I decided I needed some 5K race practice to develop my running at the distance and to benchmark my current race pace. So I headed to Burnham-on-Sea for their weekly Parkrun – a free 5km timed run. There was a huge turnout – probably a combination of the fine weather and a flat course.
I was aiming to try and beat 18:30 – 6 minutes per mile pace (3:42 per km). I took my place on the front line for the start, expecting to be running near the pointy-end of the field but was immediately surprised by the pace from the gun. The first rule of Parkrun is to sprint the first 100 metres! It was do-or-die in order to keep ahead on the narrow footpath.
My pace for the first km was 3:36 which felt too quick so I eased off a touch. For the next 3km I settled into a manageable pace of 3:43/km. I’d worked my way up to 5th place by this point.
The final km was tough. I began to feel like I was overheating, from a combination of the sun and my thumping heart. I took a few glances over my shoulder and saw 6th place close behind so dug deep and kept going. Crossing the line was a huge relief, combined with the immense satisfaction of clocking 18:28 (5:57 per mile / 3:42 per km). And keeping my position – nothing stings like being beaten on the line.
After the disappointment of last weekend’s duathlon I decided that when things go well, I need to enjoy the satisfaction of a success. The failures hurt, so the successes need to be celebrated.
Big thank you to all the organisers of the event, if I do a few more then I will make sure to volunteer one week. Parkrun only happens as a result of people volunteering.