What? parkrun!

It may come as a shock to some of you but I have never done a parkrun! I don’t live near one that I can walk to and always thought driving to run 5k was pointless when I could just run from my front door along country lanes and footpaths.

I saw the Wimpole parkrun on the Teamapp and saw there were a few going, it stirred my interest. I spoke to Tony about it and as usual his enthusiasm rubbed off on me. It was off road and there was a separate dog start so I thought perfect for our first one as didn’t know what Baloo would be like with a mass start of dogs and runners.

A couple of weeks before Christmas I decided I was going to do it, I was excited to see why so many people were hooked on this Saturday morning pilgrimage to a park!

More advice was needed from team members about the website, printing off my barcode, what happens when we are there. I found it all so very simple and streamlined.

Baloo had physio on the Friday before Parkrun on the Saturday, it was her usual session, I had missed the previous Hockley run as she had been hopping a little on her back leg so decided it was best to rest her. She had seemed a lot better so we were raring for Wimpole. However whilst she was having physio they noticed some heat in her stifle and that she wasn’t weight bearing as normal on her weak back leg. They undertook a really new treatment and said she was best not to run the next day and she might be a little sore.

What do I do now, run on my own or take the Jack Russel Terrorist Titch with me?

The thought of running on my own not being pulled along filled me with dread and Titch has only been Canicross 3 times and each time he refused to run straight away. It was taking him roughly a 2km walk sniffing and peeing before he would start running so I didn’t know if I took him whether he would run at all. He is super friendly with other dogs and loves people but such a bubble of people round him might have totally freaked him out.

Advice needed to be sought again so Amanda and Tony alleviated my fears so even if we had to walk the whole way round it would be ok.

Titch wasn’t impressed with being loaded in the car at 7am. He is a creature of habit, he had his breakfast and then wanted his morning snooze on the bed. His face said it all “what fresh hell is this” I got the occasional glare as we whizzed along the A120.

Let’s cut the rambling. We arrived at Wimpole, so easy to get to and well sign posted as it is a National Trust Estate.

The chaos of a team photo with every human and dog looking in different directions

The rest of the team arrived so after quick chats and the borrowing of kit from Amanda and Tony we then headed for the toilets on the way to the start.

Typical National Trust property, large stately home surrounded by lovely parkland, the start for the runners was out the front of the main house and there was about 350 of them and the dog start was further along the course a nice small group of about 30. We all mustered and awaited the briefing noticing the large numbers of sheep on the course, we have sheep and cows in the fields next to and behind us periodically where we live so I knew this was absolutely no issue for Titch. Titch seemed to be getting quite excited at the start he gets on well with Dakota (Jo & Dans dog) so I had a plan of starting in front of them and then when Titch failed to run as they passed us I could encourage him to follow her. I had in my head that when we started he was just going to stand there. How wrong could I have been. Next thing I heard “Go” all the dogs started running and so did Titch, I was amazed, I kept encouraging him but he was off with the pack. We overtook some dogs, some overtook us then the first of the runners came steaming past us.

He was coping so well and just kept running, he did get a bit freaked out when large numbers of runners passed us in groups and to be honest they were passing far too close for my liking. He is tiny, his nickname is Littlelegs because he has got very littlelegs! We also had some groups of larger men run past us and I could hear their feet pounding on the ground even though it was soft. He didn’t like this either and would slow up then stop. With encouragement I managed to get him going again. I admit I did pick him up once and ran a short distance with him but then he was off again. We had one poop stop and he didn’t do any wees which is a first!

To make up the distance that we started ahead of the runners we had to do an extra little loop about 3/4 of the way round, Sarah was fortunately just ahead of us so Titch did follow her away from the route all the runners were taking but as she turned the corner to rejoin the main runners he tried to take a short cut through the rough grass to her, Dan had caught us up so helped me encourage him up and around the corner as did the marshal.

He’s a dog I think that needs a lot of encouragement when he’s doing new things so I kept talking to him most of the way round. I think this encouraged other people to speak to us, one was a gentleman who I’d say was in his seventies he paused to chat to us then off he went ahead. There were people that were racing, there were people dragging themselves round and some were just there for the sheer enjoyment and out for a comfortable run. It’s definitely for everyone.

As we approached the finish I could see Amanda & Steve with Diesel and Ripley they spotted us, I think surprised to see us in front of Dakota and Fred they started shouting. I pumped my arms in the air and shouted back he’s running! They then encouraged Titch and ran us into the finish so he finished strong which he did. We thoroughly enjoyed it and it won’t be our last. Thank you Tailrunners for getting us to experience something new in 2020 and as usual the team spirit and support was just amazing!

We completed our first park run in 28:49 and I’m so proud of the little fella he did a good job for #TeamBaloo and Baloo would have been impressed with his effort.

This has just cost me as I’ve had to buy Titch his own kit now as I think he just got his canicrossers badge!


Baloo couldn’t join us but the best substitute #BabyBal00 came and was very well behaved whilst we all had post run cake