Oooh, Oh-stonishing Osterley parkrun

Digested read: parkrun tourism took me to Osterley parkrun.  I went in search of an ‘O’ and discovered an ooooooooooh!


Undigested read:

Well, that was unexpected.

Events have again taken me away from Sheffield and down south again.  I was seeking a different parkrun to take in some tourism at a new venue, done Kingston and Bushy parkrun already.  Bushy parkrun is obviously especially epic, but you know, seen the unicorns and rainbows there a fair few times and felt like I ought to check out some of the other local options this time round.  I was initially contemplating heading out to the Old Dear Deer Park parkrun, because that sounded lovely and is relatively near to where I am staying.  However, and I hope this doesn’t sound too ungracious, when I read the blurb for it on their parkrun page I was put off by fear of having to drive through Kingston on a Saturday morning to get there. I’m a scaredy cat what with the sheer volume of traffic and the mysterious hieroglyphics of its one-way systems – though I do have a particular soft spot for the falling phone boxes sculpture.  Always loved that.  You know the one I mean?  You don’t?  That’s terrible, you’ve missed out, let me google that for your…. here you are:


Love it!  I’d rather have functional phone boxes, but if we can’t any more I’m glad they’ve been preserved thus.  In the olden days when we used slide rules at school, had to endure the test card waiting for the TV to come on I always used to carry a 2d coin with me in case you needed to phone for help, and dear reader, it doesn’t seem all that long ago I had to use the red phone box on the corner to phone the fire brigade when my next door neighbour’s flat caught fire!  I know, I’m a living, breathing oral history project just waiting to be discovered…  anyway, you’ve distracted me, begging to know about the telephone boxes, where was I? Oh yes, debating parkrun options.

The other off-putting aspect of the Old Deer Park parkrun  was that further investigation of the route left me horrified to find it is basically three loops on grass that looks suspiciously like playing fields.  I’m still traumatised by having to run round a field at the start of Penistone parkrun last weekend, and it feels a bit too soon to subject myself to the twin trauma of humiliating flashbacks to both school sports days and my more recent misguided foray into cross country running.  (Ask yourself not ‘how hard can it be?’ but ‘honestly, why would you?’). I’m sure the Old Deer Park parkrun is delightful, and I will do it, but not for me this time round, too close in time to other XC type running scenarios. Hmm, what to do?  The thing is, when I stumbled on it on the events list, I was swayed a bit by the handiness of it starting with the letter ‘O’.  I’ve got the game-changing running challenges chrome extension thingymajig, and so I know I lack this for my parkrun alphabet.  Actually, I lack loads of letters, I’ve got hardly any, but I do know that the O s are hard to come by.  Hence, whilst I’m only half-halfheartedly pursuing that particular challenge – to complete a parkrun beginning with each letter of the alphabet apart from X because that isn’t currently an option –  the prospect of securing an ‘O’ was definitely appealing.  Hmm, so how to weigh up the pro of getting an ‘O’ against the con of reliving the humiliation of a cross country run?

The solution was to find another ‘O’ parkrun in striking distance, and so it was I came across Osterley parkrun.  Never heard of it, but it was only about 12 miles away from where I am staying, didn’t require going through Kingston traffic so why not.  My decision was made.  Some classy photos too on their Facebook page too hmm, looking grand.

Oh hang on, you probably want to know about the course blah de blah.  According to the Osterley parkrun website the course is described thus:

This is a 2 lap course on firm paths which starts and finishes in front of the mansion house.

Oh.  Concise certainly.   Somewhat minimalist, but not sounding too much like a cross country course.  Accurate too, now I’ve done it, but it really doesn’t quite convey the totality of the Osterley parkrun immersion experience.  Nor do the maps of the route, though they offer up a few teasers I suppose.  Proximity to the M4 isn’t an obvious selling point perhaps, but there’s a fair bit of green and blue boding well…


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I’d find out soon enough.

After the heat wave of last weekend, it was distinctly chilly, blustery and wet on rising this Saturday.  I left ridiculously early in case of hitting London traffic, and driving down cherry tree lined roads had my windscreen ferociously battered by blossom brought down by the winds.  I’ve never previously thought of cherry blossom as potentially endangering life, but it was unrelenting, a veritable pink-out of petals impeding my vision.  I’ve not had such an unexpected alarming blossom related experience since the eighties, when I was helping a friend move house and accidentally moved her set of five foot paper hyacinths into the wrong house.  I so wish I had a photo of them, they were magnificent, but this was the olden days when to take a photo you had to use film that came in a roll of 12 pictures and you had to take it to the chemist to be developed so really, just never took any.   It was an honest mistake, could have happened to anyone after all, what household doesn’t have to transport five foot paper hyacinths that are a prop from an Ibsen* play every time they move house?  The thing is, seeing as how you are asking.  I’d gone on ahead so I could stuff my car (an 850cc mini called the Jolly Titanic – not got a photo of her either) as much as possible, and she was going to walk on round behind me.

When I got to the house, the front door was open, and I could hear the other tenants moving about so I just moved everything into the hallway whilst I was waiting for her, imagining how pleased she’d be at how I’d cracked on.  … then she arrived.  It was the wrong house.  Her new house was next door.  Now, consider if you will what etiquette is required here.  It’s one thing to be caught accidentally moving stuff into a house, but more problematic exiting a house carrying boxes.   Should we alert the residents to what had happened?  Well, the answer to that is probably yes, but obviously we were too mortified to do this, so just carried everything out as quickly and silently as possible, leaving them none the wiser.  I still would have liked to have left one of the giant hyacinths behind just to imagine their reaction when they discovered it, mysteriously appeared in their hallway.  The weird thing is (yes, there was only one weird thing about this anecdote in fact) was that I must have been pretty noisy bringing stuff in, and nobody in the house came to investigate.  Strange but true.  The lesson in this story is that even blossoms can cause trauma in particular circumstances, which is perhaps why a phobia of flowers isn’t as irrational as you might at first think.  There’s a word for that by the way, in case you are putting together a pub quiz or anything – anthophobiaYou’re welcome. See if you can drop that into a conversation at some point today.  By the way, since googling this, my laptop has been over run with pop ups of where to buy flowers in full blossom RIGHT NOW – that’s not great if you were googling because you really were phobic is it.  Stressful sort of phobia, hard to avoid methinks…


Anyway, if you keep distracting me, I’ll never get to tell you all about Osterley parkrun.  Suffice to say, I made it through though, we Sheffielders are tough!  Besides, lots of unexpected delights accompanied my journey. Generally, radio 4, this always delights me (apart from just a minute, religious broadcasting, and, usually, the cloying smugness of ‘thought for the day’ but you know what,?  Learn from me dear reader and cast aside your prejudices, because today en route to utterly o-stonishing Osterley parkrun I listened to Thought for the day, and – get this – parkrun got a mention!  Martin Wroe – writer and journalist contextualised his ponderings speculating on those getting ready for the London Marathon on Sunday by mentioning the 170 thousand people across Britain getting ready to take part in parkrun right now, of which I was one!  He too ‘came out’ as a parkrunner, describing the sense of achievement on completing his first one, quietly proud and slightly bewildered – how did this happen?  A sentiment I can most certainly relate to.  How exciting.  parkrun is mainstream now, and I think this is for the greater good.  I may be chugging solo to a new parkrun, but I’m one in a 170,000 all doing the same thing.  Isn’t that amazing!

Satnav TW7 4RD, Jersey Road, took me through urban territory, and below alarmingly low flight paths as mahoosive planes came in to land at Heathrow. Well, I like to think these were all planned landings at the nearest airport, and not wayward joy-piloted Boeing 747s attempting to avoid detection by flying low enough to go under the radar.  They looked close enough to touch.  I was alarmed.  Eventually, I arrived at a relatively grand entrance, surrounded by an old red brick wall.  Nice.


FYI, the satnav wanted me to turn right here, but I threw caution to the wind and went straight on through.  It’s impressive, not quite as impressive as the entrance to Lyme Park parkrun, but pretty good.  I do like a drive way with acres of horse-filled paddocks on either side, and with mature trees a-plenty to provide an avenue of shade.  I was so early, there wasn’t any evidence of other parkrunners, but the venue was epic and plenty of time to locate the start.

Ooooh, this is looking really very nice, very nice indeed.


The drive also had savage inverted speed bumps.  See those innocent looking cobble stripes? They are in fact sunken pits that will rattle you car to its core.  Treat with disrespect at your peril.  Don’t look down.  One wannabe parkrunner did just that a few weeks back, and he’s still trying to make his way back up by the look of things…


I arrived super early, of course, and parked up in the National Trust car park.  Oooh, National Trust, that’s good.  Even more surprised this parkrun had previously evaded my parkrun radar.  You don’t have to pay for parking if you display your barcode apparently, but to be fair, there was no-one at the car park booth to take payment, so I think you’d possibly be OK without, but I didn’t risk it. I always have a squillion spare barcodes about my person and conveyance to parkrun too, for just such eventualities.

It was cold, but I was early enough to head off to explore.  Found a handy sign:


Headed off towards the house, bravely side-stepping the posse of pigeons.  I like birds, but these seemed vaguely sinister, they had an air of entitlement, which I wasn’t about to test.  They weren’t giving ground to anyone.  Later I saw the bird that had perhaps inspired them to hold their territory, and I concede freely, they’d learned from the best.  Indistinguishable from one another those avian cousins.  It’s all about attitude at the end of the day.  Believe you are indomitable and a winner, and command all you survey, and it shall be so!  Well, so the theory goes and the photographic evidence suggests it can help you up to a point.


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It was exciting approaching the start of the run.  It was good going to an unknown venue with zero expectations, as everything was like a grand reveal.  First off, the lake, blooming epic!


There was a teasing glimpse of the house the other side.  Huge mature trees of gorgeous spreading branches graced the beautifully landscaped space.  Even the ducks were upmarket, some stunning mandolin Mandorin ducks were strutting their funky stuff.


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In amongst the lilies were the first ducklings I’ve seen this year.  Super cute.  Now generally, as I don’t have children myself, I try to never pass comment on the parenting skills of others, but the mallard mum had got out onto the edge of the lake, leaving her youngsters squawking a foot beneath the vertical edge on which she was standing.  I was a bit worried, they had no way of getting out, and I remember seeing ducklings drown in similar circumstances.  I’ll spare you that story as we really do need to crack on… I decided against intervention, they’d have to work it out, as I presume they eventually did.  Disappointing though, I do love a duck, and they have strong protective instincts with respect to their young, but unfortunately, seem not to be blessed with great spatial awareness or problem solving skills.  I empathise.  Cute though.


So on and on I went, round the lake, it was distinctly nippy, also wet.  Wasn’t expecting wet.  Eventually, the house came into view and let me tell you this for nothing – Osterley park and house is pretty goddarned amazing!  No wonder it gets used as a film location.  Impressive doesn’t quite do it justice, it was like stumbling across the Bradenburg Gate – never seen so many pillars and steps!  Compare and contrast if you will.  See, practically indistinguishable!


I remembered vaguely that the run starts and finishes by the house, and it is quite a rendezvous point.  There wasn’t much sign of parkrun life, but a give away wheelie bin was in evidence, and one or too early birds in high viz commencing the set up.  I felt a bit self-conscious,  I was so early I felt I ought to offer to help set up, but it’s awkward as a tourist because obviously you don’t know the route and there is the potential that you will be more hindrance than help if you rock up unannounced.  Good work though hi-viz heroes!


Instead I just asked for directions to the loo. Well, ultimately my need for a precautionary pee took precedence.


My regular reader will know I put considerable store by pre-parkrun toilet facilities.  You will therefore be mightily relieved (as was I, literally and metaphorically) to hear that I declare the Osterley parkrun precautionary pee facilities to be outstanding.  They didn’t just exist and were open, and had toilet paper and all of that, but check out this as an entrance view:


and this as an exit view:


Seriously classy, it is far more landscaped than the entrance to my own front door, and considerably raises the bar for toileting facilities at parkruns elsewhere.  In future, I expect all my ablution areas to be contained with perfectly shaped topiary.  I had no idea what I’d been missing out on up until this point.  It may be true that you don’t miss what you’ve never had, but it is also true that there’s no putting the proverbial cat back in the bag once it’s out.  Mandatory topiary for public toilet blocks has to be the way forward.

The interior looked like this:


No, I wasn’t ever going to go for quite that much of an interior in-situ shot, I’m not completely dis-inhibited, not yet anyway.  Don’t you think every home should have a solid gold toilet, no wonder they have recently installed one at Blenheim.  No more bizarre than having five foot hyacinths, in fact the features would complement each other rather well now I come to think about it.

Impressed and relieved, I decided to head back to the car in search of a running jacket.  As I passed the steps a huge gust of wind sent the parkrun kit flying everywhere, it was like a re-enactment of that famous Odessa Steps sequence.  I made an attempt to help with the retrieve, but the high viz heroes were already on it, I’m guessing this may have happened before – not with a pram, but maybe with the instruction folder and parkrun signage…


I headed back to the car in search of some extra clothes and money for post run refreshments.  It was nice to have a bit of an explore, find a pony to gaze at and discover a marshal now on car park duty, pointing cars to another lesser used, but equally convenient car park.  I asked if I was ok where I was, at the main one, and that was fine apparently. Oh good.


I was back to the house again in time to see the finish funnel being set up – that looked like quite a work out, bending down to put out each and every cone at lightning speed.


Soon other parkrunners were beginning to arrive.  The atmosphere was building, parkrun would soon be go!  The steps up to the house provided a great vantage point from which to survey the action.  It was fun people watching, though those steps are pretty vertiginous.  And the hi-viz heroes did look exceptionally busy and important.  I always thought that was a consequence of the high viz (entry level importance) enhanced by the addition of a clip board and peaking when in possession of a loudspeaker.  In fact, it seems the gold standard is met by standing on the top of a humungous flight of steps, that confers absolute authority, it’s why that big bird pictured earlier was clearly not to be messed with.


After a bit, there was a gathering for the first timers briefing.  There were a few first time ever at parkrun people.  Wow, their Saturdays will never be the same again, how exciting to be on the cusp of absolute change.  Also some fellow tourists, some donning the cow cowls.  I didn’t wear mine.  Not an absolute oversight, but possibly an over-reaction to last time I wore one down here at Kingston parkrun some weeks back.  A friendly fellow tourist came over to say hello but I’d had a stressful and traumatic few days, and a night entirely devoid of sleep.  Consequently, I was sitting shivering on a bench,  mid snot-producing sob due to emotional overload and exhaustion,  and could hardly speak.  Consequently, I probably came across as quite unfriendly which is not the cow cowl way.  I thought I’d let myself go under the radar more here, just in case, although, with the benefit of hindsight, taking loads of photos is a bit of a giveaway that you are a newbie at a venue, though that stimulated lots of friendly interaction without me becoming inappropriately tearful so that’s good.

Here we are at the first timers’ briefing.  They train up their marshals from youngsters at Osterley – excellent work!


then we were all calmly back down the steps in readiness for the start

Battleship 03

Some ambling and milling in anticipation of the Run Director’s briefing:


Runners in position, a set of steps appeared for the RD, and the briefing was miked.  Excellent.  I found it hard to judge the numbers, but around 300 were there in fact.  It was all very orderly.  Cheers for milestone runners, good luck wishes to marathon runners for tomorrow, this parkrun has a lovely vibe.  If it was your local, I’m sure you’d get to know people really quickly, it felt friendly, well organised, and sported a good cross section of participants too.  It felt a lot more diverse and inclusive than some of the others I’ve been too.  I don’t know if that’s to do with the catchment area, probably, but it has to be also to do with it having a welcoming ethos I’m sure.


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I met a couple of ebullient tourists, who were up for being photographed, so that was nice (wave) this was but a preparatory introduction preceding properly getting acquainted later on.  I can’t talk and run, so rarely befriend new people during a parkrun, though it’s not entirely  unprecedented either. Even so, good to swap friendly greetings and chit chat at the start line, it makes for a more companionable experience all round.

The start seemed to come suddenly.  We were awf.


It’s two laps, well marshalled, and it is indeed on tarmac paths, but oh my, the route is lovely!  I’m afraid my photos just don’t do it justice, well, it was quite an overcast day and taking photographs isn’t really my forte, nor is running, nor are most things, I’m hoping I’m a late developer and will stumble on my forte eventually, though time is running out for me to be able to make the most of it should any as yet untapped talent finally make itself known to me…

You pass by mature hedges, get glimpses of impressive cows, through a little bit of woodland, past lake, and pastures, all sorts really!  Inevitably, the first lap was something of a blur as you encounter things for the first time.  It didn’t feel crowded, the running surface was good.  There was a weird moment when you could hear traffic from the motorway on the left hand side, but see rural loveliness if you kept your eyes right – and the backs of departing parkrunners ahead of course, as always.  It does feel like a patch of green rural idyll oasis in the midst of what is basically urban sprawl.   Friendly marshals pointed and clapped and other spectators stood and cheered enthusiastic encouragement too, which was rather fine.  You know what, unusually for me, I’m going to let the pictures do the talking…  There are a lot of pictures, and if each is worth a thousand words, that’s quite a lot of chit chat going on below.


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I tried to take a snapshot of every marshal I passed, mixed success perhaps, but let’s try to remember it’s the thought that counts!


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Inevitably faster runners lapped me towards the end of the first lap.  Some were super speedy indeed,


You pass the finish funnel at the end of the first lap, so I paused to get some pics of the early finishers.  It really is such a spectacular location, it raises the tone of the entire gathering.  It felt more like a pop-up running festival than a conventional parkrun!


The second lap, it all thinned out, and I took time to admire the cows – no idea what sort they were, but they looked splendid:


I was flagging a bit, I’m just not running regularly at the moment and it does make a difference. Surely the second lap couldn’t be longer than the first?  They hadn’t had time to add anything.  Could have been worse though, might have been running on a treadmill with a dubious distance registering GPS. That was on the news on Saturday as well.  Fitness trackers can add miles to your marathon – up to 10.8 miles apparently, if you are running on a treadmill.  That is astonishing, but then who wants to run on a treadmill anyway? You’d have to be desperate surely.  For me, the entire point of running is to get to new places, the thought of running on the spot, makes me shudder, and can you imagine that, doing, an extra inadvertent and unacknowledged 10.8 miles!  That’s three and a bit extra parkruns – and you wouldn’t even get to brag about it on Strava afterwards presumably. That’s a whole new level of pointlessness.


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In a break with my usual conventions, I did get chatting with another super friendly runner and Osterley parkrun regular towards the end of the second lap.  She was really knowledgeable about the history of the house, which I now can’t remember, but was impressive at the time. Somewhat embarrassingly I would suggest, the history of Osterley Park House seems to be covered rather better on Wikipedia than on the National Trust’s own site about Osterley House – maybe I was looking in the wrong place.  Neither account was as informative, personalised and entertaining as this parkrunner’s though, plus she could say which films it has appeared in – interior shots for one of the more recent batman films being but one, because Osterley House has its own batcave entrance.  Hurrah!  The upshot is, if you really want to know the history of this place, look out for this runner and stick with her.


We even ended up crossing the line together, what with us now being new best friends and everything.  Thank you lovely fellow parkrunner. Unfortunately, despite saying I’d join her for coffee I lost her, becoming distracted by chatting to other parkrunners and confused by the tearoom logistics, but more of this later.

Still plenty of support for the second lap – including a parkrun tourist who’d already finished coming back to cheer his other half home.


I lingered round the finish funnel to cheer in the fun factory at the back, child labour was still in evidence here, dishing out chocolates to finishers in this extra role.  I’m not sure what it comes under on the volunteer rota ‘other’ probably, though surely it’s only a matter of time before all parkruns include ‘sweetmeats dispenser’ as a core role on their rotas.  Always room for innovation as parkrun evolves.  It’ll soon be like having a photographer volunteer role, future parkrunners will be astonished it wasn’t a given from the outset.  Granted, it takes a special sort of parkrunner to take on such a role, so it can’t always be guaranteed, but it is there as a vacuum abhorred by nature and seeking to be filled if someone is sufficiently gifted, willing and able to step forward for the task.  I wonder what the chrome extension running challenges badge for that would be.  Extra splendid and much coveted I’m sure.


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I then trotted up the steps again, partly to retrieve my bag – left under the cover of the colonnade whilst running – and partly to try and get some atmospheric, beautifully framed finish shots.  Unfortunately, my dreams were a bit beyond my capabilities. You get the gist though… maybe it will inspire some ‘proper’ photographers to drop by and show us how it’s done!  Honestly, I’m embarrassed by how poorly my photos have come out, it is such a gorgeous location, one of my favourites so far.  Granted, it doesn’t have the wild feel of my preferred locations, but the unexpected country estate splendour of this place cannot be over stated.


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Back down the steps and to the finish line, in time to see this amazing couple finish.


They are Osterley parkrun regulars and we had a good chat, they shared their considerable running wisdom, and how running with the wheelchair at parkrun lets them share quality time together each week.  We talked about lots of things, what parkrun means to us, and I explained about my mum and Elisabeth’s corner at Bushy parkrun and how emotional I feel about what parkrun does for individuals and communities which goes way, way beyond providing an opportunity to go for a run with your mates.   However, the point I remember most clearly, and indeed cling to, is that the gent sporting the 500 milestone tee and pushing his sporting wife, shared with me that he got his last pb at the age of 72.  I’m a mere stripling at 54, a veritable youngster with almost two decades in hand before I need to worry about never again getting a pb.   This was really encouraging, I’ve barely started, and everyone knows you don’t want to peak too soon.  Much better to build slowly and steadily.  After all, did you know that the oldest female runner in the London marathon, Eileen Noble didn’t start running til her fifties , so I’m well on target for improving my performance and it’s perfectly possible I too will peak with a new and final pb aged 72.  Hurrah!  Good to know, she’s 84 now, and London this year was her 19th marathon.  I’ve done London once, so got years in hand before I knock out my next 18 between now and when I’m 84.  Once again I learn, it is indeed all about attitude!  I can do this.  My future running successes all lie ahead of me, and they may be unexpectedly epic! Tautology or not, good to know.   First though, coffee and cake.

Eileen noble

Lovely as the location was, and exciting as my parkrun progress had been, I was lured away from the chill of the outside by the prospect of coffee.  Now, this was a further conundrum, and explains how I so rudely lost sight of my running buddy.  You see, the thing about this place is that it is a two cafe venue.  Yep.  You read that right, there are not one, but two coffee places, right next to each other.  With the benefit of hindsight, I think that one does more cooked breakfasts and ‘proper’ food, whereas the other specialises in quick coffee and cake.  I went to the latter, because the queue was shorter, and I’d been reunited with the cow cowl wearing tourists from early on so we decided to sup caffeine together.  I couldn’t see my new best friend, so maybe she was in the other place, or maybe she’d been and gone by the time I’d done all my faffing.  Sorry about that though, the conversation that might have been, didn’t mean to be rude…


Inside the coffee place, was a counter of delights in which the truly disinhibited might cheerfully have face planted.  I settled for a photo.


I say I settled for a photo, but actually I had a latte and a cheese scone.

I joined my new friends for parkrun debrief.  They were experienced tourists with many a tale to tell, so it was most educational and enlightening.  Always good to meet a tourist, especially when I discovered they set up their own parkrun Tourism Journey Facebook page which is another cheery space to swap parkrun tales.   They also took the obligatory parkrun selfie of the three of us, so that’s good.  Not seen it yet, but one day maybe.

*STOP PRESS* – here it is, the selfie pic:
three muses parkrun gorgeousness

I know, pretty special aren’t we?  Individually as well as collectively gorgeous and sharing the parkrun lurve!

We swapped parkrun claims to fame – I milked being related to my mum (obvs) but I think they won for having used the same toilet cubicle at Mr S-H himself during a parkrun ambassadors conference at Warwick.  Not at the same time I hasten to add, and no documentary evidence was provided, but you wouldn’t lie about a thing like that would you?  Surely not.  But think about that for a moment, it means his buttocks have been caressed by the same plastic toilet seat that previously caressed those of parkrun royalty!  I  know.  Amazing the doors parkrun has opened to us.

We also shared enthusiasm for the National Trust.  I never dreamed in my youth there would come a day when I’d aspire to membership of the National Trust, but now I do.  It just goes to show that life doesn’t always take you in the direction you expect, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Recently I discovered a friend of mind got given life time membership of the national trust for her fortieth birthday from a very generous relative, and I actually felt a flicker of jealousy flash before me!  How times change.  One day I’ll get around to joining!

Inevitably, the time came when we had to say our goodbyes and go our separate ways.  It was hard to tear ourselves away but not as hard as it was for this runner to cross the line of the London marathon.   I don’t think it’s an absolute that you shouldn’t laugh at the misfortune of others, surely it’s OK to have a little chortle at this as it ended well and he got extra sponsorship money too.  Well, I say it ended well, but it depends where the story ends. He crossed the finish, and then someone stole his costume later.  That isn’t funny.   Time called on Big Ben costume – mind you, someone is trying to fleece Piers Morgan as a condition of returning it, so that’s a dilemma I don’t generally approve of blackmail, but moral positions aren’t always that clear cut.  Anyways,  let’s not dwell on that, let’s enjoy this again instead:


and that was that, quietly proud and slightly bewildered at another parkrun done and dusted, it was but a leisurely walk back to the carparks and a parting of our ways… ’til next time only.  There’s always a next time!


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In summary then, it was Oooh, Osterley was ostonishingly good.  Thank you lovely parkrunners, organisers, tourists, supporters and all for a lovely welcome at a gorgeous venue.  Very impressive.

Any cons at all then you ask?  Erm, not really, not that I can think of – only that if you have anthophobia, you should probably avoid Osterley parkrun at this time of year and beyond as there was a lot of wisteria in full flower, and I think if it’s well cared for – as was this –  you can get more than one flowering a year. that’s a lot of blossom lurking.  Just so you know 🙂


Wherever you are heading for your next running fix, have fun, remember all running is awesome, it’s all in the attitude and mindset, not in the actual speed.



Incidentally, parkrun uk did a profile of Osterley parkrun back in March 2018, looks like they had a slightly different finish then and also that on at least one occasion there were dinosaurs on the course.  Splendid and good to know.

For all my parkrun related posts click here.  Or don’t.  It’s up to you.  You’ll need to scroll down for older entries though.

*may not have been Ibsen – it was a very long time ago, be fair.

Categories: 5km, parkrun, running | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Oooh, Oh-stonishing Osterley parkrun

  1. Sarah Armour

    Lucy I’m sooooo glad I’ve found your blog. I love it!!! And when I get an email I can’t wait to read the next installment 🙂 ps. Since I last commented. This is not widely known…. I have entered the ballot for next year’s VLM!! And I wanted you to know that the significant deciding factor in that for me was your blog and your stories of being a happy slower runner. So thanks a million 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know what, that is the best comment EVER. Thank you so much. I’m incredibly chuffed if I have played even a small role in prompting you to take the plunge and throw your hat into the ballot for the VLM. Feel the fear and do it anyway, it’s always worth it. Well done for taking that step, that’s how the fun starts. Good luck! Plus, I’m astonished to find I have an actual regular reader, as opposed to the hypothetical one I sometimes refer to, so that can be you from hereonin! I hope you’ll keep me posted how you are getting on, and if we coincide at the same event, you can be sure to find me in the fun factory at the back of the pack, so look out for me there! Happy running adventures til next time. Lx


  2. Thanks Lucy…another riveting read for a Sunday afternoon. (Noises off : “Well any excuse to get out of the gardening” 😉 says my wife ) Two observations: 1. You are too modest about your photo-taking skills. I suspect the fact that you don’t think your pics gave justice to the magnificence of Osterley Park says more about the place than the perceived limitations of the photographer, which were more than made for, in any case, by your written depiction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha – you are definitely my favourite reader now! Gardening wise, I’m guessing therefore you didn’t wholeheartedly embrace naked gardening day yesterday? Never mind, there is always next year! Hope you aren’t too busy, as I’ve just uploaded another post! Have a great weekend. Lx


  3. Wow it looks like a fantastic venue. I think I’ve only been to one NT parkrun (Wimpole) but I would love to do more. And I would be the same with avoiding Kingston/Old Deer for the traffic- London traffic is scary!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha – glad it isn’t only me who wimps out because of scary London one-way systems. I love the idea of Wimpole, never heard of it, but I’d be tempted by the name alone… hearing it’s a NT venue too shoots it right to the top of my ‘to do’ list. Will go check out where that one is right now, thanks for the tip off. Hope your parkrunning adventures take you somewhere fabulous next Saturday. How could they not, all parkruns are fabulous, home or away! Thanks to stopping by. Lx 🙂


  4. Pingback: Finally to Fountains Abbey parkrun, pretty pleasing as a rule :) | Running Scared

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