Just a second over my PB, crossing the line in 24 minutes dead. The upside to this is knowing that there’s a lot more left to give on the flat, speedy course and hopefully, a lot of time to take off of the PB over my next few runs.