Event 38 – Coventry parkrun

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Ian, me and Steve

Last week was another parkrun. As I think I mentioned at the beginning of the year my plan was to include around ten parkruns in my year of Events, but to try and do a different one each time.

This time was Coventry.  We planned it a while ago to coincide with a mini break with our friends Steve and Gill, in Coventry, funny enough 🙂  Steve and Gill are my friends who came to cheer me on at the Milton Keynes marathon.  They enjoyed supporting but Steve was keen to do an Event with me….hey Steve…you could have done the MK marathon lol!

We’ve known Steve and Gill for about 25 years, before we even had children.  We met them on a walking holiday in Corsica.  Ian and I were hiking the Tra Mare e Monti – a sea and mountain walk, staying at a different pension each evening.  At one place I think we arrived a day early (I can’t remember the exact details) and we were having lively discussion (an argument) about what to do.   We were just by a hedge outside a little bar/hotel – the other side of the hedge were Steve and Gill, probably hearing the whole thing lol.

We ended up chatting, having a drink or three and then dinner, and 25 years later we are still good friends 🙂

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Gill and Steve

Steve also cycles, so the day before parkrun we did a lovely bike ride out into the Warwickshire countryside with a pub lunch…I tell you this only so that I can put a picture up of the windmill we saw, not as an excuse for my parkrun time 🙂

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Windmill – seen on our bike ride

With 66km in my legs from the ride and still covered in bruises and feeling a bit battered from my Tough Mudder last week we walked the ten minutes from Steve and Gill’s house to the park.  I just wanted to have a nice time and take  it easy …still not making excuses 🙂

Added bonus for this run was that Ian would run with us, obviously not “with” us…maybe five minutes ahead.  Ian is not a runner, why run when you can bike, but despite this he’s really fast.  Life is not fair!  I should mention that Ian’s one and only parkrun up to this point almost killed him.  He was exhausted for the rest of the day!  His other recent running, earlier this year when he was in Panama with Heidi and without a bike, hurt his knees.  His plan was to take it easy too, and by easy I mean much faster than me.

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Ian, ready to run

Parkrun is the same everywhere you go – just as a side note “parkrun” is spelled with a small “p” – it’s a registered trademark – but not sure what you do when it starts a sentence?  Anyhoo, where was I, Oh yes…parkrun is the same wherever you go, a different park but usually quite flat (not always – looking at you Glasgow), often two laps and a good assortment of people, all shapes and sizes and speeds, people with buggies and dogs.   It’s a friendly environment and Coventry was no different.  Although there were more runners than most, around 500!

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Monument in the park

Gill cheered us on as we crossed the start line and Ian was already way ahead and soon out of sight.  I lost sight of Steve too as he had gone off to chat to another friend.  But I was quite happy and already enjoying the course.  It started just before a big Monument and the paths were wide and even, there was also no bottleneck at the start which I think has happened at nearly every other parkrun I have done.  This meant my first km was quite fast – under 6 mins….this either meant I would blow up before the end or get a great time!

I decided to try for a good time and kept up the effort.  It was two laps and had one slight hill, it didn’t feel too bad going up and there was a definite downhill feeling coming off it.  Just as I was coming up to the end of the first lap I saw Steve – waiting at the side of the path with Gill.  He was waiting for me…oh no…I would have to keep running now (I had been thinking about a sneaky walk).  He joined me and chatted as we ran along.  It was great to see him and gave me a little boost.  I couldn’t chat back as I was at my breathing limit.  Turns out after all these years of running, I now have a ‘conversational pace’, something I never thought I would have.  This wasn’t it…this was huffing and puffing pace.

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Steve – wondering how much time he lost waiting for me 🙂

As we came off the hill for the second time I could see the Monument at the end, still 1km to go but just seeing it helped keep me going.  A few hundred metres from the end we saw Ian who had long finished (in 24.43)  and was shouting something at me, I was puffing too much to hear or respond (he was asking if I needed pacing in).  Hurrah the finish line and my second fastest parkrun ever, 28.36 and not too far off my best time.  Very happy with that 🙂

It was now starting to rain so we didn’t hang around.  Back to the house for a quick shower and change and out for a well earned brunch…there was bacon and pancakes, which I thought I deserved.  Thanks Steve and Gill for a great weekend and a great parkrun experience.

Event 38 – done! (Crikey, not many left!)

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