No dithering was required this weekend. There was only one inaugural parkrun and it was local* so it was a bit of a no-brainer, especially as I had a sneaking suspicion that fellow tourists Vanessa Rayner** and Jovial Gnome would be there.
The course itself is interesting. At first glance, it registers as a laps-of-a-playing-field course, but it really isn’t.
According to the official course description [with my notes in brackets]:
The start [A] is positioned approximately 400metres from the pavilion [I] on the main access path that runs through the middle of the park, close to a cluster of trees. The course follows the path down hill on a gentle gradient towards the pavilion, turning right in front of the pavilion [B] and heading in a clockwise direction following the perimeter of the park. The first part of the route starts on concrete path, but then eventually leads on to grass. [Okay. I’m lost. It’s tarmac from A to B, grass from B to C, concrete from C to D and grass from D to E. I think. Now I’m doubting myself.] There is a short distance which goes by path through an area of trees, with a fairly steep pathway down to the bottom football fields [E to G. Glossing over the brave marshall who stood at F with her back to a steep slope making sure that the runners turned and did not rush lemming-like over the edge]. The route then [goes out onto the pavement for about 5 yards before it] heads back towards the MUGA [No idea. There’s a tennis court and a car park and a pavilion. But I’m at a loss to say what a MUGA is.] and then the pavilion to start the second lap. The course consists of a two and almost a half lap course finishing approx 25m past the start on the grass marked by a finishing funnel [which is to the left of the path, not the right of the path, despite what my garmin plot would have you believe].
It’s not going to be one of the faster courses as it’s a little uneven underfoot, has one or two sharp turns and will twist the ankles of the unwary. It’s also less than buggy-friendly – the only runner I noticed with a buggy opted out part-way round and didn’t record a time. That said, it’s great fun, easy to get to, and has some of the cheapest post-run drinks of any parkrun around.
All of which added up to a great morning out.
*Only two and a bit hours away
**Running her 100th parkrun. Woohoo!