Today I ran my fourth Parkrun- my second Cardiff Parkrun. The sky was the type of blue that made waking up to the chilly air easier, trees brought pops of colour to this Saturday’s 9am and Cardiff was full of runners eager to get their 5k in early, whether it be their personal best or a run to simply feel smug about. Cardiff is so full of all of the autumnal colours that I’ve been Instagramming constantly this week and it certainly made for the loveliest Parkrun this morning.
After a hectic start to this morning (1. I couldn’t find my bar code to get my time through after the race 2. I fell down the stairs 3. The avocado I ate wasn’t even nearly ripe- this was the most heartbreaking event of them all), I was finally heading out to the Cardiff Parkrun at about 08:20. I walked down the student streets that stay completely still on a Saturday (it appears no one wakes up until about 6pm) and headed towards the Bute Park that is possibly my favourite version of itself when there are yellow, orange and brown leaves scattered across the pavement.
I still haven’t got my timings right and had to jog down to the start line for a little bit- although this is a technique many runners use before an actual race, I don’t like it. I feel like I’ve used up too much energy before I’ve even crossed the start line. Once again, the start line was crawling with runners- something I was a little astounded by when I turned up to my first Cardiff Parkrun last week. My home Parkrun is busy but Cardiff is essentially a small organised event. Where I place somewhere between 60-80th at home, I place between 200-400th in Cardiff!
The 5k course takes place along the The Taff Trail, starting off surrounded by an uncountable amount of trees before passing Blackweir Bridge and following the big field round, running about a mile loop round the park before heading back on yourself. It’s a lovely route with no hills to worry about. The one struggle I have is the sheer amount of people. I haven’t beaten my Parkrun PB because of the people traffic but I improved on my last week’s time and managed a 25:06 which I finished feeling pretty strong. Hopefully next time I can get a sub 24 minute time!
Parkrun is my absolute favourite way to start a Saturday. I’m ridiculous when it comes to any run that involves more than just me. When the volunteer marshals are cheering us on I mutter a thank you that is nearly not possible in case I start wailing. Parkrun volunteers are super cool. I find it overwhelming to be surrounded by people working their butt’s off and my walk back from the finish line consists of me clapping whilst feeling unbearably teary. The main reason I get up on a Saturday morning to attend a Parkrun is because of the awesome atmosphere.
A tip to people wanting to start taking part in running events (the type you pay for): Head down to your local Parkrun (remember it’s free!). Getting used to running with lots of people helps me deal with the competitive nature and nerves so much better- whether I’m competing with my past times or considering everyone at the run as some kind of threat to my own time (in a way less confrontational way than that sounds).
~ Kat ~