Newcastle Parkrun 7th April
At recent Parkrun events we have sent out one of our contributors to report on the race (usually Newcastle or Gateshead at present), take some pictures and video footage which we then share with everyone.
This morning was slightly different as our North East Runner contributor had a run around the Newcastle course himself and reported back with his experiences. Lee Morgan, sends the following report.
Up until about a year ago I must admit a was a bit of a Parkrun sceptic. I wasn't sure why so many runners would want to run a Parkrun rather than an organised club event. The only way I could justify my opinion though was to spectate at a few events and see exactly what the runs are all about and gradually my thoughts began to change.
The Parkruns are exactly what they claim to be - 5k runs around traffic free courses in a well organised, friendly atmosphere. It appeals to many - the 'elite' runner can use it as a test of fitness before a big race, others can use the run as an integral part of a fitness schedule, others can try to better their course PB. To be honest there are lots of reasons to do a Parkrun and the North East running world know that they are here to stay so why not embrace them!
I had only done one before, as a warm up to a half marathon in January this year and I dipped under 18 minutes. Since then I've been struggling with injury and the purpose of today was to have a run round, get into the spirit and enjoy the morning without worrying about what time I was running.
The race started bang on 9am after the organisers thanked sponsors and volunteers and everyone set off in good spirits. The Newcastle Parkrun has had a record attendance of 367 runners and even though today's race was sandwiched between 2 very popular events (the Good Friday Road Relays and North Tyneside 10k), there were still more than 200 runners. It's great that the run is traffic free but fast times are hard to come by on the Town Moor course as it's always so windy! I was running along in the first mile thinking 'I'm glad I didn't come here for a PB!'.
However, this is forgotten once you get into it and as much as the course is very open, there are a few long straights where you can get into a good rhythm. Yes, there are a couple of gates that have to be negotiated but they aren't too bad.
I also found that the friendly atmosphere is carried into the race as there was the odd 'go on mate, well done' from a few fellow runners as I overtook them after quite a cautious start, not something that would happen too often in a club race. Is that a bad thing? I'm not sure.
Basically if you treat the Parkruns for what they are - well organised, friendly events over an accurate 5k and don't get too involved in times, PBs and worrying about the weather then they certainly have a place in the local running calendar.
Me? Well the injury jinx struck again. After a steady 6.20 first mile and an estimated position of about 20th I slowly started to work my way through the field until a dull ache in my lower back became so bad that I had to pull up in agony at 2 miles and make my way back to the start in a manner that could only be described as Quasimodo-esq! This did not take away from my experience though, I think I just didn't warm up properly and I will be back next week to have another bash!
The race itself was won by Wallsend's Phil Aiston in 16.53, Phil is a clubmate of mine and ran the race to assess his fitness as he recovers from injury (another reason to do a Parkrun!).
Well done to everyone that ran. To see today's results click here.
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