When I looked at the weather forecast in the middle of last week, it looked a little bit like this:
By Friday, it looked more like this:
Now, I know that running in high winds and heavy rain is just as much fun as running in bright sunshine* but I usually get to my parkruns at least 30 minutes early and standing around in high winds and heavy rain is definitely not as much fun as standing around in bright sunshine, so I decided to head north of the line.
But where? I’d run Cannon Hill before, I’ve a promise of company for Coventry and Leamington if I save them until the New Year, and Brueton wouldn’t have pleased a fellow tourist who was after a run report from a parkrun she hadn’t already run. That left Arrow Valley, Kingsbury Water and Walsall Arboretum in the running.
Hmmmm. Decisions, decisions.
To be honest, it was a fairly simple choice to make. Kingsbury Water was one of the events which kicked off while I was injured. In fact, it kicked off just around the point that I realised my injury wasn’t going to clear up with a few days of rest or even a couple of weeks of rest but was going to knock out the whole summer. It was the inaugural that I’d started to plan for and then been forced to abandon. It was the only parkrun of the three that I’d already researched and already decided looked like a good ‘un. So Kingsbury Water parkrun it was.
The parkrun takes place in Kingsbury Water Park, which has 15 lakes, a miniature railway, bird watching, sailing, waymarked walks, a playground, a café… the list just goes on and on.
You start by the miniature railway, run out to the water, run between two bodies of water, skirt a pool, pass a boating lake and then return the way you came, cheered on all the while by oodles of enthusiastic marshals. It’s flat, it’s a mixture of tarmac and path with a smidgeon of goo just to keep you on your toes and it’s really, really pretty.
It also, being the run before Christmas, featured Santas and elves galore and came with free mulled wine and festive cup cakes at the end. And if you arrive at a sensible time (i.e. after the volunteers) there’s free parking if you show your barcode**.
What is not to love?***
*For other total hooey pedalled by motivational PT types, just start following motivational PT types on Twitter.
**I may or may not have arrived at a sensible time and may or may not have benefited from this arrangement.
***Every so often I am reminded that I like parkrun tourism neither for the table, nor for the courses but for the people: enthusiastic parkrunners, mad tourists, and runners that I have come across via blogs and twitter.