Friday, 27 July 2012

Bespoke parkrun #3 - Olympic special at Highbury Fields

It was Thursday, 26 July 2012, and I was minding my own business at work when Roundshaw on Tour (now Roundshaw random ) tweeted that they were on their way to Highbury Fields for a special parkrun. Now, I had heard of this 'special' already, as earlier in the week I had seen other tweets mentioning it. However, it was only while I was sitting there at work on the day of the run that I noticed that it would be an official parkrun (ie count towards the total number of runs and venues).

I knew that I couldn't really go because I am on a break from running, I wouldn't have enough time to get there and back during my lunch break and probably a few other invalid reasons.

But..... I could feel my hands starting to tremor with excitement. So I turned to my colleagues and asked 'would anyone mind if I took a two hour lunch break?' - Nobody objected, so I quickly checked the tube map, then sent my computer to sleep and did a panic run to go and grab a few essentials.

It was now 11:45 - The run was scheduled to start at 12:45.

Things you need if you want to do a parkrun = barcode. That is all, I knew I had it with me - I never leave home without it!

I didn't have any of my current running kit with me, but I had a plan. I knew that an old pair of running shoes were lurking around somewhere in my Dad's work flat, so I grabbed them. Next I ploughed head first into my brother's wardrobe to find one of his tech running shirts and a pair of his shorts. Sorted.

Then I had to slow down. I didn't want to forget anything important, in addition to my barcode I would be needing my oyster card, keys, pass to get back into work, and some water because it was absolutely scorching out there!

I got on the tube at Westminster and 20-odd minutes later resurfaced in Highbury and Islington, I crossed the road and found that Highbury Fields was packed with thousands of people - how were we going to run through these crowds?! The Olympic torch had been through the area a few hours earlier and there was a special sports-related event in the park.

This instagram photo was taken by @millbry

I wandered around for a bit and found a volunteer who pointed me in the direction of the start, there was still a good 20 minutes before the run was due to start, I wandered a bit more and bumped into Alan Collis, we chatted for quite a while. We soon found another parkrunner - complete with 50 club t-shirt. Then Danny Norman appeared and recognised me, we shook hands, had a few brief words and then went our seperate ways.

I then spotted the Roundshaw-on-tour crew, who were apparently 'working from home' - Your secret is safe with me!

Eventually 12.45 rolled around, we gathered at the start point to listen to the run briefing.

Highbury Fields parkrun is, I think, unique in the fact that it is a 5 (and-a-bit) lap course. (feel free to correct me if I am wrong). You basically run anti-clockwise around a back-to-front D five times and then veer off to the left and cross the finish line.

As I am technically having a rest period, I knew that I wouldn't be going for a fast time, so as we were sent on our way I kept at a very conservative pace. The thing I was mostly worried about was losing track of which lap I was on. However, in the end I found that my maths skills were just about good enough to count them all without making a mistake. I did check my GPS just before I turned off to cross the finish line to make sure that I had counted correctly.

Once I finished, I did the usual with the barcode and position token, then noticed that medals were being given out. Not wanting to miss out on a piece of this special parkrun memorabilia, I asked if the medals were for everybody - and they were!

Olympic parkrun bling!

Sadly my two hour lunch break was nearing its end, so I had to shoot straight off to get back to work. There was also no time for showering so I had to go back to the office #parkrunfresh, which nobody seemed to complain about. They did, however, think I was a little crazy for going for a 5k run in the middle of the workday when the temperature was 28 degrees!

58 runners completed the course. This run has gone down as bespoke parkrun 3 (link no longer works). It is very special to have a bespoke parkrun on my summary page! However that means that I have to run at this venue again to officially add it to my list of venues - which I gladly will do, but maybe on a cooler day and when my fitness returns to a decent level. Edit: I did revisit and here is the link to my blog: Highbury Fields parkrun blog.

The official bespoke parkrun webpage has been removed but the results for this run are still viewable on runbritain's website - Bespoke parkrun 3.
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