I’m not always the final finisher at parkrun, although I am usually second to last. If Mary is running then she will have the honour of bringing up the rear – and it is an honour.
It’s an honour just to be running, on as many Saturday mornings as I can manage, in whatever kind of weather with these lovely people. It’s wonderful to just be part of something so special but for the back runners there is an extra treat… So let me explain to all the front runners how special it is at the back.
When that whistle blows and we all start to move, the energy is amazing and I feel myself swept along. I’m new to this running lark though and my progress as a 52-year-old may be a little slower than most, so the pack will pass me.
Sometimes as I pant my way to the top of that first hill, I still have runners behind me. That will always give me a little boost. Sometimes I even pass runners! Now that’s a real treat. But in the last quarter of the run I usually find myself running very much on my own. And this is when the magic can happen.
Imagine if you will, a beautiful Devon beechwood, a carpet of fallen leaves and the sun glinting through the bare branches. A blackbird and robin are having a conversation. Sometimes there is distant barking of a very happy dog and in the winter you can feel the freshness of the air around you. It’s a very special place to be and in the quiet at the back of the pack I get to experience all that beautiful nature around me.
It’s just me running on my own but instead of that being a lonely prospect, I feel safe and secure as part of the parkrun family. It’s the best feeling.
So when all you amazing fast runners are sprinting across the finish line, and feeling that boost of adrenaline, think of me, enjoying the my own soul food and feeling like a very lucky girl to be bringing up the rear.
Right from when I was young, I was always the chubby kid, and I was always on the receiving end of torment from other kids through my school years up until college. It didn’t help being in some schools that were either very close-knit where I was an outsider kid, or all-boys schools where sport…
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