Sport Sunday, January 17th

Parkrun: Completing the 5k in less than 20 minutes... easy, right?

Graeme Walker is on a Parkrun mission... to complete the course in less than 20 minutes. 

Twenty minutes! Twenty minutes!

That’s all I ask.

My midlife crisis running has become focused around a few objectives (none yet achieved) and one of these is to run the ParkRun 5K in less than twenty minutes. 

By less than twenty minutes I really mean a number starting with a one. World record holders have numbers starting with a one... 19:59 would do.

It’s been getting closer.

20:11 was hard but hey, what’s 11 seconds over 5K? It just means pacing a bit better.

Then a few weeks later 20:08. Ok progress. That really hurt but surely I’m going to do this.

Then a few more weeks later 20:07! Oh come on. I nearly died doing that but surely I can do this. Seven seconds – that’s all.

A very good friend of mine is a proper athlete - a member of a running club – so he must be good.

He was the 20 minute pacer at ParkRun a few weeks later and we had this special deal. He was going help me deliver that midlife crisis target.

One kilometre in and all good. Slightly ahead of target. Two kilometres and we were looking good and feeling OK (well, perhaps not looking so good – midlife crises do that for you)

Three kilometres and we are well ahead of schedule but this is beginning to hurt. We are 30 seconds up on schedule and breathing has taken on a certain desperation and my head seems no longer connected to my body

At 3.5km, I can’t go at this pace any longer. I plead with the pacer to slow down but all of the others after that elusive sub 20 seem Ok and stay with him.

Let’s think about this. Reconnect brain to body. If we slow down a teeny bit then I have a spare 30 seconds in hand.

4km and the gap is down to 15 seconds - but everything hurts. Lungs are on fire. Legs have nothing left. Push. Push. Grit teeth.

Half a kilometre to go and we have five seconds in hand. Can I raise a sprint finish? A scream emerges. The line looms. Stretch, lunge, sprint, push, dive….. fall over.

Didn’t have time to push the button on the Garmin. Lying in a pool of sweat, tears and other things of which I’m not certain.

The timing barcode reveals it all.

That midlife crisis target remains unbeaten.

That’s the thing about targets. Set them just out of reach. No point in them being too easy.

It’s been a few months now and Spring is round the corner. What’s another year and another birthday card.

19:59 here I come.

GraemeWalker ScafellPike marathon

What is Hereford Parkrun?

It is a 5km run - it's you against the clock.

When is it?
Every Saturday at 9am.

Where is it?
The event takes place at Hereford Leisure Centre, Holmer Road, Hereford, HR4 9UD. See Course page for more details.

What does it cost to join in?
Nothing - it's free! but please register before your first run. Only ever register with parkrun once. Don't forget to bring a printed copy of your barcode (request a reminder). If you forget it, you won't get a time.

How fast do I have to be?
We all run for our own enjoyment. Please come along and join in whatever your pace.

Hereford Parkrun needs you!
It is entirely organised by volunteers - email to help.




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