It has finally happened. I’ve come first at something. Having never won anything before, nt even my age group at a parkrun, I came first. First. At a parkrun!
Having been in the last week of my recovery training block I’d run a bit too hard at the 5k TT at the track on Thursday, and so come the Saturday morning my legs were still quite knackered. I’d gone to help celebrate a friend upon reaching her 100th run at Temple Newsom and had planned to potter round and try and stretch out the legs a little. But that was until I saw my Friend N…
N: ‘You should do well today Tom, none of the fast boys are here!’
T: ‘Nah, my legs are ruined from track, going to take it easy.’
N’ But you could come first…’
And that was all I needed, with the competitive part of me not wanting to turn down what was more of less a direct challenge.
On the start I eyed one of the guys from the Hyde Park parkrun who I new was a little slower than me, other than that N was right, none of the fast boys were there. Not wanting to get too excited I decided to star off and see how things progressed before making any real effort.
Due to silting work happening at the lakes in the grounds of Temple Newsom the route had to be changed, now encompassing three trips up to the top of the hill and to the house, and a short stretch across a very soft-under-footing field making the normally challenging course that much trickier, 40m into it and I found myself at the front, with the other chap from Hyde Park just behind me, and by the time we crested the top at the house I had a lead. Not a big one, but certainly a lead.
The next two laps consisted of me running as hard as I could, without the benefit of being able to follow anyone through the course changes, and trying to not obviously look behind me to see what state my lead was in. I’m not sure I’m cut out for this leading from the front malarkey.
With 1K to go I was just hoping that 2nd place would be happy with that as I wasn’t feeling great and we still had one hill climb to go, but fortunately as we turned to go up the hill for the last time I caught sight of him 25m back. I hammered it up the hill as hard as I could and with lungs burning and legs about to fall off and managed to stagger across the line in first, cheered on by N who was doing the timings. At this point I collapsed into a heap on the sodden grass.
One of the volunteers pressed the token for first place into my hand, but before I had a chance to look at it someone else came and took it off me and scanned it for me. Never got a look at it!
So how’d I do? On the track the Thursday before I ran my socks off to get a 18:42, which was nowhere near my best, and this was no different. 20:11. Utter turd. A good job the fast boys weren’t there as I would have ben made to look proper slow. Still, I came first and the chap behind me in 2nd was 11 seconds behind with 3rd and 4th a minute or so back.
I enjoyed coming first, something which is unlikely to happen again, or is it….
Me coming to the finish line, about to die!