I may have the hip of an elderly man and the immune system from hell but just occasionally everything clicks. I say clicks but that might just be the bone on bone action on my left.
When I lost the ability to run I thought that was it. Mental health would deteriate, weight would ballon, my ego would wave a little white flag and all of a sudden I’d be my father. However it seems I’ve been given time off for good behaviour. Not to tear around at speed but perhaps a grace period to reassess and restructure. If I can’t run fast what else can I do that is ridiculous yet good for the soul.
Parkrun is part of that answer. It seemed ironic when I was asked to be one of their two ambassadors to the mulriple sclerosis community. The parkrun ambassador who couldn’t run. But parkrun has never been about running or even walking. Parkrun is about society and creating (or building) on the ties that bind. After a few months of barcode scanning I thought I would do a lap. I was, obviously amongst friends.
The hip was, at that point, tag teaming with the knee. I had an appointment with the knee specialist on the Monday so failing to run was more a medical experiment, to give him more info. But I did run, not fast but not a single lap. Harcourt Hill was painful and distressing but Harcourt Hill was achievable.
As I was cheered over the line at a slow pace and in a great deal of discomfort I knew two things. My ‘elite’ days were truely over. My mobility was not.
As I have written before I am a typical man. I need targets, lists and numbers. Since I can’t target distance or speed I need to target … variety. So now bye bye speedy Rusty and hello tourist Rusty. I will try to do as many tourist parkruns around the EU as I can (taking into account life, work, family and bloody Brexit). So because of that I found myself at Victoria Docks last weekend. An iconic parkrun as it has no park, no green just a circuit of the Docks. An iconic parkrun you can get to by car, bus, train, boat (obvs), cable car and plane (London City Airport just a walk away).
I loved it. My hip injury will always make me sad. I hate the pain and the discomfort. It will not get better now. I am adjusting to being a lot slower but everyone was so friendly. That’s parkrun. Walk, jog, run, whatever. Just join in. No one finishes last 🙂 What really worked for me though is the parkrun was just next to the Open Water Club holding the Swimathon the next day. I can’t run, I can’t swim but, docking hell, I did both that weekend.
See you on the starting line.