Sunday, 18 November 2012

Bushy Park parkrun

Conditions before today's run
We  awoke on parkrun day to monsoon conditions. This was to be my 7-year old daughter, Martha's, third run round the Bushy Park parkrun course. She has yet to finish the course, but the time spent on my shoulders is reducing and hence she is on a PB-streak of two and we were hoping to make it three today.
Bushy parkrun director, Ray Coward, starts us off
At the start
The run starts in the natural bowl just to the north of the Princess Diana fountain, near to the Hampton Court gate. There are three car parks in Bushy Park. One near the Diana Fountain and the other two near the Pheasantry Cafe, where many parkrunners meet to for a post mortem of the day's run. Before Martha started coming, I usually run to the start from my home in Twickenham. But we didn't think it was a good idea to put a 7-year old through that. So we take the car and park in the Pheasantry Car Park.
At 9am we were all huddled together in a big seething mass, waiting for run director, Ray Coward, to start us off. As there are between 800-900 runners, he needs and uses a megaphone to make himself heard.

And we're off, up Chestnut Avenue

Martha running
When Ray had delivered his preliminaries, he asked if we were ready, 809 of us confirmed that we were and he let us go.
Basking in the light of a 3rd consecutive PB
We were situated at the start of the pack, so all of the Speedy Gonzales' hurtled off past us, while Martha ran as fast as her little legs would carry her up a very muddy stretch of Chestnut Avenue and I chased after her. This first kilometer is along grass, which in today's conditions was very muddy. This section runs parallel to the road travelling north up to the gate onto Park Road, Teddington. When we get to the gate, we take a sharp right onto a gravel path, taking care to avoid the bollard. We then travel easterly along the cinder track-- a cinder track it may have been, but they were still lots of puddles for 7-year old girls to splash in. It's at this point where Martha's initial head of steam runs out and she needs a carry. So onto the shoulders she pops for a few hundred meters where we practice her times tables. By the time we get to the Sandy Lane pedestrian entrance to the park, Martha has spotted a couple of girls a little older than her and is running with them. And in no time at all we arrive at Hampton Wick Cricket club and are 3km into the run (more than half way Martha).
A second stint on the shoulders and we meet a young mum and her daughter in a buggy. She is not enjoying it, but Martha makes her daughter, Ella, laugh and by the time we head west towards the children's playground, Martha has got that PB in her head. The more you run, I tell her, the quicker your time will be.
We pass the playground and the tarmac paths end. The last km is run on grass, south along the river, cross the bridge, and north around the Princess Diana roundabout and a sprint to the finish.
We made it in 42:40, a third successive PB for Martha. We're getting closer to her running the whole course herself, which for a 7-year old is not at all bad.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog Nic, and massive congrats to Martha, she's doing great!


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