|first outing in her new balance fresh foam zante v2 shoes [photo:7t]
The last time we were at Bushy Park, Matilda had only just turned three years old and had never actually run at the event. So our return was more than one of visiting and volunteering. It would be Matilda's first official run there (in total her twenty-third junior parkrun and her ninth junior parkrun venue). However, there have been a few changes since our last visit.
|run briefing [photo:7t]
Firstly, the run used to start at the Teddington Gate entrance and consist of an out-and-back alongside Chestnut Drive. The route is still run on exactly the same ground but now in the opposite direction. The start/finish area is now located in the centre of the park next to the Diana Fountain and the car park (which is free-of-charge) and the runners head off in the direction of Teddington Gate for 1 kilometre before turning around and heading back towards the start/finish. Another big positive with this change is that the toilets are much closer to the new start area.
|off we go. starting at the back to avoid getting tangled up in the crowds
The other big change is that the event now starts at 10am rather than the 11am start that it used to have a few years ago. This event still only takes place once per month, so if you're planning on visiting make sure it is the first Sunday of the month that you head over.
|keeping good pace [photo: dani]
So we arrived about an hour before the event started and lent a hand at getting some bits and pieces sorted pre-run. I had already had a chat to Matilda and she wanted me to run with her, so Dani had volunteered to be a marshal while I kept Matilda company on her run. This was also the first time she had had the opportunity to wear her brand new New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v2 shoes which she is currently helping me to review.
|always time for some fun and games [photo: dani]
Bushy junior parkrun attracts a lot of runners and for this event there were 230 children taking part. The standard junior parkrun warm-up started at about 9.55am and everyone was raring to go by the time the clock struck 10. Except I had lost Matilda in the crowd - fortunately we had already agreed to start near the back and I eventually found her exactly where we had planned to be.
Due to the unavoidable congestion that 230 children plus a good number of parents cause, we had a really slow start. But as the field of runners started to thin out we got into our stride. It was a nice steady pace and as the turnaround point came into view I was surprised that we hadn't slowed for a walking break. We continued our nice pace, chatting and jumping over small branches and twigs that had fallen from the line of trees that create the avenue which the course is run along.
Matilda got a high-five from her marshaling mum and before we knew it the finish line was coming into sight. I teased Matilda by saying that I was going to enter the finish funnel before her and she reminded me that grown-ups are not allowed to enter the finish funnel and that Nicki had earlier threatened to poke me with sharp stick if I went anywhere near it! So as we reached the end I sensibly pulled off to the side and allowed her to complete her run in style.
|clearing up. this was actually a race. i lost. [photo:dani]
After collecting her finish token, we went off to get her barcode scanned. During our days as regular volunteers here, my favourite role was as barcode scanner. So it was nice to experience Bushy juniors barcode scanning as a parent. It's still very busy and the four barcode scanners worked tirelessly to scan the barcodes of the 200+ children that all crossed the line within the space of just over 10 minutes.
|helping to wind up the finish funnel tape [photo:7t]
Once that was done we headed over to the finish area to clap in the last few runners and then we assisted with tidying up the finish area before heading off for a well deserved coffee, lunch and a sweet treat from Caffe Nero in Teddington. Once the results had been processed we learned that Matilda had run 15.34 which is only 13 seconds off her 2km pb, that is pretty good considering we had a very slow start and were playing and chatting all the way around. We had a fantastic time and Matilda really wants to go back, which we will do. It's just a shame it's such a long drive for us.