Just under a week after the Wigan 5k I find myself in Argyll on the beautiful west coast of Scotland, at Ganavan beach to be more precise ready for the regular Saturday morning parkrun.
I had considered not doing the parkrun and taking a gentle run out from where we are staying near Scammadale as I am trying to ease my tight calves and ankles back to pain free running, but I love this parkrun so much and don’t often get the chance to do it, so here I am. I’ve told myself to take it easy and just enjoy the natural beauty of the run and forget about PBs and times. I arrived about 20 minutes before the scheduled start and after a brief chat with the organisers I set off for a gentle warm up and created my first minor problem of the day as I lost my barcode when I forgot to zip my pocket up after taking some photos. With too little time before the start to go back and look for it, I asked one of the marshals making their way out to their turning point if they would keep an eye out for me and see if they spotted it.
Back at the start area I chatted with a few regulars and before we knew it we were called
to order and quickly set on our way. The run is all on tarmac paths and starts with a steep ascent before it flattens out for bit and undulates across the tops. For a minute or two I find myself surprisingly in the lead before a runner comes by me near the top of the initial ascent. I’m conscious of taking it easy but slightly frustrated when the laces of my right shoe come loose despite being double knotted. A quick tie and I’m on my way again still in second but now some 20-30 seconds behind the leader. The scenery is beautiful enhanced by the morning sunlight and the running conditions are perfect with a gentle breeze and a cool temperature. As I’m passing the marshal I’d spoken to about my lost barcode she holds out my token and I gratefully take it from her – what a star! I’m keeping a nice steady pace as I reach the furthest point and head back toward the start in a comfortable second place. The run is essentially an out and back but with a section in the middle run twice to make the course the standard parkrun 5k. As I make the final turn the leader is still around 20 seconds ahead but I resist any temptation to try and catch him as I am trying to look after my ankles.
However a glance at my watch and I see that remarkably, as I am genuinely running within myself, a course PB could be on the cards. Surprisingly for me I find I can’t quite remember my best time at this parkrun so still being careful with my ankles I head for the finish at the best pace I feel comfortable with. The last few hundred metres is pretty much all downhill, some of it quite steep and I find myself flying through the finish and pass the lady handing out finish tokens, fortunately it’s all very friendly and I go back and collect my token, congratulate the winner and have my code scanned. I finish in a time of 21.38, some 15 seconds faster than when I last ran here about a year ago #fasterasigetolder.
This is my favourite parkrun, it’s all very relaxed and friendly, the course is challenging but the views are beautiful and whether you choose to run flat out, take it easy or walk it is a lovely way to start your Saturday. If you live locally then definitely give it a go and if you’re a runner visiting the area then I would strongly recommend going along and taking part, you can easily extend your run before or after if you want to.