“Double Park Runs. One of these, all out effort. The other one easy.”
New Year’s Day. The only day of the year when you can run two parkruns in a single day and a perfect excuse for a group of parkrun tourists to travel ridiculous distances in search of two new-to-everyone parkruns.
First up was South Manchester parkrun. It has a very interesting single-lap course, accurately placed kilometre markers and an extremely experienced event team who specialise in low-key. And if mammoth mud puddles were not quite what sprang to mind when I read the phrase “entirely on good quality paths” in the course description, then that probably speaks more to my lack of imagination than anything else. The overall first finisher was Jenna Hill, second overall finisher at Bushy parkrun a few weeks ago, who recorded her third fastest parkrun of all time. As did I, though admittedly mine was over 8 minutes slower than hers 😉
The nine of us then moved onto Marple parkrun, with the help of South Manchester’s event director, Tim, who very kindly offered two of us a lift there. South Manchester’s well maintained paths soon seemed like a dim and distant memory as we tackled the gloriously muddy two-lapper, and the event team seemed unphased by welcoming 150 or so more runners than they’d ever hosted before. Fortunately the course has a very wide first section, and by the time we reached the narrower sections the field had spread out.
Even more fortunately, the café was open afterwards, and it even had space for the nine of us to sit together and catch up.
Days like today capture everything I like about parkrun. There was tarmac and there was trail. There was all out and there was easy. But most importantly, there were friends and there was friendliness.
Roll on another parkrun year.