Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Park Run number 17 at Central Park Chelmsford

For anyone that has joined Park Run they will understand what a tourist is and this week I was super excited to be a tourist for the first time. I was going to be leaving the comfort of my regular ParkRun in Cornwall and head up country to attend my first ParkRun in Essex.

Ready to run at Chelmsford Park Run
On Friday evening I jumped in the car and started the five hour journey to Essex to visit friends and family for the weekend and utilise the opitunity to attend a different ParkRun. Sadly over 7 hours in the car later and stuck in ridiculous amounts of traffic and being redirected all the way up to Oxford and back we were finally in Essex even if it was the very early hours of the morning!

With just a few hours sleep it was soon time to get up and head over to Central Park in Chelmsford for my first ParkRun as a tourist. Arriving at the event I was rather shocked at the scale and the size of the event. My regular ParkRun in deepest darkest Cornwall attracts between 100 - 150 regular runners. However this morning I was welcomed by twice that many runners and twice the usual amount of volunteers.
Crowds gather at Chelmsford Park RunCrowds gather at Chelmsford Park Run
The volunteers were fantastic and so well organised as well, splitting the runners into two groups and two different starts. With below 25 minutes to complete the 5km course and over 25minutes so that the faster runners could get off to a quicker start and join up the route further around the course. With a loud mega phone the run briefing was completed and the race was underway. To a resounding beeping of GPS watches and mobile phones on armbands, we were off. It felt absolutely fantastic to be running in such a big friendly group, in the city centre early on a Saturday morning. Even though I was exhausted I was excited to be involved.

Sadly after the first mile I started to realise just how tired I was feeling after the previous days long journey and the lack of sleep and began to really struggle around the course. Even though it was a chilly morning the sun was shining and the course was beautiful. We ran out of Central Park and under the road and into Admirals Park. The course was relatively flat, however there was a little hill up and around a field that took my breath away. Heading back into the second half I was breathing heavily and wishing the course to be over. It was nothing like the gruelling up hill section at Lanhydrock and I didn't need to walk any of it, it was however, a shock on the completely flat faster paced course.

As I pushed on around the course to the finish I was feeling absolutely shattered and really glad to see the finishing funnel in the distance. As I went through the gate and received my bar code I was impressed again with the organisation of the bar code scanners all lined up behind rows of cones to filter the runners through. 
After park run exhaustion

 Central Park Run Chelmsford
 
As quickly as everyone arrived in the park and ran the 5km course they had all finished and disappeared again. It is like a flash bomb of runners that all turn up in Lycra and run and disappear all within the hour. One minute you can be in the park full of hundreds of people, runners, volunteers and supporters and then just an hour later the park is empty. Blink and you'll miss ParkRun.

The lake at Central Park Chelmsford
Just a few hours later I got my confirmation e-mail through from ParkRun with my time for the mornings 5km run. I was delighted when my time came through as it is now my fastest ParkRun result. I'm really pleased to have achieved my fastest ever 5km time of 27:32 however I need to be honest and point out that Chelmsford Park Run is VERY flat compared to the gruelling Lanhydrock ParkRun in Cornwall and i'm a long way off getting that time in Cornwall.
The lake at Central Park Chelmsford

Central Park Chelmsford
The Viaduct at Central Park Chelmsford

I'm now looking forward to getting back to my home course in Cornwall and trying to get a new PB there and maybe one day I'll be able to get close to my personal 5km record that I set this weekend at Chelmsford!

Chelmsford Park Run time for Amanda Brooks