I am not one of life’s great planners. It is not unusual for me to get to Friday evening without having any idea which parkrun I will do on Saturday morning. This week, the decision was easy. Banstead Woods.
It’s been on my list for a long time, but as it’s one of the few local parkruns I haven’t been to, I’ve been saving it for a special occasion. When I read in the parkrun newsletter that they were inviting people to stay on after the event to help pull up some unwanted Himalayan Balsam, I knew the time was right. Not only would I get the smug feeling of virtuousness that a parkrun brings but I would also get to do something community spirited as well, all before Saturday lunchtime. Leaving me free to slob the rest of the weekend away with a clear conscience.
So this morning, I headed down to Banstead. I got there bright and early, and who did I bump into but Derek, who’d taken me under his wing when I’d been to try out one of my local running clubs. We chatted for a bit, and then Derek excused himself to go and be useful (he was volunteering today, rather than running). I turned around, only to find that the event reporter was Sandhya, the guru who had guided me through my first ever parkrun at Wimbledon, and whose friendliness had made me love parkrun from the very first.
What can I say? I have enjoyed every parkrun I’ve been to. Small or large, flat or hilly, trail or tarmac, near or far, they are all wonderful. But with its trees, its one-and-a-half hills, it’s glorious downhill section and the exuberance of its welcome, Banstead is definitely one of my favourites.
PS. I was going to post a picture of the running shoes I bought yesterday (Adidas, from Sweatshop for any parkrun officials reading this), but the cat had other ideas…
…possibly because he was trying to save me from the hate mail that you’d send if you saw the state of them…
PPS Did I mention that Banstead Woods is a little muddy?