After several near misses, I finally managed to get over to the Northampton parkrun last weekend. This event is held at the racecourse in the town. It’s a park which gets its name from once being a racetrack that hosted horse race meetings dating back to the first part of the seventeenth century. These came to an end in 1904, after a fatal accident involving spectators. In isolation, racing may have continued, but this was the latest of a number of accidents which was said to be due to the sharp bends on the course. Two world wars aside, where it was used as an army camp and allotments, this green space has been used as a sport’s recreational ground since 1912.
Conditions couldn’t have been more perfect on Saturday which I would describe as fresh with a very light breeze. I used my warm-up to jog part of the route to get a look and feel for the course. It’s probably the flattest course I’ve run on to date made up entirely of tarmac paths.
This is a very well supported parkrun. There were nearly 400 runners on Saturday which made for a congested start; although to get around this, a lot of runners started on the grass. The field quickly spread out over the first mile, so it’s then just a question of settling into your pace.
I was quite quick over the first mile (for me), which gave me the added incentive to stay focused in pursuit of a good time. The second mile was a little slower but I felt I had enough left to dig in and record a fast time. With just over half a mile left I threw everything I had left at it: no point saving anything at this stage.
I crossed the line in 23.47, which sliced ten seconds off my previous best. Although you should be content with any pb, I felt there had been an opportunity missed to lower my pb even further. As I said, conditions were excellent and this is a very fast course.
The surface was hard and flat so plenty of rebound of shock. This may not be good for your joints but usually translates to faster times. So what do I take from this? I wanted to run faster in the latter stages but just didn’t have the legs. So while continuing with my intervals and tempo runs, I’m going to work harder on improving strength in the gym. For the time being, I’ll be happy with my pb, while I continue to strive for faster times.