Walthamstow is my home parkrun. Less than a mile away from my house, it was here I had my first introduction to the joys of parkrunning, and here I have returned over 70 times so far to run and volunteer. The parkrun is going from strength to strength, with a wonderful and dedicated core team who have made it such a success.
The course is three laps around the Peter May sports centre cricket ground and football pitches. Run entirely on grass, the course can get very muddy and slippery throughout the winter months. Trail shoes are a must! Add into the mix a sprawling hill which needs to be navigated three times, and a route which I suspect is closer to 5.1km than 5km, and you can see why I always get a considerably slower time here than at the neighbouring Hackney Marshes parkrun.
Hot off the heels of my PB-smashing visit to Hackney last weekend, I was feeling on really good form and ready to try for a good time. My PB here had stood at 29:17 for nearly a year, frustratingly from a week we had to modify the course to an easier route, meaning I hadn’t been able to come anywhere close to that time since.
Conditions were great, a sunny week meant most of the mud patches had dried out, and even better – it was pacer week! I absolutely love pacer week at parkrun, seeing the experienced runners helping others round to a good time is always so heartwarming. Our super 30 minute pacer Andrew has helped countless runners achieve their dream of a sub-30 parkrun for the first time – including me! We even have one incredible pacer who paces 23 minutes while pushing a heavy double buggy around the muddy course – quite a feat!
We didn’t have a 29 minute pacer this week, so I attached myself to Janine, who was pacing 28 minutes, and resolved to hang on as long as possible. I managed to stay on her heels for 2km before having to drop back slightly, using all my remaining strength to chase her round the final lap for a new PB of 28:15, a full minute off my previous time! That was hard work!
I’m delighted with my new time, but I think i’ll take it easy for a little while now before trying to break it again! And maybe next pacer week I will pick up one of the bibs and try my hand at pacing, something I’ve always wanted to do.