I remember the morning like it was yesterday (sort of!). There I was on a brisk April morning, up at 7 am on a Saturday for the first time in awhile, and no it wasn't to go down stairs and try and cure my hangover! It was to go running and moreover, I was looking forward to it!
I arrived at Cannon Hill park early (about an hour early), and then just hung around for awhile. My eagerness had meant I now had to spend an hour standing around as the coffee shop wasn't open!
Anyway, an hour later I was ready (and cold), the race briefing was brilliant and calmed my nerves being a first timer, even the little clap they give first timers is a brilliant confidence boost. A friend of mine had told me not to go near the front so I started at the back, which was the correct choice!
Anyway, the start time arrives and the race director shouts GO! I speed off at the fastest I have ever run, the first mistake I made and still make every time! I made it round the first 2 km relatively easily, then by 2-3km my quick start caught up with me. By this point the dads with baby strollers, the runners with dogs and the under 14's were overtaking me! Just remember, don't get to downbeat if you see a 9 year old overtake you, it happens to me on a regular basis during parkrun!
By the 4th km I was on the home straight and could see my girlfriend standing watching (with a croissant and coffee), which only served me to keep going so I could soon be eating a bacon sandwich!
I decided to try and sprint up the final last hill (which isn't as much of a hill as it sounds), which once again nearly made me fall to the ground and pass out, but I stumbled across the line in 30.17.
I was chuffed, I had managed my first race and not been trampled or just given up and sat on the floor!
Below are some helpful tips for you if you are nervous or anxious about your first parkrun!
- Don't be nervous! Everyone at parkrun is really friendly and you will be welcomed with open arms!
- Attend the first timer breifing, it's just a short chat with a member of the parkrun team who explains the course and what to do!
- Don't forget to sign up! Visit the parkrun website and print off your barcode which is used to get your result!
- You'll probably never follow this one because I never have! But don't start off too fast, try and pace yourself.
- The marshall's there are volunteering, so make sure to smile when you're running around. They really are the heroes of parkrun.
- Unless you're going to be running 5K in sub 22 minutes, don't start off at the front! You will get trampled.
- ENJOY YOURSELF! Well try to, I felt like i was going to quit half way around, but keep going and the sense of achievement at the end is worth it!