As parkrun’s go this was undoubtedly the most special to me. Forget about pb’s, forget about new routes, forget about celebration or anniversary events … there’s not much to beat running with family.
My eldest daughter, Michelle, was visiting for the weekend from Eastbourne and because she’s currently going through the Couch to 5k scheme I took the rare opportunity to run one of the days with her.
She’s on week three which, using the schedule as set by my club, means five minutes running and two minutes walking, repeated three times.
I knew this wouldn’t be enough to get her around parkrun but I still managed to persuade her to go along to our local course on the condition that if she completed the three ‘cycles’ as per C25K then the rest could be of her choosing eg: she could walk/run when she felt like it.
Michelle is no stranger to running in company. We have completed the Westminster Mile for the last two years and, better than that, have even ran a little section of the London Marathon together after I won a competition to have someone of my choosing join me for a short stretch just before Tower Bridge.
I think Michelle has caught the running bug. She has already signed up for the London Winter Run 10k in February next year but this parkrun will have been her longest ‘competitive’ run to date so I was curious as to how she’d get on.
Deliberately taking our place near the back so as not to get in anyone’s way it was with a great sense of pride that we set off on our initial five minute split. I knew this would be the most challenging part of the run, it would take her a little while to settle in (pace, breathing etc.) plus it was also the most awkward part of the course given the steady rise after the first corner.
But, I’m happy to say, she coped well. I kept the pace to whatever she felt comfortable with and I think she was pleasantly surprised that there were a few people behind us.
As I said, after the scheduled three running/walking splits, it was into the ‘freestyle’ part of the run but I’m proud to say she managed to stick with the 5/2 intervals all the way round.
I will admit to pushing her a bit towards the end when I could sense she was wanting to walk more than run but I wanted to show her that she could do it.
There’s a climb just before the finish which sometimes proves too much for tired legs. I could sense she wanted to stop and walk it but, spotting an opportunity, I shouted out to the small group of spectators standing there that this was her first time and the encouragement and support they immediately responded with powered her up the incline.
It was a joy to behold. Here she was, having never run as far as this before, sprinting up a little climb with a look of determination on her face! She was exhausted at the end, but I also knew she was proud of what she’d just achieved. I was proud, too. The time didn’t matter a jot. She had done it and, right there and then, that meant everything.