Parkrun: The winter route

With my daughter at rehearsals and my husband taking her there, it was just my eldest and me for Parkrun last week (it takes a lot to drag my younger son out for Parkrun and it wasn’t one of those days we could manage it!).

It was raining a bit and we talked about how slippy the ground would be and how we would have to be careful.

As we arrived, the tent seemed to be in a different place. I did a double take. Was I going mad? This wasn’t how it was supposed to be! The tent really had moved.

The announcements were already underway as we arrived. I’ll be honest, I don’t listen to them that much any more. After 13 Parkruns in the same place, I know what I’m doing pretty well.

But, hang on a minute?

Did they say keep RIGHT?

Parkrun, Running, 365

Now if there’s one thing I’m always certain of with Parkrun – it’s that we have to keep left (to let the faster runners overtake). So why right all of a sudden?

But there was more…

There’s a large part of the Parkrun, near the end of each lap, that we call ‘the field’. It’s the most boring, least scenic bit of the run – pretty much a big field, in fact. Apparently, we wouldn’t be running round the field. Instead, we would be doing four laps of the lake. The Parkrun is usually three laps, including the field.

They were messing with our heads!

But this is the winter route. Who knew there would be a winter route? Very sensibly designed, of course, to stop us slipping on the wet and muddy grass of the field. So the entire route is now on the path. With everyone running four laps on the path, and with the paths being narrower than the freedom and width of the field, there was more crowding.

And more reason to keep right!

As my son is 14, there’s no need for me to run with him (adults have to run with under 11s), but he was keen for me to run with him to try to push him and improve on his time. His previous best time was around 29 minutes 30 seconds, gained while trying to taunt his sister as he ran. He’s not the fastest or the fittest boy, but I felt that for a lad of his age and height, of average fitness, he should be getting around 27 minutes, which is still slower than my daughter’s awesome best friend.

His breathing was incredibly heavy. So heavy that it worried me slightly (although I’ve worried about my daughter’s and my husband’s too, maybe it’s just me that breathes quietly?). I said we would aim for about 5 minutes 15 seconds per km, but more confusion! There were no kilometre markers either. I did still have my Runkeeper app though to keep us in check.

He couldn’t keep up with my daughter’s best friend and was struggling with a lack of energy (he runs without breakfast, which I don’t think is a good idea). But he beat his personal best, coming in at 28 minutes and 30 seconds and edging closer to his 10 Parkrun Tshirt (which juniors are awarded).

We’d conquered the winter Parkrun course and I still think he can get his time down to 27 minutes. Next week, it will be Dad pushing him.

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. It hadn’t occurred to me that there would be a different route but as you say, very sensible. I can imagine that otherwise there would be many injuries! Well done to younger son for beating his PB, here’s hoping he can improve further.

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    • Thanks very much, I think he can! The different route really surprised me, but I guess we’ll get used to it over the next few months!

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  2. Running the lake is much nicer than the field anyway! I hope he keeps improving his time.

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    • That’s a very good point! The field does feel a bit soul-destroying at times.

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  3. I used to love running but a bad hip means that I can’t anymore! 🙁 This looks like great fun though and lovely that you can do it with your son.

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    • That’s a shame! I would hate being unable to run, although I was injured earlier this year and still don’t know if I’m 100% back on form.

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  4. I lvoe that you all enjoy your running together and good to hear the ParkRun people have thought about your safety and adpated the route. Mich x

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    • It was a surprise that they had, but very sensible! It’s great running together every weekend. x

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  5. I wouldn’t have thought that they change the routes, but it makes sense I suppose with the change in conditions. You are all doing so well with the parkruns, we are yet to try one due to football but now R has given up, he is quite keen to have a go.

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    • It’s definitely worth a try! It’s amazing how you get hooked! It started out with just me and my daughter, now four out of five of us are hooked!

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  6. Thanks very much! He’s still got a way to go to beat me 😉 I hope he’ll do it at some point though. x

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  7. Running the field reminds me a bit of our cross country, it was so boring and long and never ending. I hadn’t realised there would be a winter route but I guess it mixes it up a bit (as well as being safe!). Well done to your boy on beating his PB!!

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  8. Congratulations to your son, it’s always a great feeling when you beat a personal best and by a whole minute too! it’s great that he had the confidence and bond with you to ask you to run with him and boost his motivation, that must’ve been lovely for you. It’s great that they’ve changed the course slightly to make sure you’re less likely to get injured over the winter months even if the paths are slightly more clogged now. Thanks for linking up with me on Country Kids.

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  9. That’s good they change the course to accommodate the winter months. Congratulations to your son for doing well. #CountryKids

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  10. We recently discovered parkrun and I love it – we are about 6-7 in now. You would hate running with me, I naturally sound like i’m having a constant asthma attack hahaha , well done for encouraging your kids to do it, we have just gotten my 13 year old brother doing it and he did his first ever parkrun in 32 mins so your son is doing so well on his time! #CountryKids

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    • Parkrun is brilliant, isn’t it? I think I’m up to 15, my daughter is up to 12, husband is 10, eldest is 7 and younger son is 3! I think a lot of kids start around the 30 minute mark, both of my boys certainly did, but they soon start to improve! My 9 year old daughter can get below 30 minutes on a good day now 🙂

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