I confess to neglecting my blog over the past few weeks. This negligence was not out of laziness but due to having to prioritise my dissertation. The dissertation was 20,000 words of joy and anguish, and as all good students do I seemed to have left everything to the last minute or at least had been skirting round the outskirts, focusing on the details as opposed to the main bulk of the thing. Anyway the dissertation has not only impacted on my blog but on my actual running.
Firstly, the dissertation made me reconsider my attitude towards parkrun. My dissertation was based on the effect of neoliberalism and the ability of sport to encourage social inclusion and the focus of my research was South Manchester parkrun. I designed and circulated an online survey, with the prime motive of discovering whether or not parkrun offered a community for all, regardless of income.
For those of you who have been living on Mars, parkun is free run that takes place in numerous parks, both nationally and globally. I admit that in the past I have been a bit skeptical of parkrun, my main thoughts on the matter were ‘what is wrong with these people who get up at 9am on a Saturday to run 5K?’ This attitude was mostly probably down to the fact that 5K is my least favourite running distance and because the park that was about 2 minutes from where I lived hosted parkrun and I still couldn’t be bothered to do it. Ultimately, I was the problem not parkrun. Researching parkrun has made me appreciate the void it has filled in running and as a result I have embraced the concept, mainly exemplified through my ongoing goal of running 50 parkruns by the end of 2017.
The second outcome of the dissertation on my running has been less Disney film like. Until these past few months, I have never truly appreciated the effect that mental stress can have on exercise. All the experts seem to label exercise a stress minimiser, which may work for some but when you’re giving all your emotional energy to 20,000 words of gibberish, the last thing you want to do is drag your drained body round a track. For me, running during the end of my dissertation only served to help me experience what running through quicksand must be like. In other words futile.
On to the good news! Now that the dissertation has gone forever, I can run without hindrance. I hoping that I can still appreciate parkrun and also push on with the competitive side of it all, but mostly I’m just looking forward to not feeling like an extra from Night of the Living Dead, jogging around the streets of Manchester