The post coming up next week is an account of an incredibly long weekend, also called the Original Mountain Marathon (lite). One of the things that Luke and I have taken up now that we have more sedentary lifestyles with ‘normal’ jobs, is running, and running a fair amount. At some point we decided to enter a navigational and distance challenge and sign up for the OMM (lite, because we are also chicken). In Poland, we were preparing for the event and running almost every day. Because I ramble on about running far too often, I handed over this post to Luke, who describes his experience with the Parkrun group in Krakow.
For those who do not know: Parkrun is a volunteer run, free, weekly 5 km race held all across the UK and in plenty of other places as well. I took part in a Park run in Moscow, for example, and friends of ours have been touring the different events whenever they head for weekend breaks. Check their website to see if there is one near you (or your next holiday destination!).
And now over to Luke:
I am still amazed at how widespread Parkrun has become, and I think it is brilliant! On my first morning in Krakow, I did the Krakow Parkrun, after having arrived the night before, and facing a typical runner’s conundrum: food. The run started at 9 AM and breakfast was served in the hostel between 8 and 10. Normally I am not a fan of eating within a couple of hours of running, but I was hungry and hadn’t slept well the night before due to sleeping in an unfamiliar, noisy, lit, tram rattled environment of the hostel. So I ate.
I nearly didn’t go for the run, being tired and having just eaten, but at 8:40 I left the hostel. Having not given myself much time to get to the run, I jogged hurriedly across the centre of Krakow on unfamiliar streets, only getting a little lost in the early sunshine. I arrived at the start point in the park (Półwsie Zwierzynieckie) as the organisers were giving their talk about the race. The talk, even though I could not understand it, was far more upbeat and what I assume inspiring than my local parkrun talk, with lots of articulation and body movements. While this was going on I noticed a couple of runners with Parkrun UK tops on and I had a quick chat. It turned out there were about 10 UK runners on holiday who had decided that they were going to run, one couple had even chosen a hotel near to the park just for the run. Now that’s commitment!
With the sun starting to beat down, food sloshing in my belly and having already ran 2km across the centre of the city, the race started. I found my pace and settled into my position between two groups. After about 2km I started to develop a bit of stomach cramp which slowly got worse over the rest of the race, however I tried to keep my mind on top of it. The park was lovely, lots of people out on the paths cycling or rollerblading and families out for a morning stroll. On the run out you can see a green forested area stretching up the sides of the hills on the outskirts of the city and over the horizon, and as you turn back you can see the older city peaking between the newer city around the park.
Coming up to the finish line everyone who has already finished clapped and cheered you on, on a much greater scale than I had experienced in either the Oxford or Chippenham Parkruns at home. There was a solid community spirit with people chatting, drinking provided drinks and helping each other use the old fashioned hand water pump that was handily near to the finish line. It was now 930 and the temperature was steadily picking up and the sun was beating down (the temperature later in the day rose to the mid 30s). People hid in the shade amongst the trees and chatted away until the last people crossed the line again creating a fantastic atmosphere. Everyone finished the event with a group photo before departing on towards the rest of the days.
Join us next week to hear how the two of us fared on our OMM lite.