Saturday, 19 November 2016

I Jog The Park Run

This morning, I completed my third Park Run in beautiful early winter sunshine.  I set myself a goal this week which was not to fall over on the icy paths.

Falling over from a great height is no fun.  Garrison Keillor, of Lake Woebegone Days, describes seeing a tall person falling as like watching timber being felled.  When I first re-started playing badminton four years ago, I wore a pair of my son's trainers that he'd outgrown. My feet hadn't grown for a while and they were a bit too big for me. Whilst going for a tricky shot, I tripped over and fell hard on my bottom, which led to me sleeping on a bag of frozen peas.

The Park Run is a 5K route and in Shrewsbury it goes through the magnificent Quarry Park: 29 acres of grass, mature trees and paths sloping down towards the River Severn.  It's the best thing about the town. 

I mentioned to my brother I've been doing the Park Run and he told me to look ahead, not down, and to buy some decent trainers.  He didn't mention anything about peas, but he did talk about joints and so I went out and bought these:

It was hard to look ahead at 9am, the orange sun still low in the sky.  So I looked up, saw three swans flying the Severn's course. 

Before last week's Park Run I set myself the goal of running the whole way without slowing to a walk.  The week before, the first week of all, my goal was to complete the run.  Then, there were still leaves on the avenues of trees which line the paths.  This morning, the trees were standing strong, stripped to their dark winter skeletons, braced for the coming winds.

I've known what it is to run wheezing with asthma across Hampstead Heath for school cross country, and to run as an adult against the pain of being, as a form of self-flagellation.   But this running with friends and strangers, with the very young and the not-so-young, with the fast and the easy-as-it-goes, is becoming an unexpected pleasure in my life.

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