At 4am this morning, as I changed position in my train seat for the umpteenth time, I had a rare moment of doubt. Was catching the sleeper train from London to Glasgow just to run a parkrun really a sensible thing to do? I reminded myself that I wasn’t travelling from London to Glasgow *just* to run a parkrun, but to run a parkrun, mooch around for a week, relocate to Edinburgh, run a second parkrun, potter around for a second week, return to Glasgow, run a third parkrun and then make my way home. Reassured that my plans would be judged to be perfectly reasonable by pretty much everyone, I relaxed and went back to trying to convince myself that I was comfortable enough to sleep.
Pollok parkrun is one of three Scottish parkruns which was up and running when I first started parkrunning. It’s a two lap course, run entirely on tarmac and mostly through trees, and has, according to the first-timers briefing, one hill per lap. With over 440 runners, it’s quite large, and if you start at the back like I did, allow yourself about 20 seconds to cross the line. If you’re after a PB, you might want to start further forward, but if not, the paths are fairly wide and it thins out quickly enough. After a short warmup section on the flat, you start winding your way up a steady, but perfectly runnable climb which goes on for about half a mile.
This is not the hill.
You then pelt down a fabulous, runnable down before starting the second, gradual climb.
This is not the hill either.
The climb levels out, and then, you reach
It’s only short, and it is runnable, but compared to the first two ups, it’s steep. Grit your teeth, repeat “what goes up, must come down” a few times and then relax into a well earned down that takes you back to the start of the loop. Run the three ups once more and then blast your way downhill to the finish. I defy anyone not to enjoy the gravity-assisted sprint for the line.
After the run you’re only a hop, skip and a jump away from the cafe, which is on the lower ground floor of The Burrell Collection. If, like me, you know not what that is, picture an eclectic mix of Greek, Roman and Medieval art and artefacts. Stained glass, tapestries, suits of armour, weapons, mosaics, statues, carved stone doorways, and more – whatever your interests, you’re almost certain to find something you’d like to call your own.
Aside from the minor detail that the only toilets that open before the run are about 1km from the start (not a problem if you’re local or travelling light, but slightly wearing if you’re dragging around the loudest wheeled suitcase ever produced), Pollok was a tourist’s dream, and I even managed to come away with some tips on things to do in Glasgow while I’m mooching.
The sleeper train plan was inspired!