Finally an event that would be over in 30 minutes – it’s been a while 🙂 and a trip to Dartford was the perfect destination for a parkrun. Ian needed to be in the area for a bike TT, Heidi wanted to go London Saturday night, and Dartford is a short train ride away, my cousin-in-law Natalie was keen to run with me…..Oh and my Mum and Dad live there !
Heidi and I headed off in the car on Friday for yet another mini break together. Ian was flying in from France so would meet us there. The three hour journey took fours hours, but we were expecting that as it was Friday afternoon and we had to negotiate the delights of the M25. After many recent car trips together we have silly games to play, one of which is the Plane game. Basically shouting out “there’s a plane” when we see one. Best played in a traffic jam somewhere near an airport 🙂
It was lovely to stay at Mum’s instead of a hotel, and we arrived to see Ian who I hadn’t seen for two weeks and a lovely home cooked meal.
Saturday morning we all headed off to Dartford park. I lived in Dartford until my early 20’s and the town has changed a lot, but the park is still very similar to how I remember it, and all the changes are improvements. A nice cafe and play area and an upgrade to the running track. But the statue at the entrance and the bandstand are just the same.
At the park we met up with my cousin Justin, his lovely wife Natalie and their adorable children Joshua and Isabelle. Natalie only started running recently but already has six parkruns to her name. This would be her 7th and a new location too. Heidi and I have run Dartford once before.
It was two laps of the park and multi terrain. Grass, gravel, a short uphill trail and some paved paths. It’s a great course although the section along side of the football pitch might not be so nice on a wet day. But we had perfect weather, dry and not too hot.
We set off after the usual briefing and kept a steady pace. Volume of runners dictating the speed of the first km as there are a few narrow sections. Natalie and I chatted away – we don’t see each other very often due to living on different sides of the country so it was lovely to catch up. Heidi’s plan was to set an even pace and run the whole thing. Last time she went off too fast and blew up after 3km. She also likes running with headphones so didn’t join in the running chat.
The first lap went well. The small hill was steeper than Natalie was used to but she stormed up it and kept up a good pace. After the first lap, Natalie needed to slow a little and let me go on. I was so pleased to be running 5km and not a marathon and still had quite a bit of energy so went ahead – but not by much. The course has lots of twists and turn backs, so I could see that Natalie was not far behind 🙂
Another run past all the pretty flowers and the bandstand. Past my Mum and Josh who were cheering and running along, and I could see the finish line. A final sprint and it was over. 29.28. A good time for me.
Natalie was not far behind and got a PB – woohoo!!! Heidi just behind her, she had achieved her goal of running the whole course. Three happy runners.
Then it was off for a coffee and more catching up, I don’t see my cousins nearly enough, but I see more running together in our future.