The Inaugural Carlisle Parkrun

The 19th January 2013 saw the first running of the Carlisle Parkrun. Run by volunteers, Parkrun organise free weekly timed 5k runs all around the world that encourage and attract runners of all abilities. All you need to do before you arrive is print off your unique bar code so that your results can be recorded. Simple.

Apart from Race for Life (which wasn’t actually 5k), I have never run this distance. There just doesn’t seem to be a lot of local 5k races and I’m reluctant to travel very far for a run that will be over in under 30 minutes.

And so, on a cold, finger numbing morning, I found myself in Chances Park ready for the start of Carlisle’s first Parkrun. The Manor Cafe bar was open and many runners gathered here pre-start in an effort to stay warm.

Just before 9am, we were given a pre-event briefing and 112 runners set off for 3 laps around Chances Park. As usual, I set off too fast, carried along by a stream of faster runners. I had expected it to be all flat and on nice paths, but there were some inclines and a good proportion was on grass. The ground was hard with the frost, luckily, because my Brook Glycerin’s really don’t like off-roading!

After the first lap, I’d managed to find my own pace although my legs were screaming from going off too fast and I was concerned that I’d just burn out completely and end up staggering over the finish line. Fortunately, during the third lap, I found my second wind and was able to finish strongly with a time of 26:07 on my Garmin. I later found out that my official time was 26:12 and I’d finished 51st overall, 5th Lady and 1st in my age group (there were only 6 of us in that age group but I’m still damn proud 🙂 )

It was a really well organised event with hugely supportive marshals. The whole atmosphere was friendly and inclusive and there was such a huge range of abilities and ages all enjoying it together. I think it’ll be a great way to gauge my progress this year and I’m hoping to do it once a month.

The Route....

The Route….

Carlisle parkrun pace

As part of January’s challenge, I have added a few extra exercises to my routine of Burpees.  As I’ve said in a previous post, I’m matching the number of Burpees I do with the date. Today is the 28th and so I’ll be attempting to do 28 Burpees. And not just regular Burpees either; Burpees with push ups and star jumps! Eeeek! They are an evil exercise but they’re really effective at conditioning the whole body. Over the course of the month, I really have felt an improvement in my technique and in my ability to run up hills!

To this routine, I have added 20 plank walk ups, 2 minutes bridge, 1 minute Plank and 1 minute wall squat followed by 20 seconds of high knees. Wall squats are really awful but they’re also good at strengthening the quads, essential for running. Therefore, I view them as a necessary evil and, after all, they do say ‘No Pain, No Gain’!

In other news, Leeds beat Tottenham 2-1 in the FA Cup 4th round and now face Manchester City in the 5th Round. It was a good weekend all round with Liverpool beaten by Oldham and lowly Brentford managed to force a replay against Chelsea. Even the mighty Celtic were unceremoniously dumped out of the Scottish League Cup by St Mirren. All good news but tinged with sadness because the person who I’d usually ramble all this stuff to is no longer here. Even in the later stages of his dementia, when I’m not sure he knew exactly what I was going on about, I always kept dad up to date with the latest footie news. He’d have loved to know about Glasgow Rangers fall from grace and would have wound me up about it relentlessly. Rangers were my Scottish team whereas dad supported Celtic. He wouldn’t have been too chuffed about the cup result, though!

This year, I will be doing the Lakeland Trails marathon (my first marathon!!) and the Great North Run in dad’s memory. I will be raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society in the hope that one day a cure will be found for this evil disease. I have opened a Just Giving page in his memory and, if you’d like to donate, it can be found here.

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