On Saturday, my plan was to swim at Eastleigh Lakes and then do a T-shirt run at Southampton parkrun.
BBC Radio Solent were sending a reporter, Talia, to the latter to interview me about being chosen as a Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay Baton Bearer so I had to be at the Common by 8:30am. I worked back and decided that getting up at 6:15am and into the lake by 7am with a 45 minute swim would give me time to get changed and down to the Common in time.
Having consumed breakfast, I put on my wetsuit and drove down to the lakes. There were already 32 in and around the lake as I headed toward the water’s edge.
Getting in to the water was a little easier as the rubber matting was still in place from Thursday evening’s Aquathlon. During that event, I’d suggested that when they build the new centre at Lakeside that Chris (MD of TryTri) ask that they put a Roman End into the lake. I wasn’t joking.
Having made it in to the ‘mucky duck pond’ fairly gracefully, I saw Katherine swimming so waited to chat to her. She was easily recognisable as one of the few swimmers without a wetsuit. Nutter!
We then started a lap of the lake. Although, a lap is supposed to be 350m, my Garmin recorded 270m which is probably due to the poor GPS performance in the water. However, the good news is that I swam the lap in about 6:40. Very pleased with that.
I saw Ian Boshier at the end of the lap and we chatted.
I completed 5 laps in total and decided to get out of the lake. It was a little earlier than I’d originally planned but I didn’t want to get to the Common late.
Having showered and changed into my running gear, I drove to Cemetary Road. I arrived at 8:05am. Far earlier than I’d planned. The Hawthorns was closed and there was no-one around. At about 8:20am, I spotted Gareth cycling to the start area so went over for a chat. Shortly after, the funnel set up team arrived and I helped the untangle the funnel posts and tape before I got a text from Talia from BBC Radio Solent to say she’d arrived.
We spoke briefly before she started to interview me. A much better reporter than the one from Breeze FM. Talia asked about parkrun, my involvement and being chosen as a Baton Bearer.
After my piece was done, Talia spoke to several of my parkrun friends to get their perspective on why I’d been chosen. Many thanks to Gareth, Carlo, Di and Steve. Many very kind words.
Talia’s last task was to record Ian Fearon’s pre-run brief. Ian spent a couple of minutes showcasing my involvement in parkrun and made me feel a little emotional with what he said especially the number of runners who had been able to run a parkrun because of my involvement. I don’t remember the stats but it was pretty impressive.
I just had time to say a quick goodbye to Talia before joining the masses as the run started.
After a full training week, I was planning on a T-shirt run (my legs were heavy and I was tired from the swim) and my pace indicated a 25-26 minute finish. It wasn’t long until I spotted John Grant and Rob Kelly and I eased up to them. Both great runners, they were jogging at about my pace so we chatted. I’m pretty sure neither know my PB set way back in April 2011 but they seemed determined to get me to the finish in under 25 minutes and gave loads of encouragement and advice. My pace increased.
We saw Kirsty and ran with her for quite some time before easing past her on the hill on the 2nd lap.
I was working hard and John and Rob kept pushing. My pace was increasing and a 24-25 minute finish looked likely (nearer 24 too).
In the last 300-400m, we saw Jeremy and Theo Abbt. Theo is a regular junior parkrunner and has been first finisher several times. We had a race on our hands (I should really refrain from the R word!)
In the last 30m, we were neck-and-neck but Theo crossed the line ahead of me. Well done Theo.
I checked my watch. 23:48. I couldn’t recall my previous PB and thought it was 23:49. Had I just PB’d for the first time in over 3 years?
Well, my previous PB was actually 23:54 and my parkrun-recorded time was 23:52. I’d PB’d! Yay! Many thanks to both John and a Rob for their generosity. A true parkrun spirit.
In the excitement of my result, I forgot that is intended to keep running to complete an hour’s run and chatted with ex-work colleague, Roy Dyer, Kirsty, Emily and Rosie and several others. I ended up chatting with Roy in the Hawthorns over a celebratory bacon sandwich and had to make up the rest of the hour’s run on the treadmill later in the day.
Overall, a great morning.