Thursday, 25 October 2012

A year in the life of a parkrun tourist...part 2.

The week after we went to Wythernshawe in Manchester to meet with Fi and Jon, 2 parkrunners I got to know through friends online. This was a muddy one – flat but tough and again I enjoyed it in a decent time. Jamie (my boy, aged 6 and a half at the time) ran with Fi (thanks Fi for giving up your run for him!!) and he showed his true colours- let him run alone and he did 33 minutes, with a lady for company more like 39!! Too busy chatting!! Great to meet new friends and had a MacD’s for breakfast afterwards- a good day!

Pontefract next – loop then a lap around the racecourse. Jamie didn’t feel like running so the enclosed children’s playground right by the finish was a blessing. Don’t worry, he wasn’t alone having a tourist friends little girl for company!! Enjoyed this course- seems to be a lot more downhill than uphill somehow but having run the Northern Counties Cross Country here 20 years ago I know it is bitter and exposed in winter- still recommend it though and I think it will get you some quick times!!

Braunstone in Leicester – nice friendly event, relatively flat but with a sneaky hill hidden in the trees at the halfway point!! Certainly caught me out but otherwise another great event!

After that we took the “Yorkshire Tough” challenge to Barnsley with the guys from Roundhay, aiming to beat their pb’s and settle the toughest parkrun question once and for all. I have to say that despite beating my Roundhay pb Barnsley is much tougher!! Much, much tougher!! They have the same 3 laps and the same long hill on each lap but Roundhay is a consistent hill whereas Barnsley’s alternates beween steep and not so steep, with corners! The constant change in gradient is a killer, so much so that I could not feel my legs and enjoy the steep downhill at the end of each lap! Definitely a great challenge- and really friendly with a playground for the kids by the finish!

Half term week at the end of June saw us take a family holiday in Scotland – a long drive with a 6 year old and especially with my mother and step dad who, after a near fatal car crash a few years ago, really do not enjoy being in the car too much! The solution- take advantage of the Travelodge offer of £10 rooms and break up the journey- set off Friday for Glasgow, the same the week after to Edinburgh. Result- 2 parkrun opportunities, totally planned of course and fantastic that they all let me get away with it!!

Glasgow is a big un -353 the week we were there, and the guys gave a shout out to Jamie in the run briefing which made his day!! A great course, couple of laps on tarmac through the woods and probably tough if you are going for it but I ran with Jamie so I could enjoy the scenery! Definitely another I’d like to do again in anger!! Edinburgh was a complete contrast- a more professionally organised event I have never seen, pa, van, banners all in evidence gave it a true race feel- and the course is perfect for it! This is one where the weather can make or break your run- it’s a completely flat out and back course on the esplanade so the slightest hint of wind and you are going to get it at some point!! We had perfect conditions and I went for it- way too fast!! At halfway I was on for a 2 minute pb and I think you can guess what happened next…….

Monday, 22 October 2012

Tourism and back home again

Well, seems like a while since I blogged here (it is - oops!)

Summer came and went and along the way were a number of tourist runs.

Arrow Valley - inaugural run. Top 3 female placing. Lovely course with PB prospects. Beautiful run round the lake and brilliant cafe afterwards.

Forest of Dean - great fun, welcoming group of people. Didn't get lost but did lose both trainers in the boggy mud. Loved it. Would recommend it to any tourists.

Bryn Bach - another stunning course (be careful it starts at the other side of the lake to the description so involves a 1km walk/jog (or in our case sprint!) to the start line. Small but really friendly run. Another PB course and fantastic toast in the cafe afterwards.

Back home to Conkers and I've been enjoying encouraging people round to break the 30 minute barrier. It made me feel even more proud to be part of this great movement and I've enjoyed running and chatting to different people. Somewhere in here I got my 50 t-shirt too which is now proudly worn week on week.

Conkers continues to grow and grow with a regular 100+ runners now each week which is testimony to the great work of the volunteer team all led by Andrew Harris.