When Andy B texted yesterday to say that his ribs were still hurting after his attempt to catch a falling tree (memo to self: do not try to catch a falling tree) and that he wouldn’t be heading to Stratford-upon-Avon and Leamington parkruns for their New Year’s Day double, I was tempted to stay in bed and run a local double.
I’m glad I didn’t, because despite somewhat damp conditions, Stratford-upon-Avon and Leamington parkruns, like chalk and cheese on the face of it, made for a superb combination.
Stratford is a flat three lapper run predominantly on tarmac and features swan poo, a river (which Vanessa kindly pointed out to me in case I didn’t spot it) and multiple bollards (all of which were sporting hi-viz vests). As Vanessa was in the wars following a close encounter with a spooked horse (memo to self: stay away from spooked horses), we pottered around slowly, admiring the energy and form of the faster runners as they nipped past on their lap 3 (our lap 2).
Leamington is a single trail lap featuring a short sharp up, a fabulously runnable down and a slightly gloopy mud-was-grass sprint finish. As we walked through the pouring rain to the start, Vanessa casually mentioned that she was planning to give this one a miss and be kind to her hoof-imprinted foot, and no, I couldn’t persuade her to change her mind. She was probably wise. The course is lovely, but it felt markedly colder than Stratford, the rain was significantly heavier and run-walking it could have been a recipe for freezing.
Two very different courses on a day when the weather was far from kind. This could have been an exercise in parkrun tourism box ticking, but Vanessa’s company on the journey, familiar faces at the parkruns, contrasting courses and two parkrun core teams who had worked closely together to create a seamless parkrun double made it so much more.
Two parkruns and some long overdue exercises to mark the first day of Janathon (physio edition).
Happy New Year.