Sunday, 11 March 2012

The parkrun course at Bradford

Lister Park is beautiful, its the jewel in Bradford's somewhat dented crown and it was the perfect choice to host our parkrun.
8:40am -We join our eager parkrunners as they stretch and warm up, flashing their pale Yorkshire legs and leaving their flat caps on any available flat surface.
I dash about as usual sorting out equipment, volunteers and funnel ropes that seem to have more bite in them than a rattle snake!
The geese watch us with amusement as they waddle about on the grass waiting for the head goose to take off and lead them Top Gun style back to the safety of the lake.
8:50am - its nearly time! Despite earlier worries of low numbers, runners seem to be appearing from everywhere, I can see the steam rising from Nick the frothy coffee man's van as he serves marshals and supporters lattes and hot chocolate, its time to get the marshals in their places and get started.
Regular faces smile and chat with each other, welcoming newcomers and reassuring them about the action to come.
We all walk down to the start together which is just by the fossilised tree above the lake. The usual pre-amble ensues and before I know it, they're off!
The first stretch above the lake looks flat but it isn't! If you start with cold legs you'll know about it. Approaching the bandstand you are greeted by the first marshal to clap and encourage you on your way, you continue on past the majestic Cartwright Hall and through the formal gardens, there are always beautiful floral arrangements here.
On your left are the water gardens with fountains, cascades and sculptures.
You're at Prince's Gate now where a marshal directs you left to the first long, winding downhill stretch, look out for the squirrels foraging amongst the trees and bushes.
You approach the bottom corner which is a sharp left past the statue of Lister and onto the longest stretch which is mostly downhill. This is where all the spring crocus and snowdrops are making an appearance.
You pass the adventure playground on your left where your kids can play and cheer you along, continue past the boating pavillion where the path slopes down towards the seated statue of Sir Titus Salt and the famous "Tony's corner" where the amazing Tony Kingham will encourage (and chase if necessary) you up the teeny tiny hill (TM) back to where you started.
3 laps are completed and then once you're up the teeny tiny hill (TM) for the 3rd time it's back towards the bandstand for the final stretch (watch out for low flying geese!) Immediately after the bandstand you take a steep right turn into the finisher's area for a glorious finish to the Lucozade 5 sign.
Once you've un-crossed your eyes and regained some composure you clutch your little parkrun position token and take it to the scanning table along with your barcode to register your finish position.
You are then encouraged to support and clap other runners as they make their way to the finish before staggering over to Nick to request your brew of choice!
If you pop along to our friendly event be sure to come and say "Hi!" you'll be warmly welcomed.
... Linda xx

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