Autumn is coming and the bed is feeling very cosy.
In my mind though, the best way to start a weekend is Park Run.
Park Run is a growing phenomenon in the United Kingdom as well as around the world. If you have not heard of it, it is a 5K run in an open space every Saturday at 9am.
It is run by volunteers from the community, for the community. Come rain, snow, sun or wind, it is on. Oh yes and did I say it is free?
At the start of every Park Run you will see people gathering:
- Excited children.
- Friends chatting.
- Parents ready to push toddlers in buggies round the course.
- Warriors with nerves jangling waiting to see if their training has paid off.
- Bouncing dogs tethered to their human companions.
- As well as athletic bodies limbering up.
Whatever their reason for being there the anticipation and enjoyment from all is palatable. Leaving my peaceful slumber on a Saturday morning is certainly easier when this is waiting for me.
My local Park Run is Mole Valley, which was newly formed in 2018. It is based at Denbies Vineyard right under Box Hill in the Surrey Hills. While running you cannot fail to see why the area has been given the status of Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (ANOB). Views on the course are breath-taking. An ideal distraction from your own puffing as you steadily climb the hills.
Mole Valley is a one lap course around the vineyard. The first half is pretty much all up hill. Compensation for this however is the fabulous downhill right to the flat sprint finish for the line.
Using Park Run as a carrot, I have managed to convert Jon who, as he puts it, is a reluctant runner. I am not sure who is more surprised by his newly found appreciation of trainers and shorts!
Saturday mornings now consist of:
- An easy jog down to Denbies for me.
- Jon driving past, hooting and waving, whist making his way there.
- Ted donning his Dog Fit canicross harness (yes, even the dog has been roped in).
- Taking part in a challenging 5K run.
- Enjoying a cup of tea and breakfast as essential post run refuelling (give the Denbies café a try).
- Back home by mid morning glowing, tired and feeling virtuous.
What is there not to like about Park Run?
I urge you to find your local Park Run, get registered, volunteer and give it a go. You will not regret it. Next Saturday you too can be springing out of bed.
Are you already a Park Run fan?
Or are you considering dusting off your trainers?
Get running. Get involved. Enjoy.