(photo to follow)
I had it mind to go for a fast time, and possibly a new course best. I lined up at the front and headed off with the front runners. Within the first couple of hundred metres we had started to thin out and I found myself running in second position, but with the first placed runner slower but surely pulling away from me.
I hit the half-way point in 9.15, very good I thought. The second half of the run was a lot tougher, not because of the natural effect of running hard, but due to the humidity. The weather had felt reasonably good when I first arrived, but it was obviously fooling all of the runners out there today. I was working so hard that I was sure I'd be on for a massive new course personal best.
I finally crossed the finish line in a time of 18.52, which was a new course personal best by a whopping 2 seconds! After talking to a few of the other runners, I discovered that many of them were slower than they felt they had worked. So I'm glad that it wasn't just me. I wandered over to the registration table to find my daughter helping out with barcode scanning - she looked like she was having fun.
Some of the runners and volunteers then moved on to Warlingham School for the proper birthday celebrations and the annual prize giving ceremony. The points prizes were awarded and the real stars, the volunteers, were given a few tokens of appreciation. Then, completely unbeknown and unexpected to me, I was called up to be awarded with a bespoke Riddlesdown parkrun / 7t coffee mug for services to social media. I was also dubbed 'the invisible volunteer' which I really like.
After that, I enjoyed some cake and ran around a bit with Matilda before heading off to stay in London where I would be running the following day's British 10k as a VIP guest of New Balance. All very exciting!