Out on a run this week I came across chalk markings for a “Free 5K” so I looked it up when I got back home:
I learned that this is a weekly timed event, open to anyone, taking place every Saturday at 8 am at a park near me. There are similar runs in other towns around the world (parkrun website). So I registered on the site, and despite a forecast calling for below-freezing temps, I hoped to find some runners at the park. The website strongly encouraged arriving by a method other than car, and I estimated it to be about 3 miles from my house, so I headed out on foot. It turned out to be a bit over 4 miles, but I got there in time.
There were 7 runners and 2 volunteer organizers, everyone well-bundled up. Wind really takes the fun out of it for me, so I was glad there really wasn’t any wind. Everyone took off at the start and I was at the back. I’ve been doing lots of very long and slow runs tied to heartrate — it was nice to feel challenged to pick up the pace. I finished at roughly 31:42; everyone was super supportive about “this was a really fast group, don’t be discouraged,” which was very kind, but I was really pleased anyway. I hadn’t run an organized 5K in a couple years but the fastest time I recall finishing was 3 minutes longer at 34:42. So it was a PR for me.
After the run finished I came back home on a different route, a little more elevation but a little shorter distance. I tracked the three runs separately, but combined the total distance was 11.08 miles and the total duration was 2:08:52.