The village of Girton is just outside Cambridge and, as far as I can tell, is famous for a) having black squirrels and b) being the namesake of one of the colleges. I’d never been to Girton as it’s not on the way to anywhere, but saw they were holding a 5k race as part of their summer feast. The website made it sound like a chilled out affair so I signed up.
I left work late and belted up to Girton – I wasn’t sure where I was going but I arrived with ample time. In fact, maybe too much time, as I milled about awkwardly, not knowing anyone and feeling shy. There were some very athletic looking runners and I felt a bit intimidated.
The course was unlike any other 5k I’ve ever done in that there were no loops! Parkruns normally have 2-3 loops (5 at Highbury!), so it was nice that every step was different. It was predominantly on grass and mud, including a playing field and a wooded part, although there was about 250m on the Guided Busway and the final kilometre along the road.
Although I’d taken antihistamines that morning the pollen count was too high for me and I found breathing hard. Hayfever sounds like a pathetic excuse but it’s actually debilitating. This summer I’ve been taking two types of tablets, steroid nasal spray and medicated eyedrops but I still feel/look/sound like utter shit. The only thing that helps is shutting all the windows and sticking the air conditioning on – otherwise I’m a snotty, snivelly, scratchy mess.
What with pollen-induced coughing and spluttering, really needing the loo and getting stuck behind slower runners on the narrow paths, I finally crossed line in 27:59. I carried on running and headed straight for the loos. Such glamour.
I thought about hanging around and chatting to people but I really wanted to get away from the grass and still felt a bit shy/awkward, so I got back on my bike and rode back to Cambridge and went to have a cup of tea with my mum, feeling a bit disappointed with myself.