Digested read: parkrun tourism took me to Congleton parkrun.
This could be another long one, so maybe have a precautionary pee first, before you settle down with a mug of tea or gin or whatever. Not that I’m advocating having a mug of neat gin, that would be very ill-advisable, you should at least be supplementing that with some nibbles or consider adding in a mixer. Though, for the record, I’m not medically qualified (astonishing revelation I know) so use your own judgement, but for what it’s worth, I’d go for a mug of Yorkshire tea myself, with unsweetened soya milk, no other beverage will quite hit the spot. Each to there own though, I’ll never know. Even if you don’t want to read any further, there’s always time for a sit down and a nice cup of tea. Mrs Doyle was right on that score for sure.
and if you are procrastinating anyway, well, reading a blog might make a change from the usual four horseman of procrastination don’t you think? It’s not social media per se, it’s parkrun research, that’s practically keep fit, which comes under the category of self-improvement.
Where was I, oh yes, Congleton. It’s still just about parkrun tourist season, the mornings are not yet too dark nor the weather too inclement to want to venture out in the car on an early Saturday morning. I was still in search of a final sea/c to complete my pirates running challenge. Shallow but true, and a vague browse of the various parkrun location resources revealed Congleton as being in striking distance of Sheffield, about 45 miles away or so. Hmm, didn’t know anything about Congleton. More research revealed it to be in Cheshire. Oh Ok then.
Congleton is a pretty course consisting of 3 anticlockwise laps around the mere plus 100m to finish. It is flat, on hardcore and tarmac and should be suitable for fast times. There is a small section on an access road in front of the Watersports centre but there is a pedestrian route painted on the road. A marshal will be available here.
and it looks like this:
which is obviously a cross section of an eel. No doubt the course will also be electrifying, though whether it will reach the wattage of the newly discovered electric eel recently found in the Amazon. As I’m sure you know, and will readily recall at the first possible pub quiz opportunity, the Electrophorus voltai can deliver a jolt of 860 volts, much more than the existing record of 650 volts. I dare say that the Congleton course will similarly light up its parkrunners with the joy of parkrun. Still, no harm in going to check that out for myself.
On the subject of pub quizzes, yes we were, did you know the electric eel is actually a type of fish and not a type of eel? I know, remarkable, who knew? I’m allergic to fish actually, which is a shame on account of my being a Pisces, but I’m not allergic to parkrun so I expect it will be fine. Anyway, in truth, it’s more likely to be a cross section of a conger eel at Congleton, that would make more sense. Can’t wait to join everyone doing the
conger conga on Saturday, bet it’s Congleton’s unique selling point, missed opportunity otherwise…. On reflection, I was somewhat surprised they don’t make more of this point on their website, or on the about us section of their Congleton parkrun Facebook page. Still, nowt as queer as folk, I’d best go check it out for myself. Bit of parkrun themed ethnographic research to kickstart the weekend is always a good call. Hurrah, decision made.
So my alarm went off at stupid o-clock on Saturday morning, it was still dark and I did wonder if it really was such a good idea to be venturing out early on a Saturday morning. Oh well, I was up now, and it was my plan, and I’ve always been conscientious if not keen, and I’d said I’d go, even if only to myself, so go I would.
By the time I stepped out of the house the day was dawning in gorgeous gloriousness! I love this time of year and this time of day. Mornings are awesome, pink sky, promise of autumnal sunshine, this was going to be epic. Off I went, and the drive was fantastic. Heading off towards Bakewell, there was quite a thick mist which gave a surreal other worldly look to the drive. Then as I ascended over moors in the general direction of Buxton the views were just stunning. Bright sunshine illuminating huge expanses of moor and hills. Although the purple heather has died back to brown now, it looked like copper under the early morning sunlight, it was the sort of view that lifts your heart and makes you happy to have ventured out. It was like going on an impromptu holiday. I didn’t get any decent shots because the roads were windy and there were a lot of warning signs that you could die because of a collision at any moment – well words along those lines, I’m not entirely surprised, although there was no traffic, the views were distracting and if you lost concentration you could ricochet off a bend with most unpleasant consequences. Unless you were will be Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, she’d be fine, what with her wing and boat conversion options – but I’m going to stick my neck out and take a punt that you probably won’t be, so drive with care. I did stop and take a couple of snaps, but they make me feel inadequate as they don’t really capture the scene at all, however, I showed willing, and I took the blooming pictures so here they are, don’t judge, just go check it out for yourself sometime, think of this as but a teaser, like a peep through the key hole to whet your appetite for the feast for your eyes that awaits you if you make the trip in your own right.
Not a route to be doing in winter though, you are high up, and those roads are twisty and steep at times.
I’d got confused (doesn’t take much) about where to park on arrival. There was mention of both the Nobanno Lakeside Indian Restaurant for parking and that car parking would be available at the Visitor Centre on Sandy Lane. In the end, I saw signs to the visitor centre first, and went there. Because I am always ridiculously early (about 8.30) there was lots of parking at that time, and you are incredibly near the start, so it was fine. However, it did fill up, so I guess it depends when you’ll get there. I’d arrived. Hurrah! Always a relief. What’s more, there was a ‘caution runners’ sign already in situ, so I knew I was in the right place AND toilets which were even open! Phew, on all counts. It was just 50p for 4 hours parking, which is an absolute bargain and enough time for even me to complete my parkrun. There was also a coffee place, and a map of the mere and, allsorts really. Quite a hub, with far superior facilities than I’d expected from the website, which is grand if you are touristing.
Paid up and peed out I went for an explore.
The parkrun location is a bit of a surprise, because after all the moorland I’d been prepared for a more exposed and wild site. In fact it is indeed a very pretty location. But, what they didn’t mention is….
can’t believe they didn’t…
the usp of this parkrun – well surely unique I’ve not seen the like before, even though Sherwood Pines parkrun has a Gruffalo, that’s not the same at all, and anyway it’s only in the general vicinity, it isn’t supervising the whole parkrun operation from above –
is that the Congleton parkrun is overseen by its very own bear!
YES! A bear! How fantastic is that. Taking an overview of proceedings thus!
They must be so habituated to their bear that they no longer even notice it. I mean, quite frankly I’m beside myself with excitement if I just get a robin in my garden, and when I got little froglets emerging anyone that made eye contact with me in the street was dragged round to my back garden to appreciate them. If I had an actual bear, well, I think I’d implode. Still, Congleton parkrunners are apparently pretty laid back about the whole thing. I wasn’t though, I think this is a major asset to the parkrun. The bear is Sandy Bear apparently, making this parkrun a mandatory destination for any parkrunners called Sandy (or Sandi, just saying, you know who you are). Also, the bear is the symbol of Congleton, and this one keeps watch over the mere at Astbury from his elevated perch, like a lifeguard. That’s what is says on the interweb so it must be true. I’m not sure you should rely on Sandy to rescue you if you fell in though, looked to me like the bear was more supervisory than hands on. Super cool though. An actual bear!
I could bearly believe it.
So, once I’d got over that excitement, I checked out the view. Which was lovely. Water sparkling under the morning light, and Congleton parkrun marshals congregating to get the event under way.
There was a sign for the first timers’ new runners briefing, and an enthusiastic and early to post marshal on hand, proactively asking people if they were new as they came within ear shot. I was new! I therefore responded to the affirmative, and got a personalised welcome, and course description. Three times round basically. A polite enquiry about whether or not I’d survived the crossing from Sheffield without getting a nose bleed – a valid point, it was pretty high up there, very close to Flash which I believe has recently been revalidated as the highest village in the UK – although this claim is not without controversy. He was extremely welcoming, and up for a one to one intro, even though there’d be plenty of other first timers’ coming in my wake I was sure. I also learned there was an injured badger nearby, but the RSPCA were on their way to rescue it, so I hope that ended ok, poor thing, as if badgers haven’t got enough to cope with what with being pointlessly and painfully culled all over as well. I got a picture of me and the nice first timer briefing marshal. Here it is, and here is him on his own, holding the sign with panache and welcoming smile. It is the hi-vis way.
I left him drumming up further takers, as other runners were starting to emerge from the various hedgerows and surrounding paths. The core team were loitering with intent by the freshly erected finish funnel, and Sandy Bear was surveying the scene with quiet authority as is no doubt the Sandy Bear way.
I meanwhile went back the short distance to the car park to dump stuff. By this time the car park was pretty busy. They had some car park marshals on hand to direct traffic into extra little corners of the car park to squeeze in – safely – as many vehicles as possible. I would like to take this opportunity to give a special shout out to the hi-vis hero who was literally, not just figuratively, sprinting about waving cars into position. It was very impressive, and totally worthy of a special volunteering running challenges badge for being a car park marshal. I declare a vested interest in this, as the following day, I too got this iconic purple badge for being car park marshal at Graves junior parkrun – I’ve done the role a few times before, but not been uniquely credited for it previously. I’m not sure if this is a new badge, or just we’ve changed how we name the various marshals on the volunteer rota. Whatever, it’s a beauty, and I have to concede this car park marshal in particular was grafting in the role.
Car Park Marshal – Keep everyone safe and organised in the car park
Here he is, and there’s a pic of his companion hi-vis hero, who no doubt was equally proactive, but in this shot is demonstrating in between doing essential directional pointing as opposed to actually sprinting around. Directional pointing is very important too, one of those roles that is perhaps undervalued until it is done incorrectly! Thank you both!
For the record, I didn’t run around when I was car park marshal, but I did give out a great many high-fives. Every car park marshal role has its own unique vibe and context specific responsibilities.
So after observing the car park synchronised vehicle dancing, it was back to the start, through the little gateway and passing under Sandy Bear. You don’t have to wave every time you pass Sandy, but I personally think it’s only polite to do so.
I followed the migrating runners to the start funnel area. There were more runners than I expected, and the start is a bit narrow. People squashed into the funnel with good natured banter and outstanding spatial awareness.
Some waited til the last minute, warming up for their parkhop challenge. Remember people, you have to respect everyone’s right to participate in their own way. parkrun code and all that.
The start funnel got increasingly intimate, and I wasn’t sure quite where to put myself. I didn’t want to be too far forwards and be an obstruction to other runners, so in the end I slotted in almost at the very back, and outside the formal start funnel structure. A few late comers were sprinting up, and excited anticipation continued to bill as the RD and team came down for the briefing. New Runners marshal was waving his sign to try to attract the attention of anyone who might have missed him. I approve of this actually. It is daunting turning up at new venues and if you are a completely new runner to parkrun, nothing is obvious and everything can seem intimidating. This proactive welcoming and identifying of newbies was great. I mean, you weren’t actually stalked. If you wanted to blend in unobtrusively you could without being hunted down and outed, leading to you being surrounded by an enthusiastic but alarming crowd of parkrunners encircling you shouting crazed good wishes in a cult like altered state – but no-one could have rocked up and taken part without knowing there was someone on hand who would willingly welcome then and answer any questions and calm any nerves.
The RD briefing was completely impossible to hear. Everyone around me was chatting loudly, and completely ignoring it, which made me inwardly squirm but not do anything. I’m always staggered by how rude some parkrunners can be at this point. Talking through the run briefing isn’t by any means unique to Congleton, but it was so frustrating. I hadn’t heard any of it before even if they had, and I also think just a base line of respect to the poor RD who’s given up their morning to facilitate the run, keeping quiet for 5 mins isn’t really a lot to ask is it. Anyway, I joined in the clapping at what seemed like appropriate points, and tried to remember to feel the parkrun love for my fellow parkrunners even if they were apparently incapable of of the briefest of silences. It wasn’t even a very long briefing, extraordinarily brief, and the call to start was bang on 9.00 a.m. too. Thank you RD, I think you and your team were awesome, I’m sure everyone did, even if they weren’t proactively demonstrating it in any very obvious way.
So, the cry went off, probably, didn’t hear it, and immediately nothing happened. It was a sedate start. This bothers me not one iota, because I’m not interested in times at all at the moment, just going round and taking it all in. However, if you are a faster runner or going for a pb you’d need to position yourself further forward in the line up. It has the potential to be a fast course as it’s flat and once the runners spread out the paths are wide enough for overtaking, but it took me a good 15 seconds to get across the start. However, good news, they may be a noisy lot in the funnel line up, but they are good natured, and there was no shoving, it was all very sedate shuffling forward and honestly, it would have been an excellent opportunity for a nice big collective parkrun conga! We were all squashed together and shuffling forwards anyway, a few high kicks and hip thrust would have added greatly to the occasion. They should at least do that on their Christmas Day parkrun, if they have one, or maybe their birthday one, they must have a parkrun birthday, every parkrun does! Or International parkrun day, that’s coming soon, what better excuse for a Congleton Conga, as if one were even needed! As if an excuse were needed I mean, not a Conga, Congleton parkrun unquestionably needs that!
They could get even more ambitious with a bit of practice, and get an entry in for either the longest distance Conga dance like this Ipswich group, or the most people participating in a Conga line on ice like the good students of Oswego don’t know how often the mere freezes over, so that would be a challenge, but who doesn’t like a challenge eh? The actual longest Conga, in terms of numbers of participants was the Miami Super Conga consisting of 119,986 people gathered in Miami, Florida, USA on 13 March 1988, but I don’t think that would be practical. They’d run out of tokens and it would be a nightmare adding those other results manually afterwards don’t you think? I mean I know hi-vis marshals are absolute heroes, but I agree there need to be some boundaries. Even so, that’s my constructive criticism for Congleton parkrun for what it’s worth – implement Congleton Conga parkrun protocol at the commencement of the parkrun, that would really put the fun in start funnel would it not! (See what I’ve done there? Genius.) Also, I’m sure it would make Sandy Bear incredibly happy, you could probably even do a ouroboros round the mere, quite something I’m sure you’d agree. The mere was made for it!
I suppose the hokey cokey would also be fun, but less practical for achieving forward momentum. So many options to explore, so few Saturday mornings with which to experiment…
So off we went eventually, in a good natured train of unfortunately non-congaring parkrunners. There’s not much to say about the course, it is indeed three laps, as long as you can count to three, you should be fine. There seemed to be a fair few slower back of the pack parkrunners which I personally find reassuring. It had a relaxed feel, although there were plenty of speedier runners sprinting off ahead, already little dots in the distance as the cohort of parkrunners I was in started to thin out.
So you keep the mere to your left, and away you go. Although the water is ever present, it’s often obscured by trees or hedging, but the occasional glimpses across the water were lovely. There were a few ducks, swans and even… I think seagulls.
Fishermen aplenty (they did all seem to be men) but then again, it is a fishing lake so I suppose that’s to be expected. And a multitude of benches, never seen so many. Plenty of opportunities for a quick sit down if the mood seized you.
The first lap was about just getting into a rhythm really, and finding a pace, though of course I was stop starting to take photos whilst pretending to myself it was a legitimate jeffing parkrun tactic.
After a short stretch, you emerge at the restaurant which was where it was suggested you might park. There was some parking here, although some of it was fenced off too. But basically, those directions work as well. There is the potential for traffic here, but worry not! In the absence of Sandy Bear, a friendly marshal is on hand to direct and supervise. I know this, because I stopped to take a picture of him – I try to take a photo of every marshal I see en route at parkruns these days, because they are often overlooked when people are photographing events – but I misjudged this, as somehow another runner ran right into me. Oops. I’d thought I’d moved way off the path, but apparently not. Embarrassing, ‘don’t worry’ said the marshal encouragingly. Just one of those things. I clearly need to work on my spatial awareness, as well as my personality, shortcomings in my social skills; risking being seen or out in public and running skills. I’ll add it to the list.
Onwards, and round and round, glancing sideways at the views, and enjoying seeing Sandy Bear from directly opposite the water.
I’d describe the experience of this run as pretty contemplative, it wasn’t particularly chatty, not that I can talk and run anyway. And being three laps it takes on a meditative quality. I didn’t particularly interact with other runners, although I did catch snippets of conversation between others as they passed. I think we should all give a particular shout out to Caroline who apparently bought ice creams for everyone. Generous, and much appreciated.
Astonishingly, I got lapped on the first lap. They are super speedy these front runners. Mind you, three lappers are growing on me. I like that you get to see the faster runners pass, and it also means you have more company on the way round, instead of running round in glorious isolation once everyone else has pulled away.
You come back round to the mustering point, which is now in readiness for the finish. What a fine sight and vision of loveliness this team were! It’s always amazing to see how many people it takes to put on a parkrun. It’s an act of faith everyone coming together week in week out to keep the parkrun show on the road. Thank you parkrun marshals everywhere.
And round all over again, this time for lap two. Hope you are counting.
This would probably be a good training route if you were aiming for consistent splits or the giddy heights of a progression run – a feat of which I can only dream, unless I started a a crawl. It is a very flat and consistent surface. I didn’t find it dull in fact, though I’d thought the novelty might wear off a bit. How Bob Becker won his ‘race for the ages’ ultra marathon did 230 one mile laps I cannot imagine. Oh you don’t know about this? Well, dear reader, FYI:
The race consists of a 1-mile loop in Manchester, Tennessee, and runners only have a certain amount of time to run it—and how long depends on their age.
For example, Becker, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is 74. Therefore, by race rules, he will get 74 hours to run as many loops as he can, whereas someone who is 67 will have to start seven hours after Becker. This gives the old timers a chance to win outside of their age group for a change.
Even so, that’s a lot of laps, way more than three. I can only assume he entered some sort of altered state to do so. Mind you, great advert for jeffing, it’s all a question of scale, maybe if I can jeff a parkrun I could do 231 laps jeffed nicely, as long as I live long enough to be eligible for loads of extra time to do it in, not sure I want to live that long though, I’ve not made adequate provision for my old age as it is, even so, as a hypothetical aspirational running goal fantasy, I could do worse. Also, I’d need someone else to be keeping count, even counting to three takes a fair bit of concentration. Respect to BB though, fab achievement.
So I kept on running(ish), and by the time I made it round to the finish funnel at the end of lap two, there were some speedier runners romping home. I paused to try and capture the scene. Runners who’d already finished were milling and chilling, and Sandy Bear was watching on from above, it was a lovely colourful and cheery scene. #loveparkrun
And round again for the final lap, which, dear reader you will already know if you’ve been concentrating, was lap three. Always is here at Congleton, for parkrun purposes anyway. I think it was on lap three that I did have a bit of parkrun friendship with another runner, who was being really consistent and steady, and we were sort of the same time with my stop starts keeping pace with her romping on. Cue some companionable leapfrogging until my pauses for photo ops made keeping up anymore impossible. Thank you new parkrun best friend! Happy parkrunning.
For the final lap, I decided to check out the multitude of benches a bit more. I’ve never previously been to a parkrun with quite so many. It was fun reading the dedications. There was one for ‘Rush’ which seemed apt, for runners, but the next bench along encouraged you to ‘sit a while, rest and enjoy the view’ and another to ‘don’t worry, be happy’. All approaches are viable options at parkrun – everyone’s right to participate in their own way, very appropriate. Every bench a store of memories, as well as a statement of commemoration and an opportunity to dispense wisdom. I wish I’d stopped to photograph them all now. Each their own unique character, set aloft on a viewing mound or moss covered, a great way to keep a memory alive. Also, very practical, not only for runners in need of a sit down, but for all the mere side users too.
It was my last chance to capture car park marshal man, who posed beautifully for me with directional pointing and gazing into the distance that would be worthy of a catalogue man pose. Wasted at parkrun – no scrap that, everyone should be at parkrun, it’s never a waste to give up your time to be there, what I’m really getting at is that there’s a whole new parallel world of opportunity available to him – he could start with workwear given his existing expertise in high vis and take it from there.
By the way, no alcohol at this parkrun, not round the lake anyway, and not in wine glasses either – presume swigging straight from the bottle is ok? Anyway, it means you have to take your milestone celebrations back to the coffee hut area later I suppose, not such a hardship as all that!
So round again, taking in the view, taking some pics. Yes, I liked this parkrun, it wasn’t perhaps the most ostentatiously sociable one I’ve been to, but it had a friendly and comfortable vibe, and it was indeed picturesque and great for facilities too.
Round three, done and dusted. Into the finish funnel and the virtual embrace of the welcome back.
It was very efficient, time keepers clicked me in and barcode scanners were on hand using the phone apps, which I think are increasingly becoming standard. They certainly seem to be efficient, but I find they make the scanners harder to spot, the bizarre advantage of a bar scanner on a lanyard, is you spot the lanyard wearing marshal near the funnel and it’s usually the scanner. Still, using my skill and judgement backed up with the directional guidance given to me by one of the finish funnel volunteers, I found the barcode scanner who cheerily obliged and posed for a photo too, always a win!
And, excitingly, I finished in position 222, this is not only pleasing in the number sequence, but today was my 222nd parkrun. No really, it was! What are the chances eh? I’m not going to lie, I’d have preferred to get my last outstanding stopwatch bingo number, but as that apparently is never going to happen, ever, I’ll settle for the satisfying text from parkrun that read as follows:
Congratulations on completing your 222nd parkrun and your 1st at Congleton parkrun today. You finished in 222nd place
Little pleasures eh? 🙂
What were the chance eh? Very pleasing. My birthday is 22/2 too, this pleases me, even though objectively I know it all to be very random, still, where’s the harm. We have to snatch what joy in the world we can, we live in dark times.
The weather was lovely, so I lingered a little longer to watch some other finishers and try to get the perfect shot, which it turns out is a lot harder than you think. Here are some of the finishers behind me:
and here are some of my attempts to get the perfect shot to capture the spirit of Congleton parkrun. Remember, I didn’t say I succeeded, only that I’d tried… Check out the juniors token sorting though, great bit of team work there. Also like the looking out across the horizon to seek out the last few runners pic. Everybody matters, it’s still 5k irrespective of what position you cross the finish line in.
So finally, off in search of coffee. Once again, I can report this parkrun somewhat undersells itself. The official blah de blah says ‘Every week we grab a post parkrun coffee at the mobile coffee van – please come and join us!’ and I’m sure I heard someone refer to a ‘hut’, like it was some kind of ramshackle wooden structure held together with optimism and string, I was imagining a sort of Victorian bathing hut, like these:
it was almost disappointing to find that in fact, there is a purpose built, rather chic and sleek coffee bar. Spotlessly clean and doing decent coffee and snackery, including ice creams enabling Caroline’s earlier referenced benevolence. You couldn’t get a cooked breakfast, but there were toasties. If the posters are anything to go by, they are very hot on identifying potential allergens, though the crustacea on their posters look way too cute to eat anyway.
I had a coffee from them, and a banana I’d brought with me. People sat in the autumn sunshine catching up, it had a nice social feel to it, and I think if this was your local parkrun you’d soon make friends if you wanted to. The glass panels did make it look as if the people eating outside were actually entombed in if not a glass dome as such, then at the very least a terrarium. They looked happy enough though, but then I suppose parkrun is really it’s own self contained ecosystem when operating at its finely tuned best, as is clearly the case here at Congleton parkrun.
And that was that, time to go home, I departed just as the Dogfather (see what he’s done there) was gathering some hounds around him for some sort of instructional dog related activity. It was all happening here.
Mission accomplished, because also, rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, I am now a pirate! Hurrah! Pirates! – Run seven Cs and an R (say it out loud). I have this virtual running badge, courtesy of the running challenges chrome extension, that I can now admire, like Gollam, poring over my own private treasure, though unlike poor Gollam and his precious, no-one else can wrestle this virtual trophy away from me. No wonder he was such a tortured soul, I can’t imagine how I’d feel if some blooming hobbit tricked me into losing this. Poor Gollam, he didn’t deserve that really now did he. The picture is of me, staring at my laptop, admiring my new icon on my runners profile. That’s how obsessions start apparently, we shall see…
To be fair, it’s a bit weird, because I am pleased to have this badge, really I am, but it is also a bit anti-climactic. Perhaps I should have dressed up as a pirate or something to make it more of a thing, or maybe it turns out it was the journey to get this that was more the point than the thing itself.
So parkrun remains fun, although whether it is as much fun as a rat has playing hide and seek I just don’t know. I am pretty confident it is though, and you just can’t hear the parkrunners squeaks of joy because those sonic giggles are also at too high a frequency. Yep, that’ll be it. No other explanation would suffice.
Oh, and another thing, if you are feeling down, and you don’t have a rodent around as an emotional support animal with which you can distract yourself by playing hide and seek, and if it’s too long to wait until next parkrunday, why not just purchase an emotional support clown to accompany you for any important work meetings. Like this guy did when they were being fired. No really he did, took a clown along to his redundancy meeting to help break the tension! It was on the BBC news website so it must be true! The clown made balloon animals throughout. Excellent. I do feel if one is going to burn one’s bridges, one ought to do so in style!
Well, I say to break the tension, but really as an almighty piss take and give his bosses the finger, even so, we all know this is genius, and definitely now incorporated into my future fantasy leave my job scenarios. Excellent. And to think I previously regarded myself as a bit phobic about clowns, but now I see they can indeed really bring joy into the world. Hurrah. See, things seem bad, really really bad, but we can still find things to smile at despite ourselves! There is hope yet, slim hope perhaps, but hope nevertheless. And if clowns aren’t your thing, well, we still have parkrun, and there’s even a new one just started at Castle Howard! How awesome is that! Can. Not. Wait!
But whatever your running goals, or parkrun goals, keep reaching for them. Sometimes the struggle to get there is actually the best thing. Case in point. I’m pleased with my pirates badge, but also feel a bit flat. It was both the whole point and pointless and actually, the real point, was using it as a tool for choosing which parkrun to go to next. And there are still a lifetime of parkuns out there for the taking, with more every week. Aren’t we lucky, aren’t we blessed, and isn’t parkrun a wondrous thing. Enjoy the parkrun journey, don’t worry about it being a cliche, it can still be a thing, and we needn’t let on. It’s a Woodland Trust picture by the way, I know, a pic that’s epic!
and also, you know how I said I get super excited at seeing a robin in my garden or froglets, well check out this siting. An eft! I nearly burst! You can’t tell in the picture, but it’s just over an inch long and super cute. FACT.
By the way, you can read all my parkrun related posts here. Or not. It’s up to you. You’ll need to scroll down for older entries though. Hide and seek with your rodent companion of choice might be more fun, but more energetic too, maybe some power napping in the guise of parkrun research is in order after all…