Last Saturday Laura arrived at mine bright and early and I drove us over to Huntingdon parkrun in Cambridgeshire. I have run the Huntingdon course before as part of the New Year Double earlier in the year, but it was a course Laura needed to add to her list of parkrun tourism events.
It was super hot on Saturday morning. There were barely any clouds up in the sky by the time we arrived at 8:30am. Any which were up there were just of the pale white, wispy variety.
We hung around at the back of the race briefing as Laura hadn’t run the course before, although I had already filled her in on the route and what to expect. The chap giving the briefing was super animated and got the runners hyped up before the run. There were actually quite a few tourists at the event so we weren’t alone. There were even several from places abroad!
The Huntingdon event is run round Hinchingbrooke park, starting on the field before heading out onto the hardstanding track, through the woods alongside the water, past the cafe (where there are always dozens of supporters!)…
(Photo by Paul Homewood)
…out through some more trees (where there were plenty of children requesting sweaty high 5s from us back runners), past the most enthusiastic marshal in the world and round for a second lap.
There is a slight hill as you head back through more trees and I chose to walk it both times to recatch my breath on the course. It was hot and sweaty out there last Saturday!
The past few weeks of morning parkruns have seen the top of my right leg become super heavy as I’ve set off. I don’t know if this is due to a mix of the extra weight I’m now carrying, or the varicose veins on that side which are adding to the heavy feeling. It’s almost like I end up carrying a half-dead leg for the first couple of miles until it fully wakes up. Yet, I haven’t had any issues with this leg on my evening runs?
I remembered the enthusiastic marshal at the halfway point/300m before the finish from when I ran the event at New Year. One of the runners that I had been alongside then told me that he was always marshaling on that corner. It was nice to recognise someone from a previous visit.
The marshal was shouting out to everyone that came past and had a huge amount of energy! As Laura and I came past for the second time he screamed at us “Are you going to let those two women in front beat you to the finish?! I think not! Run!” Laura turned and asked if I fancied picking up the pace to take down the two ladies who were now a little way in front of us. Of course my answer was “Yes!” and we sped up enough to overtake them and continue to the finish. Laura continued to pick up the pace, but my legs were stuck at a 7:37mm speed so she ended up finishing several seconds in front of me. I saw an older gentleman just in front of me and decided that he would be a further target for me to beat to the line. I felt a bit bad afterwards, as checking the results when I got home he was in the M70-74 category and in the photo below you can clearly see he picked up the pace to stay with me to the line. (Good on him though!) I overtook a few metres before crossing for the finish.
(Photo by Paul Homewood)
Mile 1: 11:15
Mile 2: 11:15
Mile 3: 11:48
Nubbin (0.15m): 7:37mm pace
Garmin time: 35:25
Official time: 35:27
Gender position: 108/157
Age category position: 21/26
I didn’t have my phone on me but I got Laura to take photos of the volunteer boards by the race briefing start. Volunteer boards are such a great idea. I love that the first board was filled with fun doodles and also had pictures of all of the core team so that they would be easily recognised and thanked at the event.
The second board listed the dates for the next three weeks of parkrun and contained a hanging pen so that any attendees could add their name to the rota for the coming weeks.
How does your local parkrun recruit volunteers?
Any top marshals to mention from your parkrun?
Did you cope OK running in the heat of last weekend?