Parkrun 2016: A year in review

Chilling in Highbury Fields, after my final parkrun of 2016, watching the final runners finish their race.

As you all know, because I have written about it many times over the last month, I am trying to run 5K in under 25 minutes. And not just any 5K. The 5K that is the Parkrun at Highbury Fields. This route is five and a half times around the park, with one half being a gradual uphill, and the other being a gradual downhill. It’s a tough course, but I was determined to meet my goal at this location.

And I was SO close. My best time this year was 25:03 on November 26. This past weekend, which was my final Parkrun of 2016, I ran the route in 25:10.

I put a lot of pressure on myself to meet my goal, but I just couldn’t do it. It was so hard. I thought I might die for two thirds of the race, especially that last uphill sprint to the finish. You know when you sometimes see people pushing themselves so hard that they’re sick? I thought that might be me. I had a real vision of me keeled over in the grass but miraculously, I managed to stay upright and moving. Graham was running with me trying to pace me to the end, but I just didn’t have it in me. I’m not sure why, but I just didn’t feel as powerful as the run on November 26 and I knew I wasn’t going to sneak in under 25 minutes. On the plus side, I was the 20th female out of a field of 224 parkrunners and I came in 4th in my age category. Not bad for the final Parkrun of the year!

While I am mildly disappointed to have not met my goal, I’m also really proud of my improvement over the last 6 weeks. This year, I ran 15 Parkruns, all at Highbury Fields. For a long time, I was finishing the race between 26 and 27 minutes. My worst time this year was 27:35. To have brought it down to 25:03 is a huge improvement.

Anyway, I must not forget that my goal was to run a sub-25 minute 5K this year, not to run it only at Parkrun.  There’s still three weeks left and I’m confident that I can do this on a flat course somewhere else. We fly to Canada for the holidays tomorrow so I may be setting this goal in a much cooler climate. It is currently snowing and -8C in Toronto!

Since moving to London, I have really fallen in love with Parkrun. It’s such a wonderful, welcoming community event. Every week, I am stunned by how many runners show up, rain or shine. I am excited for all the first timers and new runners trying the event and I am so grateful for the volunteers who manage the setup and timing every week. It’s so wonderful that it’s free. I am excited for more Parkruns in 2017, and who knows, maybe I’ll even venture to another location….one with a fewer hills!

To learn more about Parkrun, or find one in your area, check out their website or follow them on Twitter @ParkrunUK

1 Comment

  1. April Runs On December 16, 2016 / 1:46 am

    I bet if you tried on a nice flat course you would come in well under 25! You can do it, M!

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