Anna's Month in Running - October '23 - The Running Channel Advertisement

Anna’s Month in Running – October ’23

BY: Anna Harding
14 November 2023

Another month has absolutely flown by. 

Running in October has been a lot less adventurous than in previous months this year. This is mostly because I was quite ill for a few weeks after finishing at the 7 Valleys Ultra. I had unknowingly picked up a chest infection going into the race, and being out in the elements for several hours on the fells and hills of the Lake District meant that it had worsened quite a bit by the end. A trip to the doctors confirmed the infection and I was prescribed antibiotics to help fight it. That, coupled with rest, meant my mileage for the first two weeks of October was zero.

My return to running came on 14 October at Daventry parkrun. I love the course at Daventry Country Park, as it’s one lap and goes right the way around a small reservoir. It usually gets around 200 finishers, so it’s not too busy, and we were treated to a beautiful morning with blue skies and sunshine. I found it quite tough, as my chest was still feeling the after-effects of the infection, so I just took it easy and enjoyed being out running again. 

I was still taking it easy going into the third week of October, so much so that I took a little holiday to the south east of Italy. We spent a week in the Puglia region and the only running I managed there was also a parkrun. We travelled to Salento parkrun, which takes place just outside of the city of Lecce, in a national park. It’s a two-lap course that’s pretty much flat. 

I had had a look at previous results before we went and was surprised to see that attendance there was much lower than what I was used to. I finished as second female in 11th place – out of a total of 19 runners! It was really lovely to meet some fellow tourists who had travelled over from Scotland for a holiday. There’s a really lovely vibe at this parkrun as it is so small and friendly. Everyone gathers around afterwards for cakes, snacks and drinks at a little bandstand-type area next to the start. 

I love looking at parkrun stats, so here are a few for you:

  • Salento was my 34th different location 
  • It was also my best ever finish position!
  • I’ve done a parkrun in four different countries (UK, France, Ireland and Italy) 
  • Salento was parkrun number 99 for me

The following week also involved a parkrun for me – and a very special milestone. I went along to my local parkrun, Rugby, to celebrate hitting my 100th parkrun event. It was such a special day and I had friends and family there running and cheering me on. We’ve made a video of it for The Running Channel, so keep your eyes peeled for when that’s published on the YouTube channel.

My first ever parkrun was in May 2013, at Whitley Bay on the coast of North East England, back when I used to live in Newcastle. It was then four years before I went back and did another one! It wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy it – I just wasn’t really into running back then. But when I signed up for my first marathon in 2017, I started going back to parkrun and haven’t really stopped since. I love the idea of it, I love getting my friends and family to come along and I love the sense of community it brings. 

I rounded off my October running with an event, which also happened to be held at Daventry Country Park. It’s a six-hour lapped event, where you can turn up and run as many (or as few) of the almost four-mile loops as you like. It’s organised by a company called Big Bear Events, which puts on several events throughout the year across Warwickshire, Northamptonshire and Staffordshire. 

This event also served as an opportunity for listeners of the podcast I present with my friend Allie, The Bailey And Harding Ultra Soundsytem, to turn up and run with us. It was amazing to see over 30 people join us for their laps. 

I had a lovely time running three laps, which amounted to my longest run since the 7 Valleys Ultra. It felt good to be able to get back up to covering a bit of distance again. It’s only now, at the end of the month, that my chest seems to be feeling almost back to normal, so a warning from me: if you’re not feeling right this winter and something is affecting you below your neck (such as your chest), then ease off and be sensible. You don’t want to sideline yourself for longer while you recover! 

Happy running and catch you all next month. 

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