p minus 11 weeks…and counting

Tring’s photo challenge for the week (Tring virtual parkrun #53)

“All this talk of relay batons reminded me of all the Athletics that we’ve been missing during this last year, ” wrote our Event Director, “…so tomorrow you have a chance to rectify that with our theme of “Athletics – Track & Field” – as ever, post your pic on the Facebook Thread – maybe throwing a Javelin, Shotput or Discus or maybe an attempt at jumping with the Long Jump or High Jump or Pole Vault . Or keep it easy with a running event, perhaps a sprint, or the hurdles or a longer running event – as ever the choice is yours.”

For our contribution, the caption reads: “Here we are, after this morning’s run, passing the bat….on 😉

Keeping on track

Last Monday I ran 10k round our village. So the plan is to run 10k every other week and, in the intervening weeks, run for longer distances gradually building up the range. The Monday before that I ran 11k so next Monday I’ll just see if I can top that.

Today I ran “just” 10k (humble brag) as part of our weekly Tring (not)parkrun. The course I chose was along a local Greenway: nicely tarmaced and flat (flatter than “Sheffield flat” in fact, for those who understand the term).

In other news this week

Yesterday (Friday 19th) saw the launch of the book “How parkrun changed our lives”, written by a founder member of Fell Foot parkrun.

According to the Guardian article:
“Now, a dedicated parkrunner from Cumbria has set out to explain why the initiative is so widely loved and – during the past year – desperately missed. Eileen Jones, a writer and publicist, found a female bishop whose home parkrun is at an abbey, a couple who got married halfway round a parkrun, a man who runs it backwards, old runners and very young ones.” More…

I have read on social media the many ways in which parkrun has changed people’s lives for the better. I enjoyed Jess Ennis-Hill’s parkrun heroes series on You tube and shall look forward to reading more similar accounts in this book. parkrun is a force for good.

parkrun has helped me discover the joy of running. (Who knew that the dreaded cross country running of school days would, some xxty years on,  metamorphose into something that was actually fun!) parkrun is also an activity which both my wife and I share in, coming at a time when our children have grown up and left home.

I have to say, as a Christian, that I am a little uncomfortable with the Guardian article’s vague suggestion that parkrun is becoming a new or surrogate religion. I note the observation about some characteristics of a typical Saturday parkrun event having resemblance to a Sunday morning worship service. In fact I have written about it in this blog elsewhere. However I don’t agree with the implied extrapolation.

What we see in both activities is an expression of community in action. The common factor in both is people, (just like you and me, dear reader). This particular person enjoys being a part of both communities and is equally proud of both.  I do not think of parkrun as a religion, and neither do I think of my participation in my church family as being a different type of social/leisure activity. Both have a place in my life because they resonate with a different part of who I am.

Consequences of the pandemic

I was musing this week as to how things will be, once life in general gets back to a safer, if not entirely as-it-was-before, footing. There have been many expressions of kindness shown in the past twelve months, which I hope (and pray) won’t be forgotten, and that we will continue to be a more compassionate and caring (global) society when the crisis is over. And speaking of remembrance I hope that we will reflect upon, annually in the years to come, not just those lives lost in two world wars but also lives untimely ended by the pandemic.

Stay safe..keep running..and see you soon.

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