A Parkrun blip

I love Parkrun and try to run it every single week. I want to reach 100 Parkruns by Christmas. But, over the summer, I missed three Parkruns, due to visiting friends, our holiday to Padstow and the kids going on Scout camp.

Missing these runs coincided with our Parkrun changing its course. It was a victim of its own success – with over 500 people running every week, it had just got too crowded. The start was mayhem (but I loved it) and running three laps meant there were always lots of people lapping and overtaking on narrow paths.

So they came up with a new course of just two laps – and not even identical laps. Where the old course started with a bit of a downhill (although essentially a flat course), the new course started with a definite uphill. I had my strategy sorted for the old course. I knew where I stood at the start line and the exact route I took to get myself into position for the first couple of hundred metres, to ensure myself a good pace and a good time. But the new course was a mystery.

I stood in the wrong place at the start. Ironically, the new start felt more like mayhem than the old start. And then there was the uphill. I hated that uphill with a passion. My most favourite 23 minutes of the week had been ruined. I didn’t love Parkrun any more. And I most definitely wasn’t going to get a PB ever again. How can my old times even compare with my new times now there’s a hill on the course?!

And I hated it so much that I finished in 23 minutes and 27 seconds, over a minute more than my PB. And, to make matters worse, I was 22nd female, 129th overall and fourth in my age category. FOURTH?! I am first in my age category pretty much every week. I finish in the top 10 of women and always inside the top 100 overall. I know it’s silly, but I was actually quite down about this. I felt like a failure. I am such a consistent runner that running a whole minute slower just doesn’t happen.

Was it the new course? Was it because of my half marathon training? Was it because I’d forgotten my headphones?

Would I ever run in under 23 minutes again?

Er – yes.

The following week, I was back on track. I finished in 22 minutes and 52 seconds, 82nd place, seventh female and first in my age category. The following week, I was another seven seconds faster, fifth female and still first in my age category.

I still don’t like the course, but I’ll get used to it. And my Parkrun blip was over almost as soon as it had begun.

Parkrun, Running, Parkrun blip


Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Oh dear…It sounds like the new course takes some getting used to. Good luck and keep doing well x

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    • Thanks very much! It’s getting better, but the uphill bit is exhausting! x

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  2. Phew, I’m glad it was just a minor blip and I hope you get back to your PB soon!

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    • Thanks very much! I’ve got back to within 20 seconds of it, but I’m not sure I’ll ever beat the PB! Other people who have been doing it for a long time agree. It is definitely a harder course and nobody is going to run it as fast as the old one 🙁 x

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