Anyone who follows Ben Goldacre (@bengoldacre) on Twitter will know that there is a new website where people can post details of their favourite nerdy day trips.
Which is excellent news for me. For now, when I travel ridiculous distances to check out a parkrun, I can visit something interesting at the same time, to help justify the trip. Not, you understand, that I need an additional reason. My addiction is all the excuse required.
Abingdon parkrun is flat and picturesque and starts off alongside a river. If time is important to you then make sure you start quickly, because the second part of the course is single-file. Overall, it’s definitely a trail run although unusally one section is run along a real road. With real cars.
As ever, the volunteers are friendly and efficient and one was kind enough to recommend a patisserie to me. I checked it out (after the post-run coffee) and, well, nom nom nom. It’s probably just as well that Abingdon isn’t my local run, because I would find Patisserie Pascal very hard to resist.
One of the photographers was a parkrunner that I’d chatted to after the Southwick Country parkrun. It was really rather lovely running round and getting cheered on by name. Lovely and unusual, given my usual anonimity.
At coffee afterwards, we were talking about the ways that parkrun encourages runners. For the loyal, there are the annual points competition and the monthly prizes. For the fast, there are the tables of winners and age-grade wonders. For the dedicated, there are the t-shirts and for the nomadic there is the table of doom.
But, as we are told week-in and week-out, parkrun relies on its volunteers. Occasional volunteers get a carrot in the form of maximum points up to three times per year. But the core team of volunteers at each parkrun, who volunteer a lot more than three times each year, seem to miss out. Maybe there’s one more table for the summary page: most prolific volunteers.
As for the nerdy day trip, I went to see the Wittenham Clumps. Even on a rainy day, they offer stunning views of Oxfordshire. I imagine that on a clear summer day, they are spectacular.