by Debbie Plant
After driving my son Joe to and from Seaford Striders for the last three years, I finally plucked up the courage to officially join when the Couch to 5k group was formed.
I have run before but very, very slowly, usually very embarrassed and with no confidence at all. A text from fellow Strider, Scott on a Friday evening was all the encouragement I needed to join him and his family at Preston Park for the parkrun on a bright Saturday morning. Joe came too, and as he has a niggling injury, came purely to pace me and keep me going.
Joe spotted a 35-minute pacer and we decided together that I would try and stick with her. I had attempted this a month ago and failed miserably. I said a quick hello to the pacer, whose name was Chris, and as we set off I told her I would try my best to stay with her, laughing at the time saying that I couldn’t possibly.
Preston Park ParkRun is basically three laps of a set route. The first mile was covered fairly speedily in 10:30, too quick for me to sustain and by mile two I could feel myself beginning to slow. Chris directly in front of me and Joe to my side wouldn’t let me fall behind and I just about managed to stay with them for the second lap. I absolutely know that I would have stopped had I been on my own, however, with Chris and Joe’s encouragement I kept going.
Lap three seemed more bearable and on the final bend Chris had to slow as she’d paced slightly too fast and I continued to the finish with just Joe beside me, encouraging me all the way. I crossed the finish line with a time of 34:28 – my first time of running a ParkRun without walking some of it and my fastest 5k to date. Not a fast time for many but for me it was just amazing!