Friday, August 23, 2019

Parkrun Tourism Part 02 - 2018

Parkun tourism continues with another 7 locations added in 2018 (showing location, date, my time and number of participants) bringing the total to 13 unique locations:
  • Grangemoor
  • Salento
  • Wimbledon Common
  • Reigate Priory
  • Troon
  • Bicester
  • Fulham Palace
Grangemoor. 10/3/2018. 26:48. [144]

Our best friends from Italy live in Cardiff in the winter. Like us they travel back and forth to the UK for the winter season. They were able to get tickets for Italy v. Wales rugby match so off we went for a weekend in the Principality.

I nearly did the main Cardiff parkrun but when I checked the distances from their marina apartment I discovered Grangemoor was a lot closer.

A nice flat course with a modest number of runners (144). That meant I was able to get right up to the start line which greatly increases the chances of a PB and so it came to pass. My fastest parkrun to date knocking nearly a whole minute off my previous fastest.

Salento. 09/06/2018. 29:36. [8]

Our favourite parkrun. We had friends to visit us in Italy and they said “let’s do a parkrun”. “There isn’t a parkrun here” we said. “Oh yes there is” they said. Cue pantomime style banter. And they were right! Salento Parkrun had only just started five weeks before. It was a bit of a drive, 1 hour 15 minutes, but we thought we'd give it a go. Drove down there to discover that our carful was 50% of the park runners that day, four out of the eight participants.

There we met the course director Saverio and his mum Luana who was the sole volunteer, tail walker and cake baker.

Saverio starts us off.

We have been back many times since. For me it is the second most frequently attended location. It is a very flat course set in a nature reserve out in the middle of nowhere. Mary power walked her way around the course practising her Italian with Luana. Saverio persuaded Mary to sign up so she can get a bar code and an official time. That means that Salento is Mary‘s home parkrun. Now if we go to a UK parkrun and they ask “Any visitors?” Mary can put up her hand and say “Yes, Italy!”

This parkrun gets a regular attendance from holidaymakers to boost the numbers. Not so much when you go in February. One week Mary and I were the only two runners to turn up. I was the fastest in my age group, the fastest male, and first across the finish line, result! That is never going to happen again!

Wimbledon Common. 16/06/2018. 29:17. [517]

Our London flat is pretty equidistant between three parkruns so I thought I’d tick off Wimbledon Common. Cycled up the hill by way of a warmup on a lovely sunny day. Another large crowd where the course director’s introductory speech was held some way from the start line so we had to relocate after the spiel.

A pleasant flat course on gravel paths through woodland.

A fellow runner described the dust kicked up in summer as resembling herd of Buffalo stampeding.

Reigate Priory. 15/09/2018. 29:05. [248]

I was due to visit my mum in her residential home on the boundary between Redhill and Reigate. And then going to visit my sister in Reigate afterwards for a cup of tea and a chat. That meant I was going to miss my Tooting parkrun. Suddenly an inspiration. I checked and Reigate Priory was very close to my sister’s place.

So I went down early, did my Parkrun, went back to Jane’s place for a shower and a cup of tea and then went to visit Mum.

There is one stretch of the two circuit course that is distinctly up hill and down dale through a wooded section. I’m not good on anything other than the flat hence the time. I got chatting to a fellow parkrunner who it turned out was on their first Parkrun so I was endeavouring to make encouraging chat. At the end she came up and thanked me for providing some inspiration which touched me.

Troon. 22/09/28. 27:05. [130]

The following weekend it was up to visit Mary’s mum fully expecting to do the local Eglinton parkrun. Unfortunately it was cancelled due to the recent high winds. There were a lot of tree branch debris on the course plus the risk of further branches falling on our heads. It turns out that Troon is not that far away so I drove over to tick off an unexpectedly additional parkrun. The Troon course is very flat, two circuits out and back along the promenade.

With cold winds whistling in across the Firth of Clyde it was pretty nippy. Afterwards I went to Betsy’s cafĂ© but there weren’t many people there and they didn’t seem particularly inclined to be chatty. So I warmed up with a cup of tea and a cake and then back to Mary’s mum.

Bicester. 03/11/2018. 26:36. [204]

We were on our way back from Penrith to London and planned our journey to include an overnight stop and meet up with a friend of Mary‘s. She unfortunately had to cancel but our hotel booking was not cancellable. So we went anyway and arranged to meet up on the Friday night with some friends from Italy who live not too far away. Then did the parkrun on the Saturday.

A pleasant two lap course including a circuit of a Neolithic stone circle which is a bit of a novelty.

Fulham Palace. 10/11/2018. 27:31. [505]

Having done Wimbledon Common I had to complete the Bermuda Triangle of nearby parkruns. This meant going north of the river *gasp*. An easy 20 min cycle ride but it was a bit tricky to find a start point.

The course is all on paths which unfortunately get a bit narrow in places which means you really have to slow down to avoid banging into other runners, trees and park benches. Given the closeness of the other parkruns near me I’m not sure I would bother with this one again. Sorry FP!

So by this point I’m up to 13 different parkruns. Next 2019...

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