It was a cool misty morning as I pulled into the Banners Gate car park. Unusually late for me on a Saturday morning and the sun was already up if somewhat obscured. I normally start my Saturday long walk sometime around five but with only seven miles to achieve before parkrun, it was gone half six when I started.
I strode on through the mist which started to clear and after my first couple of miles had burnt off.
I deviated a little from my usual seven and a bit mile route clocking up around 8.2 miles. I did spot a pony or two during my trek.
With my warm up completed, I knocked back a cereal bar and some drink before making my way across the car park to the parkrun start.
I feel like I’m becoming part of the Sutton parkrun family as I am recognised by some of the volunteers and we enjoyed a bit of a chat before the start.
I lined up mid-pack and at the appointed time set off. I started strong, so much so that runners were holding me back!
By the time I’d covered the first mile, at the foot of the Hill of Doom, I was going at 11:55 per mile pace. This slowed slightly due to having to climb the hill and avoiding walking runners.
Going down hill from the memorial to the turnaround point, I espied a woman walking up. She was walking very purposely. I did the U-turn and managed to catch the purposeful walker on the way back up. I passed her on the hill but was re-caught once back on the level.
As she passed me, she said hello. I returned the greeting adding, “I’m sticking with you!”
She gradually pulled ahead moving smoothly. Spurred on, I sped up to try and keep up.
When we got to the part of the course that cuts off across the model aircraft field, I was surprised when she didn’t turn but carried on towards Boldmere. She wasn’t even in the parkrun!
Checking my watch, I could see that I was in with a chance of setting a new personal best (PB). At the line, I stopped my watch at 37:01 – about twenty seconds better than last time! When the official time came through it wasn’t quite that good but still a PB by nineteen seconds.
I was looking forward to having a chat with the mystery woman but that was not to be.
As I was walking back to the car, I overheard a group of runners ahead of me discussing, of all thing, birds crapping on their patio furniture. As I passed them, I turned and asked, “You know what to do if bird craps on your car?” They did not.
“Don’t take her out again!” I answered.
They liked that !