There are so many untold stories from my running trips of 2017. These sit in the draft file and I really need to post these before I forget.This is one from the “parkrun tourism file” from the 2nd of December and my trip to Barking on the eastern edge of Greater London.
I was staying near the Olympic park at Stratford that week and it was a relatively easy journey to Barking via the Jubilee and District lines of the “underground” although it was actually all overground.
On exiting Barking station it was a fairly straightforward ten minute walk to Barking park and the venue for my 5km parkrun hit for the day. Once in the park I walked right past the assembly point despite it being easy to find.
It was a very enjoyable run, ticking all my personal parkrun likes. Plenty of space to run thanks to the wide paths, not too many people participating, (about 80) leading to a much more personal experience and it was flat, with only a slight decline and incline that hardly counted. Add in a great volunteer team and a very simple approach – the briefing, a few intimations, a couple of shout outs, it ticked the boxes for me. My impression of Barking is that there is a real community feel to the event.
I’m sure some of my fellow participants thought that I was mad running in a vest as it was chilly but not by Scottish standards and by the end of the 26 minutes I was grateful for the ventilation. Although not quite the North Pole, living the added 360 miles north does have an impact on what is perceived as cold or not. My legs were as usual were under wraps to keep them warm and bouncy. It’s a state of mind thing, really.
The run itself was very pleasant but again I found myself running most of it on my own I was either just in front of those behind me or just behind those in front. Along by the pond and through the park on this two lapper cheered on by the marshals helped me push on. I had a couple of folk in my sights who I hoped would be able me to pull me along over the last quarter of the run. I was gaining and that’s always a little lift isn’t it? Then I was just behind and we ran as if we were a group of athletes honed in the Rift Valley pacing each other along with some essential verbal encouragement between the gasps for air.
Then there were two of us and it’s always much easier to have the breath for introductions when there are just two to make. My parkrun buddy for the last km was Raymond and I was thankful for his company and encouragement. Cheers Raymond.
So that was Barking and I think easily one of my favourites of the 45 venues that I had run to that point. Throw in my personal challenge of being quicker than the course average and another reason to have a smile was achieved.
One day I will be back and perhaps then I will be able to have that post-run cup of tea rather than rushing off to start my journey home to Edinburgh.