Harrow Lodge parkrun

Had I visited this course with fresh legs, on a balmy spring day, my write up may well have gone something like this:

Harrow Lodge parkrun, near Hornchurch, has many things to recommend it.  The car park is very close to the start, the run to the loos and back makes a great warm up, and the single lap has variety and charm.

The course isn’t flat, but there aren’t any hills, just gentle rises that borrow the energy from your legs and gentle falls that pay it back again in spades.  Underfoot is predominantly grass, though this is broken up with sections of tarmac and dirt path.

The final mile of the lap is around the lake, giving you the chance to watch the ducks and enjoy the view, and the finishing straight is long, allowing you to gauge your final sprint to perfection.

The volunteers are, as ever, fantastic, and offer enthusiastic encouragement to one and all.

However, as I visited this course with Janathon-fresh legs*, on a really rather cold winter’s day that happened to be preceded by a not insignificant amount of rain, it instead goes something like this:

Harrow Lodge parkrun, near Hornchurch, has many things to recommend it.  The car park is very close to the start, the run to the loos and back makes a great warm up, and because it’s a single lap, you won’t get lapped no matter how slowly you run.

The course isn’t flat, but although there aren’t any hills, the rises leech all the energy from your legs, and the falls are so gentle that you won’t notice them.  Underfoot is predominantly marshy quagmire, which grabs hold of your feet and refuses to let go.  Although this is broken up with sections of tarmac and dirt path, they are pitifully short, and serve only to reinforce how evil the rest of the terrain is.

The final five miles of the lap start as you pass a bridge that would lead directly to your car and/or the finish and take you along the edge of a seemingly endless lake.  Once you have eventually rounded the end of the lake, you then have to stagger all the way back to the finish, into a headwind that removes any lingering hope of a sprint to the line.  How anyone (yes, Danny, I’m looking at you!) can run sub 19mins on this course is a complete and utter mystery to me.

The volunteers are, as ever, fantastic, and offer enthusiastic encouragement to one and all.

* During Janathon 2011, I ran a total of 69 miles.  During Janathon 2012, I ran a total of 92 miles.  When I started this parkrun, my Janathon 2013 mileage stood at 90 miles.  If this course had been 100% downhill, on tarmac, with a tailwind, it would still have felt tough.

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About abradypus

A Bradypus or Sloth am I, I live a life of ease, contented not to do or die but idle as I please; ... [Michael Flanders and Donald Swann]
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13 Responses to Harrow Lodge parkrun

  1. Soon you’ll have a list of parkruns for winter and parkruns for Janathon legs. I do admire the course organisers for their skill at squeezing those 5 long miles into the parkrun!

  2. JovialGnome says:

    Definitely one for the summer list! Do like one lap courses though!

  3. paintedrunner says:

    Know the feeling. Fantastic yearly improvement.

  4. plustenner says:

    Am sure Banstead Woods somehow morphed into 5 miles today as well 🙂

  5. Dash says:

    Wow, so many miles already and we aren’t even half way through the month – well done! And well done on what sounds like a VERY tough Parkrun.

    I do a lot of my running in the Royal Parks and have actually been wearing my trail shoes to deal with the boggy muddy mush that has replaced the grass.

  6. ewoodeson says:

    Superb commitment as ever. I find your mileage inspiring even though I can’t ever foresee a situation where I will be able to clock up that sort of mileage in one year, let alone 13 days. Marvellous. Hope your legs can get some rest with a gentle jog soon!

  7. Brilliant description of the course. The headwind was a nice touch at the end – just what we all needed!!

  8. Shaman says:

    The second version makes for a funnier read 😉 but well done! Sounds tough, especially with so many miles in your legs.

  9. zoecakes says:

    Sounds exhausting!

  10. fortnightflo says:

    Wow – just blown away with your miileage!

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