That’s parkrun to a ‘T’! – Totally Terrific Touristing, Tearing round Temple Newsam parkrun

Digested read:  parkrun tourism took me to Temple Newsam parkrun today.  It was very nice, thank you for asking.

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Undigested read:

you have chosen this option?  Well, I take it you don’t have anything else planned for a bit then?  Read on at your own risk, personally I’d get a cup of tea first, and maybe even have a little snackette to help provide the necessary fuel for the marathon that follows.  You need to keep hydrated and fuelled to sustain yourself for the long haul, all distance runners can attest to that.

Back to the topic in hand.  Firstly, sorry, did I say ‘tearing‘ round Temple Newsam parkrun in the title sequence just above? FYI, that was just a bit of artistic licence on my part, for alliterative purposes.  ‘Trotting’ round is alliterative too I suppose, but sounded a bit prim and not strictly accurate as really I was pootling round to be honest.  Pootling, as in ‘to pootle’.  Now, whilst that might indeed have been more representative of my actual pace, I think we can all agree that to use this word would have totally ruined the alliterative sequence I was going for with my title wordking, by failing to begin with the obligatory ‘t’, so, whilst it might have been nearer the mark, ‘pootling’ just didn’t make the cut.  What are you going to do about it? Sue me?  Good luck with that…  Surely everyone knows you can’t let absolute truth get in the way of a good story, where would be the fun in that…. it is not deceit, it is just strategic artistry, on this occasion necessary, an instance perhaps of the ends justifying the means.

Right, having got that out of the way, let’s get back to the events of the parkrun in question… Where was I, oh yes, heading off to Temple Newsam parkrun, I’m embracing parkrun tourism for the summer months.  Partly simply so I can run where I can be anonymous and hence feel no pressure to run at any particular pace or style.  You’ll find all sorts of runners at parkruns everywhere.

Another motivating factor is to take advantage of the more clement weather to go further afield and take in some new parkrun destinations, and what’s more, on this occasion, to bagsy a ‘t’ for my running challenges alphabet.  (Run a parkrun beginning with each letter of the English alphabet apart from x because that’s not possible).   I’m a long, long way off from getting this, but it helps decide on where to go if I have in mind a particular objective, so where’s the harm in that.  That’s me – goal driven!  (Ahem).  Amazing what lengths people will go to for a virtual badge.  I was trying to explain the concept of the running challenges badges to someone the other day, and the best analogy I could come up with was ‘think a sticker chart, but for grown-ups’ because that is essentially what it is. One day, if I look at my parkrun profile on chrome, I’ll get to see this alongside my other volunteering and running achievements, and it will make my heart soar:

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but only if I fork out for a trip to Poland to nab a Z at some point – (Zielona Góra), so could be waiting a while yet!  Also, in case you are wondering, you don’t have to get an ‘x’ as such because there aren’t any, though you can be creative and bagsy say an Exeter Riverside parkrun should you wish to do so.  You know what, I think an actual sticker chart would be excellent too.  Star charts and sticker charts weren’t a thing in my day, so I feel I’ve missed out.  Would be fabulous.

As you know dear reader, I’m Sheffield based, and this parkrun is a good hour away from me, and honestly, not one that had particularly been on my radar until I started to seek out a drive-able T from my home.  I did a bit of half-hearted googling.   I discovered that Temple Newsam parkrun is another one that has got its own parkrun profile on the official parkrun UK website.  Splendid!  It has a severe looking house there, it would be a nightmare cleaning all those windows, but I presume if you live in a pile like that you either have staff to come and do for you, or you’d be willing to sacrifice any urchins left over from scampering up chimney breasts to scale the walls and polish your glass.  Actually, that’s a stupid thing to say, you’d do it the other way round wouldn’t you, or you’d get soot on your windows, and that would be terrible.  Windows first, and any survivors from that could do the chimneys afterwards.  I don’t think soot is good for cleaning windows, just as charcoal is rubbish for teeth whitening. Handy, if unsurprising, to know.  Here’s the pic from the parkrun profile article, quite a pile eh?:

parkrun profile Temple Newsam parkrun

The profile also refers to an undulating course.  Those will be the uphill flat stretches that are ubiquitous in these parts!  They need hold no fear for me!

The Temple Newsam parkrun website gives useful info, satnav postcode and pronounces free parking up until 10.00, which is handy, but if that means a 10 a.m. departure, wouldn’t allow me enough time for the all important post run coffee options which are also on site.  I couldn’t find out what the parking cost would be, but figureded I’d fathom that later.  It seemed to suggest one of the car parks Home Farm, stays free, but I’d set off prepared with lots of change as always.  I did once get a parking fine at a parkrun, which was particularly devastating as I’d bought a car parking ticket, but it got blown of the dashboard as I shut the door, and was hiding out in the foot well of the car.  I was able to get a refund eventually, but it was a trauma I’d rather not repeat.  I don’t begrudge paying for parking at parkrun, I take the view that this may persuade venues to carry on hosting it, but it’s indeed a boon when the fee is waived and helpful when costs are transparent.

This morning dawned.  Oooh gawd, what was I thinking when I set the alarm for stupid o-clock.  I was not in the mood for bounding out of bed and embracing the day.  However, conscientious if not keen, I unpeeled myself from my slumber, and fortified with Yorkshire tea and porridge (not served together, the tea was in a mug and the porridge in a bowl separately) I headed off.  It was a gorgeous morning.  The drive was OK, apart from, my satnav tormenting me with it’s annoying new policy of operating to just-in-time principles in relation to turn notifications.  This basically means it only suggests turning as you sail through the intersections concerned.  A consequence of this was that I missed the first turning to Temple Newsam completely and ended up overshooting it for some way, then turning into a random Lidl in a panic when the satnav suddenly shouted at me to ‘TURN LEFT’.  This would have been completely OK, except that, when I tried to exit, the Lidl lights were stuck on red and I was too chicken to just shoot them onto the fast moving carriageway ahead.  In the end, I bailed, and, with a queue of traffic just did a u-turn back into the  car park so it was someone else’s problem, and watched all those cars that had been waiting behind me just shoot the red light, with fearless confidence.  Maybe the lights there never work?  Eventually I did the same, emboldened because they all survived to tell the tale, and also reasoning I couldn’t spend the rest of my life in a Lidl carpark. Whilst Lidl has many bargains, albeit somewhat random ones, it’s not where I’d choose to end my days.  I am getting a bit paranoid now though, last week at Wakefield Thornes parkrun I couldn’t find my way out of the female toilets, and this week I found myself trapped in a Lidl car park.  I mean, I’m not really working my way up the food chain very effectively am I?  Oh well.  I’ll have to claim credit for ‘working towards‘ escapology excellence in a formative sense, and hope I do better come the summative assessment that will no doubt await me in due course.  How I will know when I’ve achieved escapology excellence I’m not sure – perhaps I’ll have to fight my way out of a wet paper bag or something.  That would probably be OK.  We shall see.

I’d allowed plenty of time to get to Temple Newsam, but it’s as well I did, as with the diversions, it took longer than expected.  Also, and this is weird.  My ears kept popping, like they do when you fly in an aeroplane (not sure what else you’d be flying in, but just to be clear).  I felt like they needed clearing, but I also know you the official advice is not to put anything smaller than your elbow into your ears for fear of damaging them.  I take the point, but I’ve always felt that the advice is a bit stupid.  Surely it would be profoundly unwise to shove anything bigger than your elbow in your ear as well?

I mean you wouldn’t try to shove an elephant down one would you?  OK, that’s a stupid example, there aren’t many accessible elephants to hand in the UK, let’s choose something more relateable, like, oh, I don’t know – pool balls!  There’s an urban myth about them isn’t there?  Anyway, case in point, just because you can get three pool balls in your mouth for example (and apparently only a trained professional can do this, which is odd, because I didn’t know that the ability to put three pool balls in your mouth was a potential career path for anybody until two seconds ago), it doesn’t follow you’d be able to get them in your ear(s) even with outside assistance.

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By the time I’d contemplated all of this, my ears had cleared – maybe I was just acclimatising to the higher altitude of my destination.

I arrived at the estate through a back entrance.  It was another remarkable arrival, in that you approach through some fairly unremarkable urban sprawl and then ‘suddenly’ you turn a corner and are in amongst extraordinary greenery.  It was a very impressive approach.  Also, a slightly perplexing one, as the way I came in wasn’t all that clearly signed, and there was a random one-way/roundabout thing slightly off set that really confused me.  Then again, it doesn’t take much.  I found the car park nearest the house, fine, but then stared in confusion at the notice board.  I couldn’t fathom what or how to pay.  There was a charge for the car park, but the machine was out of order, and I knew I might not have to pay until after 10.00. but the charge seemed to be for the day not per hour.  Ooh, the dilemma!  Fortunately, at that point a parkrun hero appeared and told me it was fine before 10.00 and yes, this was the right place to park and he waved me towards the house where I’d find the start.  Phew, crisis averted, I parked up, after just one short circuit of the car park trying to secure the perfect parking spot.  There seemed to be loads of parking, certainly at that time anyway.

The car park was actually in amongst trees and in a bit of a dip, so when I walked up and in the direction of the house I was in for a treat.  This is a really spectacular setting.  It’s not wild and glorious like say Lyme park parkrun, but it is stunning.  You feel like you are walking through the set of a period drama feature film indeed you probably are, this venue must have been used for a squillion of film locations over the years.  Whether you presume yourself to be from upstairs or downstairs within the house probably depends on you current levels of self-esteem.  Can’t fail to appreciate it either way, surely?  Not that you should appreciate and accept the crushing inequalities of an antiquated class system of course, only that it really is a very nice view indeed, that’s what I’m encouraging you to appreciate.   It helped that the sun was shining and the  vesta beyond verdant following the much needed rain of the past couple of days.  However, it has a ‘wow’ factor for sure.  There’s Temple Newsam House itself, which was extraordinary.   The museum website tells us:

Built in 1518, Temple Newsam House is a Tudor-Jacobean country mansion with grounds landscaped by Capability Brown. Following extensive restoration over 40 interiors now display one of the most important collections of fine and decorative arts in Britain which were designated as being of pre-eminent importance in 1997 – the first country house to be recognised in this way. It is a treasure house of outstanding collections including furniture, ceramics, textiles, silver and wallpaper. The collections also show how the house was used as a family home, which was once birthplace to Lord Darnley, notorious husband of Mary Queen of Scots.

Try not to confuse Capability Brown with Calamity Jane, though it’s easy to do, the syllable patterns of the two names just screaming inside your head to be transposed with one another…. Just from the outside you can see it’s not only enormous, but no expense spared.  Huge doorways, and wording all along the parapet of the mansion.  Whether or not it might be to your taste, you can’t not be impressed by it.

I’d have settled for the stable block – now a nice cafe, with a shop, and cobblestones and yep, well serviced loos.  All that a parkrunner requires laid out before you, if this was your home run, you’d want for nothing. Even an amphitheatre, that’s two weeks running I’ve seen them, albeit this one wasn’t actually on the course like the one at Wakefield Thornes parkrun last week.

and if buildings aren’t your thing, well, never has a view been more worthy of the epithet ‘vista’ been more aptly applied.  It was like a fantasy landscape.  A sculptured open space stretching out in front of you, with the eye led up hills and along tree lines.  Pretty amazing.  Quite manicured I’d say, and immaculate.  Wow indeed.  Also, fairly impossible to capture on film.  Best you check it out for yourself and treat this just as a teaser…

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First things first, precautionary pee.  All very straightforward this week, didn’t get lost or trapped or anything, and then time for an explore.  There were some hi-vis heroes who seemed already to have everything set up.  I asked again about the parking, and they explained as long as you arrive before 10.00  you don’t have to pay anything, which was a huge relief as it meant there’d be time for post run coffee.  They also told me there is a parkrun breakfast special (only they don’t call it that, it’s between 9.00 and 10.30 Sat and Sun only offer as I discovered later) of a sausage sandwich and a coffee for £3.  Now that is a breakfast bargain in anyone’s book, surely.  Yes they had a veggie option too.  Phew, I could relax now.  Mind you, I’m not surprised those pigs are now ‘rare’ they are bound to be scarce if they keep insisting on slaughtering them and popping them in baps aren’t they now?

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Exploring, I checked out the views, and watched people gather as is the parkrun way.  Although the course set up here was fairly minimalist, they do take the pre-parkrun event day course inspection very seriously here, I was in time to see a JCB despatched to go check all was in order and flatten any obstacles pre run.  Definitely actions worthy of that chrome extension badge!  I wonder who has to store that bit of parkrun equipment though?  And I thought the wheelie bin for Graves junior was a bit cumbersome at times.

The course finish funnel was set out with cones, and motivational chalking.  I did like that.  Core team definitely making an effort to finesse the details there.  Plus, good to appreciate this pre-run as no doubt mid my sprint finish later on my eyes would be so fixed on the horizon up ahead and I’d be travelling with such speed, there’d be a danger of missing it altogether. That would indeed be an unforgivable omission, inadvertent or otherwise.  I’m not entirely sure if the guy in the pic is doing dynamic stretching or going for the ministry of silly walks accreditation, but either way, that’s an impressive up swing range of movement being demonstrated there.  Well done indeed!

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There was a fine parkrun flag in evidence, and a single stake, bedecked with trainer laces of possibly runners that never made it, or possibly runners that did.  In the former case the laces would stand as a memorial in perpetuity, in the latter they may have been added over time, like climbers add those  Tibetan prayer flags at various stages on the way up Everest.   Here at Temple Newsam I suspect there is less need to step over dead bodies and discarded oxygen tanks to get to your final destination I presumed, well, I hadn’t done the run yet.  I think the stake was called Albert, or possibly Alfred, but I couldn’t really get an explanation why.  It wasn’t Archie, that was a different news story all together.  That’s OK, I think it’s good to have some mysteries in life.  I like the idea of all the stories those laces could tell, miles run, places been, adventures shared.  Nice.

Hang on, nearly forgot, in case you are interested, the official course blah de blah pn the Temple Newsam parkrun website states:

Course Description
This is a 2 lap course. Starting at the benches near farm, at the start keep on the path towards the house then a right and left turn through the orchard towards the pathway down towards motorway,then turn left and following the gravel path into Charcoal Wood before turning left to complete the first of the two laps. Toward the end of the second lap runners turn right at the bottom of the hill following the path alongside the ponds before turning left to finish which is located by the lower set of benches from the start.

and it looks like this:

it looks like a sort of mis-shapen heart.  Maybe that is a consequence of tackling those ‘undulations’  I would find out soon enough.  The elevation was 255 ft according to my Strava, so that must be true.  Felt like more to be honest, but that’s partly because of the business with the hill surprise.

I ambled about, took some pics, tried to spot any other tourists.  Admired the kit boxes and the sunshine laid on especially for the parkrun occasion.

After a bit, a call went up for the first timers’ briefing, and I joined a merry throng who gathered together for the course low down.  I don’t think there was anyone at the briefing who was absolutely brand new to parkrun, which is a shame in a way as this would be an epic one with which to kick off your parkrun journey.  Friendly welcome, main thing is that it’s a two lap course, and you do start off up a steepish hill and past the house but you don’t have to do the hill twice.  Good oh.  There’s also a corresponding downhill section after the Pegasus trail (the what?) and that is actually more hazardous potentially.

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More milling and spilling, then the official run briefing.  Again, a friendly welcome, congratulations to milestone runners, some exchange of banter between regulars.  Milestone tabards were a feature here.  I do like a milestone tabard – they have milestone capes at some parkruns I gather, and  Leamington parkrunners get to rock milestone tabards too, I seem to recall.  Whatever manifestation it takes, I think it’s a nice touch, parkrunners sporting their milestone triumphs with appropriate pride!

The run briefing included a(n), to me cryptic, alert to look out for the surprise on the way round.  A surprise!  How exciting, but if not a regular how would I know what the surprise was?  Everything is a surprise if you are new.  Even things that aren’t inherently surprising still catch me unawares – like when they say ‘go’ or ‘off’ at the start of either parkrun or a an actual race and everyone starts running.  I seem to have amnesiac tendencies there, always forgetting there is an implicit expectation that at least some of those present will head off at a run and you too might reasonably be expected to be inclined to do the same.  I’m always astonished when the call goes up and everyone lunges off at a sprint… I was hoping it might be some sort of mythical creature – I’d seen signs for Fantastical Beasts on the way in, and someone had already mentioned Pegasus. If not an actual dragon, then maybe an animatronics one, either would be pretty cool.  How exciting!

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Failing that, my money was on something along the lines of a full brass band jumping out from behind the shrubbery like a Brassed Off flash mob. I’d seen photos of the Azaleas in full bloom on the official Temple Newsam parkrun Facebook page earlier – I thought they were rhododendrons to be honest, but apparently not.  We can all agree they were spectacular though, and definitely expansive enough to conceal a brass band, tubas, trombones, music stands and all… thinking about it, that was the most likely happening, and let’s be honest, there’s surely hardly a parkrun in the land that wouldn’t be improved by the addition of a brass band flash mob. Well maybe not improved inasmuch as all parkruns are perfect anyway, but it might just be the cherry on the already lavishly ices parkrun cake.  Couldn’t wait!

Azalea shot

Whilst I was distracted by such thoughts, ‘suddenly’ the shout went up for awf, and off indeed everyone went. Straight up that hill. Some with more of a spring in their step than others.  It was impressive sight, all those colourful runners streaming off ahead, lit by the bright sunshine and framed by the mighty house.

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So you scoot round the side of the house, and then it is down hill, and there is this avenue of hedging, which you find out at the end is the Pegasus path. Well, there’s  a huge tombstone like pillar with a sign on it, which is something of a clue.  It would have been better if Pegasus himself was there wearing a high-vis and giving high-fives, but he was away today, busy elsewhere I suppose.  I imagine spring would be the busy season for mythical winged divine stallions, shame, but you can’t guarantee these things will always be there at a particular parkrun.  All run by volunteers remember.  There’s a main route through the centre, but also some narrow side paths which some canny runners whizzed through, it’s not a short cut as such, but could operate as an overtaking lane perhaps.

Some of the shots were taken on the second lap – not too many people left running alongside me by that point, I’d like to think it was because I’d shot ahead, leaving them for dust, but we all know that isn’t strictly true. Who cares anyway?  parkrun is after all, a run not a race!  Impressive hedging don’t you think?

There is then a steeper descent, nothing too challenging, but it is a surprise after the steep uphill so I guess it would be easy to shoot off too fast and then it’s hard to control your pace and I wouldn’t fancy that in the ice.  Tree’s provided picturesque shade.  Basically, parkrun loveliness as far as the eye could see.  I wonder if Calamity Jane Capability Brown had a premonition about parkrun when he created his spaces?  The landscape certainly invites you to move through it and explore.

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It looked like someone had taken a tumble here, as there was a cluster of parkrunners surrounding a stricken fellow runner, offering reassurance and support.  I asked if help was needed, but it really wasn’t so I jogged on.

Towards the bottom of the hill you reach a junction and the potential for bikes as it looked like cycle paths crossed.  No worries, a cheery marshal was on hand to support, directionally point, motivate and no doubt act as bike/ runner mediator too should the need arise.  No surprises there.

So, you hook left, and through a gate, and then gentle roll on a compact path, along a fence line and again, I liked this bit.  You could see the runners in a line ahead, also reminiscent of prayer flags, all colourful and fluttering by.  Each on their own personal parkrun voyage of joy, discovery or exorcising demons.  That’s one of the things I love about parkrun it is very individual for each runner, but the act of taking part collectively, being in the same space feels to me to be both quite nurturing and powerful.  #loveparkrun See them go!  Cattle to the right, landscaping to the left.  Trees and greenery everywhere, nice.

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On this section, the parkrunner who’d done the briefings, and had also paused to help the fallen runner earlier on (that makes it sounds terminal!  I’m sure it wasn’t quite that bad, though it may be she returned to the start rather than ran on!) passed me.  Shouting encouragement as she did so.  This parkrun certainly had a nice friendly feel to it, quite a coup to have it as your home run methinks.

At the end of this long straightish, basically flat section, there was another friendly hi-viz hero to keep you on track, and prevent you going straight on and running to infinity and beyond, nice in theory, but not really sustainable in practise.

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Bit further on, and there’s another marshal, by a lake, and by some directional signage – presumably put there to prevent him from having to point in two different directions at once, which would add to rather than diminish confusion amongst runners.  This was welcome, but, no offence, not particularly surprising.

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Onwards, from here, on the first lap you do head on up a hill.  It is a gentle slope, barely discernable on the pictures, but it does rather build, more than you might expect.  You have been warned.  Looking back towards the marshal I’d just passed, you could see the faster runners who’d near enough lapped me, taking the lap 2 option towards the finish.

As you lumber up the hill, or sprint enthusiastically if you have been conscientious about doing your hill reps in training, you pass the finish.  I paused for long enough to see some of the runners coming in and capture the finish funnel team working their magic.

and then onward and upward.  Hang on a minute.  Upwards?  Weren’t we told very explicitly that you only did the hill once?  Oh gawd.  Maybe this was the surprise.  I’m definitely being required to do this steep bit for the second time this morning if I want to legitimately complete the parkrun, and to be fair, the briefer never said it was a pleasant surprise that we should be looking out for.  Oh well, bring it on.

Up the hill and past the house and through the Pegasus highway, and down through the tree lined path and past the marshal guarding the bike tunnels and keeping the underpass trolls at bay too no doubt.  All underpasses have trolls do they not?  Fact.  Thinking about it, maybe those things I took to be tree supports are actually markers for individual burials for those not agile enough to avoid the trolls on earlier runs?  Through the invitingly open gate and along the paths again.  It was quite meditative running, I was on my own for much of it, but you couldn’t get lost, and I liked being able to soak it all in, without comparing myself to other runners.  It was most fine.

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And then, like buses, it seems surprises don’t come when you are looking for them, but then three all turn up together unexpectedly, taking you completely unawares.  Who knew?

Surprise one:

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The lakeside marshal had acquired a dog!  This has happened to me before at a parkrun, when a marshal transforms their appearance between laps, conjuring delight and confusion in equal measure amongst those participants who chose to indulge in ‘spot the difference’. Happened at Conkers parkrun too – there a quick change expert marshal switches signs mid-run.  Very impressive.

Surprise two:

Oh right.  Of course, they meant that you don’t run up the entire hill twice, you skip the first two thirds of it second time round by turning off to the right on the second lap.  Still feel my confusion was understandable, but it was nice that my parkrun world was beginning to make sense again.

Surprise three:

It wasn’t his dog, he’d acquired it from a runner, I expect they were very surprised that that happened.  I concede this is a bit of a stretch surprise-wise, as it’s rather individualised, but you will understand the ‘three buses all at once’ analogy is ruined if I couldn’t complete the trio.  Bear with dear reader, bear with.

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I scampered off in the direction of the more manicured gardens, but not before I’d given a backward look and wave to runner behind me. He was very fast using poles, not so much nordic walking as nordic running – if that’s a thing.  I keep thinking I should try that properly I mean.  I did once, and it definitely redistributes your weight, but I didn’t find it intuitive, need to practice.  This gent was a great advert for them, fairly sprinting along.  I was going to try to catch him afterwards to ask him about them but the moment passed.  I just caught sight of him striding off into the distance once he’d finished, and didn’t have the necessary turn of speed to pursue him.  Also, that would have been a bit stalkerish methinks, so best not!

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Nearly done now. Couple of delays en route, first off, there was a moment of panic when I thought I was going to be swept up in what seemed to be some sort of Boot Camp as they were doing a high intensity exercise that had them darting across the parkrun route. This picture makes it all look like they are relaxing and chilled, they are not.  They are collapsed with exhaustion path side.  Impressive.

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Onwards, and the next distraction was the rhododendrons, which it turns out, are really difficult to photograph, especially if you are doing this when you are trying not to get too far off piste of your current parkrun.  The planting was really impressive, and the blooms in full expansive glory.  Honestly, I’ve always been a bit sniffy about rhododendrons as over-rated and a potential invasive pest species, but here, in the landscaped context and presumably expertly pruned to perfection they were really spectacular.  No wonder so many people were by now out and about clutching cameras and stalking the shrubbery in search of the perfect flower shot.

‘Suddenly’ you emerge from the woodland garden wonderland and the finish funnel is in sight. Yay.  Ubiquitous and friendly marshals cheered me in, and I was spat out the funnel and scanned in record time.  I retrieved my fleece (honestly, superfluous to requirements) that I’d left on the bench alongside the funnel, and went in search of photo ops of some who finished behind me, and the volunteer teams.

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I could see the surprise marshal making his way back, laden with signs, and, in due course, the dog was reunited with its original human companion.  Much tail wagging and yelping ensued, and that was just from the parkrunner.

The only outstanding tasks were then to try for an artistic location shot, so I started wrestling with the selfie board to achieve this:

Featured image Temple Newsam parkrun

The idea I like to think was sound, even if the execution teeters towards the disappointing end of the continuum.  The problem is with my arms, they just aren’t long enough to create quite the desired effect.

No worries, in other news, the surprise marshal came to my aid and captured the obligatory ‘parkrunner tourist in sign’ shot.  Hooray!  Also, thank you.

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It’s good being able to hide behind signage in photographs.  Really, I should aim to be more body confident, but honestly, I think it’s really important to learn to dress appropriately to make the most of your natural body shape.  I was therefore really delighted to find this advice on my Facebook news feed the other day.  That’s ‘what to wear’ sorted in perpetuity!

what to wear bikini

There’s more than enough body-shaming in the world without colluding with it right?  I’m still fuming at the tales from the back of the pack runners at London last month.

You did hear about that right?  (More accurately ‘wrong’).

Shame on London Marathon for the fiasco with the slower runners – still supposedly within the official cut off times – for their appalling treatment of them this year.  Hopefully, the pendulum will swing the other way for next year.  Even with the publicity, they seemed unable to hold their hands up, claiming only ‘a small number of runners were affected’ not the point surely.  I just wonder if they have such a slick pr machine they can get away with anything.  I did London last year and there was no water for more than half the course, and they seemed to be able to gloss over that too.  It was still an extraordinary experience, but a tarnished one, it just didn’t seem fair that those of us who were out the longest, and needed the water most not only didn’t get it, but were told we must have imagined all the empty and deserted water stations en route and having to nip off to the shops mid run to buy water in desperation!  It makes it even more amazing, inspirational and important that parkrun manages mostly to be inclusive, welcoming and encouraging to all.  If you want to feel even more parkrun love, check out the recent Jessica’s parkrun heroes videos on youtube video .  If they don’t make you feel you may have just got something in your eye then you must have a heart of stone!

Hope you took advantage of that link for a nice cathartic cry there, great for clearing the sinuses too, if you are suffering from either an early summer cold or the misery of hay fever.  Proof once again – if proof were needed – that parkrun is beneficial to the health. Hurrah!

Still, let’s keep things positive, we not only have parkrun to feel the running love whatever pace you take it, there are marathons out there that can get it right.  Here is one such story of the  back of the pack runners at Pittsburgh Marathon last week.

Pittsburgh marathon

They got there own super-charged cheer leaders too:

The pair even got their own raucous spectators. Pittsburgh’s Steel City Road Runners Club (SCRRC) hosts a cheer station near the 25 mile marker every year, Daniel Heckert, an SCRRC coach, told Runner’s World. While the group peaked around 30 people earlier that morning when runners were coming thick and fast, Heckert … and a half dozen SCRRC members were still there when the Mazur and Robertson ran by. “The six of us got as loud and as crazy as we could, because we wanted them to feel just as loved as the people who finished in four hours,” Heckert said. “That’s the whole point of what that cheer station is. It doesn’t matter if you’re first or last—the ones in the back of the pack are just as important as the person winning the marathon.”

You can get super-charged cheer leaders and often the same support at a parkrun near you, without having to complete a whole marathon, but kudos to you if you do.

So it was, Temple Newsam parkrun ended,  I said my slightly self-conscious thanks, confirmed with one of the marshals, that most definitely, the sun always shines at this parkrun, and then went to check out the cafe.  Dear reader, there was indeed a bargain breakfast for £3 veggie option.  Coffee wasn’t the best, but at that price, who’s complaining.  parkrun done and dusted, hi-vis back in the bag for next week and coffee and baps respectively quaffed and consumed, it was time to go.

Thank you lovely parkrunners of Temple Newsam, that’s a very fine venue and team you have there.  I got a lovely welcome and what a fantastic course.   I had no idea this place existed until a couple of days ago.  It is for me an unexpected bonus of parkrun tourism that you get to discover the most amazing places.  Hopefully I’ll be back some time soon, not sure when quite, it can be a surprise!  We all like them.  🙂

surprise

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, and forward for new ones in time too, once there are some just so you know.  That’s amazing when you think about it, you’ll be able to travel in time.  Cool.  You won’t be able to alter the past as is always the way, but you can splash about in parkruns past with abandon.  You’re most welcome.

Categories: 5km, parkrun, running | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “That’s parkrun to a ‘T’! – Totally Terrific Touristing, Tearing round Temple Newsam parkrun

  1. Whenever my motivation is waining, reading your latest adventures always inspire me! If ever you want any company (or a taxi service, my car doesn’t get out enough! ) on your ‘tours’, I’m always available.

    p.s and you’d definitely have time too check out the coffee facilities while I make friends with the ‘tail walker’ 😉 Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, thank you – that’s really cheered me up! I didn’t know you were up for some parkrun tourism, that’s good to know. My life is a bit unpredictable at the moment, but I’d love to have a buddy now and again. I love your profile pic by the way, fab photo and fab strap line too. Thanks for the positivity, always. Hopefully see you at parkrun soon – junior or 5k, all good! Lx 🙂 Oh, and don’t worry, we shall be having our coffee together post parkrun and swapping parkrunning tales as we do so!

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