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.