THE RELUCTANT RUNNER: What can I expect at the Parkrun?

The volunteers who make sure Sewerby Parkrun goes smoothly
The volunteers who make sure Sewerby Parkrun goes smoothly

In just over a week, I will be at Sewerby Parkrun.

This time last year, I would have laughed if someone had said I would nearly be ready to run a 5km course. You’d have laughed too, if you had seen me.

Three-and-a-half stones lighter, and with plenty of hours in the gym under my belt (a new belt of course, the old one doesn’t fit any more!), I am as ready as I will ever be. So what can I expect at the weekly Parkrun?

Pete Collins is the race director at Sewerby. He said: “The buzz words lately seem to be ‘get inspired’ and as a volunteer you might see the incredible men who run under 17 minutes or women under 20 minutes .

“While most of us due to age or lack of natural talent will not achieve or aspire to the likes of these runners, there are many more runners or even walkers who complete the 5km in over 45 minutes.

“Many start and some are still having to walk all or part of the course but there is always a welcome at the end for everybody.

“You will find that that among the very good local athletes there are many more who just treat the two hours or so as a social gathering on Saturday morning. The bulk of the field support each other and it will not be hard to find runners who will jog along and help to encourage anybody.

“We always have a tail runner who runs or walks with the last person. You will see that everybody is not a primed athlete but, like you, just trying to get as fit and healthy as possible while at the same time enjoying the social side of a family run.”

The race attracts 200+ runners every week and the course record is 16 minutes 12 seconds. It is widely regarded as one of the tougher Parkrun routes in Yorkshire. It starts at Sewerby Hall, heads down the cliffs and back to the hall, before going through the woodland walk – 5km is just over three miles.

Pete has some advice.

“It is easy to go too fast in the first mile because it is downhill towards the coastguard station, but you will pay for it in the last mile through the woods. It will be as much to do with mental attitude as physical ability.”