Tuesday, 12 November 2013
The plan was to get up at 5.30am, have breakfast and run to Winchester for parkrun. So a nice half marathon training run plus a slow 5K when I got there. However.. It all went a bit wrong! I had washed all my parkrun barcodes. I remember leaving a barcode in my shorts and putting them in the washing machine. This had happened for two weeks in a row. I was now behind schedule and wouldn't make Winchester parkrun. There was a saviour though, and his name is Neil Garton. I had explained my situation on a facebook status and Neil had come to my rescue. Not only did he give me a lift to Winchester but he also printed me off some barcodes. I was still going to run :)
As we arrived, the sky had become very dark. We knew it was going to rain but we weren't sure when. We left the leisure centre and headed to the start and it was already pouring hard with rain. It was also pretty cold as we stood by the trees to try and shelter. The Race Director briefed us on the course, thankfully this was kept short as everyone was keen to get going.
Winchester parkrun starts next to the leisure centre and it's on grass. This means it was slippery due to the current weather conditions. It wasn't too bad to start with but got worse as we did each lap. Each lap is roughly 1 mile, so you do 3 laps before heading to the finishing funnel.
It's not as boring as it sounds though. You start by running around the pitch and then you go in between some trees where you have to be aware of the tree roots that protrude from the ground. You come off the grass and then run onto a path and over a bridge and eventually back onto the grass to complete the lap. I really liked this course despite all the mud and rain and would love to do it again.
Due to a low number of runners I managed to come 9th which is the highest i've ever placed in a running event. There were only 105 runners. I ran a little bit harder at the end to make sure that I beat the first female home who came 10th with the same time as me. The course was slightly shorter than 3.1 miles though and I think I would have been closer to 21 minutes rather than the 20.30 that I achieved.
The support was amazing. Especially the two loud girls that shout at the top of their lungs as everyone passes them. A brilliant experience which wouldn't have been possible if it wasn't for Neil. Neil came 70th with a time of 27.17. He also took the photo for me. Cheers Neil. I then ran 13.1 miles home in the rain in a time 1hr 41 minutes and went straight to bed :)