The run must go on…

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.

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Ready to race!

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.

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Glorious day for a run!
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The Lake in Roundhay Park

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.

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Me in the snow…

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.

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Hurtling to the finish
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Rachel, me and Andy at the end.
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A deeply flattering photo of both of us at the end!

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.

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It’s like being in Narnia
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Hurrah for the UK in the snow
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My poor starving child eats snow…
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Me and my lovely girls…

16 Comments Add yours

  1. SNOW!! Beautiful pictures πŸ™‚

    1. Cathryn says:

      It was so beautiful!!! All gone now though – a few hours’ rain and we’re green again!!

  2. aleksruns says:

    I loved running in the snow too! As a novelty. After three days, I’d had enough and was ready to go back to sunny California πŸ™‚ By the way, Parkrun is slowly making its way to the US, but for now they’re only in Michigan. http://www.parkrun.us/events/

    1. Cathryn says:

      Totally agree about having enough of the snow…I think it’s a sign of getting old. I spotted the few US Parkruns…maybe we should introduce it to CA!!

  3. Jen says:

    Sounds like a lot of fun! I love the photo of you running in the snow. πŸ™‚

  4. Cathryn says:

    I know it’s a bit vain but ME TOO, I love it!!!! Thanks πŸ™‚

  5. You are cool, and I want to be your real-life friend. Seriously, that is so cool that you made up special medals for your friend. Plus I like your striped running hat (of course, because it has stripes). Oh, and your son’s too. Enjoy every last second of your time there!

  6. Cathryn says:

    Thank you – I would love to be your real-life friend, we could wear clashing stripes and cause headaches all around us πŸ™‚ The medals are fab actually – very solid and heavy!! I actually got three made up in case Jude wanted to run too – she didn’t, so I have a spare, to the utter delight of my little boy!!

  7. Alisyn says:

    I can’t even imagine running in snow. Nicely done! And eeeee I see you are also going to be at Lake Chabot. Hope to see you there!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Great, see you there!!!

  8. Bean says:

    I love that you had medals made! What a fun way to celebrate. It is so beautiful with all the snow. I would say I hope you are having a great time, but it looks like that is exactly what you are doing. πŸ™‚

  9. Charlotte says:

    Have you listened to the parkrun podcast online or on iTunes? I listen to their sister broadcast, Marathon Talk every week on my long run and it’s awesome! Great way to stay motivated on the longer runs AND satisfy my runnerd tendencies at the same time! Cheers, Charlotte

    1. Cathryn says:

      No, I hadn’t. Thanks for the tip. I keep meaning to branch out into podcasts but for some reason it makes me a bit nervous. I’m a luddite at heart!!

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