Saturday, 30 May 2015

Hackney Marshes Parkrun 5th birthday celebrations

So this morning I headed off on what is becoming a regular trip to Hackney Marshes Parkrun for a showdown with running buddies Tony and Chris. 

With Tony still fresh from his Asics262 marathon triumph in Paris and Chris coming off the back of two sub4 marathons in three weeks I knew it would be a tough challenge to keep up with these two. A speed work session with Tony on Thursday morning over at the Regents Park running track where Tony left me behind while he had plenty more speed than me left in the tank had me wondering if I was going to compete with him today.

The reason for a running meet up this particular weekend was to help celebrate Hackney Marshes parkruns 5th birthday celebrations. And we weren't the only ones making the journey over for the celebrations as we joined a field of 176 runners. 

This was my third visit to Hackney Marshes and I must say its a great little setup, a super flat speedy Tarmac course, a nice green tree flanked route and a friendly mix of runners of all abilities, so I was pleased to join them for the celebrations.

An enjoyable part of the experience is my journey to Hackney marshes, although the train journey is quieter than a work day that's not the enjoyable part it's the gentle walk through the Olympic Park to the Parkrun start/finish.

So onto the run its self, a large crowd, prizes and awards for deserving regulars and a host of new timers made for an exciting atmosphere at the start. My excitement was heightened though by a bit of celebratory spotting as spied Ronnie the rocket O'Sullivan lining up at the start. I admit I do get pretty stray struck and am not one to pluck up the courage to strike up a chat or ask for a photo. I was pretty amazed when in the opening few hundred metres as I started to battle through some congestion on the course I felt a hand on my shoulder as another runner tried to avoid colliding with me and to look round and see the snooker legend himself sneak past me! Not only is he a speedy snooker ball potter but he's also a speedy runner as he finished in an awesome time of sub19 minutes.

Courtesy of Hackney Marshes parkrun facebook page
But how was my race? I was eager to try and replicate my form from my 21 minute PB a few weeks back but I knew I wasn't quite in the same shape. 

I took the first km or so a bit easier and breezed past Chris at around 1km, Despite our friendly rivalry I was conscious to try and run my own race rather than concentrating on competing. I maintained a faster pace and felt comfortable up to the half way mark which I reckon I clocked in a faster time than during my PB run.

The second half was a struggle as I tried to keep going after going off too quick  it was made harder knowing Chris was on my shoulder and I expected him to ghost past me at any stage. I managed to hold off the threat of Bramster but as we started to head for home I spotted Tony out of the corner of my eye starting to mount an attack in the closing stages. I struggled in the closing minutes, I still need to work on my strength, the finish wasn't helped by my anticipation of the end. Every time the course bent round I kept thinking it was the home straight only to be disappointed no have further to run! I mustered a semi sprint finish in the last 50m or so and crossed the line in 21.29 luckily having enough to hold off my challengers. 

Looking at my splits I was happy to see a decent even pace, the first km is quick though (if you think it would realistically be a good bit quicker due to a delay at the start), so I need to think about starting slower to be able to run faster later on in the race. 

After the race there was a delicious array of cakes for hungry runners to tuck into. 

Although I won the race between the three of us the performance victory goes to Tony with a shiny new PB in the region of 40 seconds! Chris as well worked hard to run strongly but by his own admission is struggling to recover from two sub4 marathons in three weeks and a half marathon PB shortly after. 

Whatever the results and achievements it was another enjoyable Parkrun and aanother day to celebrate why I enjoy running!