Saturday was a really special day for me; it was my 100th parkrun. If you don’t know, parkrun (always small ‘p’) is a free weekly 5k that takes place on a Saturday all over the UK, as well as many other countries. You just register online, print out your barcode and then take it with you to your nearest parkrun (you can find out which one is nearest to you using their events page).
You then run (or walk!) the 5k, go through the finishing funnel where you’re handed a finisher’s chip. You take that and your personal barcode and get it scanned by a friendly volunteer. Later on you’ll receive an email with your results. It’s simple, free and super friendly. It’s one of my favourite parts of running. I go every Saturday I can, usually to my local Netley one, and I love it. You don’t have to run fast or PB every week, you can plod along, take selfies, natter to other regulars and just enjoy it. Marshals are different volunteers each week and will cheer you on as you run past.
Before Saturday I had run 99 parkruns, mostly at Netley but I’ve also done others (15 different ones in total). It’s traditional to bring cakes to a milestone parkrun so I decided on two very simple cakes: rocky road and marshmallow crispies. Essentially it just involved melting and mixing. I am notoriously bad at baking so I thought I could handle this.
The rocky road was easy peasy and involved melting chocolate, butter and golden syrup and then mixing crushed digestive biscuits and mini marshmallows into it. There was an iffy moment when I thought I was close to burning the chocolate but thankfully this didn’t happen. After putting it in a large casserole dish it went into the fridge.
Then it was on to the crispies. I melted butter and then added marshmallows and began mixing together.
Simple. Then it suddenly became very difficult. Have you ever tried mixing the sticky gloop mess of melted marshmallows with light little rice crispies?? It is a sticky NIGHTMARE. The marshmallow starts to harden, your spoon gets stuck, you get stuck, there’s pink Spiderman-style webby marshmallow glue everywhere…it’s ridiculous. Then trying to put the damn thing into a dish… Jesus, never again. Anyway they too eventually went into the fridge to later be chopped up the next morning.
But in the end it all turned out OK. Hurrah!
As normal I helped set-up parkrun. I took Alfie with me as my dad was going to pop down to cheer me on and celebrate with me so when I ran he could look after him. It’s always nice to bring Alfie along as he runs along next to us as we walk the course and gets on with everyone.
Despite the weather being overcast, it was a lovely parkrun. My fellow setter-uppers, Chris and Geoff, were celebrating their 50th and 200th parkrun, respectively, as well. So there were a lot of good spirits.
Hedge End Running Club’s female team captain, Kirsty, also arranged for the Southampton Echo to come down and take some photos which was all very exciting. Though we did have to do some cringey running shots. They’re in the Echo today (we even had to give a little interview!).
My dad arrived and we got ready to start actually running (after a lovely mention of us in the speech at the beginning).
I ran with my friends Mike and Mark and though I wasn’t pushing it, I found it really tough. I felt like my legs had nothing in them and that three miles felt ridiculously long.
To be honest, I was just really glad when it was done, though I did have fun at the end doing the ‘aeroplane’. Got to be done!
And then the cake feeding frenzy began! All three of us celebrating our milestone run had brought cakes so pretty much everyone at parkrun was eating cake afterwards. It was fabulous. And I must say, my rocky road went down a storm and was exceptionally tasty, if I do say so myself.
My dad enjoyed himself too. We had our photo taken in a similar place that we’d had a photo taken on my 50th parkrun (ahh the consistency…).
My dad said he enjoyed it so much that he’s going to register and do a parkrun walk next week! He’s done a 5k before (in around 47 minutes) and he does walk a lot so he says he feels capable of doing it. He felt encouraged that Netley has a number of walkers so he wouldn’t be the only one. He also has a heart rate monitoring watch so he can be sensible too (though he actually doesn’t have high blood pressure surprisingly – but best to be safe! And my mum won’t let him go otherwise…). And because Netley is laps if he doesn’t fancy doing it all he can stop when he wants. I’m very proud of him
My time was 23:16. It didn’t feel like a good, easy run but I’m still pleased with the negative split.
It felt mentally wearing and like a slog. But the cake, the lovely parkrun community who made me feel very special and loved and my dad being there made up for it. Despite having a pants run, I couldn’t stop smiling and I went home very happy. And that’s the thing, parkrun is not just about the running.
What would you bake for a milestone celebration?
Have you ever been interview by a paper before?
Do you like your photo being taken?