Ashford parkrun


Always one to be fashionably late, I missed the first two local parkruns. This, of course, is patently untrue; I’ve never been fashionable in my life (peek in my wardrobe if you don’t believe me).

I missed the first one a) to avoid the word ‘inaugural’; and b) because, being a Londoner, it seemed appropriate to avoid the many tourists who were bound to be there, magnetically drawn – like a Chav to Primark – to that horrific ‘i’ word.

This is actually untrue, too. Well, partly, anyway. Shaun and I were driving down to Portsmouth later that day to take part in the Great South Run the day after, so we decided to save our energy for that.  But why let a little thing like the truth deny me the opportunity to moan about the word ‘inaugural’, tourists and the chance to use the ‘Chav to Primark’ simile I just made up.

Last week… well… that’ll be the bottle and a half of wine the previous night’s fault.

But, yay, today I got up bright and early and decided to cycle down to the local park where the Ashford parkrun is held. I say ‘local’, it’s actually a bit over two miles away but this is the countryside and anything within ten miles is local, unlike London where local means within five minutes’ walk and if you travelled ten miles you’d probably end up in zone four or, even – shudder – five.

I do like a bit of punctuality, it must be said, and it started at 9 on the dot. As is usual in the races I take part in, I was left on my own at the back pretty much straight away. This is fine with me as I don’t like a crowded race and it means I can just jog around slowly on my own listening to my music. As long as I can see runners in front of me so I feel like I’m a part of it, I’m happy. If I can see a few behind me, I’m even happier.

The route follows the same route as the Nice Work Ashford Summer 5K Series, so I knew the route and therefore prepared for a couple of laps of the park, which includes a gentle short slope which turns into a long steep hill when you actually get to it. Both times I stopped to walk up it until I told myself to stop being such a wimp and get on with it, although the slope is so short it had ended by the time I told myself to get on with it.

There’s not much else to say about it really. It’s a parkrun and you all know what a parkrun is. I ran round it in the fastest time I’ve done for aaaaaaaaaaaages, despite stopping to check the toenail on the big toe on my right foot hadn’t fallen off (it hadn’t, I think my big toe was just beginning to thaw out – it was a cold, cold morning) and stopping to let a dog walker decide which way he wanted to go past me (I’d have tripped up the speedy types in the lead who were on their way back from the first lap if I’d had moved out of the dog walker’s way. Annoyed? Yes. Did I tut at him and roll my eyes and mutter ‘FOR FUCK’S SAKE’? Hell yeah.)

I almost missed the finish line as I headed for what I thought it was, i.e. in between two tapes but the marshal was waving his arms and shouting something but in my dazed and confused state wasn’t sure where I was supposed to go (despite there being a big yellow sign with FINISH written on it) and the marshal pointed at his ears in what I am assuming was a ‘IF YOU WEREN’T WEARING AN IPOD YOU COULD HEAR MY DIRECTIONS’ gesture which actually pissed me off quite a lot as I can see and hear fine with my music on, I just a) get a bit dazed when I’m running; and b) need a new pair of glasses.

On leaving the park, I said thanks and goodbye to the organiser (I assume he was the organiser anyway, he had an air of authority about him) and he said ‘bye, see you next week?’ and I said ‘yes, of course’ which, in my experience, whenever someone asks will I be going to something again the next week and I say yes – I’m never to return. Shaun was at work today though, so he hasn’t been yet, so I daresay I’ll be making another appearance.

Thank you, Ashford parkrun – I’m glad you’re here at last.


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