Saturday 10 January 2015

Dartford parkrun 25 - strong winds, a difficult run and some clapping

I didn't sleep very well the night before Dartford parkrun event 25. The wind was howling and every now and then I heard random things being blown over (turned out to be some wheelie bins). The forecast for the Saturday morning was for the windy overnight weather to continue.

It seems Mother Nature was being quite kind because although the wind had picked up, it was accompanied by a significant rise in temperature. So when I left the house at 7.20 to jog over to Dartford Central Park it was around 13 degrees. In January.

deep in thought [photo: gary bignell]

I had heard mutterings of parkrun cancellations on my early morning twitter feed, and while the course at Dartford is fairly well sheltered, there are plenty of trees. My worry was that the wind could have created some tree debris (or even brought one down) on the course.

After a thorough course inspection it became apparent that the course was actually a lot clearer than it had been on many previous weeks - the biggest obstruction I had to deal with was a twig! Further to this the grassy-trail section was a lot dryer than it had been a week earlier (where we switched to the B course) and the trail itself was looking pretty good.

finished [photo: richey estcourt]

Before the run started I noticed that, as promised, a photographer had turned up from the Dartford Messenger newspaper and was floating around getting some shots of the volunteers and the typical pre-run rituals that we all do. I thought it'd be a good opportunity to get some publicity for the Dartford Half-Marathon so I stuck my promotional t-shirt on for the day's run.

The run itself was a tough one for me. The wind was still pretty strong with gusts of 50 mph and even when I was not running directly into it I was still feeling the effects of it on my breathing. This resulted in quite an uncomfortable second lap. I also had some discomfort in my belly and felt sick throughout the last 2 kilometres.

post-run fun [photo:gary bignell]

I still pushed on and out of pure coincidence more than anything else, I completed the run as the first finisher (my fourth time at parkrun and second time at Dartford parkrun) which is always nice (even if there were a few faster runners out there taking it easy in advance of a race that afternoon). The Dartford Messenger photographer noted down my name and running clubs (SLGR and DHAC) - the article was in the 15 January 2015 edition of the paper, a photo of it can be found at the bottom of this page.

After the run, due to sheer number of volunteers, I was not required for barcode scanning so I spent the next 25 minutes or so clapping and/or encouraging the rest of the runners while at the same time playing hide-and-seek with my daughter and her friend (I should add that this was hide-and-seek in the middle of an open grass playing field - reminds me of the time we played it in a swimming pool).

on your march, get set... [photo: richey estcourt]

After the run I headed off over towards the formal garden area to collect some signs only to find that my old buddy, Terry (we've known each other for 15 years now), had already picked up every single sign - even the hard-to-find ones that even I forget on occasion! Everything was packed away by 10am and the results were processed very soon after.

Then it started to rain, so we dived into the Dartford Harriers clubhouse where the post-run chatting and cake eating session commenced.

the article in the dartford messenger 15 Jan 2015

Updated on 20 January 2015 to add the Dartford Messenger photo.

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