Today, I had a mere eleven miles to cover. With the parkrun accounting for three of these this meant that I only had eight miles to walk beforehand (I can’t walk it after parkrun as I have to take my Mother shopping).
I parked up in Westwood Road, just outside of Sutton Park then proceeded into the park for the eight mile loop that I have done before and which is pre-programmed into my Garmin.
It was misty and the sun was yet to rise so I started with head torch and Lil Larry (see earlier post – LINK).
However, by the time I was mid way between Boldmere and Town gates my personal illumination was put away.
I continued on through the gloom grabbing a few atmospheric shots of Blackroot and Bracebridge Pools.
The misty walk was uneventful and I got back to the car at around 08:15. Time for a drink and a snack before making my way back into the park for the main event.
Parkrun, as I have mentioned before, is a FREE, timed, 5k (3.1 mile) run which takes place in parks around the globe every Saturday morning. Although it’s called parkRUN this is a very loose term and the course can be run, jogged or walked.
To allow parkrun to be free, it relies heavily on volunteers. Today, I was giving a bit back by assuming the role of Tail Walker. According to the parkrun website …
The Tail Walker stays right at the back of the field and should be the last person to cross the finish line ensuring that everyone is accounted for.
They are encouraged to carry a mobile phone in case of emergencies.
They let any marshal out on the course know that they can collect nearby signs and leave their post.
This role is compulsory in the UK and Australia.
Volunteers undertaking this role receive both a run credit and a volunteer credit.
I made myself known to the organisers and collected a fetching orange High-Vis waistcoat along with a lanyard holding emergency info. I was paired up with Jackie who was to be my co-tail walker today.
At the allotted time, everyone lined up, “Three, Two, One, Go!” and we were off. We watched as three hundred odd runners (that around 300 NOT 300 weird, strange runners) shot off leaving us to bring up the rear.
As we strolled around the course, the various marshals would be relieved from their posts. In the earlier stages, the marshals would head off to complete the course themselves. Later on the marshals joined us and we ended up as a contingent of around half a dozen orange walkers.
One of the people that we picked up was one of the founders of the Sutton Park parkrun. It was interesting to talk with him about setting up of a new parkrun. He did let slip that another parkrun is about to be launched in Birmingham – and I know where !
We completed our parkrun and in true tail walker style, I insisted that I finished last.
I was handed my tag and noticed that 346 people had crossed the finish line ahead of me.
The official time was 55:17 – my slowest ever parkrun – a PW (personal worst !)