A few weeks back, I paid a visit to London to watch my friend Lindsay in the London Marathon. I haven’t done any parkruns this year, so I got the train at the crack of dawn to take advantage of some parkrun tourism, deciding to pay a visit to Finsbury. I arranged with Lindsay that I would meet her at King’s Cross and introduce her to her first parkrun outside Northern Ireland.
Finsbury parkrun is located in Finsbury Park and is extremely accessible on public transport. It’s just a short walk from Manor House underground station or Finsbury Park underground and rail station is also nearby. The start is near the cafe in the centre of the park and being that it was the day before the London Marathon, it was extremely busy with tourists galore. The organisers were incredibly well organised, pulling us tourists and first timers aside for what was probably the busiest first-timers briefing I’ve ever been to. A bag drop was provided, where I left my rucksack with much relief and then it was time to join the starting pen.
Yes, Finsbury parkrun is so well organised, it has a starting pen! It was very busy though and squeezed our way into the back and then realised there were lots of people not able to fit in. The run briefing was given and soon we were off.
I have been told by many that Finsbury parkrun is incredibly pretty but also a tough route and I definitely agree with this. Naturally (because I was running) it was an extremely hot day and I soon regretted not bringing a visor to keep the sun off my face. The first kilometre was largely downhill and I was warned on Twitter to take it easy because the route would get much harder later. Lindsay and I ran along easily, having a chat and marvelling at the beauty of the park. As Lindsay was running the marathon the following day, she held back after the first kilometre and I went on alone.
Soon, I realised why I’d been told to take it easy. A huge massive hill loomed ahead of me. I’d been playing nip and tuck with a man and his dog up until this point and on the hill, he moved ahead of me. I like to think his dog hauled him up. The reality was that I walked up it. I cursed the fact that I would have to do it again, but I enjoyed the route through the gardens and back to the start, enjoying the downhill stretch to recover. The sun was blazing by this point, but I’d made up ground on the man and his dog and I wondered if he’d get past me on the hill again. The answer was a resounding yes, as despite my good intentions to run the hill, I actually only ran a couple of metres of the hill and went “nah.” I was hopeful of a sub 34 minute time before the second hill stretch, but once at the top and running past the playground, I reset my goal to sub-35 and picked up the pace a little. Soon I was near the finish and managed to pick off the man and his dog and a few others for a finishing time of 34:40, just behind a couple of teenagers. Job done.
Of course, I know it isn’t a race but I can’t be the only person who uses the runners in front of me as motivation to shave seconds off the time, right?
A whopping 511 runners turned up to Finsbury parkrun and the organisation was fantastic. It was also my first 5k run since getting ill with pneumonia last summer so I was delighted to hit sub-35 on a sunny day on a hilly route. I’m also now just two runs off the parkrun tourism board, with 18 different venues completed.
Thanks Finsbury parkrun for a great morning and Lindsay and I certainly enjoyed being ladies which ice-lolly after!