Tuesday, 14 February 2012

parkrun course description: Oldham

Welcome to Oldham parkrun.

As you leave the carpark, head straight through the double gates and past the lodge (which is currently up for sale) and up the steps directly in front of you. If you are not a fan of steps, you can take a left just before them and head up the steep ramp - you're going to grow to hate this little hill before you leave! About half way along the straight main path, on the left, you will see a large structure regally guarded by stone lions which has inspired the local name of The Lion's Den. This is the meeting point for Oldham parkrun and where the run starts.

The start is marked by a couple of iron grid covers on either side of the pathway and there's usually plenty of room, even in the heady days of summer when we sometimes top 150+ runners. You probably don't want to start too quickly as you might end up having to slow down quite early on. I've been out today and jogged around the course 'lapping' the main points of the course on my Garmin...and as anyone with a Garmin knows, the smaller the distance between two points, the more divergence there may be with Garmin measurements! The first of these points comes at the end of the main straight which is at around 151 metres. Here, we avoid the steps and veer left up the first little ramp - a steep 20 metres veering to the right hand fork. There will be a sign sending you left and either another sign pointing right or a marshal on the fork pointing the way (or possibly both!). This is a potential bottleneck, so getting here in a hurry might be counter-productive! As you head up the right fork towards the highest point of the course (150 metres), there will be a sign sending you right around a 90 degree turn. And finally, you can relax a little as the course begins its gradual descent.

This section of the course is downhill all the way - stay on the main pathway veering around a right hand bend. You will pass the playground on your left (if it's on your right, you weren't listening!) and the toilets are just in front of the playground. At 404 metres, there is a 90 degree left turn (there will be a sign or a marshal, or both) and you will see the statue of Rebecca 95 metres ahead. Rebecca will be guarding a sign sending you right (90 degrees) and over the small bridge. What goes down...

There is a slight respite as the course levels off for a few metres but then begins the long ascent back towards the top of the course. Once again, stay on the main pathway as it veers around the the right and in between the lakes. You might encounter a few geese around here if the locals have been out feeding them but just clap your hands a couple of times and they will run out of the way (the geese, not the locals!). This 425 metre stretch takes you up towards the aforementioned ramp to avoid the steps. This time, the steps are not an option! Up the ramp you go - there will be a marshal at Woodland Walk about 40 metres up the ramp but you won't be heading that way...yet! A final 20 metres and you are back on the straight. This is a deceptive part of the course as the straight is still slightly uphill! It is now 218 metres back to The Lion's Den and the start of the second lap.

Do it again!

On lap three, as you get to Woodland Walk, you veer off onto a narrow trail - by this time, it is unlikely that there will be any traffic problems but there is still enough room to overtake if you need it. Just 36 metres along the trail there are 4 small, long steps. The wooden risers can get slippy in wet weather, so caution is advised (I missed one of them and went headlong onto the next three steps with some seriously bruised pride to show for my efforts!). The steps are quite tricky as they throw you off your stride - the first couple are three strides and the you get the curve-ball four strider! Once past these, its a windy little pathway through low hanging trees and the occasional encroaching undergrowth. You will see the back of The Lion's Den on the right but no short cuts (we'll be watching!), continue for a total of 310 metres and follow the signs! As you reach the end of the trail, you turn right onto the main pathway where the first marshal will be directing you down the original 'bottleneck' to the right and onto the finishing straight. This is downhill all the way and if there's anything left in the legs after Woodland Walk, now's the chance to use it up! The finish line is past The Lion's Den - the whole straight measures 235 metres, so time your sprint right or you may burn out before you get there!

We are hoping to re-open the cafe in the coming months but this will depend on local investment and the building still has a To Let sign on it.

 I apologise for the lack of beautiful pictures of the course - there are plenty to be found online and there is even a video of a circuit with a voiceover by Event Director Mark Kelly as he mapped the route which can be found on the Course description page of the Oldham parkrun website.

Just one last thing...if anyone has added up the numbers and it doesn't come out at 5000 metres, please inform Garmin ;)

1 comment:

  1. A brilliantly details description, thank you Simon.


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