When I started touring around different parkruns, the selling point was the sheer variety of the venues. All the running I did during the week was on flat roads, and it mostly consisted of running from home to work and from work to home. Through parkrun, I discovered hills, trail, trees, grass and slowly but surely, started to form preferences. I love trail and trees, can appreciate fast and flat tarmac and really quite dislike grass.
After a while though, I realised that the common factor that linked all my truly enjoyable parkrun experiences was the company. Sometimes it came in the form of a planned meet up, for example when I persuaded Sharon and Carla to join me at Finsbury Park. Occasionally, I’d unexpectedly cross paths with a tourist, for example when I met Ron Hill at Lloyd park. Quite often, I’d chat in passing to a random parkrunner or three as we ran around the course, and on a few memorable occasions, that chat continued into the café and beyond, and I’d end up with a few more running friends than I started the day with.
So it was a real treat on Saturday to visit Margate parkrun as part of a small group and to be given the red carpet treatment* by their ED, Dennis Brandrick. Chewing the cud over a coffee in the café after attempting an all out effort over the essentially flat, fast-on-a-windless-day-which-alas-it-wasn’t course and then going for a wander along the sandy beach made the stupid o’clock alarm call worthwhile.
*A personal invitation to the café after the run. I’m extremely easy to please.