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Personal view: It's the rugby final - surely this boosts my parkrun chances




The tragedy of sport is often how briefly a hard-earned moment of success can be enjoyed.

Last weekend Lewis Hamilton won his sixth Formula One world title but had barely lifted the trophy before he was asked about next season.

You won, but can you win again? Can you win a record number of titles?

Scenes from the Rugby World Cup. Not Bury St Edmunds parkrun (stewart baird) (21081745)
Scenes from the Rugby World Cup. Not Bury St Edmunds parkrun (stewart baird) (21081745)

Hamilton can probably expect similar questions if he wins a seventh title next year. And if he does become the first man to win eight titles, questions will probably change to whether he can win ten. Us journalists are never satisfied!

But Hamilton is probably used to this focus. I can remember him being asked questions about records and all-time-greats back in 2008 when he won his first title.

And it’s not just Formula One. Within minutes of Liverpool winning the Champions League in May, pundits were debating whether the Reds could defend it.

South Africa no doubt faced similar scrutiny after winning the Rugby World Cup final. But I don’t know because I didn’t watch it.

I’m not the biggest rugby fan, but tuning into the match over breakfast on Saturday morning was certainly tempting. I was ten when England most recently won the World Cup and remember the scenes at primary school when football was forgotten about over lunchtime and a strange touch-rugby-cum-basketball type mishmash broke out. It lasted two weeks. It feels a long time since England won, and I’m keen to see if they can do it. But I am also training for a half marathon and have set aside this morning to return to Bury St Edmunds parkrun. I have not attempted a parkrun, as a runner, since April and I’m not expecting personal best times. But with everybody watching the rugby, it feels a week where I might compare favourably.

My primary aim is to get around the 5km without aggravating the injury that has kept me out for so long. Attempting to run fast will only make things worse, a physio told me, and I took the advice so seriously that I did not attempt to run slowly either.

It feels good to be back but judging by the hundreds of people gathered at Nowton Park it seems everybody had the same idea about the rugby as me. Either they’re not bothered about the game or Bury has some of the world’s most dedicated runners.

Completing the race feels harder than I remember, but a familiar pattern plays out of me setting off too fast and being swamped on the second lap by runners who have paced it better.

As I walk back home I’m reflecting on my effort. I got around, I’m not injured and my time was within one minute of my best. Am I happy? Of course not. I am focusing on the half marathon, the next parkrun and whether I can do better. I’m suddenly being the commentator to my own Lewis Hamilton. I’ve missed parkrun. I’ve missed pushing myself harder. And in a strange way, I feel I have kind of missed the feeling that I know I could do better.

When I get home I check on the rugby score and know I have made the right choice.


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