Hackney Marshes is my second most regularly visited parkrun venue. Just a few miles from home, with it’s dead-flat canal path pavement course, I love to come here whenever I want to try for a fast time, or just need a break from the muddy Walthamstow course.
Approaching the peak of my London Marathon training, I thought it would be a great time to see if all those extra weekly miles and tricky interval sessions would translate into a fast 5k time. My PB stood at 27:28 from the previous spring, but I hadn’t managed to go below 29 minutes at Hackney since then, so I wasn’t really sure what to aim for.
There was a big turnout, with 387 runners, and it frustratingly took a good 20 seconds or so to get up to speed. I passed the first km mark in 5:24, a little faster than PB pace, and knowing that I normally set off too quickly, decided to try and keep that pace going as long as possible to give me a good start.
The second and third kms passed by in 5:26 and 5:27, and a PB time started to look more and more achievable! Km 3-4 is normally the point I start to flag, but I felt so determined to get a good time that I picked up the pace a little to 5:19. My garmin watch started to estimate a sub-27 finish! I gave it all of my remaining energy to power home in a final km of 5:09 for an incredible new time of 26:32, nearly a minute off my PB!
I am so delighted with my new fastest time, it doesn’t seem that long ago I was content with 35 minutes!
My new goal is now to bring that kind of performance back to my home run of Walthamstow, and go all out for a new PB there too. With its muddier, hillier course, it’s going to be quite a challenge, but I think I am ready!