at Finsbury Park today, as on Saturday I am going to do my first ever Park Run there.
Mr JCR is a member of Islington Cycling Club and one of his fellow members, Hannah or pocket rocket as she ought to be called, is both a cyclist and a keen runner. She is one of the many thousands of Park Run volunteers across the country, and had invited me to try Finsbury Park when we returned to London. So I duly registered, got my bar code and decided I’d take a sneaky peek and do a test 5k there, in advance of Saturday, so I know what I am up for.
During the summer I have been running the hills of Le Marche, but it would appear, that 2.5 weeks of virtually flat running, has meant my hill running legs have deserted me. After a rather lengthy tube journey, involving the closure of the Piccadilly Line and a train on the platform for about 15 minutes, I arrived at Manor House tube station, and asked a nice lady where the park was, as I couldn’t see it. Yes you’ve guessed it, it was in true pantomime fashion behind me! I felt a bit of a plonker, but then I happily admit to having no sense of direction whatsoever and although I’d checked out the park run route at home on Dr Google with his maps, I really had no idea where I was going.
Off I trotted, past the two men sitting on the park bench, with rather a large supply of emptied Guinness cans. I did wonder whether my appearance may warrant a comment, but they were more interested in the remaining unopened cans of Guinness than me. Up the slopey bit, past a film crew – who seemed not to be doing any filming, but having a coffee break. They actually had 5 km worth of coffee breaks, because they were all in exactly the same seats in the catering bus, on the three occasions I ran past. And they had Tunnock’s Tea Cakes, which were awfully tempting when I ran past the catering guy with his teacake refill tray. I so wanted to nick one… 🙂
I carried around the perimeter and saw quite a few fellow runners, mainly guys, very fit guys in fact, one with a rather lovely set of dreadlocks, that were a deep purple colour, they were a lovely contrast to his grey running kit. I was behind one lady runner, who despite looking snail-like in her running, had a rather fast pace, as I found out when I tried to catch her up and couldn’t. After a lot of huffing and puffing past the VIP dog walking team – their van said they were VIPpets, which I think is a play on words of whippets, I was approaching my 5k point, so started to slow down, not that I had been going fast – this run was at least a minute a km slower than normal and that includes my recent 10km runs.
I was wondering why I felt so leaden and then remembered aha the Kennedy’s fish, chips and mushy peas supper, eaten quite late last night. That may have something to do with it! The 5km warning came up and I thought I’d walk to the gate entrance where I’d started and yup, my absolutely rubbish sense of direction meant I was walking the wrong way, and yes in pantomime fashion again, Manor House was behind me.
Ho hum, I finished off and walked to the tube to be told, no Piccadilly line service today now, you’ll have to take the bus…. In all of the years we’ve lived here, I’ve never used a bus, – Tube, Uber, Taxi, Feet, Car, Bike and Boat, but never a bus. Today I broke my duck and caught the 259 from Manor House to King’s Cross station. I won’t be doing that again…
Oh and I played my new ‘places’ playlist, but I think listening to all of these exotic places, whilst actually in old Finsbury Park, didn’t really help me at all. Maybe I need urban grime?
California Dreamin’ – Mamas and Papas
Waterloo – Abba
Boston Tea Party – SAHB
Japanese Boy – Aneka
Une Nuit a Paris – 10CC
Strawberry Fields Forever – The Beatles
Vienna – Ultravox
A New England – Billy Bragg
Is This The Way to Amarillo – Tony Christie
Black Eyed Boy – Texas
Massachussettes – Bee Gees
Gound Down to Liverpool – The Bangles
Grease – Frankie Valli
Midnight Train to Georgia – Gladys Knight and the Pips
Go Wild In The Country – Bow Wow Wow
6.23km (I ran 5km)
Average Pace 7.57 (mins/km)
Elevation Gain 40m (so why the problem?)
3 bags of dog poo, left near to the bins, not in them, just near – arrggghhh