Park Run?

I had heard about park runs for quite a while. Friends of mine all loved it and ‘did’ it and talked about it. But these friends were sociable beings, always doing things in groups, super fit, good runners, supremely confident. Me? Don’t be crazy, I’m old, unslim (such a word? – there is now)and not all that good in ‘group activities’ so I stayed away.
Until I didn’t… reluctantly and nervously I succumbed and joined J at Jells Park at 8am.

I had no idea what to expect, what to bring, what to do, take my car keys, bring water, leave my jacket where?

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This is a volunteer run community group showing people working together at its best.  The welcome so genuine, the smiles so easy, leave your jacket here, its perfectly safe.   A short chat to congratulate milestones (50 runs etc), brief chat for the newcomers and then we were all off.

A bell is rung and the front runners who had already run who knows how far before joining our run.   This was a very serious time trial for them as they took off like the proverbial bats.   They are remarkable as without fail I notice each week, they arrive at the finish line as I begin my second lap.   There are mums with new borns in prams; family groups; a grandpa and his young granddaughter – who hold hands the entire route.   I am not sure who is supporting whom, but this will be one of those remarkable memories for her that will bind them forever.   There are young children and old ladies – me amongst them, and old men.   Everyone out and doing the best they can, and no one cares whether it is fast, slow, sprinting, jogging or walking.   It is the spirit of being out.

And Jells never disappoints – whatever the weather, it is a special place.

After the first run – followed by yummy coffee with new friends, I was hooked.   And so is my special four legged friend who has run it with me every week since then.

I thank my fit, supremely confident, group movers for  persuading me to join you.   I thank the park runners and volunteers ( everyone puts their hand up to volunteer at some time or other)

And I shall now look for Parkruns wherever I travel.    They have appeared all over the world, Swellendam in the Cape, the Drakensburg,  Ireland, UK. and the rest  As if I needed an excuse to wander the planet……

Spring is here – for today at least…..

And Melbourne sparkles.

Neighbours appear with the sun,

Children ride their bikes,

Lawnmowers come out of the shed,

Bicycles appear – not just the lycra clad; no weather a problem riders, but the mom and pop kind of cyclists, with kids in tow.

All a little wobbly as they navigate the muddy bits and find their summer muscles.

 

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Perhaps, precisely because weather is such a topic of conversation and variation,

Days like today are so so special.

Anyone who has lived here for more than a month knows that there is no telling…..

So the sun is out,

It is a Sunday – skip the ironing, the chores, the cooking –

Go out and smell the roses,

Explore the park,

Smile at the stranger –

It is good to be alive…..

 

Park along the sea….

….leave the car and see where the path leads.

Which is exactly what I did one Sunday morning with some friends.   We ambled along the pathway, together with so many other people, ambling along the pathway.

Well that is not strictly true 😀   Not everyone was ambling .

Some were running, 🏃seriously running, heads down, ear phones blocking out the world, bodies sweating, apparently oblivious of the everything around them.    🏃Others were cycling with a similar intent.   Although I did wonder if their real 🚴‍purpose was to run over anyone who didn’t move out of their way, quick smart.  (what happened to the idea of shared paths?)

Back to ambling though.

Some ambled with their dogs 🐩; and I found myself once more marvelling at how similar owners and dogs often were.   Which begs the question who grew like the other?     Will I get to look like Coco – alert, furry, handsome, happy or will she get to look like me? Not particularly alert, thinning in the hair and handsome departments.   But happy 😜.

I digress.  Back to the ambling.

Some ambled with their coffees.   Whether it was the taste, the look or habit I cannot say, but there was a nonchalance about holding the throw away cup that yelled ‘modern’ ‘ melbourne’ ‘me’.   I can’t help wondering how many trees, or lack of trees our ambling coffees are responsible for, and how do non coffee drinkers survive without this appendage.

And many just ambled, heads up, gazing around, feeling the breeze, the salt air, the energy, the sheer joy of a Sunday morning walk along the beach.

And just a suddenly, the path ’empties’ and for a moment or two, I felt like we were the only people there.

It wasn’t a bright hot day, rather a ‘moody’ day, not cold, just walking temperature.

And sitting watching the boats, the dogs, the children, the people drinking coffee kind of day.

Melbourne continues to sparkle and I am lucky to all it home. 16473056_1471529779532789_3497523470928225458_n16387023_1471529826199451_4743361376156134292_n14581371_1354995131186255_6228501265048689890_n14705740_1354995157852919_9030106100732425510_n

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Another Park: and some mud

My favourite park, says my ‘friend’ – enjoy with us.

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Well, you know I am born…
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to run….
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everywhere
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Unless I find water when I will wallow and wallow
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Until I feel ready for the next adventure
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Which may be running…
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Or perhaps some golf 😀