The last two weeks

It’s been a largely fitness-free couple of weeks and that showed in yesterday’s parkrun performance. However, I knew I’d given my all and therefore wasn’t disappointed

We had 5 days at Center Parcs for our usual (but last) pre-festive holiday with Team Trent. As always, it was great to spend the time with Tiff, Steve and Harrison. Although there was a daily swim, it wasn’t anything like the several hundred metres I’m used to doing. I did try and get a little freestyle in and even tried some tumble-turns in the pool in the spa. They’re not as easy as they’re made to look!!

While at Center Parcs, we played an hour of tennis and 3/4 of an hour of squash. Both created a little sweat so must have done some good! There was also a fair amount of walking. However, with the excesses of eating out once or twice a day, I came home about a pound heavier than is left.

During the holiday, my interview with parkrun Danny (Danny Norman) was broadcast on the weekly podcast, the parkrun show, in the episode ‘Not naKeD’ which is available from iTunes or direct from A also had my first of what should be a regular column in the parkrun newsletter which is available at

After a day at home, it was time to fly out to Cyprus for a work trip. Some lovely meals, a little too much wine and beer and no exercise meant more weight gained particularly as I only looked at the hotel’s pool and gym.

When I got back (another 4lbs heavier), I did one pool session and then a run. Both went well and then Saturday arrived for parkrun. It was Neil Garton’s 50th parkrun.

Neil started parkrun and within a week or so was injured. Having enjoyed his first parkrun experience, Neil very kindly volunteered at many events (and became a Run Director for several months) before he was fit to run again but soon had to take more time off to recover from a hip operation.

Having fairly recently been able to run again, and having been told that if h continues to run he’ll cause more damage, it was great to see Neil complete his 50th parkrun. As a special reminder of this occasion, Ian Berry and Sandra Bowers let Neil run with Krofti, one of their huskies.

I’m expecting to complete my 50th parkrun in July 2013. It’ll be great to finally get to that milestone but I’m far prouder of all the other parkrunners who’ve reached 10, 50, 100 parkruns due to the events I’ve helped create.

Anyway, back to my run…

Both John Grant and Stuart Smith had said they’d run with me. I was hoping for sub-24 minutes which would have been a course PB at Southampton. We started a little too far back and spent some time trying to get out of traps across the Flats. This meant that we had to speed up as we got to the Bellemoor entrance. Half way up the hill one of my shoelaces came undone! I suggested that Stuart and John go ahead but they, very kindly, waited. I’d lost my rhythm and having the worst of the hill ahead meant that I started to struggle. However, the almost constant encouragement from both John and Stuart kept me going. It’s no exaggeration to say that without their support and advice I’d have not finished in anywhere near as quick (?) as I did!!

Before long we were running around the paddling pool and up the hill alongside the Avenue. This is always an energy-sapper but fortunately doesn’t go on for too long. After that, it’s all down hill.

As we reached the flats and just made out the finish, it was time to up the pace. John very wisely advised not to push too soon and at about 150m before the finish, it was time to head for the line with some resemblance of speed!!

I crossed the line exhausted. My finish time was exactly one minute slower than my last run at Southampton parkrun but I knew I’d given my all. I collapsed on the ground and rested while John and Stuart went for a cool down run.

Many, many thanks to both John and Stuart for their support during the run. Truly shows the spirit of the parkrun community.

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