Saturday, January 02, 2021

Parkrun Tourism Part 04 - 2020

All over the place. 2020.

Parkrun tourism continued while we could with another 6 locations added in the first three months of 2020 (showing location, date, my time and number of participants) bringing the total to 26 unique locations: 
  • Eastleigh
  • Skegness
  • Letchworth
  • Poolbeg
  • Bushy Park
  • Tyne Green
Then Covid hit and that put the kybosh on our plans. We ended up in Penrith, Cumbria so when parkrun resumes in 2021 (hopefully) we should be able to tick off some northern and Scottish events.

Eastleigh. 01/01/2020. 31:00 [155 / 300]

We spent New Year’s Eve in The New Forest with our friends Bob and Lynn. Last time we were down there we did Moors Valley parkrun but they were not doing a New Year’s Day run. Instead we went to Eastleigh which is conveniently on our route home and didn’t take place till 10:30. Given the New Year celebrations that was probably a good thing.

I was surprised at the number of people who were doing a New Year’s Day double. The course is one of the hillier ones and is entirely on grass which, given the recent rains, meant it was horribly boggy and slippery. Here I really don't look like I'm having fun.

Parkrun tourism done we headed off home to Wandsworth.

Skegness. 18/01/2020. 28:40 [79 / 226]

Attending the Great British Rock and Blues Festival at Butlins for the third year, we were overjoyed to see that Skegness had started a parkrun. The previous two years we would have had to drive 45 minutes to Boston. That would have meant getting up early, missing breakfast, and by the time we got back breakfast would have finished. Instead we had a leisurely start and a very short drive down to the Boating lake.

It’s a nice course by the shore, only two laps, all on tarmac paths and pretty flat apart from a couple of small inclines. Friendly event with lots of very cheerful volunteers.

Letchworth. 18/01/2020. 31:38 [43 / 86]

On our way back from Skegness we stopped over with friends in Letchworth. If I thought Eastleigh was muddy it was because I hadn't met Letchworth! Not so much parkrun as cross-country run. Some of the course was along bridleways and then through fields where one gateway was a quagmire and there was no way round it.

Unsurprisingly it was my worst ever parkrun time. Chatting to the guy with the stopwatch while waiting for Mary, he confided that most people's time is 10% slower, but apparently it is lovely in summer.

Poolbeg. 15/02/2020. 29:53 [169 / 204]

Mary was on a mission to do her 50th Parkrun on the 29th February. That meant she was committed to doing a parkrun every Saturday in 2020 without fail even if she had to hobble round on crutches. We were in Dublin for Valentine's day so we had to do a Dublin parkrun despite being battered by Storm Dennis. It was down on Dublin Bay along the coast and horribly wet, cold and windy. But it had to be done!

The Poolbeg Stacks, the thermal station chimneys sticking out of Mary's head, are among the tallest structures in Ireland and are visible from most of Dublin.

Bushy Park. 15/02/2020. 29:28 [563 / 1029]

When Mary realised that February 29th 2020 was the first ever Leap Day parkrun since it began and the last until 2048 she was super keen to complete her 50th parkrun at her home location of Salento on that day.

We had booked the flights, the car hire and, as a treat, a Gatwick hotel for the way back because of the late landing. Coronavirus put the mockers on that. With two ageing mothers and a weekend cottage booked with a group of friends we could not take the faintest risk of transmitting the infection nor having to self-isolate on our return. So we binned the flights and cancelled the car and hotel.

That left the question of where to do Mary's 50th if not her home event. After some discussion we decided it really had to be the "mother ship" at Bushy Park. We absolutely could not risk missing the 9 o'clock start so rather than use public transport we Uber'ed our way over.

Sporting her Italian "Arriva un parkrunner" T-shirt she power-walked her way round in a respectable 44:12.

The obligatory photo frame shot.

The course is one giant hourglass-shaped circuit.

Achievement unlocked! Red 50 T-shirt earned. Mary was then counting the Saturdays to see when she can get to her 100th.

Tyne Green. 14/03/2020. 29:07 [105 / 196]

Mary had planned a weekend away near Hadrian's Wall with friends to celebrate her birthday - originally booked for January but rescheduled to March. Not too far from our home in Penrith but far enough to make a another parkrun venue possible. Carlisle was too close to home, we could do that any time, so Tyne Green was the obvious choice.

We left our guests snoring and headed off to Tyne Green. It is a single lap, out-and-back course along the banks of the River Tyne. At one point the narrow path is sandwiched between the river and the railway line which meant we got to wave to the train driver as he passed.

Then Covid lockdown hit and that put an end to parkrun tourism for the year. Here's to a better 2021.

No comments: