It’s not a race, it’s parkrun

I’m trying my best to not overthink or panic about next week. It’s not like I’ve never run a marathon before. And, like I said in the last post, I’m not aiming for a PB at Boston. I think I’m just worrying because to me Boston is a big deal. It’s a race I’ve always wanted to do as soon as I heard about it.

The fact you need to qualify for it, the fact that it’s in the US, the fact that it’s the equivalent to the London marathon to Americans… So I’m trying not to freak out or overthink things. Though this is inevitably happening of course. I’ve been comparing the elevation chart of the Boston marathon to other runs I’ve done so I can try and envision how tough the hills will be. And I’ve even been looking at other Boston marathoner’s Strava to see how they paced the race. I’ve been obsessively checking the weather forecast as well.

This is not normal for me. I rarely check the weather forecast in normal life let alone before an event. My motto has always been “well, you can’t change it so no point worrying”. However I obviously do need to have some idea so I know what to pack.


In Celsius this is about 16 degrees (on my phone app it’s 18 degrees but I prefer this result…). Now obviously this is great news for general holiday-terms (my mum is rather pleased) but for running…considering the majority of my running has been done during the winter this is going to be a bit of a wake-up. HOWEVER, I much prefer this to cold, windy and wet.

But aside from my over-analysis of everything, I’m feeling OK. I still haven’t decided what time I’m going to aim for though. Maria made a great point that I should aim for the slower time because if I’m not aiming for a PB then why does it matter at all? Best to fully enjoy it. But then my ego gets involved and I wonder how well I could run it on my current fitness without going mad. My dad (AKA my coach Winking smile) said to judge in on the day before. He knows I’m too much of a control freak to leave it to the day of course, but he said leave it to the day before when I know for sure what the weather’s going to be like, how I am in terms of getting over jet lag and tiredness and what food I’ve been eating. So that’s the plan.

On to my current running… I had a good parkrun at Netley on Saturday. I am on 97 parkruns! This is really exciting. My friend, Geoff (a fellow set-up crew member), is close to his 250th (!!) so we’re going to see if we can hit our milestones on the same day. The only issue there is that I hoped to do the Bath parkrun when I’m there for my friend’s hen do in May but if I do each parkrun as planned that’ll mean Bath will be my 100th. This is obviously not ideal – who wants to celebrate on their own!? So I’ll have to either miss Bath (which sucks because I do love ‘collecting’ different parkruns) or miss a Netley one, which also sucks because I love parkrun. Hmmmm.


Anyway, parkrun was good. I was four seconds faster than last week. It felt comfortably tough but not eyes out painful.

IMG_9863Photo credit: Chris Stapleford

What did really annoy me though was on the final lap a small lad was in front of me and his dad was ‘cheering’ him on from the side. Except he really wasn’t. He was just yelling at him “come on! Keep going! The race is behind you! Head up!”. Constantly shouting at him. It was firstly quite off-putting as I was quite near to the boy and subsequently his dad, who by this point was now running next to him yelling, and secondly I really felt for the boy. He didn’t look older than 13 and he was trying his best. Out of spite to the dad I decided to put a surge in to overtake the boy as he was annoying me so much (the dad, not the boy). I said to the boy as I passed “you’re doing amazingly, well done” and he sort of sadly said “thanks”. Me overtaking the boy drove the dad further into a shouting saga of “catch the orange!”.

IMG_9861Photo credit: Chris Stapleford

The boy overtook me at the end (good for him) but it left a sour taste in my mouth on finishing. It’s a parkrun, not a race. It’s to be enjoyed. Sure everyone wants a PB from time to time and wants to do their best, but there is a line to be drawn from what is encouraging and what is over-the-top pushy parenting. Rant over.

My time was 22:02 just shy off of breaking 22 minutes, damn!




But I’m still happy with my pacing. Somehow I’ve turned from someone who used to blast it right from the beginning to crash at the end, to someone who holds back at the start and then lets go at the end. I’m happy with that!

On Sunday I had my last long run before the marathon. I did my usual coastal route around Titchfield and Lee-On-Solent for 13.1 miles (can’t not do the .1 and make it into a half marathon). It was ridiculously windy and gusty. Luckily for most of the run it was going across me but as soon as I turned to go along the front it was straight against me. The amount of gurns I probably did during that section was laughable.










Apart from one mile fully against the wind (can you tell where??) the rest felt reasonably comfortable and I was amazed at how quickly the run flew by. Though I do feel tired, mentally and physically. When I finished I just felt a bit overwhelmed with “oh god, that was only half of what I’ve got to do in a week.” But this week will be nice and easy and hopefully I’ll feel lovely and fresh for the big day. Hopefully…

Do you check the weather before events and races?

Have you experience pushy parents before?

How many parkruns have you done? How do you celebrate the milestones?

15 Replies to “It’s not a race, it’s parkrun”

  1. 97! So exciting! And amazing! If I were you I would do Bath, and maybe marshal at your local one so that you still go, but don’t run it, that way you still get to go each week, and get to add a new course to your results too.
    Pushy parents are the worst. I have seen a few kids crying and their parents telling them to keep on running. It should be fun, and sorry but if you run with a 5 year old child then you probably will have to stop and walk for a bit, and that should be fine. Most of the parents are encouraging, but I do get annoyed with the few that insist on being so competitive, and will probably end up putting their children off running in the future.
    I like to see the weather each day so I know what to wear to work (as we are outside a lot) but also so that I can time a run if possible to be home before the rain. Although often it’s wrong anyway! As long as you have a few options in your suitcase I am sure you will be fine.
    I think I have done about 65 parkruns now, so I am a way off 100- hopefully before the end of next year. I am hoping to earn my volunteer one this year, especially with our club being involved in a new one.
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…Aldenham Country Park parkrun- another bit of tourismMy Profile

    1. Thank you for your, as always, sound advice 🙂
      Oh the note of pushy parents, I remember listening to Marathon Talk recently and hearing Tom talk about running with his little girl at the Junior one and it made me laugh so much. I can just imagine him begging his little girl to do the final metres. He is exactly how parents should be – encouraging where necessary but absolutely in tune with his child.
      Yes I think I’ll marshal at Netley – I could even run there I suppose instead? Oooh the possibilities of not actually running a parkrun on a Saturday!!

  2. Don’t panic lovie, you are going to do great! I only wish you were closer to Cali so that we could actually meet [or I could stand at the finish line with a giant sign for you!] Just know we are all super excited for you and I personally can’t wait to hear all about it – and not just the race! Make sure to document your American eats too! 😉
    Kat recently posted…Gluten-Free BLT WrapMy Profile

  3. Pushy parents are awful – it’s often their own goals that they’re trying to achieve through their kids… I’ve still not done a Park Run but it’s on my list, annoyingly it would take me double the time I’d take to run one to even get there but a few of my friends have started doing them so I may be persuaded one weekend! Eek, so excited for you for Boston! x
    LilyLipstick recently posted…Food: Cereal Killer Cafe – Brick LaneMy Profile

    1. Exactly – it’s their ego. They can try and convince themselves it’s all about getting the best for their children, but reality is it’s how it makes them look.

  4. There’s a guy at our parkrun who is always out screaming at his kids and pushing them so hard week after week. I really feel sorry for them. They are rather speedy and often win local junior events but they must end up hating running from all the pressure placed on them. In comparison though there are some fantastic supportive parents out there running with their kids and some kids who are really supportive of their parents too, which is lovely to see.
    I’ve given up checking the weather before races I run as I know it’s guaranteed to always be ridiculously hot! I’m glad marathons have a season in Spring and Autumn. Training through the Summer when it’s hot and hard seemed to suit me last year ready for my PB marathon in October when the weather had cooled down slightly.
    Parkrun number 50 for me this coming week! It was supposed to be last week but hardly anyone could make it so I decided to run with others the following week instead. I did have rather itchy feet knowing that I was missing parkrun last Saturday though. It’s become part of my weekend ritual just lately! I agree with Maria,- perhaps you could just marshal at one of the Netley parkruns so that you still get to run the different course in Bath. It could perhaps be an opportunity to try a different marshaling role that you wouldn’t be able to do if you were running?
    Mary recently posted…The reason I pulled at mile 20 of the Thames Trot 50My Profile

    1. It’s just the quickest way to make kids hate sport by doing that to them. Not cool.
      I think suffering it out through marathon training in the summer and then having a cooler marathon in autumn probably works out better than training through winter then having a warmer marathon.
      Ahh that’s a shame – yes it sucks missing parkrun when you can genuinely run… but you’re absolutely right. It’ll be nice to cheer on people and volunteer that way instead.

  5. 97 is so close, but a complete quandary how you are going to get to your 100 – I would probably miss Bath, which would be a shame, but you could always do it another time.

    I check the weather before everything. Today, I am sat at Silverstone and I can’t tell you how much Matt and I both checked the weather (to be fair, it snowed yesterday, gorgeous sunshine today).

    As for that pushy parent, what a d!ck. There is no need for that at all. Parkrun is fun. Yes. PBs are always welcome but it is some fresh air and exercise on a Saturday morning.

    Have an amazing day today – I hope you make your pacing decision! Good luck for tomorrow – you are going to rock it, and I can’t wait to read about it!
    Steph recently posted…Weigh in Wednesday 15: At a loss over a gainMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.