Every Second Counts

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I set myself a running target at the start of 2013 and that was to run a 5k in under 22 minutes.


I’ve ran the last few parkruns with my mate Lee, he’s a much better runner than I’ll ever be. I’ve really improved this year and I’ve been using Lee as my pacer. He’s helped me on numerous runs lately and Saturday was no exception.


Lee set a challenge a couple of weeks ago and that was for us to both run Riverside parkrun in under 22 minutes. He didn’t know this but I’d already set myself that exact target this year and I’d also made a plan a few weeks ago too. The plan was simple. Run more times during the week and then run faster than I’ve ever done at Riverside parkrun!


We arrived earlier than normal on Saturday morning and ran a lap of the park before it started. I’ve never done that before. Once the run started, we never looked back. It was a warm day so my fingers were crossed that I’d make it back in under 22 minutes. I’ve only ever really gone for a PB on about 5/6 occasions and only failed once. I like to use parkrun as my one weekly run but sometimes I like to turn up and really blast one out.


We ran pretty much together the entire run. On the home straight Lee made a dash for it and shouted “Come on!” I’m glad he did. I set away on only my 2nd sprint finish ever! I can’t really remember much about it to be honest. I just put my head back and thought “I’m going to look like Forest Gump here.” I remember just making it past one other runner before I finished. I knew it was going to be tight but I didn’t realise just how tight.


The time on my SportBand was 22:06, which I’d stopped late (I was still trying to get my breath back!). One thing was for sure, I had a new PB but I would have to wait for my official time to see if it was under 22 minutes. I knew it would be close.


I was driving at the time when my parkrun text coming through. Amy looked at it and laughed. I couldn’t believe it, 21:59! I nearly swerved the car off the road. I’ve ran a 23:00 dead before in the past and I can remember thinking “if only I’d pushed myself a little bit more.” I was happy with the PB and making my target of running a 5k in under 22 minutes was the icing on the cake. 5 months early too!


Thanks to Eric Hall for the photo above. I think you can see from the photo that it was a warm one. Thanks also to Riverside parkrun for having us. The final thank-you goes to Lee. For carrying me around and for encouraging me to sprint finish. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have completed my goal. Every second counts.




About The Author

Following the birth of his son in 2009, Paul was unfit and sluggish. Since then he's been training using a range of exercise techniques and gained some valuable information over the years. Events he has completed to date are Total Warrior, Pier To Pier, Bamburgh 10k, Hamsterley 10k, Blaydon Races, Newcastle Stampede and over 50 parkruns. In 2012 he created his own challenge called the '12 Days of Christmas.' He raised over £1000 for Percy Hedley by running 60 miles to celebrate their 60 years. In 2013 he ran the '12 parkruns of Christmas' with friend Lee Nyland. The pair raised over £1400 for the Tiny Lives Fund.

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