Despite my race plan crapping out spectacularly, I still enjoyed the day. There were something like 66 parkrunners on course; 6 people running the 50km, 10 in the marathon, 29 in the half marathon, 14 in the 10km, 6 in the 5km, with a fair swathe of other parkrunners and friends of parkrunners cheering. A lot of the competing parkrunners joined Sam Farman (one of the ultra marathoners) in supporting Team Mito and wearing green t shirts, raising awareness of mitochondrial disease. One of the best parts of the race was because it was mostly out and back stretches you would come across other parkrunners (some of whom I think I'd never met before!) in Team Mito shirts and high five them; which means you have to then high five the other non-parkrunners behind them. Afterwards some of the parkrunners complained of sore hands from the high fives they gave out. It was an amazingly friendly event. The number of 10km parkrun runners who are now contemplating half marathons is quite pleasing, to say the least. One of our team's marathon runners, Michael Ho actually won the race, with a brilliant PB time of 2h38m16s, and Pip Holmes came in as first female in the 50km race.
Just as my wheels were coming off, I was asked by a friendly supporter - I think it was Karen Hagen - "Is that a grin or a grimace?", I responded with "Always a grin!" I remember reading an article years ago about the cyclist Ivan Basso (before his drug scandal), who was called "The Smiling Assassin" because he would ride his bike and always smile, despite the difficult terrain. I remember thinking it was a good tactic of his, because his opponents never knew precisely how much he was suffering. I adopted that idea one day when I rode up a ridiculous hill and realised that it actually helped me mentally; I don't know the science but I believe there is some sort of positive brain chemical released because of that smile. The easiest description is "fake it till you make it". Smile, and someone will think you are enjoying yourself. Keep smiling long enough, and that someone will be you.