Bright and early at Ferry Meadows…but we’re out of our comfort zone today as we are looking at what on earth this Parkrun is all about. Where you there?

I’ve heard so much about it and even my mum takes part in it as well as Graham and the famous ‘Maisie’ (his dog)….so what have I done? I’ve only gone and said I’ll give it a go. So I’ve pre-registered and I’m a bit of an early bird – down here early at 8.20am, why this early…..? Well was told that there are a ‘few’ participants and my thinking that spaces might be limited, I needed a spot for my car 🚗 (because I do actually live too far away to walk, bike, run or skip here), but I needn’t have worried, plenty of room – ‘this’ early anyway. I talk a slow walk around to see some of the organisers setting up. There are a few runners already warming up and stretching: some in their warm winter gear of thermal hats and jackets as well as others which are bearing the elements in their bare legs and shorts. Not me! I’ve got my gloves and scarf on over the top of my layers – yeah…toastie warm fingers :-).

At around 8.55am it’s over to the beginner’s area just to get a rundown on what actually goes on: Apparently, the approximate ‘600’ participants (yes 6oo!) sit in their cars until approx 8:56 then come out so that they’re ready to go straight away! Really? It’s not a race, run at your own pace and work against your own personal best – fast runners go to the front and slow runners go to the back, after them will be the people that prefer to walk round (that’s me) and the slowest (finishing around 60 minutes) will be trailed at the rear by the tail person… and yes, she actually has a tail! We are shown the route and explained the areas we will be going too, keep the left especially round the larger lake as the front runners will be coming back towards us. Share the park and be respectful to others and most of all enjoy yourself. Also, in order to get a time sent to you officially, you need to have pre-registered (yes) and if not, don’t worry you can still do the race but get one ready for next time.

I’ve already registered online at the official park run site where you receive a barcode. Print this barcode off (you can’t use it on your phone as they are not always functional so they keep it to paper at the moment) and bring it with you. You don’t’ actually need it until the end of the race, but the registration process is actually very easy….go round it means at the end you’ll be able to see what your time was, and then work on your personal-best each and every time after that.

What was fairly empty of people has now been swamped, where did they all come from? Oh yes their cars…! LOL. In the line up are runners and professional jogging clubs with their formal t-shirts, mums and dads either running with their buggies or kids (yes kids), people with their dogs (short leash), families, youngsters, children and oldies. (children under 11 must be accompanied by an adult and stayed with throughout the run). 9am and we’re off….

A strong fast walk is what I’m after as I’ve been used to that all week on an early morning walk (you’ve seen some of our photographs from those) but this is a bit faster for me…. Joggers and runners very quickly leave you behind so you feel that you need to speed up your walk a bit. Round the Lynch Lake and I think I’ll jog the second half – quickly out of puff I stop back to a walk when I reach the start and slow back down to a walk. We return in front of the visitor centre and turn to go round Overton Lake.. it’s early and even though there are a lot of people, it’s pretty quiet and tranquil, especially now that everyone is up front and gone… pass the Beaver play area, pass the owl tree, pass the early morning fishermen….. and onwards. Then you’re hit with a realisation there’s a burst of people running at you! Yes you got it the front-runners are on their way back and you’ve only just passed half-way….OMG was that an 8 year old? Help me!

You go all the way down to Gunwade Lake and go round in a square… you’re presented with a 3km sign so you do feel some achievement now that you’re at the furthest point. However, if you’re worn out by this point, you’ve got to be sensible as there’s no shortcut from this point.. it’s still around 1.5km to get all the way back. (and p.s. point to note, have a wee before you set off LOL) Say Hi to Milton Bridge and you’re on the home stretch.. you’ve done it whether you thought you would or not. All you have to do now is get back! Yippee…. a fast walk and a couple of places I do some short jogging (mostly on the nice little downhill bits which give me a bit of speed hee hee). I’ve walked at a steady pace, on my own but behind some others that were roughly the same pace as me – a couple of fast walkers and 3 steady joggers…. Back all the way and there are quite a few happy stewards that give you the ‘come on’, ‘well done’s’ and I actually got a high five from 3 brownies…so everyone’s behind you. All the way back round to the visitor centre and you follow the cones where you funnel to the finish line. By this point, I wish I didn’t have my scarf on and backpack on my back.. .blooming heck I’m hot!

I’ve done it, I’ve achieved something very much out of my comfort zone this week and I’ve received a well done no matter what my time is. Wow, I’m impressed with myself. I collect a token and get scanned and that’s it. It’s all over, all there is left to do now is 1) go to the loo and 2) pay for my car parking…. Now here’s the great thing.. because I’m doing the park run, I get to scan my barcode which allows me to park just for £1. Isn’t that just wonderful?

Off home for a shower and some well-earned breakfast in town I say. Did I catch you on camera on my way round? Where you one of the front runners?

At 10:49am I receive a text (I set this up on registration) to say “Susan, your time in position 527 today at Peterborough parkrun was 44:04. Well done on your first run here” How wonderful I feel (now) eating my healthy toast and small cappuccino.

It’s great if you want to start something simple, do something on your own or in a group, run, jog or walk at your own pace without feeling pressured, do your 10,000 steps in one go nearly and basically get outdoorsy and off the blooming settee. I’m not going to lie to you, I felt great achieving this and I was on my own, however, my body is already giving me some tell-tale signs that maybe I shouldn’t have pushed myself so quickly paced and done those few sneaky little jogs….. In fact, my shoulders, back and legs are already stiff at 3pm. I think I’d better go for a walk to loosen them up a bit! At least my Fitbit will be smiling today!

For more info and registration go to  🙂 see you next Saturday morning!

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