Torrens – one parkrun for old men

Torrens – one parkrun for old men
North Adelaide, Australia

North Adelaide, Australia

Torrens parkrun route
Torrens parkrun route. Clockwise from bottom-left.

“You finished in 6th place and were the 6th gent out of a field of 181 parkrunners and you came 5th in your age category VM40-44”.

I was once 3rd, and 3rd in my age category – and that out of a field of 13 – but that result still feels, I don’t know, odd. Significant. Amusing. Worse for my ego than being beaten by the group of Adelaide Harriers of my age was the fourth placed finisher. As I aimed for a well paced start, I tagged on to the heels of a youngster, passing him when he suddenly slowed, being passed by him as he rallied, then overtaking again after a kilometre. But he then decided he’d had enough of that, upping his game and racing off into the distance, finishing under 18 minutes. Spurred him on to a pb, but beaten by 4 over 40s and an under 14 year old.

Runners gathered at the start.
The start. Most are going to have to go forward then turn right to go through those flags.

Another great event, though. It was their first birthday, so they had a record field and plenty of presentations before the start. For a change, I was not the first 26.2 member here, as Kevin Furlong has been here before. Adelaide has an 8am start, which made a nice change from the East coast; I was still up at 6 to hop on a bus, but that meant I was there for all the festivities. The course is an out and back, starting at the far end of the bridge over the weir, crossing the bridge for the finish. Other than the middle few hundred metres, it covers the path I’d walked on to the entertainment centre the other day, so no surprises. They seed the start, which worked well for the sub 20s on the start line, and prevented the pell-mell start I’ve seen at each run so far.

Tarmacced path, grass, trees either side, and the river to the right
The course comes here. Looks flat, doesn’t it.

It might not be so good for those just behind – if you’re not in the first 20 or so, you’ll be standing facing the direction of the start, only to be told ‘run through the flags to start’, meaning 100 or so people have to turn left, run 5 metres, then sharp right.

View from a bridge, looking at a narrow part of the river
View from the bridge to the start. Run over it to the finish.

The course follows a twisting path along the West side of the Torrens river, next to the Adelaide Oval, crossing to the East side for the middle section of the course. It is fairly flat, though not quite as much so as the Brisbane courses I ran-it has a few lumps. My time was another 18:3x, but I think this was probably the toughest course. I hope my fitness is going in the right direction, at least, though I don’t feel like I’m clipping out the (for me) quick miles with control, as I was able to do in Ireland and Korea. The run starts with a couple of downhills, one gentle and one obvious. I was surprised by my first mile split, disappointed by the last (5:43-6:15), but now think those were really down to the course profile. I was passed at 2k by (and eventually finished 20secs behind) a man who’d beaten me at South Bank; one of few on the Ashes parkrun trail. More significantly, he is ‘something at the BBC’ – I heard Aggers referring to Tom Fordyce* on the podcast earlier and put two and two together after a quick double take when looking at the results later. Two goals, for me; get ahead of him at a run to come, and talk about cricket. In that order.

Big group just after the start, front three in red and white Adelaide Harriers tops
I am totally out of step, on the left.

I jogged back, changed and headed back into town. I didn’t take the punishment of watching the cricket today, opting for the museums in town ahead of going to the fourth day’s play tomorrow.

*when I saw his job title, I was a little worried I wouldn’t be able to talk to him without the words “Guardian” and “why bother?” coming out, but fortunately it looks as though he is too senior to be involved in the beeb’s execrable over-by-over copy. It’s probably the second best, ahead of the Mail and Times, but to paraphrase Bill Hicks (he was talking about army size), after the first one, there’s a big, big drop.

Results from Torrens parkrun, event 54, 7/12/13.

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