I’ve begun using parkrun more regularly for a Saturday morning session but this Saturday I was taking part in another run instead. The town of Witney came together for a fun run to mark the start of Lib Fest – a memorial day for a local girl who died after being knocked down by a car on her way to school.
There was an impressive turnout of a good few hundred people ready to take part in the fun run as we arrived through the churchyard. It was great to see all sorts of people coming together for such a good cause and celebrating through the medium of running.
I was pleased to see some of my Tuesday night group had decided to take part, as well as a decent contingent from the Witney Road Runners – including the World Record Breaking toy box!
The 5k fun run was actually closer to 2 miles in length (I’d run the course with my Tuesday night group in a bid to encourage them to take part) so I wanted to use it for some speed training.
As you can see from the photos there were quite a lot of youngsters involved so I did balance my enthusiasm for a good session with enjoying the experience of running on my home town’s roads; something that we don’t normally get to do, although I wonder if that’s more of a possibility now?
The crowds were building but relatively quiet so I gee’d them up with some frantic arm waving at the start of the second lap. As I came round to meet people on their first lap I offered words of encouragement to people I passed who, whether they were walking, running or doing a bit of both, were all there because of Liberty.
There were kind words from the marshalls, many of whom were from my club, and the crowds had grown as I strode out up the High Street. I’m sure there’ll be people who complained about the roads being shut for a couple of hours but to see the town coming together was inspiring.
I rounded the penultimate corner and started to push, although I was conscious I didn’t want to get into a sprint finish with a 10 year old so I urged him on whilst checking back for a second or two.
Crossing the line I was handed my medal by my old head of sixth form, Dave Bell, before having a refreshing mist of water sprayed over me by the kind volunteers. It’d got hot in that 15 minutes!
Once I’d caught my breath I walked back up the course to offer encouragement to whoever needed it as well as hunting out my wife who was also taking part.
The superb thing was, through all the red faces and sweat, there were a whole heap of smiles on show. A fitting tribute to Liberty and I hope part of her legacy will be that the fun run in her honour may just have inspired a few more people to give running a try.