Separated by 17,148 kilometres, it has been five year since I’ve seen my friend Anna, when I left Sydney for Wales. We’ve stayed in touch by sharing the odd Facebook message, exchanging stories and Christmas cards, and stalking each other on instagram.
We also both run. When Anna mentioned in our latest messages she’d struggled to get out of bed for parkruns recently, I suggested we “run together” this weekend. We could pretend we were going together and encourage each other mentally along the way, and compare notes on our opposite-ends-of-the-earth parkruns.
I messaged Anna excitedly on Friday evening, “only a couple of hours to go!” Only, her reply was that with taking her kids to see The Wiggles (google for an awkward Aussie band that kids apparently love!) she’d realised she wouldn’t have time. Boo! Now I really didn’t wanna do parkrun!
I couldn’t even decide which one to do. I used to just have a couple of options, but with the exploding popularity of parkrun new events have sprung up everywhere. And this morning, staying at my parents, I hadn’t put my name down to volunteer anywhere so I was a free agent, with not even bridge tolls to hinder me.
I half promised my dog I’d take her, but that limited my options to further away parkruns and after a few glasses of wine on Friday, I had to be realistic. I told her I’d take her for a walkie after parkrun (if she was a good doggie).
So Severn Bridge parkrun it was, for the second run. Santas, elves, and snow people everywhere, it definitely helped top my festive spirit levels up. I do feel lucky to live so close to such an iconic parkrun when tourists come from all over to experience the run over two countries and three counties. Today’s was especially busy with the recent abolition of the tolls.
Another fantastic morning weather-wise, with several honks from cars and trucks again cheering us all on. The course record was smashed by a Swansea harrier, wearing a full Santa suit, in a shockingly quick 15.43. Makes me sick (But well done).
I was also just beaten to the finish by Roger Bannister’s grandson! Apparently he’s new to running and only 5, but still, I was pretty much running with Roger himself almost.
For the second half, I kept crossing paths wth Vicky, race director from last time I ran the bridge. Whereas my strategy was “don’t stop running because otherwise I’ll just sit down and refuse to move”, her’s was intervals of sprinting and walking. As we kept overtaking each other, saying hello again for the twentieth time, I was curious who’s technique would pay off for them to make it to the finish line first. In the end, I crossed the line in a significant 1 second faster. (I’m guessing Vicky was just being polite in not sprinting past me at the finish line, but I still take the victory!)
Afterwards, we all headed to the football club for cups of tea, mince pies and Christmas carols. Enjoy the below footage, filmed without permission! #yourewelcome!
images by Tosh Simpkin, video by me!