Saturday saw an early start for us as we left home at 6:30, heading south for the Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun inaugural event. I’d spotted this on the parkrun site when looking at runs we could do on the way down to Eastbourne in June when we are planning a training weekend on the South Downs and decided that being at another inaugural event was too good an opportunity to miss. We had been at the Ashford inaugural and knew it would be a good opportunity to catch up with other parkrun friends/tourists.
Armed with trail shoes following an exchange with @RTWparkrun on Twitter the night before we arrived in plenty of time, it was a bit on the soggy side and given that half the course is on grass this was definitely the right choice. Before the parkrun started I had a quick catch-up with @diamondlitefoot and @urglecom as well as chatting to a few people who were there for their first ever parkrun. I also bumped into King Danny (@parkrun_danny) of the parkrun podcast (@theparkrunshow), a definite parkrun celeb spot!
As ever The Boyf and I split at the start, him heading to the front with me positioning myself in the rear half of the field so I didn’t get trampled. A quick countdown and away we went with a speedy downhill start (this is going to be a bit tricky in Winter!) down towards the boating lake. The course is a two-lapper and starts on path, before transitioning to trail path and then onto grass and you run through the field, back out onto path again. Be warned this is not a pancake flat course but has constant
undulation and a bit of a hill too, so you need to watch your pacing. Lap one down you’re off on the second loop and I always find this tricky with parkruns. You know what’s coming and when what’s coming isn’t easy then it plays on my mind. I felt a bit under stress as I ran, I’m not sure if it was just the pace I was trying to run a tricky course at or whether it was the gel I tested out pre-race (containing caffeine) but I did have to put in a couple of 30 pace walk breaks. I’d rather do that to calm myself and lower my heart rate than keep pushing and end up having a panic attack, so although other runners may frown at me not pushing through I know myself well enough to be sure that a quick walk break picks me up and gets me going rather than forcing myself and giving up. As we came towards the end of lap two I took a deep breath and prepped myself ready for the uphill finish. A quick shout out to @blog7t as I passed him taking a photo….check out his blog for brilliantly comprehensive parkrun reviews, a nod to @urglecom as he shouted me in and then a further push as I passed The Boyf ready with his iPhone to get some photos of me as I flew by. You can see the strain on my face, I’m not sure if I really was about to cry but I was certainly giving it everything I could.
I managed to finish just ahead of the amazing @abradypus who collared me in the finish funnel to see if I was @IAmKat. It was great to meet Louise as I love reading her blog, not only is she clearly a parkrun tourism addict but she’s an ultra runner too and is running 100 miles next weekend! Good luck Louise!
I managed to grab a quick chat with @roundshawontour before we had to hit the road for home (I also spotted @neferpus in the distance as she was acting as touring tail-runner).
Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun is not likely to be a PB course for many but it’s a lovely location and I imagine that on a sunny day it would be even better.
The Boyf finished 25th in 20:58 and I managed to steal 117th in 31:09. Another parkrun done in my quest for my 50 t-shirt and a step closer to the Cowell Club too!