Sometimes a day is so lovely that I struggle to find the words to do it justice. Yesterday was one of those days.
It started with Ashford parkrun. It’s not one I’ve run before, though I have fond memories of volunteering at the inaugural. I managed to persuade Alma (@plustenner) to join me (mainly by making it one of the conditions of a lift to Dover) so I even had company to go with my tourism.
The course consists of two tarmac laps which start with a gradual downhill, flatten out in the middle and then end with a short rise. If you run anything north of 30 minute parkruns, then be warned: everyone goes off stupidly fast! Alma and I were pretty much at the back for the first half mile, and we were running 10 minute miles.
Towards the end of the first lap, I adopted a small boy who had managed to run his adult companion to the point of exhaustion. As we set off on the second lap, I kept expecting him to run out of steam, especially once I found out that it was his first parkrun, but to my amazement he just kept on going and crossed the line in 28:58.
After a quick chat (Alma ran into an ex-colleague 15 years and 60 odd miles from where they last met) it was then off to Dover for the second run of the day, the Buttons for Brathay 10km.
This formed a small part of the Buttons for Brathay race festival, which has raised over £3,000 for the Brathay Trust. Jointly organised by Kaz Hurrell (running the Brathay 10 in 10) and Karen Webber (of Enigma running and also often seen at Centurion events), it was exactly what I expected. Low key, friendly, stuffed to the rafters with familiar faces, and beautifully organised (despite the need for a last minute course change).
The weather was kind, the company was excellent (Alma and I met up with fellow Janathoners Rachel and Kim), the medal was lovely (a bell, a whistle and a button), the goodie bags contained specially commissioned sticks of rock and even the water at the aid stations was personalised.
You really can’t ask for more than that!