A newbie runs her first parkrun away from home

New member Kirsten has only ever run Newcastle parkrun before joining our club. Read below her experience of going with the club to a different run…

As part of the Grand Prix on Saturday 29th April some members were having an exciting fun weekend away in Manchester, an alternative to the Manchester 10K cake event was the 5k Hartlepool parkrun.
With being a newbie member, I don’t know many other members, but the club Facebook group is an excellent place to find out what’s happening, so I kindly asked Andrew for a lift down, as there was a place going spare.
7.50am bright and early pick up, great banter on the way down with Andrew and Stephen.  We had no idea where we were going, as we got closer to the sea it was spot the running shoes, shorts and lycra.  Free parking, a bonus!   We strolled along the promenade following other runners and spotted the starting area.  With Andrew noting how grey it all looked with the storm boulders, some bunting was being erected at the start/finish area.  A few more NFR tops were spotted and we were joined by Jo, Jasmine, Siobhan, Tracey, Gigi, Ralph and Laura (great to see Ralph after so many years, scouts), quick “hello’s” and “how do you do’s”.  Then mingled into positions to start off.
This was my 7th parkrun, normally running Newcastle which is incredibly popular with 600+ runners, Hartlepool is much smaller with about 130 runners.  So the whole experience was very different.  Similar to the end of club Wednesday evening sessions a small table was laid out with cake and coffee, but there was an announcement that this was to celebrate Hartlepool’s 3rd Birthday.   Happy Birthday!!  So don’t expect cake after every parkrun.
The race is started, the weather was cool, great conditions, the promenade flat underfoot, great if you are after a parkrun PB.  Coming out of the boulder area you can see straight ahead the promenade you have to run, the sea shore, dogs running for balls, the hills of the North Yorkshire Moor, an industrial coast line, cranes, windmills out at sea.  These are all the things I was taking in as I got into a comfortable pace.  Heading towards the 2.5k turning point I’d waved, cheered Andrew, Ralph, Tracey, Jo heading back on the home stretch.  It was a bit strange passing runners as you were still heading towards the point of return.  The wind must have dropped, as it started to warm up, I hate being cold, so I stripped a layer and removed my gloves.  One day, I hope to be brave and wear only a t-shirt and lycra.  I was amazed that I was actually overtaking some male runners in front of me.  The views changed too.  Young Master O’Neil, must have had 3 weetabix for his breakfast, as he was sprinting past everyone ahead, fantastic!
The end is in sight, focus, sprint!  I could see Team NFR on the steps, heard them cheering.  Yeah, finished, barcode scanned.  Lemon Drizzle, Happy Birthday Hartlepool!
Ralph, Laura, and Jo went back down the course to meet Jasmine and run with her.  She was amazing as she’d been suffering from vertigo, and still wasn’t 100%.  Big cheers for her as she came into finish.
I didn’t get a 5K PB, but I did get a parkrun PB of 29:14,  I’m happy with that!

Saturday’s parkrun was a different experience for running, but I really enjoyed it, and best of all meeting other NFR members giving support and encouragement.

Hartlepool parkrun
Good turnout for Hartlepool parkrun