parkrun is a wonderful institution. Runners can run it. Walkers can walk it. Dogs can come along for the fun. Children can participate. And, for those children that still need to be in a buggy to get round the 5k course, they get to enjoy it too!
We started pushing our toddler round as soon as he hit six months, which is the typical minimum age (principally to ensure enough neck muscle strength). We’ve been extremely happy with the Out’n’About Nipper Sport which is light, agile and easy to transport. It has proper tyres on it too, which I ‘slimed’ early on to avoid any puncture drama.
parkrun etiquette with a buggy is to start at the back, which I always do, and then the challenge is to see how many people I can overtake!
In the early days, at Guildford parkrun, I was hitting times of about 28 minutes. Just taking it easy and not really pushing it. Guildford is also an undulating course, with a fair amount of grass, which can be really punishing if there has been a lot of rain and it has become muddy. If it turns into the wrong sort of mud (claggy) it starts jamming up the front wheel of the Nipper Sport, and increases the effort required to keep moving!
About a year later, also at Guildford, I set a PB of 24:08. Considering the todder had obviously grown in size over this time, I was very happy with that!
Then, not much progress. A combination of tending to take it easier with the buggy (recovery run-style) and losing some fitness.
With the recent return to working on fitness again, this has given potential to the buggy running again. However, offset by two factors:
- Continued toddler growing in size.
- A new addition to the family!
Yes, with the baby on the scene, we needed to pick up the Nipper Sport Double! I thought this would be a unwieldy prior to getting it, but it is surprisingly agile and it never really feels much different to the Single when I am running with it. It also feels a little bit more planted.
As with the toddler, we needed to wait until the six months point until it was safe for the baby to join in. Then, the first couple of runs were very tentative to ensure both children remained safe and happy throughout.
We visited Brooklands parkrun at the weekend. This is pretty flat, and handily for buggy running, has a significant straight down a disused runway which allows for overtaking (This is naturally difficult with the buggy when narrow paths are involved). As a result, it was engage the afterburners time!
This resulted in a Buggy PB of 23:37 – 30 seconds faster than my previous best. It was a day for success, with fellow blogger Julie hitting a parkrun target and my wife recording her fastest run since the birth of child #2 !
It’s wonderful to be able to keep enjoying parkrun with the two children involved. I’ll enjoy it while it lasts: We are in a bit of a sweet spot with their enjoyment of it, I’m sure. Perhaps Junior parkrun after that?