If you’re a regular reader you know my dad is a big supporter of my running. My mum is too, of course – after all, she came with me to Boston to support me in the marathon and has gone to many of my races too. But my dad likes to really get involved.
Though he isn’t a runner (though he did used to run back in his navy days) he still “gets” it. He knows what my good paces are and my capabilities, he listens and gives advice when I’m training and he stops me sinking too much into darkness when I’m injured. He’s my coach in many ways.
He came and supported me at my 100th parkrun recently as well. When I’d finished and we met up at the end, he was smiling and said “I’m going to do one”. Apparently he was so inspired by everyone running and the fact that there were walkers and run-walkers that he thought, “I can do this too”. This is exactly what parkrun is about. It’s about getting people out there moving who might not be inclined to on their own. So we planned for the next week for him to come down and power walk the Netley parkrun.
I got there early to help set-up and I was going to meet him at the start area at around 8.30-8.45am. He arrived bang on 8.30am looking a bit nervous.
He had his iPhone with him and headphones. He said he needed a bit of distraction and something to help him round. I was going to run and then come back for him.
We parted ways and parkrun began. My run was surprisingly speedy considering I hadn’t run all week (or was I speedy because I hadn’t run?). As a side note, my mojo is still flagging and my hamstring is still niggling. It’s a combination that doesn’t get me riled up to run at the moment. I’ve been going to the gym but running is taking a backseat. I don’t have any races coming up that I’m desperate to run or do well in but I do want to be fresh and niggle-free for when I get back into marathon training in July (ideally with some base-building beforehand as well). So a bit of time off now seems ideal.
Anyway, it was ridiculously warm and I felt stupid in my long-sleeved t-shirt. When I left the house it had felt quite cool but now the sun was burning through. Running attire fail. My hamstring niggled a bit during the run but otherwise I felt fresher than previous runs which I think just confirms that time off is helping.
Someone asked me while I was running what time I was aiming for. I actually didn’t have an aim so I felt a bit flummoxed with the question, especially while running. I said I didn’t know and the man kind of laughed and said “of course you know, come on you must have some idea” Um, no! I wasn’t even paying attention to my watch so I actually didn’t. I said “Err around 23-24 minutes?”. That’s where my current parkruns have sat to seemed a fair bet.
Each lap I could high-five my dad or shout encouragement to him which was great. I also noticed he wasn’t at the back. He was storming along nicely.
I surprised myself by finishing in 22:27 and second female which I was quite pleased with. Fastest parkrun since the beginning of April so I’ll take that! I quickly scanned my barcode and then headed to find my dad. He had just under one and a half laps (and miles) to go. He was doing well.
He jogged a little occasionally but he found it quite uncomfortable on his joints. In future he’s going to stick to power walking rather than jogging just yet as he needs to lose a bit of weight first before he puts any stress on his joints.
He was keen for me to keep an eye on the tail runner, who was a few minutes behind him. He didn’t want to be last so it was a good motivation for him to keep his pace up and his eyes on the finish. I stressed it wouldn’t matter if he was last but he was keen to hit his target.
At the end he was cheered in when he jogged to the finish. I was so proud! So many people encouraged him and cheered him on as he did the course. He said it really helped and he was very chuffed. Every marshal clapped and spurred him on and runners who knew me and knew he was my dad would yell “go on Anna’s dad!”. It was lovely.
He completed it in 51:11 (two minutes faster than the last two people and the tail runner). He was over the moon.
One down and hopefully many more to come. I told him it’s only going to get harder now as he strives to beat that time now Next week we’re going to do the Lee-On-Solent parkrun as a couple of my friends are doing it and it’s literally just up the road for my dad. He’ll be doing his first parkrun tourism! (Not that I’ve decided for him that Netley is his base of course…).
He won’t do it every week but once in a while it’s a fantastic thing for him to do as he continues to try and lose weight (a long-standing battle…). I’m so so proud of him and glad he came. And it just proves, you don’t have to be a certain shape, a certain speed or a certain type of person to do parkrun. It’s open to everyone.
Are you family fit and active?
Do you do any exercise with your family?
Does your family support you at sports events or races?