Monday, 24 June 2013

Parkrun debut for Dexter and Shepley 10k

A couple of weeks ago I ran my first Parkrun at Greenhead park in Huddersfield and then again the week after knocking almost a minute off my previous time. Sarah-Jane came along with the boys to cheer me on and join in the atmosphere. The weather wasn't the greatest that day but the attendance and the warm friendly atmosphere was. All of these and seeing his Daddy do well seemed to encourage Dexter a lot, enough to say he wanted to run next time. Now usually we would say yes Dexter of course and then promises would be forgotten by us and him but this time we could tell he really wanted to take part and run with his Daddy. So Sarah-Jane and I talked and worked out that if Dexter came on a couple of training runs with me during the week we could judge whether or not he would be up to it. Then from there we could see if he could do a Parkrun in a few weeks time.

The following Monday came and I was getting ready to go for a run around Shepley, so I asked Dexter if he wanted to come too. I was half expecting to say no or not today but he didn't he was really excited and jumped up with a big YES, so we got him dressed in to his running clothes. We went outside I did some stretches and Dexter copied then I explained to him that I would do a lap of Shepley with him then drop him off and I would carry on. He was ok with that and was still really excited when we set off round the corner. We got about 400 metres into our run and on a little downhill Dexter fell head first to the floor sliding on his knee, his belly and his hands. The tears flowed and the cries were loud but after about 20 seconds he was calm again and to my surprise when I said let's keep going he said OK. I cut the lap down a bit but we still did 1.3km before we made a pit stop at home to get his grazed knee cleaned. It was bleeding a quite a bit but looked worse than it was and I left Sarah-Jane playing nurse with him as I went back out to finish my run. I was really proud of him for getting back up and continuing and I think he would have run further if it wasn't for the fall. 

Thursday is my normal day for another run but we went to see my friends newborn daughter. The boys loved holding Harlow and it gave them a bit of practise before Flynn is born in 13 weeks time.

So when Saturday came around I wasn't going to do Parkrun until my Mum texted me to see if we were going and if we wanted breakfast after. So we decided to go and we asked Dexter if he wanted to run too as I had signed him up to Parkrun the day before, he said yes still with the same excitement as before the run on Monday. Even with a fall he still wants to run, which is brilliant. So Sarah-Jane and I came up with a plan so that if he didn't want run all of the 5k he didn't have to. Sarah-Jane was going to walk to certain points on the course to cheers us and if I felt Dexter could carry on he could walk with his mummy and brother and I would carry on. We arranged meeting points at 1km, 2km and 3km where he could drop out if he was struggling.

We turned up at my Mum's to drop stuff off then walked round to the park we also picked up Liam (Dexter and Clark's cousin) who was staying over at my Mum's. 

It was pretty quiet in the park to start with so Dexter and I did our stretches then left Sarah-Jane, Clark and Liam to go to the start and they went to the playground for a bit.

Whilst waiting at the start the crowds started to gather and we got talking to a boy about 16 years old who was a seasoned runner with over 50 Parkruns to his name. I knew this only because of the 50 Parkrun t-shirt he was wearing. 

The run started and Dexter and I ran holding hands mainly because I was afraid I would lose him not the other way round. We ran down the main straight and at the bottom we waved at mummy who was in the playground.

Then we rounded the corner at the bottom to head back up and complete the small lap as I call it. As we start the first big lap I explained to Dexter that we would see mummy a few times around the run and if he felt like he couldn't carry on we could stop. He wanted to go on as far as he could which was great and as we reach 1km and our first meeting point we just waved and carried on.

 Dexter was having fun and was surprised at how many people were cheering us on. As we got to 2km started to say he wanted walk but I knew that he could carry on further he's just 5 and winges at the littlest things. So when we saw Sarah-Jane Clark and Liam we waved again and kept running.

As we reached the end of the first big lap I knew Dexter could carry on but I didn't want to push him too much on his first Parkrun and at 3km we met Mummy and started to walk.

I was very proud of him as 3km was the furthest he has ever run and he was going to carry on the route still and finish the full 5km. He was going to walk with Mummy whilst I carried on to the finish then come round  again to pick him up. I left them with 20 mins on the clock and finished with a time of 29 mins so I was chuffed with my final 2km. Once I had finished and got my barcode scanned I ran back down the route to meet up with Dexter again. I caught up with them at the 4km mark and I persuaded Dexter to run again and his cousin Liam joined us too. As Dexter was running in his England shirt with his name and age on people kept cheering his name to give him a boost. We came round the back of the cafe and had about 300 metres to go and we met up with a group of runner who were doing extra km's and they ran behind us and cheered Dexters name until he crossed the line to complete his first ever 5km and first ever Parkrun in a time of 40.09mins. I was ever so proud of him and it was at that point that I remember that he is only just 5 years old and he has just done a 5km run. He has promised that next time he will run faster, but if he just did it again full stop it would be great. He enjoyed the run a lot but I think he was more taken by his barcode, and that he had to look after it until the end.


It's only been 3 weeks since I started doing Parkruns but I already feel comfortable at the events. They have a real family feel to them and you know that after a few events you will know a few of them by name. This will come in handy when I try to encourage a few of them to join my run, the Shepley 10k which I'm organising. The numbers are slowly growing but are better now with its new date of September 15th, rather than its old date. I hope that we can get enough people for the run and I hope we can gather enough volunteers for Marshals too. We need about 10 people for Marshals and we are nearly at the 30 runners mark which is great for a community run. We would obviously like more runners so that we raise more money for the St Paul's Church in Shepley.

If anyone want to join in the Shepley 10k please get in touch via this blog or email me on

Please remember everyone keep running


Tuesday, 11 June 2013

First Parkrun was an eye opener

This weekend I popped my Parkrun cherry and it was an eye opener, in many different ways.

The day started out with Clark and I getting up and out leaving Mummy and Dexter getting ready to go on their trip to Bramham for the horse trails. Clark and I were heading for Grandmas where I was gonna drop him off then jog round to Greenhead Park for the Parkrun. Or at least that was the plan, something we didn't plan for was discovering the MOT on the Suzuki had expired when Clark and I were pulled over by the police on our way there. £60 fine later I was back on my travels and arrived at my mums at 8.30am, a quick drop off and I was on my way to my first ever Parkrun. 

As this was my first Parkrun I didn't know what to expect, I wasn't sure what I had to do with my newly laminated Parkrun barcode. I didn't know how many people there was gonna be or if I would know anyone etc. etc. 

I had expected that there would be about 50-60 regulars with a couple extra all familiar with each other and their stories almost like a pub and its regulars. I was WRONG! I turned up with about 20 mins to go and there was about 100-150 people around the cafe some doing warm ups and other chatting with other runners. I headed for the office to speak to someone about what the routine is, and was informed that first timers all get a briefing a couple of minutes before the start, and barcodes are not needed until the end. So I headed back outside to wait and there was a few more people now maybe about 200 but more where arriving all the time. It was a lovely morning bright sunshine and quite warm too so everyone seemed to be in high spirits or maybe that's just norm at these events.


I walked around for a bit still feeling a little out of place and slightly lost even thou I've known Greenhead park for about 25 years. Finally it was first timers debrief and the was about 40 of us we were shown a map of the route and explained the Barcodes etc. then it was off to the start. By this time everyone had arrived and was ready and waiting at the start, there was as I found out later 460 people at this event. Which was amazing and just showed how popular the Parkruns have become, they are well done or at least the Huddersfield one is as I have no comparisons. 

I had placed myself near the back as I had no idea what other around where gonna do. As we set off even thou we started to spread out the paths narrowed and it wasn't until we were about 1km in that I could relax into a good pace. I was overtaking quite a few people which was good and bad I had obviously started too far back in the field but the boost of moral I got from passing people was great. 

I was still nursing my knee but I was happy with my low 5min pace and so were my lungs. I was bearly breathing at 3km and the start of lap 2 and I had no pain in either knee or ankles, my first Parkrun was going well. Half way round lap 2 and I was still passing people and it was still a great boost that was until I passed the rear of the cafe and could see the finish and the 100 or so runners that had already finished. It was slightly disheartening at how many had crossed the line before me but at the same time gave me a goal to aim for. Which is something my runs have been missing of late. I pushed on for the last 400m and even sprinted the last 50m crossing the finish line in a time of 25.43 which I was happy with. I was more shocked by the 7 year old that finished 3 places ahead of me running with his dad and knocking a minute of his PB. 

I was also very happy with my Endomondo running app and its GPS tracking as I crossed the 5k mark almost to the inch my app buzzed to let me know I had done 5k. It's good to know the App I use for all my training is that accurate, it is reassuring and it means I can concerntrate on running.

I was glad I had attended my first Parkrun and I was pleasantly surprised by how well it was run and the friendliness of the Marshals. The ease and the simplicity of the event is great and there is no wonder why it is so popular, especially as it is free to run. I would definitely do it again and recommend it to all runners. Whilst I was waiting around before the run I did hear a few runners who obviously run at other Park runs comment on how the Parkrun at Huddersfield was one of the best for staging and facilities. So it is no wonder there was 460+ people running it.

Meanwhile in other news, I have had to change the date of the Shepley 10k because of date clashes and low numbers to September 15th. The new date seems to be a better date as I have already had a lot more interest in the run. This will hopefully mean that the Church will have a lot more money raised for its refurbishments and the Shepley 10k will be a great event for the village.

Thanks for reading and don't forget keep running everyone.