I did my first parkrun this morning. Robin and Sheila have been doing them for quite a while, but if you haven’t heard about parkruns already, they are nationwide (and international) timed 5k family-friendly runs in parks, and they are free! You register online (it takes 5-10 minutes) which gives you a barcode to print off and use at any subsequent event. The barcode identifies you for the results, and you don’t need to book anything: just turn up on time at an event (Saturdays 09:30 in Scotland), and run.
The Porty event is relatively new, but about 150 runners turned out this morning: we escaped the rain, but it was a little warm and humid. Thanks to Robin for keeping me going for the first couple of laps! Three laps round the course, into the funnel, scan your code, a quick chat and off home. One of the nice things about the results is that you can sort by an age-graded score: Sheila came an impressive second place on that measure!
It was interesting (to the anoraks like myself) to see how they do the timing: they record the time of each finisher without knowing who you are, then hand you a tag for your position; you scan the tag and your barcode, which links you to your position, and therefore your time. Neat!
OK, if you do a lot of these, you probably ought to be a volunteer from time to time. But it was nice to be able to turn up with no money, no compass or other paraphernalia, no controls to collect afterwards, no worry that you’ve forgotten your start time, and no need to work out whether you should be on the right- or the left- side of the pond 😉 I always find running with a lot of other people a bit more stressful, and the stress seems to spread to my leg muscles! But people soon spread out, and then you can just focus on getting round, and whether you might catch the runner in front — or not…