Since we left the UK in 2010, a new phenomenon has struck the UK – Parkrun. This is a series of weekly 5k races in parks in many UK cities and towns across the country. They are free of charge (sponsored by some big UK running companies) so there’s no medal…but it’s a weekly opportunity to race for free. It’s such an amazing idea.
We spent the weekend in Leeds, the city we lived in before we moved to California, at the home of my gorgeous girl Debs. Judith, our other partner in crime from our London days also came up for the weekend so it was a wonderful weekend of girl-time. We fitted in most of our favourite Leeds people and it was utterly wonderful to see everyone. Now Debs has an ‘exciting’ birthday coming up in a few weeks time, so to celebrate, we planned to run the Parkrun in Roundhay, a beautiful big park near her house. So to celebrate, I had some medals made up in her honour, and I planned to present her (and me) with her medal at the end of the race.
And then, on Friday, the snow fell. And fell. And fell. And we woke up on Saturday morning and Parkrun had been cancelled.
Debs was quite thrilled about this and a little bewildered maybe when her visiting friend was quite ruthless about insisting we ran anyway. But we bundled up, took a photo and hit the streets.
It was a fantastic run. The snow was deep and powdery and squeaky and beautiful. No ice, no risk of falling. It was cold, but sunny. We ran down to the park, to the start-line of Parkrun and set off. There were about 15 people racing anyway, including my friend Andy who I haven’t seen for ages, so Debs and I followed along.
Running in deep snow is hard work. Every muscle works harder. But it was just so spectacularly beautiful that the whole thing was a joy, one of those amazing, buzz-inspiring runs that come along every now and again.
Debs ran one lap of the circuit (the Parkrun 5k is three laps), and I ran two. As I got back towards the start, there was no sign of Debs so I pressed on, thinking I’d find her somewhere, only to find a small crowd of runners at what would have been the finish line. They cheered me over the line, it was lovely and friendly and informal. I whipped out Deb’s medal which she was delighted with, put mine on myself and then we posed for more photos.
To finish off, we all went back to Debs’ house, with Andy and Rachel, and there I very easily talked Andy and Rachel into a) coming to San Francisco to visit us and b) Andy doing the SF 1st Half Marathon. Easy as pie. Result!!!!
And here are a few snaps of the weekend to finish off.