Tag Archives: social

Parkrun, the neighbour connector


I live on the other side of the tracks to my local Hilly Fields parkrun, in Brockley, London, and I often see runners while I’m on my way up, But I don’t usually see anyone else going to parkrun until I’m just a couple of minutes from the park. 

This Saturday I noticed another runner on my side of the tracks after I had just set off from home. Nothing unusual in that and I simply noted her presence. I often see people running then but I don’t see them up at the parkrun nstart line.

When I was almost at Hilly Fields, I noticed the runner again, on the same route as me. Could it be? 

I was a wee bit late so I cut across the grass. She cut across the grass too. 

I had to say something, it was a bit silly to go all that way, almost together and not say anthing. So we got chatting. She was on her way to parkrun and it was her first time. 

We stood at the start together and then I set off, at a pace ahead of my new friend. But I didn’t find my rhythm and after about 1/2 a lap it felt like I was going backwards as *everyone* passed me. Including the runner I met beforehand. 

Eventually, on the back straight of the 3rd and final lap, I found my rhythm and some. I set about getting on with the run and finished with a great big sprint along the final flat path to finish in just under 27 minutes. 

Afterwards, I walked home with the runner I met beforehand. It turns out that she lives in the next road to me, so she’s my neighbour. And she has a grandchild who is of a similar age to my kid. We said we’ll look out for each other again and maybe we’ll meet up when her grandchild is over and the kids can play together. 

I’ve documented previously that I’ve said hello to a parkrunner in Brockley who turned out not to be. And that was ever so slightly socially awkward. So I’m glad that that experience didn’t put me off chatting to someone else. 

I would never have guessed when I started parkrun that it would help me to meet my neighbours! But I’m glad that it has. 


New Pb


On Saturday at parkrun I got a new Pb, taking 34 seconds off my best time to get home in 25:07. I had been expecting to run in 30-31mins with my neighbour but a hangover forced him out and I was left with no reason not to push myself hard. At the finish, unusually for me, I was just behind another runner and we both sprinted to the finish. I couldn’t catch him but he helped me make sure that Pb was as good as it could be.

Unfortunately, I forgot about my training plan and didn’t run another 2 miles to make 5, but I did speed walk/jog 1.8 miles to get to/from parkrun and I speedwalked the baby in the buggy for over a mile in the afternoon to get him off to sleep. So it feels like in getting enough exercise.

One of the great things about parkrun at hilly fields is the social aspect – every week there are people to chat with afterwards. I feel like I’m getting to know more people locally. Though one woman told me she had seen another parkrunner somewhere else. As she enthusiastically greeted him she could see the look of horror on his face as he tried desperately to think of where he knew this woman from.

And a week or two ago I greeted a fellow parkrunner who was queueing for food at brockley’s rock. Turned out he wasn’t a parkrunner. That was rather embarrassing!