Near the end of last year, there was a Facebook post being shared within my local running community about the possible creation of a Parkrun in the Stirling area, the post was looking for volunteers to join the team to help make the event happen, it was still in the planning process with the park ranger and needed fundraising, etc. to go forward. Unfortunately marathon training had just commenced for me and I knew it was about to take up much more of my spare time so, selfishly, did not offer my services. However, just seeing the post made me very happy!
I had been hoping for a long time that Parkrun would make an appearance in my hometown (but obviously I’m lazy and hoped someone else would make that happen). If you have been reading the blog for a while you might remember a few trips to Tollcross Parkrun, where one of my sisters best friends was Run Director and also the occasional trot around Falkirk Parkrun, I really enjoyed both Parkruns but my sister stopped running (again) and I decided it was a pain having to drive somewhere to run (my awesome marathon squad in Bridge of Allan changed that). Well, the ‘Law of Attraction’ obviously worked in my favour and almost a year later my local Parkrun was soon to commence.
Since the end of May my running had been sparse but one of the few runs I did part in was at Plean Country Park Summer Fete, where a small group ran a trial run of the potential route and Oh My God it was tough! Definitely NOT a PB course. Tough is good though, right? So obviously I ran it few more times during the trial period before it officially opened on Saturday 18th November.
The inaugural Plean Parkrun saw 300 runners, a Scottish record may I add, gather at the front of the derelict Plean House on a cold but sunny, winter morning. We were majestically marched to the start line by two pipers and a drummer before taking on the undulating (tough) 5k trail route. I was so happy to see a lot of my running friends among the crowd, I ran with Mairi (we promised we’d continue running together post marathon but haven’t). Mandy our marathon group coach was there with goodie bags from the shop for finishers. I smiled the whole run, I finally felt like my running mojo was coming back, running shorter distances is the answer for me… remember I used to only ever run 5k?! Its obviously my favourite distance *insert wink face*
I managed to run the whole route for the first time (I’d been pausing half way for a walk break questioning how I ever managed to run a MARATHON!) finishing with a time of 30min 54sec not fantastic by any runners standards but I was proud of myself because it was the first time I had properly loved running since the marathon. I finished in time to receive one of Mandy’s goodie bags and claim a free banana before catching up with my fellow runner
I missed the 2nd Plean Parkrun due to my Iceland trip but was secretly smiling when I saw that it was cancelled due to icy conditions, as was Reykjavik Parkrun, I had been all geared up for doing that instead.
Unfortunately or rather typical of me, I slid on some ice when I was away and my butt and knee got a bit messed up, I was also coming down with the office lurgy, so for the 3rd (technically the 2nd) Plean Parkrun I opted to volunteer as a marshall. My first time marshalling was standing at a Y junction directing runners to go left the first time they passed me and right the second time. It went well, even if I did almost sent the two front runners the wrong way…oops! I think it’s only fair that runners take our turn at volunteering as without volunteers there would be no Parkrun.
I grew up in the village and my grandparents farm sits adjacent to the park so I have a lot of history with the place from tree swings, tadpole fishing and den building progressing to long walks and hill training runs but the park itself has its own history, once a grand estate, home to one of the villages collieries, WWII trenches -the Parkrun route entwining with the history of the park. You can find out more about the history here
I said before it’s tough. Starting on a tarmac footpath before quickly becoming a technical trail route. You can expect gradual hills, steep hills sharp turns and although perhaps slightly biased a beautiful route.
The core team have done a tremendous job. Plean Parkrun is an awesome route run by awesome people.
I’m looking forward to being able to call myself a runner again.
Thanks for reading 😊
Have a great day❤️