The Great Field is a newish parkrun that was inaugurated last year and is set to the eastern side of the Duchy of Cornwall’s Poundbury Estate near Dorchester. Apparently this chap wandered along and officially opened the course:
The run today was somewhat easier than the adventure at Durlston last week. A mainly flat course without too many hazards and a reasonably even hard core surface. There were 230 runners and our time of 32.40 reflected then conditions. We even managed to get a speed up over certain sections of the course. It was great to see Lisa Thomas (another of David’s VI guides) with us today and also Dorset Blind Association’s soon to be Equipment Resource Coordinator, Duncan Lane. Good luck in the new job Duncan.
Once again the weather was kind to us and it is now nine weeks on the trot without rain at 09.00 on a Saturday morning. It has always been John’s biggest worry about how to guide me in stormy conditions. It is looking like I will not now be reporting on that particularly challenging experience.
This challenge started off as something of a novelty for me, but over the weeks the stresses of spending 30 plus minutes running in a blindfold has started to take its toll on John and I. The concentration needed, although senses wise, different, is immense for the both of us.
The VI Guide has to navigate and communicate as forcefully as possible every change to the run conditions whether that be alerting other runners and members of the public, dogs, prams, bollards, terrain, direction, weather and all this plus adding encouragement, is mentally sapping. Talking all of the time whilst running is also really physically hard. The Guide is determined to offer his partner as much information as possible and absorbed in the need to keep them safe.
For me as a visually impaired runner, it is the hours immediately after the run that are difficult. The concentration level and fear factor during a run has led to the onset of headaches around the eyes that seem to last for a few hours after the run has finished. I guess it is the brain’s short term confusion adapting to the loss of such an important sense and the other four all having to step up to compensate.
Thanks again to the organisers, volunteers, park runners and members of the public for their fantastic welcome and support during today’s Great Field parkrun.
On Friday July 1, David and I will be guests on Karen Wye’s 2pm Hope FM radio show, when we will be chatting and playing some of David’s favourite music. Spencer the guide dog will also be in attendance.
Next Saturday July 2, will be the final run and week’s of ten completely different challenges will come to an end. Please come along to Kings Park in Bournemouth to join John and I on the last lap. Please come along and run with us or if you like, simply cheer us on from the side lines. It will be great to see you.