The day was Saturday, that meant an early alarm call and, for us, the usual drive up the A21/M25/A22 to reach the Riddlesdown parkrun. This was event number ten.
This week the wife was the official event photographer, marking the third time she had assumed the role. She did a fantastic job, as usual.
Today it was a case of making sure I didn't do anything silly, like pick up an injury, as I had a 10km race the next day. I started just far enough back to avoid the temptation to launch myself into full race mode and settled into the pack at a reasonably comfortable pace. Every now and then during the first kilometre I put in a tiny surge to get into some clear space.
|and we're off|
So I plodded on at just below my usual 5km pace until just after the half-way point where a few runners ahead of me looked like nice targets to aim for. I think I picked up the pace slightly here.
At around 3km I caught up with one of the runners and overtook. The next runner was running at about the same pace as me so this was a tougher chase. I was within striking distance at 4km, but after a bad tactical experience a few weeks earlier, decided to hang behind until I thought the time was right.
About 200 metres from the finish line the time was right. I stepped up my pace and went past. As we went into the final straight he was right behind me, the fear of losing the place made me push much harder than usual. I crossed the line ahead of him. I was in seventh place. I ran the second half much harder than I had intended, but it was worth it! Great fun!
|the final straight|
I finished in exactly the same time as I did last week but the experience was so many times better!
Gender Position: 7
Age Group Position: 1/5
Age Grading: 65.15%
2.5km splits 10:06 / 10:02
But before all that happened, Nicki (race director) had made some announcements.
Firstly, three runners had completed all nine events over the first two months and were presented with a frame containing a collage of 9 photos (one from each RDp). One of those people was me! I've been staring at it all evening - It's brilliant!
It was the first parkrun of the month and for parkruns everywhere that meant that someone had won a prize for the previous month. This month the 'Sweatshop runner of the month' for Riddlesdown was me! The prize is a pair of trainers fitted by my local sweatshop store. I will bring you a full report of the experience very soon.
After a wonderful speech Nicki called me out again to present me with my official certificate.
|me with Nicki, the RDp race director|
When I look at all the terrific people I have met since the Riddlesdown parkrun started I am humbled to think that I have been selected this month. A lot of these people put in so much effort and also sacrifice their own running in order to make the event happen - something I am yet to do.
But it is about more than just me. Dani and Matilda make up the rest of the team and they have an equal share this (apart from the trainers - sorry!). Between us we hope we have absorbed the ethos of parkrun. We are looking forward to contributing to the event as much as we can in the future, and even through the inevitable dark, cold winter mornings that are fast approaching.
We would like to thank Nicki and the rest of the Riddlesdown committee for monthly prizes!
By the way, I'm still smiling!
Thanks for reading.