Jack Swallow and his friends joked about challenging themselves to 50 days of 5k!
Lockdown provided the perfect opportunity to make it happen.
I have been parkrunning since 2011 having first heard about it from a friend who recommended it as a good way to start every Saturday!
When I went along that first time I was expecting there to just be a few other participants and a couple of volunteers. As it turned out, there were over a 100 parkrunners and it was really well organised.
I love the fact that parkrun can be what you want it to be. If you want a casual run, it can be. If you want to meet people, you can. If you want to compete for your best time or placing, you can. It is a unique event.
My local parkrun is Preston Park in Brighton but I’ve also managed some parkruns while travelling in Australia including Brisbane and a very hot, sweaty parkrun in Darwin.
My friends, Jack and Max, and I are looking forward to having parkrun back in the near future so that we don’t feel the need to do another challenge like the one we are just about to finish!
In a ‘bored with lockdown’ moment and missing parkrun we decided to take on 50 days of 5k challenge. It has been surprisingly difficult!
Jack is an old school friend and Max is an old work colleague. They have never actually met each other but both enjoy getting involved in a sporting challenge. As lockdown has meant we can’t meet up and run together we’ve been updating each other on our progress with photos and videos.
Jack came up with a 10 days of 10k challenge a couple of years back. When we finished that, someone piped up with, ‘So what’s next?’ The 50 days of 5k cropped up, but we were only joking!
When lockdown hit us and we were all going a bit stir crazy, Jack and our friend Sam and I challenged ourselves to run the distance between their 2 homes which is around 37km and to complete this within a week. We really just needed something to keep us occupied as at this point as we had no idea how long the lockdown situation might last.
When we finished this challenge someone uttered the words, “Shall we continue and attempt the 50 days?” Thinking this was a good idea, I asked Max to get involved. If I’m honest we wanted to see how hard it would be and we needed something to keep us entertained.
Turns out it is quite hard!
We all started our challenges on different days. Don’t ask me why! I guess we all assumed the others would drop out along the way. However, we have all kept each other going with a bit of gentle mocking and friendly pressure when sharing our daily 5k ups and downs, photos and videos online.
I’ve enjoyed having something to target everyday, ensuring I’m getting some fresh air even if just for the 20-30 minutes.
Running everyday, when your legs are tired and heavy has, at times, been tough. There have been days when I’ve left going out for my 5k until the very end of the day, hoping the others wouldn’t have run, so I would have an excuse not to do my 5k. We haven’t missed a day!
Finding enough new routes to keep it interesting has been another challenge. I got in a rut of always running in Preston Park which Max gave me stick for. So, I carved Max’s name into Strava across the park! It was harder to achieve than I thought it would be as I had to juggle keeping the 5k distance, with the shape of the MAX as well as trying to social distance from all other walkers and runners in the park.
Max and I have recorded our best ever 5k times. Jack has been able to explore more of his local area and has kept going even though he has struggled for motivation at some points along the way.
By the 15th June we had all completed our 50 days of 5k. We will certainly be celebrating, even if it has to be via video link!
The challenge has kept us fit and entertained during this strange lockdown time and we have all gained a new respect the 5k distance!
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