RACE REPORT - Walthamstow Park Run
The very first Park Run was organised by Paul Sinton-Hewitt on 2 October 2004 at Bushy Park in London, England. The event was originally called the Bushy Park Time Trial. Over the next 15 years the event mushroomed in popularity, spawning events throughout the UK and all over the world. It's an international success with well over 3 million runners to date and around half a million volunteers.
Every Saturday morning, people turn up at parks everywhere and celebrate running. No matter how cold or wet. Proof that the world could be a better place if we all ran. I know this sounds a bit much but I believe it. How many angry runners do you know? Cyclists are always angry because people are always trying to kill them, but runners are chilled because they know the best way to see the world is at a comfortable trot away from the threat of motorised doom.
The Walthamstow Park Run is one that the group know pretty well. This time our number were swelled by the newly graduated Walker 2 Runners who had finished the course the week before and were Park Running for the first time.
As a first timer there's no better introduction to racing than Park Run. At it's heart Park Run embodies everything that is great about running. It's a free race. Simple registration, print off a bar code and you're good to go. It is always welcoming and inclusive, whether you are a sub 17 minute speed merchant or finishing in over 40 minutes. There's always a great atmosphere and unyielding support.
The morning was cold but everyone was enthusiastic and excited. After a quick chat from the race coordinator (thanks Ali) we were off on our first of 3 laps of the Peter May sports field. The initial flat turns steadily into a gentle climb that is deceptively taxing. It's important to keep your rhythm but not give too much. Make sure that you turn the corner and hit the top of the climb feeling strong so you can open up your stride as you head back down hill.
You hit the bottom of the field and around the small football pitch, then back to the start for the second lap. If you've paced the first lap well you can start to build and push a little more on your second climb. Third time round is when you can really drain the tanks and push for home.
It was a really great morning for all of us. Every Forest Fitness Runner who raced, achieved a 5k personal best (yes I know first time is always a PB), which is pretty phenomenal.
Brilliant, brilliant work everyone. See you at the next one.