Parkrun #1 – Studley Park, Melbourne

“This is one of the more difficult Park Runs in Melbourne”, a fellow runner explained to me as she went on to describe the hilly, zig-zag trail which would make up my first ever Park Run route. Typical, I thought, trust me to choose a challenging route for my first ever 5K, in 20 degree Melbourne morning heat, no less!

Ok, Cat, we’re confused, you’re not a runner?

You are right, I am not. But I am a huge fan of Park Run. What’s not to love about a community coming together every Saturday morning to run, jog, walk together, simply to encourage healthy living? I’ve been chatting about how much I love this concept since like 2014. It was about time I actually got involved.

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Deciding on a whim just after Christmas that in 2017 I would do a Park Run slam, as well as the tennis slam, I then proceeded to buy some fun sports clothes. You have to look good to feel good, no?! (she says having gone on a morning run without having had a shower/without any make-up on; I am actually a new person). I had heard about the ‘Sofa to 5K’ apps you could get on your phone so downloaded an app, introduced myself to my trainer Michael Johnson (“Does he phone you when you want to go for a run?”, my air bnb host asked me, believing that somehow I have connections to the legends of athletics) and began my nightly runs around the block in south London’s baltic temperatures. Considerably less fun than running around a park in Melbourne, I can confirm!

The ‘Sofa to 5K’ concept is an eight-week programme, designed to gradually build up your stamina and fitness levels to enable you to run a 5K. I had three weeks to complete the programme and needless to say, my fitness levels did not allow me to complete the run without stopping. However, I did run about 3K without a break which I considered to be a personal achievement. Did I mention it started at 8am? It’s weird how time becomes a different concept when you’re on holiday – I’m almost certain I will struggle a lot more with a 9am Park Run start when I return to London.

When you register with Park Run, you get a unique barcode which is scanned after every run to give you your time. My time today, and hence my PB was 45:57. My sister, a legit runner, has a PB of 20:48. So: I know what I want to have achieved come December 2017!

Cheers Park Run Australia, see your British counterpart in Feb!

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