Lauren Reid's preparation for her parkrun on Jan 23rd wasn't exactly what you'd describe as ideal: a root canal treatment gone wrong had forced her off work for a few days and on the morning of the race she only managed a brief warmup after wasting time hunting around for a toilet, something all runners can relate to! But when the race direction announced over the megaphone that Lauren was going for the women's parkrun world record the pressure was on.
"Luckily I thrive under pressure and really enjoyed the sense of excitement that I got from everybody there," said Lauren.
She charged through the first kilometer in 2:50, quicker than planned but she didn't let it derail her record attempt. "I looked at my watch at that stage and thought 'oh s***, I could be in trouble here!' so I just didn’t look at my watch again. I actually managed to get into quite a nice rhythm, just focused on staying behind Harry [her pacer] and yeah, felt in control throughout most of the run until about the 3.5 km mark where there was a slight incline which I really felt - the last k or so wasn’t pretty!"
Lauren broke the tape in 15 minutes, 45 seconds, shaving 4 seconds off Charlotte Arter's record. While Lauren's been running impressive times for years on the track and the roads, becoming a world record holder was a new, and special, experience.
"It feels really really cool! The sense of inclusiveness & community, the passion & support has been incredible, both on the day and since then. Parkrun is really relatable to many people & creates a shared sense of familiarity around the globe. Whether you’re running 15 minutes or 50 minutes, are a seasoned runner or a first-timer it’s open to all and doesn’t judge! It’s pretty unique and I feel privileged to hold the world record and kind of excited to know it could be snatched away on any given Saturday!"
Lauren stayed motivated through Australia's COVID lockdown with time trials, virtual races and keeping connected with her training partners by sending photos to each other of them "getting it done." But she also emphasizes that, like many of us, she did struggle with the uncertainty.
"I’d say to those struggling with motivation firstly that that is so normal and ok! We all struggle with it at some stage and this last year, for so many, has been so incredibly challenging.
"But there’s always a way to get a run in, we are lucky as runners – we don’t need equipment or specific locations. Just your running shoes and go... that’s the simplicity of our sport! Try changing the goals up, write yourself a little routine so you can tick things off as you complete them – that really helped for me.
"Keep it as simple as it needs to be. I try to remind myself that I am lucky to be in a position where I can run, to have good health & great support around me."
Give Lauren kudos on her world record: https://www.strava.com/activities/4664579310