Park Life!

I’m trying to learn to love running, but it’s a hard process. I’ve long had the opinion (stolen from some comedian, no doubt, about 30 years ago) that it you are fit enough to jog, you don’t need to.

I think the majority of people I know through triathlon would admit that swimming is the bit you have to endure, the Coffee Revel to your Malteser or Toffee one for cycling and running. But I just can’t quite get a handle on the running. I don’t love it, I don’t feel good doing it, and I sure as hell am no bloody good at it.

But! I do want to get there… I reckon it must be like drinking beer as a kid, you don’t enjoy it, you pretend to like it, and then at some point, without you actually realising it you find that actually, you do like beer, and you like this particular kind of beer best. I obviously haven’t drank enough yet, and/or stumbled across my tipple of choice, to bulldoze an analogy.

I hate, and I use the word sparingly in most contexts normally, but I hate running alone. I can’t do it. I need people around me, to push me, to inspire me and all that. But they have to be the right sort of people, people with enthusiasm, not people with a single track mind that usually results in ignoring anyone who is not directly useful for them as anything other than a marker to lap. Where best to just meet a load of enthusiastic runners who aren’t there to “win” and go home? Your local park run of course.

Small problem, I don’t have one. Any park run you can’t at least cycle to, is not local enough in my books, hence me only having ran 4 or 5. Sheffield has more park runs than pubs it seems, but Chesterfield has none. Anyway, I’m a devious bugger me, and I decided to attack this from an odd angle. So I dug around on the net, and saw that plenty of others wanted one, but no-one was actually doing anything about it. So I did something about it. I set up a group on Facebook, the delightfully named “Unofficial Chesterfield Parkrun Interest Group“!

Some cajoling here, some prodding there, and lots of blasting all my tri friends with enough spam to send them mad got us up to over a hundred members in a little over a week. Yay for social media! Turns out there is a lot of interest out there (I knew there had to be), they just need the right people to find each other and click. The short version is that I managed to start the ball rolling, and others have turned up to look at the ball, others have gave it an experimental kick, and yet more have got behind the thing and pushed like lunatics. And in April (roughly speaking, no firm dates) it looks like I can bin the group, and point everyone at ParkRuns latest official group.

So, it’s a bit of an extreme way to crack the nut, but pretty soon Chesterfield will have its very own ParkRun, with its very own run-hating race director! I’m really proud that this is happening, and that I have been a key participant. I can’t wait for our first event, and I’m also really pleased to have however inadvertantly brought together what looks like a fine events team in Lottie, Tim & Mark who have done all the real work leaving me to fart about on Facebook.

Kill or cure, I will learn to love running! Now, where’s my pint…