Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Doubling the numbers in the Burnage parkrun puddle!

So it started out when one runner commented that he wished he’d booked to come to Copenhagen with us as, depending on who turned up on the day, he had a chance of his first 1st place finish! So when I spotted the results from Burnage (Men’s 1st place in 21:38, ladies in 26:29) it seemed like an opportunity too good to miss!!
Burnage is a small (I know they won’t mind me saying this!) off-road parkrun near Stockport quite close to the M60 (more on that later!) making it easy for tourists from Yorkshire to get to. With 8 signed up from Leeds, one from Oldham and an indeterminate number of the Huddersfield Running Bunnies scheduled to go I thought it only fair to warn the event organisers who were very helpful and keen to see us and forewarned us of the need for trail shoes and about the “puddle”. The team at Burnage consist mainly of non-runners from the rugby club who do a great job of organising the event each week!
Meeting up at mine just after 7am (I live next to the motorway so it’s logistically beneficial not selfish!) we set off in 2 cars with Nicky driving one, me the other including parkrun royalty Nicola Forwood (aka SWMNBN, please listen to the parkrun show if you have no idea what I am banging on about!). I had a detour over Saddleworth moor into Oldham to pick up Simon Bruce Lake (aka Simon Bruce Lee) but still managed to get there before Nicky, which should have warned me of things to come…

Ample parking at the rugby club, toilets and changing facilities made a welcome change, especially as I had over-estimated the time needed to get there mainly due to the fact that I have a 7 year old and am usually late for everything! With Bunnies arriving all the time it looked like a good turn out. 2 last minute arrivals from Leeds of course but we were all there in time, 25 in total!

The run briefing was done in great spirit making much of our “Sister Wendy”, aka Matthew Kelly on the front row after we’d made sure everybody knew he was there for the “win” (sorry Danny, but I can’t keep saying 1st place finish!)! In a biting northerly wind we set off along the Mersey for the small loop before heading round the rugby club and round the corner to face the “puddle”. It was about 2 degrees when we started running and it was knee deep in places and very cold! Apart from the smell it is best described in pictures…

That last one is Nicky- it may look like he can walk on water but.....

2 laps, and 2 visits to the “puddle” and subsequent 26 step climb later and we were back in the field for a slight uphill finish. With a 2nd and 3rd finish (well done Matthew and James) as well as the 1st lady (Hannah) results-wise it went well- the main fun as always was further down the field! Kerry Bunny (aka The Boss) had the kids with as did Nicky, all of whom gamely tackled the freezing smelly water with good humour- young James even said it was the best course he has ever done!! Everyone piled in and I would have loved to have been that photographer who must have seen some right expressions when people realised it was knee deep! Some brilliant pictures though….
So post run, and into the clubhouse bar (with clean trainers on of course!) and I have never seen a room full of smiling laughing parkrunners making so much noise!

The bacon butties were excellent (cannot comment on the price as someone kindly paid the driver in coffee and a sarnie!). Most notable was the mickey taking of Sister Wendy after 24 of us had gone all that way to see him take the win – and fail! In general though our hosts seemed to really enjoy having a roomful for an hour afterwards entertaining them and chatting with them whilst they processed the results! We are no longer surprised by the hospitality of the volunteer teams at any parkrun, but I would like to say thanks to Rachael and the team for making this one fantastic!

Then onto the motorway – or not as the case may be. For those who do not know the geography from Burnage you turn right at the top of the road and a mile and a quarter later you hit the M60. This leads to M62 and home. From the clubhouse to my front door you can describe the route with 8 turns, most of them after leaving the M62.

The other car from Leeds with Nicky driving left about half an hour before us – I took the same detour on the way back through Oldham and over the moors to drop off Simon and soon we were home. Except Rick’s car was still on my drive, and as he was with Nicky and they should have been long gone! A quick phone call later and I was rolling about in the middle of the road with tears streaming down my face- somehow the sat nav had got stuck on “avoid motorways” and a complete lack of common sense had prevailed! Even realising this but sticking to his guns Nicky proceeded to take the group on a tour of Cheshire and north Derbyshire! Fortunately the others all have a great sense of humour (and were in no rush!) and we awaited their arrival petty much in hysterics, with coffee.

A few more coffees later after Rick recounted the entire misadventure we were done for the day, though all phones pinged simultaneously as the results came through before we had done! Good work team – and we were done for the day.

Except we weren’t – Nicky first returned with Rick’s phone which he’d left in the car then I find out that Nicky once ended up from Leeds at Manchester Airport, when he’d been aiming for Scunthorpe! Completely the opposite direction in case you need a map! Thanks to Mrs Nicky (aka Toni for sharing that gem with me!). I do have to add that he was only 18 at the time and obviously that was in the days before sat nav but even so...

The day ended with the publication of the pictures – a fantastic job done by Mark Alwyne who’s complete set can be viewed here causing the hilarity to go on long into the night.

Full results can be found here, most of the first timers were us!!

Here’s to many more parkrun tours if they are all going to be like this- thanks guys both tourists, hosts, photographers and navigators for a fantastic day! Next stop Dublin for Malahide parkrun, to find out more look us up on Facebook and feel free to use the page to organise your own tours!!

Only one last picture can truly sum up what a great time we all had, despite the puddle, and it has to be…..


  1. Fantastic write up indeed Jason and the day was summarised perfectly through my ecclesiastical eyes. Looking forwards to Dublin now a lot, where there are no rash promises of a win at all. Yours in faith as always Sister Wendy

  2. Your faith troubles me my child. As do a lot of things....

    See you in Malahide for the next round of carnage- don't think our lass realises what she's letting herself in for! Jamie of course will love it, and probably cause most of it!!

  3. Sounds like a hell of a lot of fun Jason. Thanks for the write-up.

  4. Great write up, sound like you all had a fun day out.

    One question: how can they call that a puddle? It doesn't all fit in one photo!

  5. Dan it was a small lake, with no route round it!!

    Ian, pleasure- was just such a fun way to parkrun with a great bunch of people! If you ever get the chance to meet the Bunnies you must!!


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