50 parkruns and the worst poem in the world
If you haven’t heard of parkrun, you probably don’t like running or you don’t live near one (which is unlikely as there are 164 parkruns across the UK, as well as ones popping up in the USA, Australia, South Africa and other international locations). Parkrun (note: normally a lower-case p at the beginning of parkrun, crucial point!) is a free, weekly, 5km, timed run. It’s really simple, you register on the website, print off your barcode and get it scanned after you’ve run which gives you a time; you’re then free to spend the rest of your Saturday as you please in the knowledge you’ve done a bit towards working off the fish and chips you ate the night before (okay, that’s probably just me).
When you get to 50 parkruns, (considering they only take place once a week, so it can be quite a while before you reach that landmark) Adidas, one of the kind sponsors of parkrun, gives you a red running t-shirt with a 50 on!
And guess what?! I’ve nearly reached that landmark! This Saturday, weather permitting, should be my 50th parkrun. To mark that moment, I thought I’d recall my parkrun experience through the medium of poetry. As the title says, this is actually the worst poem in the world, if there were awards for bad poetry, this poem would probably win it. I would almost go as far as saying I have a fear of writing of poetry, which, if I were to blame anyone for this, could be traced back to a primary school teacher laughing at a poem I wrote when I was younger and telling me it was too ‘flowery’, but I’m not going to do that (yes, you Mrs Gray!). So, I’d really rather not write a poem, however it’s going to be a lot shorter than if I were to recall my experience in prose (then you would really have wished you hadn’t read it!). I’m just hoping if I prolong this preamble for long enough, you will eventually give up and not read the poem.
Deep breath, here’s me facing my ‘poetry’ fears and recalling my parkrun experience:
More than two years ago, I was barely awake,
I sloped out of bed and a journey across the river I did make,
to my aghast, astonishment and surprise,
more than one hundred runners had gathered, just after sunrise.
It started off slow, passing cows here and there,
reaching 3km, and shouting ‘it’s not the end?! That’s not fair!’
But week after week I did return,
and a need to get faster had started to burn.
Six weeks later, oh what a surprise,
a text came through saying my PB had reduced in great size!
From 32 minutes of plodding and sighing,
to 26 minutes of striding and gliding.
And the marshals did cheer and open their gates,
giving up their time was lovely, that’s no mistake.
But closer to home, a park of beauty sublime
was the perfect location, and we thought ‘now is the time!’
My mam drew up the route and planned it all out,
and she fought and fought, ’till those opposed could say nowt!
Permission was sought, hip hip hooray
and we haven’t looked back, no not from that day!
Along with David, Gillian and Nadhim,
Gateshead parkrun was a success, oh what a team!
And sometimes I ran, as well as help out,
although the hill was a struggle, beyond any doubt!
Then all of a sudden, my times they did drop
and I once even found myself at the top of the crop.
So what have I learnt, from those early morns,
when bed was calling and I needed a yawn?
That I’m grateful a man named Paul had an idea,
to time his friends when injured, a kind gesture that’s clear.
And although I’ll never be an Olympic athlete,
even to keep running, was once such a feat.
For the next 50 I do hope,
more people are running – keeping fit is no joke!
Personally, for me, I’d be happy to see,
my time go under 25, that’s my goal ultimately.