So that is what parkrun is, as I was propelled to join up and take part in a run – perhaps as some payback for my being rude about it at the New Year.

Three miles (sorry, ‘5 k’) around and around the park, each runner timed to the second.   And in the winter trees we were saluted by magpies and parakeets.

Yes, I have been dismissive of doing just thirty minutes of exercise and then going home rather than taking all day walking across country, and yes I was a bit peeved when runners filled to bursting the place we where had planned a peaceful New Year’s walk.  Actually though, honestly, I do not have the time to go for all-day walks very frequently especially in the winter time and nor do most people, so this telescoped exercise is ideal.

I have not been running for many years, and when I dug my old trainers out they disintegrated in my hand (which meant a quick dash out for supplies).  Still, I keep my legs fit, so how hard can it be?

I found it very well organised, by keen volunteers (and volunteers with smiles on their faces, which you do not always find with events).

We came to the park, and it was filling up quickly. Parkrun – oh the people; so many people.  If ever tempted to bewail the nation sinking into urbanised slobbery, come and have a look at this gathering and it will dispel the idea that we are lost.   The spirit of Thomas Arnold is alive and well – a healthy mind in a healthy body.  (And while it is not a specifically Christian event, I could not help noticing the number of people from local churches and a scattering of evangelical T-shirts – muscular Christianity built the Empire and still sustains the nation.)

And so off we went, and after just under 30 minutes I was jogging through the “funnel” for my time to be recorded.  Then off home, and the rest of the morning to fill.  (It was tempting to pull some boots on and head off across the common, but things had to be done….)  Telescoped exercise though it is, it is good exercise and leaves the day to achieve more things.

Whatever I have said before, it’s not bad, actually.  I will promise not to be rude about parkrun again.