I did my 76th Parkrun yesterday. It was a beautiful day and in a beautiful location (Nostell Priory). If there was ever a better day to be alive, I wasn’t there. But for some reason I wasn't in the mood for all the #IamTeamGB flag waving that was going on.
It could be simple Olympics overkill. Back in the days of Daley Thompson and Sebastian Coe I could remember every gold medal we won because there were only about 4 or 5 each Olympics and they were for proper Olympic Sports like running fast. Now I'm waking up at 5 am every Olympics morning to discover that people I've never heard of have won golds for shooting and kayaking.
Maybe it's because we now get interviews on TV with every gold medal winner's dad and brother and dog and PE teacher, and because Claire Balding is permanently so ecstatic about it all.
I don't like the name TeamGB either. Can't we just be called Great Britain? Anyway, I'm not Team GB because I'm not and never have been good enough to go to the Olympics. Congratulations to all those people who are. Unfortunately I am not one of them. I am most definitely not Mo Farah, and I'm unlikely ever to be mistaken for him in the street.
Luckily for us non-Olympians, somebody dreamt up Parkrun, and anyone can join in, so those of us that aren't good enough to go to the Olympics can go to the Park instead.
On the day when Mo Farah won his gold medal in the 5000 metres last week, I broke my PB at the Park by 1 second, and although he was running almost twice as fast as me and he got a medal for it, I can’t imagine he enjoyed his day anymore than I enjoyed mine.
If you were to draw a Venn Diagram and the two circles were the Olympics and Parkun, Mo Farah and I would probably overlap. I know the Brownlee brothers would be in the overlap, because I’ve seen pictures of them at Parkrun.
I was genuinely inspired watching Mo Farah winning his two gold medals in 2012, I even shouted at the telly. I was also inspired meeting the Brownlee brothers in a cafe in Burnsall the same summer (although I was completely ungracious and I totally blanked Jonny).
But I didn't start running until 2014, so the Olympics didn't exactly spark me into immediate action.
The main reason I started running was because I moved back to Leeds in 2014 after 20 years away and I didn't have any friends there. Also, my mum was immobile and indoors all the time, and that made me want to be the opposite.
So basically I started running because I was lonely, and I needed some people to talk to, and because I didn’t want to be trapped in a house with someone who was dying.
Some weeks during the last 2 years I’ve felt really miserable and like my life is coming apart but that 30 minutes or so at the park has always made sense to me.