Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Running into the New Year

2016 was probably one of my worst years for running. Ever. Inconsistent, short, disrupted, unfocused. Some, but not enough. Never enough.

This weekend was a rocker. It started off with our Parys parkrun. Louis took on the Run Director role and so I ran. Hot, humid and a minute slower than my previous one! Perhaps pay-back for my week of doing nothing holiday?

On Saturday evening my mom and I went through to the Ou Jaars 5km/10km in Vanderbijl. We've done it a few times. This is a friendly and small road event where the 5km is two laps and the 10km is four laps. Same route as before.

What made this a winner this year is that I met up with my old friend and AR teammate  Roger there. He is out here with his wife from Australia, where he has been living for a few years (Jakarta before that and Scotland before that). We haven't seen each other for a few years. His folks also came along - I haven't seen them for a long time either. They were support crew for us back in 1999 at the 500km AR in the Cederberg!

I ran-walked the first 5km with Rog. We talked the hind leg off a donkey. He turned off and I ran than next five on my own. With a total time just over an hour, it was a good one and I was drenched afterwards.

I met up with Celliers and friends for a lovely New Years dinner - on a flat rock in the Vaal River.

Photo by Tanja
The next morning I was up at the crack of dawn to fetch mom and head through to Potch for the Potch parkrun. We had teamed up with Potch for a 'PnP' New Year's special. Potch parkrun at 07h00 and Parys parkrun at 09h00.

I was delighted to meet up with friends Nicholas and Stephanie Mulder and Alison Curtis, who had come through to take advantage of this two-parkrun special. Also, both of these New Year's Day parkruns counted towards the logs, which was an added bonus.

Not in focus, but evidence nonetheless. Me with Stephanie. Photo by Peter.
It was warm, even at 7am! There were mostly visitors at this event and most would be heading through to Parys too. By 07h30 I was in my car and heading back to Parys to set up for our event.

What a great turnout! We ended up with over 130 participants - many locals but mostly visitors. This is about the 5th or 6th time ever that we've been over 100.

Me doing the briefing. Photo by Louis.
parkrun is a volunteer-based organisation and events are made possible by people who assist every week with marshalling, timekeeping and scanning.

Gina (timekeeping), me (RD), Johan (timekeeping), Beatrice (tokens), Louis (scanning). Not pictured are Peter (photos) and Karen (turn-around marshal)
Since winter, we have allowed our volunteers to run early so that they don't miss out on participating. I made up my missed New Year's Day run yesterday (the venue had an event on Sunday afternoon).

parkrun has been very rewarding for me this year. Moving to Parys a year ago, I hardly knew anyone. Through parkrun I've made new friends and have gotten to know people in the town. There is hardly an outing to town where I don't get to wave and say hello to a person that I have met through parkrun. Being a small town and small parkrun (we usually have 60-90 participants), we have a lovely and friendly community where it is possible to know everyone's names. I like that.

This year I volunteered more than I ran and I missed a bunch of weekends when I was away through June, a chunk of September and October. I have now done 44 parkruns (only 6 different venues) and should make my 50th during February.

parkrunning is an excellent weekly time-trial event and my times certainly show that I need to do work on speed and fitness. I need to put in some regular track sessions and look forward to seeing my times improve over the next few months. April and May are the best months for PBs (cooler in the mornings, not freezing cold yet) so I've got some time to get some kick back into my legs.

Four runs over the weekend - a fine salute to ring in the new year.

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