After missing a week of running due to a chest infection, I had slowly gotten back into the groove and wanted to do a parkrun just to see where I was at after the illness and to give me a good idea of current fitness levels. We decided to make a day of it and visit the Trafford Centre so that is a free pass for me to go and do Stretford parkrun. Now I have a love/hate relationship with this parkrun. I love the course, start/finish on a track and a decent two laps of the park. I like the location, the volunteers and it’s also the home to my fastest even parkrun of 17:06 (although I only got 2.9 miles on my watch that day). Since then I’ve used it to try and PB but never gotten anywhere near it. Plus since then it’s been an unhappy parkrun for me and my only DNF having tried to run it only weeks after breaking my ribs! Last year like a fool I followed the lead pack and ended up doing it the wrong way. While I completed it that day, it wasn’t an experience I care to re-live. I did it earlier this year coming back off my injury and was happy just to get round.
So to this past Saturday, a sunny start to the morning meant it was going to be a busy one (just under 600 finishes) but my aim was to give it 100% and see what I got. I caught up with Ed from Manchester Harriers who was doing the marathon the following day. I had placed myself further back than usual, as I knew I wasn’t 100% yet. After the usual announcements it was go time! As always there was a lot of weaving as people who should have been further back set off from the front, causing quicker runners to have to dodge them to avoid running them over. Not helped by the fact some had headphones and was oblivious to anything around them. I had found myself space going round the top bend, then on the left a guy got clipped as he tried to avoid someone as he went down he caught me and down I went!
Bang! straight on my right leg. I was straight back up and helped the other bloke up. We both checked we were OK and we set off again. Wasn’t his fault and he looked like he had banged his shoulder. I didn’t look at my leg I just got on with it and set about crawling my way through the field. It took me the rest of the lap round the track to shake the fall off. I exited the track and was moving my way through the field. I could see Sarah looking for me. I shouted I had been tripped, she was like what!!!
I was way down the field and it meant I got stuck behind slower runners down the out and back section. I was patient and as soon as I could get past I made a move, it meant my pace dropped to 8:18/mi while I was in traffic then I was back on it and whizzing along. It became my goal to simply pass as many as possible, hitting some decent speeds when the course allowed it. The first mile was 5:59/mi considering I fell I was happy. I was still running a decent pace but the second mile there is a lot of tight turns and the second switch back, this meant it was my slowest mile but truth be told I wasn’t clock watching. I hit traffic coming around the back of the track and I felt spent as I entered the track and dropped 3 places on the lap into the track but I crossed the line in 15th place and was given an official time of 18:14. Making it my quickest parkrun of the year. I knew I would have run it faster had it not been for the trip but I wasn’t angry or annoyed. I was more relieved that I managed to finish it, I was also relieved the other lad who fell was OK. We caught up with each other at the end. I saw the event director to get my leg looked at. She administered 1st aid (wiped it with a wet paper towel) and took my details down, my wife then took over and gave it a proper clean in the changing rooms. My leg had a serious gravel burn on my shin.
I aim to be back and get not only back under 18 at this parkrun but finally break my long standing parkrun PB. I have not got a parkrun now till 2 weeks Saturday because this week I have hopefully a 5k race Friday night and that’s followed by the North Lincs HM.