The parkrun started just like any other. A chap says go and 300 people shuffle into life as I am trying to figure out how I’ve got my neck caught in someone else’s headphones. A stunning diversity of masses bouncing around for position. The hydrogen and helium atoms ricocheting between the mis-placed lumps of lead and uranium. Not that I can complain just now. If I were to place myself on the periodic table of race weight and structural integrity I’d probably be something like Rubidium.
Gaining relative freedom and whizzing very slowly through space I started playing the next parkrun game, guessing how long until all these kids blow up.
They are so cute, running with their little legs thinking they can go on like that forever, little do they realise that are about to be dealt a crushing lesson in the limits of human physiology. And sometimes gravity.
Biding my time, not fit enough to run at my best but improving after a summer of ultra-chumping. My shoelace came undone! Schoolboy error but nothing to fear, I can still play the game.
Losing a few places I lost sight of the little people, always harder to gauge how far ahead they are. Are they 100 meters ahead and 3ft4 or 50 meters ahead and 4ft2?
The 2k marker was passed, these little blighters are plucky! Good on them, waiting till the second half to explode. 3k came and went, they were still ahead? WTF? I’ve got twins in gestation bigger than these buggers. Don’t tell me I am going to have to use another gear?
I did, but didn’t get any closer, 3k turned into 4k with little change except that now my breathing was scaring the children who were spectating. And some dogs.
There is a hill in the last kilometer. Gravity is more on their side than mine, clearly a conspiracy. I had one last shot at this, two options. First I could run my arse off up this hill and just hope that they’d trip over one of the dog walkers or I could use what remaining oxygen I had to yell “MARSHALL! MARSHALL!! THOSE LITTLE KIDS ARE CLEARLY UNDER 11 AND NOT ACCOMPANIED BY AN ADULT!!! BAN THEM!!! BAN THEM FOR LIFE!!!!”
Actually I had neither option, I was already spent. I just rued that fact that this was another thing I might have to quit doing because a 10** year old is much better than me. That said I think my life hasn’t got much worse since I gave up skateboarding, computer games and DIY.
* I was 19th, so this is a lie.
**actually, they were all over 11, which makes me feel a *bit* better.