There is a national program to motivate everybody to get out and run. In more than 150 parks all over the UK (and further) there is a park run every Saturday morning which is basically a 5km run out in the green. It is completely free to start and has great success.
I think it is a great opportunity for literally everybody to get out and just do it. For me I think its good to do on a regular basis a 5k "training competition" to get my speed back and to get used to my Scott Race Rockers, the name says it all!
Finally I managed to get there myself. It was the 40th time it was organized in Maidstone. The start is just around the corner of the river Medway. The course goes along the river, crossing it over a bridge to make a U-turn and head back to where you came from. This course has a few features which makes it a rather slow course. The fact that the whole area next to the river was flooded made it a rather soft underground with lots of puddles. To get over the bridge one has to slow down around all the 180° turns. Finally, the trail is not exactly wide and some runners (understandably!) like it a bit slower and more social and don't pay that much attention to what is approaching them.
Right after the start the path got considerably narrow with a following sharp left turn so it was important to get through there quick! Some youngsters use it obviously as their training and were apparently aiming for the same goal, to get through there as quick as possible. After that, I thought I should be on my own, but you never know if there are some middle distance guys in their winter training!
It turned out to be quite easy to get away right from the beginning. I set the pace high enough on the first kilometer to get some distance between me and the other competitors. While I could choose my lane on the way out, it was considerably harder on the way back, hoping between the puddles as everybody else was on the "comfy" side.
I managed to get back in 16:04 just 12 seconds shy of the course record. I could feel that I am not ready yet to push a decent pace for very long which will hopefully change in the near future. But I have to say it was good fun, can recommend it to everybody and will be back soon!
Click for data on strava