Dear Reader: In praise of Harrogate Parkrun + embarassment at Bettys!

Harrogate Parkrun - The Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers with Parkrun volunteer leaders Sean Brennan, Alex Whapples and Caroline Rainbow.  (1812221AM2)
Harrogate Parkrun - The Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers with Parkrun volunteer leaders Sean Brennan, Alex Whapples and Caroline Rainbow. (1812221AM2)

A personal column by the Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers

The four men in running gear have set off and the race, sorry, run hasn’t even started!

Wait. They’re heading for that fire engine across the Stray…

If ever proof was needed that Harrogate Parkrun is truly part of the community it came last weekend. The 360-odd participants on Saturday morning included all age groups and types; the very young and the middle-aged, the experienced and the novice, some with dogs, others with buggys, oh, and four firefighters who were called to an emergency just as Parkrun organisers were about to start the run.

As someone who once worried out loud in this very column about the possible effects of running shoes on the Stray’s daffodils, I felt slightly cheeky standing the middle of the huge crowd ready to set off on the 5k run round near the Empress roundabout.

It was my first time in a race, sorry, run for nearly eight years and neither I nor my new hips had been looking forward to it.
But the event was not only fantastically-well organised, it also boasted an incredibly friendly and supportive atmosphere, enough to overcome this writer’s natural born Falkirk cynicism.

Though my time for the three-lap route was not bad in the circumstances, I have to say I found it far from easy.

So much so,as my discomfort grew running round and round and round in my muddy training shoes, had there been any daffodils on the Stray at this time of year I wouldn’t have fancied their chances.

Like most journalists, I don’t really keep nine to five-thirty hours.

This is no complaint. As a job, it’s more of a vocation than a job, a privilege, even.

Along with the pressures of deadlines, it also comes with the occasional perk to remind you of this fact.

Last Thursday saw me meeting Bettys PR Manager for a breakfast meeting at Bettys tearooms on Parliament Street in Harrogate.
Between you and me, I’d already been stood up once for the same 'date', for which I have no complaints.
I was once a whole day late for interviewing Jimmy Osmond.

Still, I thought it wise, as the clock edged beyond our 9am rendezvous time to call the Bettys & Taylor’s office.

“I’m not sure she is in, I’ll just check, ” said the voice down the line before a lengthy silence.

While I waited, my interviewee arrived in person..

Having announced who I was on the phone a minute earlier, I decided it was better not to put the phone down.

It might appear a bit rude to the person on the other end.

“What are you doing?” Bettys & Taylors’ head of marketing asked me, as we stood there face-to-face
What else could I say?
“I’m just waiting to find out if you’re in or not,” I replied.

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