Cadiff Parkrun 5k

Me out of focus at the back in a blue vest - I felt a bit blurred too!

This is the race that happens every week - and it's free! Being a Saturday fixture, and with Saturday being a bit unmissable at work, it had taken me months of trying to actually make it along to the Parkrun, whichh is a shame as it's an event I'd like to support wholeheartedly. The people who arrange this turn out every week - supplemented by some of the runners who take a turn marshalling - and they deserve an award for services to athletics if ever anyone did!

Anyhow, my other reason for pitching up at 9am for a flat, fast 5k was to tick off another race in my attempt at running 40 in the year. This pales rather when compared to the exploits of Dom Shields who was also there - on his 89th race of the year!

I went off steady on the narrow-ish track (there was a field of around 50, and 100 would be about your max on this course I reckon) and soon found myself going steadily at around 6 minute pace with the leaders beginning to vanish from view as the path wound through the woodlands towards Blackweir bridge. I haven't run many 5k races, so while my PB for 3 miles is around 17.40, the best I've done in a 5k that I actually remember is around 19! No faster than my 10k pace. Anyhow, that meant I was guaranteed a PB at the distance with a fast course and no injuries as excuses. I was taking my km times - the course was blessed with easy-to-spot and highly accurate KM markers - and found I was on for around 6 mins a mile even when I got to 3k.Mmm - mixing up my mile pace and km splits in that sentence, but I just can't help thinking of pace in imperial terms - does that make me an imperialist? I hope not.

The course wound around the cold, misty park with hardly anyone else around - just those dedicated marshals who were also snapping photos as you can see from the above. As usual I kept my mind quiet repeating a mantra and concentrated on either catching the runner ahead or not losing ground to the runner behind. I didn't seem to have much go-for-it in me for some reason - perhaps still tired from travelling to Germany the previous weekend and decorating the house all week - aargh, not my favourite pastime! Anyhow, while I wasn't able to really push myself to the limit, even at the finish, I was able to hold it steady and nip ahead of the young, hirsute runner in the picture as the finish approached - complete with 400m and 200m signs so you knew when to push. The time was 18.29, and while the whole thing felt pretty low key, my performance included, it was a benchmark to aim at in my next 5k and another race chalked up towards the 40 - though it's fair to say I should start aiming at something longer when the new year comes around as churning out short races is not really enough of a challenge now my knee is back to normal.

So, 19 down and 21 to go, with a chance to cram some more in before the end of the year if I get my act together. What next? Forest 5, Glynneath 5 and Hereford 10k maybe? Then the marathon training for April will have to start. Oo er, it's been a while since I did one of those!

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