Getting out early on a Saturday isn’t something one might prefer to do after a hectic week. But there are people who have been doing it! I didn’t know about it until I came to know about parkrun. It’s an internationally organised event in 14 countries (as of now). The idea is simple: a free, fun-filled, Saturday morning 5k run!
I registered for it perhaps in December but I couldn’t fit into my shoes on a Saturday morning until last week. How unfortunate I have been over this time, I wonder now. Maybe I was lazy to get to the park which needs me to take trains and then a decent 1k walk to the venue, but we always have excuses, don’t we? Anyway, I got to the event with my barcode (they need it to get you your 5k time) and uncle (it was his first parkrun as well and he did better than he expected). I wasn’t expecting anything here. I had not run a lot in the previous weeks because of a sprained ankle. The only running I was doing were some random short runs and running behind my naughty cousins to catch them.
We started off at 8AM, sharp. I was there to witness it, my mind was busy glancing around the runners warming up. I didn’t intend to race there, so I decided to stick with my uncle, well for maybe one minute. I then paced up and before I knew, I was drifted to my race-pace, somewhere around 5 min/km. Though it was not something that I should do, but I still did it, the race-factor was coming into the picture anyway. I saw people running with their kids, people running with strollers, people much much older than me. The course was flat dirt and gravel type, so the repetitive sound of “bush bush bush” was very obvious except that of the final stretch which was surprisingly concrete/stone-finish. I chased down a lot of runners, some kids, some more kids (wow, these kids were great). I noticed that one of them was literally puffing his breaths out with quite a wrong form, but he was enjoying the run anyway. I made my way to the finish line in just under 25 minutes, finishing 41st out of some 200+ runners. Once completed, I made the way back to join my uncle and to push him through the rest of the course which made him finish just after the 150s. I watched the tired faces of people just before the finish lines and the glimpse of happiness that took over after they were done. That feeling of accomplishment, that feeling of taking over and finishing a challenge, is wonderful. I felt really amazing to witness it while sitting amidst the greens and under the blues and whites. I felt lucky that I could run.