Leap year parkrun

Posted on: 29 Feb 2020

I’m back!  Did you miss me?  I’ve had quite a long break from running and blogging.  My unexpected break was caused by … well … an unexpected break.  If you befriend me on Facebook you will know that about seven weeks ago I was out on a run when I slipped on a patch of mud.  I fell forward and put out my arm to save myself. I then heard a crack and felt a sharp pain at the top of my right arm. A visit to A and E confirmed my worst fears - I had broken my arm just below the shoulder joint.

I don’t know if you’ve ever broken a limb but I can’t say I recommend it.  It hurts. It’s a struggle sleeping at night - you have to remember not to make any sudden movements.  You have the indignity of asking strangers to help put your coat on! I’ve not been able to run during this time - my longest break from running for many a year.  I was also unable to drive for a long time, meaning I was stuck at home far more than I would have liked.

So what possessed me, having done no training for weeks and still having a rather sore and stiff right arm, to head off to Bushy parkrun this morning?  Well here’s the thing. It’s February 29th. This date falls on a Saturday only once in 28 years. Parkrun has never occurred on February 29th before. It won’t happen again until the year 2048.  By then I will be 91 years old. That is if I’m not pushing up the daisies! Or I might be in a nursing home somewhere, sitting in a chair, watching Countdown. I kinda hope that I’ll be still pottering around the village, with people saying “Isn’t he marvellous for his age!”  Anyway the point is, if I wanted to run a parkrun on this date, it would have to be today.

I was originally planning on going to my local parkrun at Hogmoor but that was cancelled on the morning so instead I made the dash up the A3 to Bushy Park.  I can’t recall Bushy ever being cancelled whatever the conditions. It was very wet and windy on the way up and conditions weren’t a lot better when I arrived at the park.  As the time came round to 9 o’clock the rain seemed to ease off. The course though was more wet, more muddy, more puddle strewn than I can ever recall in 20 previous visits.  I had no idea what I could manage … my aim was simply to get round one way or another. I stood at the back of the field and enjoyed the sight of a thousand or so participants run away from me.  I walked across the start line and then broke into a gentle jog. I had to take it very carefully today, to try and skirt round the puddles and avoid the most muddy sections. The one thing I most definitely had to avoid was falling over again … that would set back my recovery by weeks.  Once I had got into my rhythm I found myself moving up through the field. I was relieved to find that I could maintain a steady jogging pace without too much discomfort. My final time was 31:52, which gave me 712th place. I was genuinely pleased with that. I had feared I might be amongst the people walking round at the back in an hour.  I was happy that I was able to run the whole distance, however slowly.

My plans from here on in …. I hope to get back into jogging gently within the next week or two.  Once I have got back up to running a few miles nonstop then I shall think about resuming parkrun touring.  I was entered in the London Marathon at the end of April but I think I will have to give it a miss. I had considered lining up and walk/jogging round in a very slow time, but I don’t think I will do that now.  There is a tiny possibility, if the Coronavirus hits hard, that major sporting events like the marathon might be postponed, but I am not hoping for that. I might run another marathon once I have got myself back up to a decent level of fitness.

Anyway, that’s me brought up to date.  More exciting reports will follow in the coming weeks, so watch this space!

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