Dear Readers of BvH Race Reports,
I’m pretty sure that Parkrun isn’t officially a supposed to be called a ‘Race’ which makes this report more of a ‘Run Report’) but anyone who has run Parkrun for Adults enough times to recognise other regular Parkrunners by their name (annoyingly and consistently a couple of places above yours), or by their leggings, or by their mid-run smell – don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about – will know that Parkrun is most definitely a Race, even if it’s just against yourself or the clock.
This generously good-natured but definitely sweatily-serious competitive camaraderie is already evident at Junior Parkrun which marked it’s third week today by again growing in size by 10% from the previous week, meaning that at the current rate of growth, all 170,000 children aged 5 to 15 who live in Birmingham will be running weekly by September 2017, by which time Canon Hill Park may have reached saturation point, and cyclists, dog-walkers, stubborn non-Parkrun runners and British Military Fitness will have run away crying with their cones between their legs.
OK, the competitiveness on Sundays is mainly parental – Who can encourage best without resorting to bribery or threats? Who can look the most casual like they’re not meaning to run themselves? Who can actually keep up with their six year old still? – but the older front-runners are already making sub 7 minute 2ks, making it look like it’s their warm-down from having nearly won the adult Parkrun the day before; and the fastest younger runners are not far behind, and shortening the gap each week. And everybody else was either skipping or dragged over the finish line around the 20 minute mark, which still extrapolates to a fairly respectable 5k time, given that they were running in zig-zags, encouraging ducks, rebuking geese, stopping to pick flowers and walk on every low wall and curb the whole way round.
Our eldest was keen to beat her Mum’s 5k time, saying she was looking forward to not getting ‘distracted by adults’, but she tripped half way round and was carried screaming over the finish line, trying to keep pace with our youngest, who had asked on the way there if the other children would cry if she came first. She wore pink patent leather Alice shoes, purple tights and a long floral skirt, discarding the glittery cardigan on the second lap to come in a proud and anonymous 85th, asking ‘Did we win?’
But the point of this ‘Race’ Report is to thank the organisers – including several Harriers – for how slick, safe, sunny and cheerful the whole thing has been, and for getting it going in the first place.