A wet and windy day in Scotland. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
We’re driving toward Eglinton and google is confidently giving instructions over my phone. I’ve programmed the postcode in from the parkrun website and my phone tells me that we will arrive at 09:21 for a parkrun that starts at 09:30. Easy peasy.
At 09:21 on the dot we arrive at a road called Long Drive and there’s no sign of a parkrun or even the entry to the park. We set off again but this time spot some brown signs pointing toward the country park. Google maps is discarded and we’re on our way once more. Car park found and we’re dragging the rhino out of the car, yelling to passing folk to ask where the parkrun is. They point and shout and away we go with me busily trying to strap myself into the suit as we run across the field. It’s exactly 09:30 and everyone is at the start ready to go. There’s a fine cheer as I stumble across the field and join the runners. Then we’re away up and into the park. A dog begins sniffing my tail. His owner chuckles as she runs past. “It looks like he wants to get in there with you.” I’m not sure I want to share the inside of the rhino suit with an extremely friendly dog but thankfully he passes on by.
They told me at the Ayr parkrun that this was a nice hard surface at Eglinton and I should imagine that for most of the time it is but last night we got a huge amount of rain and huge swathes of the park have turned into a mighty swamp. The rain is still falling and it’s bitter cold. I have the choice of trying to run around the puddles and ending up in super slippery mud or ploughing straight through. I choose the latter option and find myself immersed in freezing cold water. Yet again I’m heating up in the suit but from my knees downwards I am numb with the cold. A weird sensation indeed.
We turn to go up another hill and another dog has spotted me. It squats down and refuses to budge. The owner pulls it away and waits until I’ve passed. Dogs in particular often find the rhino suit somewhat confusing. They see something that looks quite large and may be dangerous and yet it smells human. Most confusing. Their usual reaction is to look confused, bark a little and do a bit of sniffing.
As is so often the case I’m finding it tough by around 2.5 kilometres. After that it’s al about gutting it out. Point your horn frontwards and just keep moving on.
I weave around and about and lose all sense of direction. I try to keep other runners in sight so I know where I’m going. I round bend after bend and think every time that this must be the one that reveals the finish line. Time after time I’m disappointed but at last it happens. The funnel is there and there’s people cheering and shouting. I cross the line and collect my token. Moments later I see an angel bearing Tablet flavoured with Irn Bru. A splendid post run snack. Thank you angel.
I’ve just received my Eglinton parkrun time and it seems I’ve set myself a parkrun rhino personal best.
Thank you Eglinton parkrunners for helping me to a rhino pb.
Eglinton parkrun results for event #145. Your time was 00:33:21
Jim’s Save The Rhino Fundraising Page