Or more accurately a 5 kilometer run in the park.
For a number of years I've heard about events called Parkruns but as far as I knew they were something that happened in London. Not the most convenient of places for me to get to on a Saturday morning as I live roughly a 3 hour drive away.
The runs are free to enter which makes them an ideal way to get out and do that short training run with a group of other people of all abilities. All I had to do was register and then take along a piece of paper with the barcode that is assigned to me. That gets scanned along with a position tag after you'd crossed the finish line. Reasonably low tech and simple.
As this was my first run I wanted to put in a good effort and get a reasonable time that I can improve on. In the end I managed 29 minutes and 2 seconds. The entire run is within the grounds of Montacute House and so is off road with a lovely undulating terrain. Its not hilly although there is one short climb towards the end which I did drop to a walk to get to the top of. My incentive for the future is to have enough energy to get to the top of that hill without stopping to walk.
As I'm doing the Grizzly next March which is going to require some serious training so I'm hoping to see my parkrun times improve as I get further into the training and closer to the race date. If I don't then I might get a little bit worried come race day.
The one thing that I did thing hard about was which gender to enter under. I contacted the parkrun organisation to get their take on it and was told I could enter under either gender. In the end I registered as a male simply because at 9am on a Saturday morning I am not going to be wearing make-up to run (and wearing make-up is something that I still have to do in order to give people that little extra helping hand to see me as female).
I'm glad that I took that decision because looking at the results I came 51st overall, 44th male. If I'd registered as female then I still would have come 51st but I'd have been 8th female. Now that last bit is worrying as with a bit of serious training I could actually get to the point of getting a reasonably good position which opens up the debate of what gender transsexuals should be allowed to enter races under, and as its Saturday lunchtime and I have gammon and chips to cook for the family I'll have to leave my thoughts on that for another time.