As you may know, I was initiated into the glories of parkruns two weeks ago. After missing last weekend’s run to stroll around London with F’s mom, I looked forward to this weekend’s event at Finsbury Park. I wanted to race it in the hopes of bettering my time from the first run. Unfortunately, I went out too fast and tanked it in the second lap, finishing as the fourth woman in 22:51. Still not bad, and the parkruns are really a chance to get in a “high tempo run,” as one of my club teammates pointed out after the race.
But this is not a race recap. Rather, I wanted to write about the amazing parkrun community that I have discovered. I met a woman, A, before my first parkrun two weeks ago; we had a pleasant chat before that run but I didn’t see her afterwards since I went straight home. This week, I saw A at the start and she suggested I join her and other runners in the park’s cafe after the race. When I said I’d forgotten to bring any money, she said she’d treat me to a smoothie. Offer accepted! After the race we reconnected and I met A’s partner R as well as N, who had cycled laps in Regent’s Park before the run (!), and we headed to the cafe.
What a great atmosphere! Runners had pushed the round tables together to make one long communal table. We got our drinks and joined the table, where tupperwear containers of brownies and cookies were being passed around. It was hard to tell if all these runners knew each other or were just part of the general communal atmosphere; either way, it was wonderful. I chatted with R a bit about road cycling in/around London, and met another A, who was really nice.
It was amazing to join the post-parkrun cafe crowd to refuel, chat, and share running/cycling/exercise tips, news, and stories.
Also, before the run started I was standing around mentally preparing (i.e., waking up) when a woman nearby asked, “Did you go to Oberlin?” (I was wearing my Oberlin Track & Field long-sleeved shirt, with great pride of course.) “You know Oberlin?” I replied. Turns out, B is an ex-pat who has lived here in London for 26 years. She and the two women she was with also live in Crouch End; they encouraged my to run the Crouch End 10K race that happens next weekend. Unfortunately, I’m tied up that weekend and can’t run, but they told me I should show up at Priory Park just to see all the crowds that turn out.
I’m already looking forward to next weekend!