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Not so now. Those nice people at parkrun HQ have raised the
bar. A demanding 20 locations and/or 5 inaugural events is the new entry
level qualification. Well that’s ok. I have several weekends away planned, and
other local events still to do, so I should join this elite club at some point
I’m not keen on the word ‘inaugural’, so I’m glad to have
now gotten my inaugural inaugural out of the way.
The 25k bike ride from Solihull to Walsall Arboretum took me
a disappointing 70 minutes. It’s up hill all the way from Brum to Walsall
though, honest, and I have to save something for the run don’t I?
Anyway, I still arrived in plenty of time, and it wasn’t
long before I saw the reassuringly familiar faces of Peter and Paula from
Conkers. Proper tourists they are. I was at the right place.
Strangely, on the way, I had passed a group of about 20
runners heading towards the Arboretum themselves. They arrived in the park, did
some exercises, and then ran off again. Shame. Maybe they’ll find out about
Event Director Kate, ably assisted by Tom Williams, and a
full team of volunteers from Wolverhampton Uni finished setting up the course,
and we were called to arms.
About 60 runners lined up, next to the soon to be infamous brown
wheelie bin. No expense spared eh.This
was one of those parkruns, where most contenders wanted to stand towards the
back. So there was quite a gap behind the first half dozen who fancied their
chances. Then in a moment, we were off.
lap 1, passing 'dusty bin', with other runners in my slipstream ...
First, a short descent of about 150m, then a sharp right
hander. This could be problematic, this close to the start, when the event is
attracting hundreds. An incline followed, then another right hander and then a
long flat path. Beware the pot holes. A grass section, then back along another
path heading back towards the start. It’s a 3 lap course.There is currently construction work underway
at the arboretum, after which the course will be changed, and become two laps.
I finished 17th in 22:38, which I was pleased with. Several
of the faster finishers proved to be “unknowns”, so perhaps they’ll be properly
bar coded up for the next one.
That was my 6th midlands parkrun location by bike
this year then, which means Ihave 4
left to do. Although this could become 5, with Tom confirming that a new one in
Wolverhampton is in the pipeline.
Thanks to Kate, Tom and the students for all their hard
work. A very enjoyable parkrun.Thoroughly recommended.Why not
give it a try.