What can I say? The parkrun team have found another great venue for a parkrun, this time in Maidstone. It starts at the Museum of Kent Life, a hop, skip and a jump away from Junction 6 of the M20, runs out along the bank of the River Medway, nips over the bridge* into Whatman Park for just long enough to run around the playground** and then retraces its steps back to the museum.
With a short downhill start, the rise and fall of the bridge and the short uphill finish, it’s not pancake flat, but to describe it as undulating would be unkind. I was pootling along at the back, saving my energy for Brighton Marathon, but I imagine it will prove to be a fast course.
It’s also a great course if you like watching the frontrunners in action, as you’ll have the chance to see them on their way back. Unusually, the leader at their mile two (my mile one) was not a man but a woman, Liz Weeks, who finished a full 30 seconds ahead of the rest of the field.
Following close behind were parkrun tourist Ian and Janathoner I Like To Count, both of whom were suitably encouraging as they passed and both of whom hung around at the end for a coffee in the museum café, which opened up specially for parkrun, where chat centred around marathons past and present. ’tis the season, after all.
*I gather from the middle of the pack runners that running over the bridge as part of the crowd is a somewhat disconcerting experience, as it vibrates with the footfall of the runners. As there were only three other people on the bridge when I got there, I can neither confirm nor deny this assertion. But I’m tempted to go back just to find out.
**this isn’t exactly the route shown on the website, which spends a little longer in the park than we did.