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.

Update regarding Bespoke parkruns:

For info, if anybody is looking for further information on the Bespoke parkruns, I have found the following information...

Only four ever took place. The Bespoke parkrun event page no longer exists, however all of the results are still on the runbritain website (see links below).

Bespoke parkrun 1 - Bramhall Park (6 September 2011) - Results on runbritain (Adidas t-shirt launch)
Bespoke parkrun 2 - Harrogate (7 January 2012) - Results on runbritain (Harrogate parkrun pilot event)
Bespoke parkrun 3 - Highbury Fields (26 July 2012) - Results on runbritain (Olympic special)
Bespoke parkrun 4 - Oldham (16 September 2012) - Results on runbritain (tbc)

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