Posts Tagged With: Barnsley parkrun

Brilliant Bradford parkrun

Digested read: parkrun tourism took me and my parkrun co-tourist to Bradford parkrun.  There are lots of parkruns around Bradford, but this is the one with the ‘teeny tiny hill’.  And a bandstand!  Hurrah.  It’s in Lister Park.  They have classy benches there it seems.

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Undigested read:

Well this trip was particularly exciting!  Not just the prospect of journeying from Sheffield to Bradford, which would be a cause for giddy excitement and anticipation on any day, but the prospect of doing so to rendezvous with a relatively new convert to parkrun.  Inexplicably, it’s taken my friend a little while to discover parkrun, I’ve been drip-feeding her for years – but you have to let people make the transition from bemused outsider to enthusiastic convert in their own time.  Better late than never, and they do say, the best time to join parkrun was 15 years ago, the second best time is next weekend.  Anyway, this weekend she demonstrated just how far she’s come in embracing the parkrun concept, by contacting me to say she was going to be away in Bradford this weekend, and why don’t I come up and join her for a tourist run.  This is hugely significant, because she has now officially recognised that there’s no point in being away anywhere for the weekend unless you check out the available parkrun options.  She has also noted that of course I’ll get up at stupid o’clock to come and join her. Also, it’s ‘proper’ tourism, because instead of going together, or travelling from home, this involved an overnight trip.  This is brilliant news, it opens up a whole new world of shared adventures, ‘nipping across’ to parkrun places – I’m hoping worldwide even one day – in the quest to complete a running challenge or discover a new parkrun community.  So.  Much.  Fun.  AND I’m so excited!  I just can’t hide it.  As I think may have been said before somewhere, sometime, but has never been more earnestly meant than here and now.  Hurrah!

So we agreed to go to Bradford parkrun

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It was just a couple of days before, that it dawned on me, there are a fair few ‘Bradford’ parkruns, like Sheffield, it is blessed with a few that might reasonably be said to fall within the environs of the city:

Horton Park (2.2m), Bowling Park (2.9m), Myrtle (3.4m), Bramley (5.8m), Oakwell Hall (6.7m), Cliffe Castle (7m), Halifax (7m), Brighouse (7.5m), Armley (7.6m), Woodhouse Moor (8.8m)

What’s more, some have epicly brilliant names.  How often do you get to hear of a place called Myrtle? That’s right, not nearly often enough.  There’s a Harry Potter themed challenge potential if ever there was one, that, then The Pastures parkrun, loads more I’m sure. And didn’t Horton find a Who?  That’s would merit a special trip.

Presumably Bramley is lined with fruitful apple trees, year round, albeit cooking ones.  I mean the possibilities are nigh on endless.  Well, maybe not actually endless, but at least reach double figures.  This is indeed a parkrun hotspot.  Oh well, no worries, I guess I’ll just have to keep coming back for me.  The important thing was we did both rendezvous at the same parkrun.  We did some research, poring over parkrun course descriptors – planning is part of the fun for such excursions after all.  In the end, we went with the ‘obvious’ i.e. the titular Bradford parkrun – for now, though it is actually in Lister Park, so I suppose it’s theoretically possible it may yet be swept up in parkrun namechangegate.  This phenomenon is sweeping the country and causing much consternation to some.  Honestly, I find it hard to mind too much, as I use the running challenges just as tool for choosing somewhere new to go really, though I think if I woke up and round all my lovely virtual badges vapourised I would be devastated, if it’s just the odd one or two that need rethinking I can live with that.  It does make sense though that some parkruns change their names as multiple new venues come on board, some with a greater claim to the name of their nearest centre of population.  For now though, this is Bradford parkrun, and that’s where we’d head.  I don’t know what Lister did to get a park named after them.  Invented Listerine mouthwash perhaps?  Patient Zero for Listeria?  I was confident all would become clear.  parkrun can be most educational like that.

I did the usual Facebook page stalking and was hugely impressed to see that only the week before our visit, the tailwalker completed their duties whilst knitting.  Excellent multi-tasking there, and taking inclusion to a new level. Crafty indeed.  I don’t know what she was knitting, but I like to think it might have been a knitted scanner holder.  I saw them at Barnsley parkrun on their 400th event and the concept blew my mind!  Inspired.  I’d be equally happy though if she was knitting parkrun protective headgear/ fancy dress as disported at Great Notley parkrun a while back.  I may never know, but that’s a boon, I can let my imagination run riot!  Look!  See how talented and creative parkrunners can be nationwide:

Anyway, enough of knitting although perhaps it’s good to know you can knit en route if you wish.  This doesn’t apply to me though, I’m not a knitter, I can barely sew a button back on, to tell the truth, well, not without being grumpy, still, perhaps for you dear reader, it’s a clincher for you in picking your parkrun destinations.  So, back to practicalities, according to the official Bradford parkrun website course description blah de blah, the course is described thus:

We are lucky that the paths in Lister park are so wide, smooth and well kept making an excellent course for running. The course starts by the fossilized tree along past the bandstand and the beautiful Cartwright Hall, through the formal gardens and past the mughal water gardens before turning left down a long gentle downhill path towards the entrance to the park on Manningham Lane, you then turn left again on a beautiful long meandering slightly downhill path, past the large playground – great for kids to play and cheer you on as you fly by! then up the teeny tiny hill to the fossilized tree again. It’s 3 laps then past the bandstand and to the right to a glorious finish on the elevated section just above the bandstand.

I do like the sound of a parkrun with a bandstand AND a fossilized tree, don’t see too many of them out and about. I wonder how tall it is? I’m hoping for something the size of a giant redwood, that would be cool.  And as for a teeny tiny hill – well, it’s teeny tiny, so probably hardly registers even as a speed bump for those of us used to trotting round Sheffield parkruns.

It looks like this:

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Three laps though.  Not over-keen on three lappers, but, then again it’s situated in the lovely looking Lister Park which even mentions Park Run (sic) on their website amongst activities available.  They may not be able to spell parkrun (aowalc) correctly, but at least they understand it’s dizzying allure.  However, the absolute clincher, was checking out the Refreshment Room in the Cartwright Hall Museum which, their website states authoritatively, is open from 8.00 a.m. on Saturday.  This means loos, and even potentially pre-parkrun coffee which I don’t normally do, but if arriving as a tourist paranoiacly early is definitely good to know.  You dear reader may feel likewise.  That’s settled then.

So the morning dawned, and it was the calm before the storm.  Bracing, but – for now at least – still.  I left Sheffield around 7.15.  It wasn’t the nicest drive, I got mightily confused with the road layouts as I neared Bradford, multiple lanes of traffic and ‘just-in-time. guidance from my satnav that would be more accurately described as ‘easy to be wise after the event’ guidance.  I was glad I’d allowed lots of extra time, as I did a few unintended diversions en route.

The approach to the park was, erm, without wishing to be rude, unpromising.  Apart from driving past the Alhambra theatre building which is A.Maz.Ing.  though I wasn’t sure if it was still operational as it had a rather shut up look – not unreasonable at 8.20 on a Saturday morning I suppose… However, ‘suddenly’ I found myself turning into North Park Road, and discovered I was alongside a glorious, mature park, a green oasis amongst the urban surrounds.  Very soon you pass some exceedingly magnificent gates, and get a sneak preview of Cartwright Hall, which you get to run past later on.  It’s very impressive.  Ooh, I’m going to like this.

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Now admittedly it doesn’t take much to confuse me, as I’m not over-confident driving to new places.  You need to hold your nerve to find the carpark, I didn’t find the signage particularly intuitive.  Also, there is a massive NO ENTRY sign on the left hand lane of the carpark entrance, with those metal spikey things that basically impale your vehicle if you attempt to drive over them.  I don’t really get why they were there, because you just drive through the unbarricaded lane on the right hand side, but it was a weird layout, and made me feel as if I was going the wrong way down a one-way system.  Fortuitously, as I pulled in, I espied my parkrunning friend from Victoria Dock, who’d come by bus from her hotel in Bradford.  She’d already checked out the car parking area, which is just above the bowling greens, right adjacent to the start.  Parking was free, which was a surprise, and although not by any means a huge parking space, there seemed to be ample.  I think the majority of attendees were genuine locals who’d walked in.  Always a relief to park up.

talking of relief, we strode out in search of the cafe and loos with high hopes and high spirits.  HOnestly, my worst nightmare is arriving as a tourist after a long dry to find no pee points are available.  We headed towards the hall past a very fine stag statue. and took time out to pose by the helpful poster that was clearly put up in anticipation of our visit as we are both precious and rare indeed.  That selfie just had to be done…

We circled round the hall, debating the relative merits of stretching as we did so, and whether or not it’s helpful for running.   She’s a disciplined stretcher, does yoga and everything, where as I am about as committed to stretching as I am to foam rollering.  I have a foam roller I bought about 6 years ago still in its cellophane…  As I understand it the evidence base isn’t that strong in favour of stretching, and in fact stretching before a run can increase risk of injury – though a warm-up is a different thing and generally thought to be a good idea.  However, for those who find it beneficial, feel free to crack on, and to show my sincerity in support of stretching, I’ve even managed to source this excellent video of an innovative stretch routine in case of interest.  You’re welcome.

So, we circled the building in search of the refreshment rooms and with it access to their posh loos. I  was imagining pre-warmed toilet seats and fluffy white towels.  Well dear reader.  CATASTROPHE.  We found the entrance to the cafe, but it was very much not open, and it was almost 8.40 by now.  Other tourists likewise appeared, wearing their cow cowls, and we all stood in a line together, blinking at the extremely closed doors.  There was a light on within, but no-one at home.  Uh oh.  This was not a good start.  A local materialised, and informed us that ‘unfortunately, it can be a bit hit and miss with the cafe and its opening hours’.  Aaaaargh!  There are some alternative toilets the other side of the park, but these are currently shut due to vandalism.  I’m shamed to report that desperate times called for desperate measures, and I may have resorted to nipping behind a tree and anointing the grounds with some shame.  I mean, it’s no worse, indeed very much better than what most dogs do, but it was such a well maintained park if did feel disrespectful.  I didn’t really pass any alternative stopping places en route either, so if you are coming a fair distance, arrive prepared!

A panicky al-fresco precautionary pee isn’t the best preparation for parkrun, so I feared i was in for an uncomfortable run.  Oh well, here now, an I was hoping a lot of my need for facilities is psychological.  One way to find out.  We also clung to the hope that maybe the loos would open shortly, and as we’d pass the cafe three times, if absolutely desperate you could nip in mid-parkrun.  They didn’t, you couldn’t.

We made our way back to the start, passing marshals heading out to their spots.  How exciting, the parkrun party is most definitely building.  This park is truly spectacular, with impressive features like the fabulously substantial bandstand, and a boating lake, with more statues of the great and good and various beasts (lions as well as the stag) than you could shake a stick at.

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Volunteers and runners were starting to assemble, and there was an upmarket coffee van serving up superior coffee and various snacks.  I’m not sure if it’s there every week, but it was doing an ok trade pre run and a positively roaring one afterwards.  One fun thing about this particular parkrun, was the number of bespoke signs, early warning of the teeny tiny hill, but also various spots on the course have their own names.  There is Tony’s Turn and Arthur’s finish and a helpful one to remind parkrun participants that they are ‘awesome’ just when it is most needed on the teeny tiny hill.  This is the parkrun that thinks of everything.  Care and creativity have gone into course signage.  Loving your work Bradford parkrun core team, good job, well done!

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Loving the personalised high-vis too.  Epic.

There was a bespoke sign for first timers too, but honestly, I’m not sure if there was an actual first timers briefing, as by the time we’d implemented emergency precautionary pee protocols we were a little late to the party, and people were starting to gravitate towards the start, which was a shortish stroll away, towards the fossilised tree. Which, spoiler alert, is not a tall giant red wood, but a stump.  Still impressive, but my expectations hadn’t been managed all that well in this instance.  Less traumatic than no loos, but worth a mention all the same.

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So we were gently shepherded down a gentle slope to the start.  There was a pretty good turn out, I overheard volunteers guesstimating the numbers ‘350, it’s always 350′ one said with considerable confidence.  In fact, I can report that it was 508.  Wow, that’s quite a lot actually.  You’d think it would feel crowded, but the paths are wide and tarmaced and participants courteous, so it didn’t feel congested beyond a bit of slow get away.  Then again, I always put myself towards the back, I’m sure further forward it would have been a speedier start if that’s your thing.

The RD was able to give a run briefing from sort of on high, flanked by hi-vis heroes.  There was a description of the course, and usual shout outs.  I think it’s a generic intro rather than having a separate first timers’ briefing.  However, lots of people approached us and chatted to us so it felt like a friendly place if you turned up on your own.  People did talk through the briefing though, that so infuriates me, and I never know whether it’s ok to ‘shush’ people not at your home run.  It feels a bit rude to do so, but honestly, what chatterboxes there were.

In the start funnel you get a great view of the bandstand ahead, and the gentle incline that you will get to run up not once, not twice, but a glorious three times!  Hurrah.  This is the parkrun with slopes that keep on giving!

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So after the RD pep-talk it was go!  And awf we went.

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this is an ace parkrun.   Don’t be put off by the inclines or the three lap thing – or indeed the precarious loo presence.  It was a cheery, inclusive group.  A lot of walkers, buggies, dogs, a good cross section of participants.  Although it is a three – lapper, there’s loads to see, and plenty of cheery marshals at strategic intervals to encourage you round.  Some showed very considerable stamina keeping up the clapping continuously til the last participant came home.  Much enthusiasm was in evidence.  Plus, as you get to pass the point where people break away to the finish, you get to see faster runners sprinting up hill to their climactic ends, as well as being lapped by some on the way round.  Unless you are the one doing the lapping of course, in which case you get to pass slower ones.

So it’s up the hill, past the token men at the end of the carefully choreographed finish funnel.  Round the side of the house where a super-smiley and clappy volunteer shooed you round past the still-closed refreshment cafe.  Quick dog leg round the corner, past some quite formal planting and grand statues towards the other side of the enormous iron gates I’d passed on the way in.

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Then you get to whizz down hill for a bit, with Mr Lister gazing down on you – a little sternly I felt – and corner past another clapping hi-vis hero, who, if my memory serves me correctly, was very wisely cradling a cup of coffee in between whooping encouragement.  Thank you marshal!

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Mr Lister was carrying some sort of cloak, but dragging it on the ground rather.  I’m not sure if he was poised to use it to cover any muddy puddles en route to protect the dainty feet of timid parkrunners.  I rather think not.  It turns out, Mr Lister is not in fact the Mr Man who embodies people who write ‘to do’ lists, nor even the one that has a tendency to lean to one side.  Rather he was very big in wool apparently.  The chimneyof his wool mill towers over the park if you but bother to look for it – I got this insight from the Talented Tony later on.  He invented the Lister Nip Comb.  That’s Mr Lister who invented it, not Tony – talented as he is.  Oh, and not nit comb either but nip comb, completely different thing – you need to concentrate more when you are reading.  Nope, me neither, had to look it up, and I learn that the Lister Nip Comb separated and straightened raw wool, revolutionising the industry apparently.  He – that’s Mr Lister again, not Tony, donated the land for Lister Park which was philanthropic I suppose, but the size of his fortune must have been absolutely immense for him to be able to do that, and you can’t help but assume he accrued such fortune on the backs of a great many workers in his mill.  He was a Baron as well.  Barons always make me think of Baron and Baroness Bomburst in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – which for too many years I honestly thought was Shitty Shitty Bang Bang, which was unfortunate – I daresay other barons are available, but the Bombursts had better costumes if the photos are anything to go by.  The facial hair is equally spectacular for both though.  It could well be that is a prerequisite for such honours, I wouldn’t really know…

I didn’t have all these insights as I was pootling round though, but you can have the benefit of them in advance if you like.  It’s fun learning these things.

The route carried on past a quite impressive play area, and a boating lake with it’s own circular cafe building.  I found out too late that this opens at 10.00 and I think it’s where the core team adjourn to for results processing.  Might have been a better option than the cafe where we two ended up.

As I was taking my time, I think the first of the speedy runners came through when I was on this stretch.  The paths are wide though, so no hairy moments overtaking.

At the end of this stretch, is a marshal very much owning his spot.  Dear Reader I give you Tony’s Corner.  He was a very vocal supporting, giving extra loud encouragement to known regulars who he cheered by name, but enthusiastically cheering everyone by,.  it was great.  I reckon he would have made each and every one of us feel like a sporting superstar, or at least a pretty goddarned amazing humanbeing just for being there.  I think life would be so much nicer if we all had cheerleaders to encourage us as we go about our daily business.  Still, in the inexplicable absence of that, you can at least get an little inoculation of feel good adulation to get you through the week as on each of the three laps, multiple marshals applaud you for your efforts.  Excellent!

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Round the corner, there was another statue, no idea who that was – and another group were doing some sort of outdoor work out session, with their own loud speakers pumping out motivational music.  A sign pronounced that you were now embarking on Teeny Tiny Hill.  I do like visual aids at a parkrun.  OK then, let’s see what that’s like then:

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Ok, as a Sheffield parkrunning regular, I can report the hill is steep, but short and sharp, and not too bad if you are used to say Sheffield Castle parkrun or Graves parkrun in Sheffield.  However, it is definitely an upward flat section, and the field was mixed between those that embraced the challenge, taking a run up at it, and those that threw in the towel early on, power walking in preference.  At the top, of the steep bit, just where you corner, was another marshal flourishing a ‘you are awesome’ sign!  Like I said, this was a feelgood parkrun good for building your self-esteem if ever there was one.  From being acknowledged as ‘rare and precious’ on arrival, to ‘awesome’ on every lap, there was much positive reinforcement going on!

You pass by the fossilised tree root, and the start sign, and then it’s round all over again.  Past the token men, the bandstand, the hall, the amazing gates, Mr Lister, the boating pond, Tony’s Corner, up the Teeny Tiny Hill to complete lap two.

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This time, as I rocked up the hill, the finish area was pretty busy with returning runners.  Because the whole park is basically on a slope, if you look to the right running past you can see the finishers swept off to the side, but equally as you finish, you can see the parkrunners still enroute sweeping round like lycra-clad wildebeest on migration.  All very picturesque in my view.  It really is a lovely parkrun venue.  A hidden treasure indeed.

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I paused on the way round to stand on a bench to try to get a shot looking back at the bandstand and the finish, and ended up mutually photographing a fellow tourist.  Well, I say fellow tourist, turns out this is actually her home parkrun, but she was wearing a cow cowl, and astonishingly, had deduced I must be a tourist on account of me constantly stopping to take photos en route, though I think even she was a tad taken aback I took it to the lengths of clambering onto park furnishings.  I don’t really worry about times these days, I’m not sure I ever did, but I like to document parkruns the first time I attend them.  It’s so easy to forget stuff in the sensory overload of a new venue.  I didn’t get your name, but here’s a virtual wave to my 250 tee sporting parkrun friend!

and then it was just one more lap to go.  Obviously, the field had thinned out now, but I ended up taking it in turns to sort of leapfrog each other with another runner.  Her nearest parkrun is apparently Bramley, but that’s a four lapper – don’t fancy that, mind you, I’ve not tried a four lapper yet, maybe it’s less brutal than I imagine, though I panic about not being competent enough to confidently count to four….  anyway, she’s been to this one a fair few times too.  It was nice to make a new friend on the final lap.

Incidently, if you like me, balk at the very idea of a four lap course, spare a thought for this runner, quarantined because of the coronavirus, who has been doing laps IN HIS APARTMENT totalling 31 miles.  I can’t begin to imagine how tedious that must have been.  Respect.  Well, I think respect, it’s certainly impressive, but maybe a tad obsessive.  There’s a time to run round in teeny tiny circles, and there’s a time to lie on a sofa watching box sets.  He may not have got the balance entirely right in my view…. According to the Daily Mail (sorry – but they did have the Co-runner virus pun, which might well be in poor taste, but did make me snort a little bit) he ran 6,250 circuits of his apartment.  Imagine how annoying it would have been for him if he’d lost count and had to start again from one!

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Last chance to be reminded you are awesome, and drink up the cheers from supporting marshals, and a final romp up the teeny tiny hill.  Returning parkrunners smiled or whispered words of encouragement as I lolloped up the incline to the bandstand and the finish.

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Round the corner, and the finish funnel was in sight.  Again, these marshals were so enthusiastic and friendly.  I totally get parkrun is a run not a race, and there are no winners as such, but I felt like I was definitely their fastest ever first finisher as I crashed over the line and the timers clicked me in!

It’s a little weird, because the finish line – which obvs you have to do a sprint finish through, is at the apex of the hill, and then you have built up so much momentum you are in danger of crashing into the backs of other runners as it’s a down hill queue to the finish tokens.  Serious crowd control here, no danger of funnel ducking with that barrier, and I heartily approve!  Fortunately, I had the benefit of all this space in glorious isolation on account of being first finisher, clearly, so no domino affect of my carcass toppling other runners on the way through.  Phew.

My Victoria Dock parkrun buddy, was ready with a camera, which was a mixed blessing, but always good to be immortalised with flying feet, even if I’m inclined to feel the apricot does me no favours.  I’ve been trying to think what I remind myself of, and i think it might be an oompa loompa.  This isn’t a good look.  Oh well.

Just a matter of being scanned, and then posing for obligatory photos.  Oh and notice the coffee van.  If it hadn’t been cold, I think that would have been best option, looked like quality coffee.

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We’d had a lovely time.  How could we not.  But decided we wanted to get a proper shot of the Teeny Tiny Hill sign, well, it is Bradford parkrun’s ‘thing’ if you know what I mean.  We wandered back that way, passing returning volunteers, still holding ‘awesome’ signs aloft.  We spotted ‘our Tony’ who seemed to be dismantling the course on the way back.  We weren’t sure whether to offer to help or not.  It is a surprisingly little known fact that it isn’t helpful unless you are actually helping. Sometimes if people have their own systems you can mess them up by charging in.  I have before been caught out dismantling a finish funnel by removing tape from the poles only to find that at that particular parkrun they store the funnel with the tape left on.  Oops.  They were very gracious about it, noting that it was their fault for not having sat me down with the appropriate online interactive training video, but aaaaaaaaaaaawkward all the same!  Anyway, we used our initiative to ask, and actually, turns out, there was a limit to how many signs and stuff he could carry, so we did help minimally, and thereby also gained exclusive access to the Teeny Tiny Hill sign too.  Job done 🙂 !

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and that was that.  Bradford parkrun done and dusted.

We were cold, and so rejected coffee outside option, heading instead for the refreshment room cafe.  It’s just occurred to me what a spectacularly unimaginative name for a cafe that is.  Oh well.

The good news was that it was open.  The walls had tasteful William Morris wallpaper, and it was spotless, with a good value range of cakes and coffees.  However, it was a bit, erm, well weird.  Despite the plush surroundings, it was fairly bijoux, and the offerings were very much cake rather than breakfast.  Though there was a (not very nice) vegan roll, and cheese toastie options.  The coffee was distinctly mediocre, from a machine rather than proper ground with foamy milk.  The service was friendly, but to be honest, if going again in summer I’d have gone with the van, or checked out the boating cafe if open.  However, it was unhurried, and we could have a good old catch up.  Also, we could now access the toilets.  They didn’t have fluffy white towels or heated seats, but they did have an air lock entry system with an extraordinary amount of  doors to pass through to get to them, so that was novel.  Also, everyone was welcome to use them, though only one at a time in my experience.  I didn’t see any giraffes or elephants during my visit, but perhaps they were in the adjacent cubicle?

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We exited through the museum, which was freezing.  Maybe post parkrun chill had kicked in. This had an excellent photography exhibition on, and some fine statues.  If I hadn’t been a lightweight (novel concept for me) worrying about getting cold and driving back to Sheffield as storm Ciara kicked in I might have lingered longer.  Again, staff were friendly, and the interior immaculate and grandiose on an extraordinary scale.  Reet nice in fact.

I think the woman in the statue was emphasising a point about how annoying mansplaining is, but I guess all art speaks to the viewer in unique ways, so you can interpret as you wish.

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But, all good things come to an end.  This morning was no exception.  So we went back to the car, which still had loads of spaces by the way, and headed homewards, pausing only to take a snapshot of the chimney towering over the park as we exited.  It’s mahoosive indeed.

So thank you lovely Bradford parkrun people for your warm welcome and sharing your unexpectedly wonderful park.  This is definitely one I’d happily return to do again … were it not for the lure of all those other parkruns in the vicinity I have yet to run.  But thank you, hope our parkrun paths cross again soon.  Have fun til next time.

and remember how awesome you are, just for being part of the parkrun parkfun.  I’ve seen a sign just for you that proves it!

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Told ya!

🙂

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.  Your choice

Categories: 5km, parkrun, running | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Barnsley parkrun 400? and a car boot sale too you say? Bring it on!

Digested read: went to Barnsley parkrun for some parkrun tourism.  SoYo9 done.

Oh, you want to know more about Barnsley parkun?  Well, it just so happens that you are in luck.  In order to prevent you from experiencing frustration, and to save your temper, trouble and money (maybe not money actually – though free parkruns for life by way of apology if you think my account erroneous) I can tell you all about it from my recent sojourn out.  Read on for the unabridged version, the findings from my morning’s scouting party if you will.  See how handy proximity to a car boot sale is for visual aids?  Amazing eh.  Genius even, I’m sure you’ll agree.

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Unabridged version:

Re-invigorated by taking a jaunt to experience the delights of Doncaster parkrun last week, I was sufficiently motivated to shift my backside to Barnsley, pass through the metaphorical back of the wardrobe, and dive into the Narnia that is Locke Park, Barnsley.  I won’t lie there is some strategic drive that made Barnsley parkrun my destination of choice for this weekend.  Specifically, once I’ve ticked off Barnsley, I’ll have achieved the full set of the SoYo9 (South Yorkshire 9) parkruns, which means I get my name on a list alongside other parkrunners, on the strideandtested website – (make sure you choose the right collection from the search box on the left hand side if you are having a nosey) – what greater recognition could there be than that? (Rhetorical question, no answers on a postcard please).

SoYo9 club
A list of all the heroes that have run all 9 South Yorkshire parkruns.
The SoYo9 club currently has 176 members (as of 12/09/2018)

To be fair, I wasn’t regarding attendance at this event as requiring any great urgency, until a little stalking of the Barnsley parkrun facebook page revealed that this particular Saturday would be their 400th event.   There was excited chat in the build up, promise of celebratory cake, a sea of parkrun tops and maybe even some running for the especially keen.  Well, if they are having a party anyway, would be rude not to rock up and help it go with a swing surely?  No mention of fancy dress or giraffes though, which might just be a typo on their part I suppose… does seem a surprising omission otherwise.  I mean can you properly celebrate without?  I may have to find out for myself…

400 event

I did have a moment’s hesitation, when I found that there was to be a car boot sale in the park on the same day – I was worried about parking at an unknown venue.  What if I missed the start endlessly driving round and round Barnsley in search of a parking space?  When I mentioned it to a triathlete buddy of mine, who was debating about making the same foray out, her response was far more appropriate.  ‘A car boot sale you say?  Game on!’  She is right of course.  This should not be seen as an obstacle to attendance, but rather an added incentive to get my arse over there.  I’m also well overdue for a rummage, and this could be my opportunity to buy a broken food mixer or restock the shelves I’ve worked so hard to empty through rigorous de-cluttering associated with a recent house move by making impulse buys of heaps of second hand books.   Heavens!  I might even pick up an almost complete musty set of Encyclopedia Britannia.  What a boon to my bookshelves that would be!  Hence, Barnsley parkrun?  Bring it on!

In advance I learn that this is another three-lap course. Oh.  Not overly keen to be fair.  However, it will help make me mentally strong to do another three-lapper.  There are good instructions on the website, but I prefer a postcode these days.  Still, I was pretty sure the Friends of Locke park advice would get me there safely:  ‘Locke Park Car Park is off Keresforth Hall Road, S70 6NF -follow signs.’  I’ll probably head off the night before anyway, as I really, really hate being late, so that should allow enough time to find it.

The course looks like this apparently:

Barnsley parkrun course

Inexplicably, there is no explicit mention of elevation.  It must be flat then.  Clearly those people I met at Doncaster parkrun last week were spreading misinformation when they tried to warn me it was hillier than most.  I mean, they thought they had a hill at Doncaster (bless) when by Sheffield terms it was actually just a speed bump really.  Don’t tell any Doncaster folk I said  this, wouldn’t want to offend when they were so friendly and welcoming, it’s not their fault they don’t encounter the hills we Sheffielders have become accustomed to.  If it was that lumpy I’m sure a thoughtful Barnsley parkrunner would alert newcomers to this consideration with at the very least a flashing warning gif of somesort, alongside the other information about it all being on tarmac paths.

Unless they subscribe to the view….

upward flat

shudder. … No surely not. I was fretting for nothing!  I do have a tendency to catastrophise, it is not a good quality.  If anything, it will probably feel like it’s downhill all the way.  A pb course.  Yep, that’s more likely.  Positive thinking, and breathe.  I felt better already.

I also read in advance a really lovely post about the pleasures of parkrun.  Might have got something in my eye reading that.  It’s worth reflecting on what parkrun means to many of us, and how it is often not the individual run achievements or pbs that stand out (which is just as well as my last pb was years ago, literally) but shared laughs and adventures along the way that stick in the memory.  Aw.

Anyway, the runes were looking good.  Seems like a friendly lot, there are toilets at the start, and a cafe at the end.  What’s not to like.  … Game on indeed.

So I got up at stupid o-clock.  Couldn’t sleep anyway.  Porridge breakfast, tomtom on? Check.  Barcode wrist band on?  Check.  Volunteer milestone top on?  Check.  Good to go.  Don’t worry I wore other running stuff too.  I’m not that minimalist when running, or indeed when out in public more generally.   You can open your eyes in safety!

The drive from Sheffield to Barnsley was actually really quick, especially as I left crazily early and the roads were deserted.  About 35 minutes, tops.  There are even proper brown tourist signs to direct you to the park.  Easy peasy, easiest one to find and park up of all the tourist runs I’ve done – which granted isn’t massively many, but is up to 18 or so.  I think the record is a few hundred, some parkrunner who has opted to do a new parkrun every single time out.  Must check that out actually, that’s quite amazing…

Where was I?  Oh yes, very easy to find, and a pretty spacious car park too.  In normal circumstances it ought logically be extremely easy to park but this was the most popular parkrun ever, and it was heaving, even though it was barely 8.00 a.m. (I told you I hate being late).

Naysayers might possibly think this busy-ness attributable to the carboot sale, but hey, surely Barnsley parkrun’s 400th ought to trump that!

I managed to get one of the very last parking places in the car park ‘proper’ but in fact, the Friends of Locke park were doing fine work directing cars to the overflow car park on grass for the car boot sale.  It was all running very smoothly.  Although there was quite a queue to get in, even at this early hour.

As I had lots of time on my side anyway, I took advantage of the opportunity to nip back to the co-op I’d passed earlier to get my Saturday Guardian.  Saturdays are incomplete without it, but I thought by dint of my parkrun tourism I might have to forfeit it.  Reader not so!  Huge relief all round.

Back to the park and the next challenge was to find the start for parkrun.  Because I was ridiculously early, there weren’t any other obvious parkrunners around.  There were loads of people, but many were carbooters, laying a false trail by heading over for the scrum for choice bric a brac.  I soon got wise to that.

For the record, Locke park is surprisingly lovely. It’s a mature park, seemingly well maintained.  I’d never been before so was constantly amazed by the various follies I stumbled across round every turn – from huge random towers to Grecian columns.  Very fine indeed.  Around at least one side of the park was a spectacular stone wall, this was an expensive proposition when first established.  Very impressive boundary.  Formal rose beds are hidden away in little secret dips and troughs, there was a football pitch, adventure playground – even a bowls court. And yes dear reader, the promised loos open for business too!  Phew.  Feast your eyes on this smorgasboard of visual and sensory delights and you’ll get the idea.

At one point on my journey across the park I came across an early bird parkrunner and his entourage, although I didn’t appreciate it at the time.  I learned later he had started at 7.30 a.m. and would continue until all three laps were done, returning to be cheered through the finish after a mammoth 2 hours 42 minutes on course.  That’s real dedication.  Inspirational is an over-used word, but you know what, it blooming was.

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I rather regret now that they didn’t properly photo bomb my tower shot, would have been a suitably grand backdrop for the occasion.  Oh well, no worries.  I learned from one of their number that from time to time the tower is open to the public.   Good to know. Unfortunately, they couldn’t quite remember when.  Was it third Sunday in the month, only in months with an r in them every other leap year.  Something like that. You can probably find out on the Friends of Locke park website to be fair, but I like the element of surprise when you roll up at these events.  Shame to spoil that by doing research in advance eh?

The park isn’t huge, but it seemed big because I didn’t know where I was going, and because, yes dear reader, I cannot tell a lie, you couldn’t see over the lumpy bits without climbing up them first.  It was giving an impression of being unexpectedly hilly indeed.  Slopes that looked gentle, went on and on in a continuous upward spiral.  Harder than you might think.  It’s always a bad sign when you are puffing before you’ve even made the start line.

Just as I was wondering if I’d ever locate the start, I espied a marshal who pointed me in the direction of the cafe and adventure playground.  Hurray.  It was a great play area, all train themed.  How charming!  I found out later this was not by chance, but because the land was donated by the widow of a guy who made his money through railway engineering.  That explains the mini railway station and finger tracing of a steam train…

but not the half excavated dinosaur remains.  They must therefore be for real.  Who knew?  How exciting!  The Whitby Jurassic coastline has nothing on Barnsley it would seem!  Cool.

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Always good to have found the start.  Next thing was to find the loos.  So the good news, for parkrun tourists, is that there is a loo.  The bad news, is that the facilities are not that ample.  There was basically one unisex loo and one ‘mothers and babies’ one.  And I thought Sheffield Hallam parkrun had uniquely poor precautionary pee provision.  But at least we have ladies, gents and a disabled.  An abundance of pee places by comparison.  When I arrived there was a solitary guy waiting.  He was coy about using the mother and babies, so directed me there.  Whether that was because he thought I was either a mother, or a baby or in possession of the latter I’m not sure.  I decided though to shamelessly exploit his chivalry.  Never pass up a pee opportunity, that’s my motto.

The loo itself did look a bit like a crime scene.  I mean it was clean enough, but it had that utilitarian look that you associate with horror film set in asylums, white tiles, chipped piping and a rather alarming section of burnt floor.  Best not think about it too deeply.  All functional though, and toilet paper too so top marks for that. Yes, I’ve taken a photo of the interior of the loo.  I got quite blasé about taking such shots whilst living and working in Cambodia, it’s informative for those that come after, and I’m over being self-conscious about such postings these days.  I draw the line at taking a selfie in situ though, that’s more of a niche area I don’t go into.  By the time I emerged, there was a queue. Nicely timed on my part then. Hurrah!

There was still ages before the start, so I did some pootling about, admiring both the vegetation – some nice fancy planting there

and some running club top spotting as the great and the good, the gregarious and the gauche, the gallopers and the gallumphers all began to assemble.  In my explorations I found many a marvel – not least the local innovation of a PB bell.  I haven’t had a pb for many years.  I suppose as this is my first time on this course, technically today might count as one, but that also feels disingenuous, exciting though the prospect of proactively initiating my own parkrun ding-dong undoubtedly was.

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I was wondering at what point I might espy someone I knew.  Actually I didn’t really.  I did see a fellow Graves junior parkrun volunteer, so we chatted briefly. He’d apparently coerced encouraged a number of his work colleagues to sign up for the Sheffield 10k next weekend, so they were having a Barnsley parkrun pre event run round, which was good.  I lingered til the rest of his buddies arrived, and as we lingered the volunteers constructed a finish funnel around us, which amused me.  Then I left them to catch up and talk tactics and continued with my ambling about slightly self-consciously.  There were some Valley Hill Runners in evidence.  I really must pluck up the courage to go and say hello to them sometime.  I feel that this is the running club I’d have joined if I hadn’t discovered Smiley Paces first.  Plus, one of their number did the Dig Deep Ultra a few weeks back, and I wanted to swap tales, but I don’t know which one it was.  Gawd it’s hard being me.  I mean, I know they are always super friendly but I still feel it’s a bit forward to bundle in when they are all communing with one another.  I should get into the habit of carrying cake with me, that’s the way to their hearts I understand, well, chip butties more specifically, but they don’t travel all that well.  The chip butties I mean, not the Valley Hill buddies, just to be clear.  Barnsley Harriers too of course, always a pleasure, everyone knows how lovely they are 🙂

As people gathered, the lone parkrunner came through finishing his first lap to much cheering from those assembled, and continued on his way.

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Then there was a megaphone announcement. Much excitement, must be pre-run briefing!  Not so, it was to announce a 10 minute delay to the start as there was a mahoosive queue of cars still waiting to come in

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Now that’s completely fair enough, but obviously it played havoc with my precautionary pee plans.  I decided I’d have to fit in another one now.  I threw caution to the wind, and by passing the asylum loo, sneakily snuck into the cafe to use their posh loo, which was very nice thank you for asking.  As I emerged, a queue had magically appeared there too (maybe I have some sort of leadership qualities in this area, makes you wonder).  Walking past them was a bit like having a guard of honour lining my way.  When I commented on this, the little group of women spontaneously broke into applause, one even shouting ‘well done!’ and it was surprisingly cheering.  Who doesn’t like to be greeted with adoring clapping crowds as they go about their business?  Thank you my people.  Much appreciated.

I ditched my fleece, and stuffed it into my back pack, and my backpack into a Tesco bag for life I’d brought along for this purpose.  The unofficial bag drop was to stuff worldly goods under one of a couple of handily positioned picnic tables. They were groaning with more cakes than I’ve ever seen in my life.  Wow!  All dietary needs catered for too you’ll be pleased to hear.

After another 10 minutes or so, one of the RDs took up the megaphone and a vantage position on one of the benches too.  He explained about it being the 400 th Barnsley parkrun, which is indeed amazing, but then said he was going to start on a more serious note.  He announced that a fellow runner, known well locally and a Penistone Footpath Runner  had died in completely unexpected and, by implication, unsettling circumstances earlier in the week.  In his memory it was suggested that those assembled offer one minute’s applause.  I’ve not participated in such a gesture before.  It was quite moving.  Obviously, I don’t know the runner or what happened, but it felt like a very genuine symbol of solidarity with those who did.  Applause is better than silence I think, silence can be a) awkward,  and b) too often broken.  However, I would add that one minute is actually quite a long time to have to clap for, the wise amongst us paced themselves for this task.  It was maybe a brave decision to make such a tribute as part of a day of celebration, but it seemed to me at least wholly appropriate, and very genuine.  Also, very sad.  I was looking around at the sea of Penistone Footpath t-shirts in amongst all the parkrun apricot and milestone tees and wondering how they must be feeling.   I hope it helped to have the loss acknowledged.

Then there was the official run briefing.  It was astonishing to look around and see how big the field was.  I stole this photo from someone else who posted on the Barnsley parkrun facebook page because it’s better than my shot, gives more of a sense of how many are there, also I’m in the throng, which is novel.

HH group photo

I was expecting this to be quite a small parkrun, I think normally it is.  Today the Barnsley parkrun turn out was a record breaking 343 people.  Therefore, by dint of my presence  I must officially be a record breaking parkrunner just for being there, just as I am a record breaking marathoner for having the misfortune to run London on the hottest ever marathon day.  The latter is not a record I would have chosen willingly, but sure, I’ll capitalise on it now it’s happened.  Not good though people, really not good.  To be part of the Barnsley parkrun record breaking gang, that was undiluted fabulousness though.  Hurrah!

First the run briefing, then the migration to the start, which was just a little distance away from the finish funnel.  I bimbled along behind everyone else, happy to just plant myself in the back somewhere.

I took the opportunity to take a shot of the timer start team as I made my way along:

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I tried to do this by stealth, but they were too eagle eyed for me to achieve this, so I went for the posed photo instead.  That was what they looked like from the front, this is the view from behind.  What a lot of runners eh?

BP start photo

Then I looked up, and realised to my absolute horror, that the run was going in the opposite direction to that I’d anticipated, and I was in danger of being right at the front of the pack, where it could be pretty much guaranteed I’d be trampled by speedier runners as the parkrun got under way.  Phew, realised just in time, I pushed my way hurriedly through to the back where I belonged, in amongst the buggy runners and barkrunners.  (That pun has never been made before people, remember you heard it here first).

Time for quick selfie though, obvs:

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Only looking moderately manic on this occasion.

I didn’t hear the cry for off, but off we all went, me trundling along behind.  I may have missed the start, but a handily placed Barnsley parkrun photographer did not.  Check out these of the parkrunners underway.  Aw, aren’t we lovely, all enjoying parkrun in our own way.

I really wasn’t feeling the lurve for running this morning.  I was tired from insomnia, and still a bit achey from a woodrun drills session on Thursday.  It’s shaming really, I ought to be able to do that and a parkrun in a week without my batteries going flat.  I really do need to get back to basics and work on my form, even think about maybe some interval training to pick my speed up. However, today was not the day.  Today was for bimbling, photograph taking and enjoying a spot of parkrun tourism.  It’s supposed to be fun remember people, otherwise, what are we all doing out there on a Saturday morning.

It was pretty busy out there, being at the back it was a slow start. I overheard another runner exclaim delightedly to his running buddy ‘I am doing just great at this pace, I can do this!’  Not sure how long he got to do that for, before being compelled to shift himself as the field opened out and people started to overtake and settle into whatever their preferred pace was.

I was all eyes (well both eyes, I’ve only got the two) agog, taking in the scenery.  It really is a scenic run, despite the three lap thing, there’s loads of interest. I got a bit distracted trying to get some shots.  Now, I’m not a photographer, and I was running as well, so they aren’t maybe the best quality you’ll see, but hopefully they’ll capture the mood, and the sense of occasion.  I think the phrase you are reaching for is ‘good in parts‘.

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First time round, I tried to get a photo of each of the marshals too.  Mixed success, but thanks to all of you high viz heroes.  Some phenomenal motivational clapping, cheering and helpful directional pointing going on out there on course today.  Give yourselves a high five to go with your high viz. You’ve earned it!

The second lap, I was more struck by some of the landmarks on route.  The appeal of some might not be immediately apparent to the untrained eye, but I was strangely fascinated by the municipal toilet buildings.  I couldn’t work out if it was because they made me feel weirdly nostalgic for a time when that style of building was state of the art sixties (I think) utilitarian chic, or because it made me inwardly shudder because of it’s rather faded and rough looking exterior.   I still think it’s as interesting as the stylised columns in its own way.

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Then there were the little details along the way.  The ‘no pain no gain’ t-shirt from the Penistone group I think, and I like the juxtaposition of the defibrillator next to the ice-cream sales sign.  Or is that just me again?  Oh well.  Don’t forget the parkrun code. You are obligated to respect everyone’s right to participate in their own way, my way might be idiosyncratic, but it’s essentially harmless, and I needed to make my own entertainment en route to distract me from them there hills.

Because dear reader, there was a great deal of hill.  It was deceptive, the gradient looked pretty forgiving and gradual, but it just went on and on.  The downhill bits were short and sharp by comparison.  I think Graves and Castle both have sharper more intense hills, but this run definitely has more constant heaving of yourself heavenwards.  This is not my forte.  To be fair, I’m not quite sure what my running forte is, that’s unfinished business, but it’s definitely not going uphill.

Inevitably, I got lapped early on.  The plus side of this is that you get to see the faster runners.  Oh my, they were working hard.  It may be a run not a race, but some of them were most certainly going for it.  Those that had the breath to spare shouted encouragement on the way past.  I sometimes wonder how fast I could run if i really pushed myself to that extent.  Maybe next time I’m on a flat section somewhere unobserved, I might give it a go, today was not the time or place though, also I might not give it a go, I quite like just having a slow and steady cruising setting I feel I could maintain for ever if need be.  Then again, it would be a new and interesting challenge to see if I’m capable of upping the ante.  We’ll see.

Here are some faster runners, rushing past in a blur:

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or maybe I was running so fast the camera moved as I was clicking the shutter.  It will be one scenario or the other, I forget which.

By the time I finished the second lap, I had to continue to run past a rapidly filling finish tunnel.  Although it was definitely an inclusive and friendly parkrun, overall I felt they were speedier parkrunners on average than other parkruns I’ve visited.  I was in the last few trickling in, normally there is a bit more a buffer between me and the final finisher.  Not that it matters, everyone crossing the line was celebrated equally.

For the record though, here is the finish funnel in all its glory, as I ran by:

The final lap I did pretty much solo, apart from the cheering volunteers.  It was OK though.  I ought to have tried harder going up the hills, oh well, there’s always next time…  Passing each marshal for the last time, I held back from saying to all but one ‘no offence, but I’m quite glad I’m seeing you for the last time this morning‘ which fortunately did engender a response of laughter rather than a look of horror at my rudeness.  Phew.  Eventually, there was the down hill finish, the incentive to sprint past the railings to the finish funnel beyond. There was quite a crowd, queuing at the coffee shop and making the most of the bountiful supplies of cake, and many cheered and clapped me in.  I felt quite the celebrity, that was two lots of being cheered within the hour if you count my toilet exit walk which clearly I do.  I always seem to be able to muster a final sprint, I think it’s born of fear they’ll move the finish further away if I don’t get there sharpish!

BP unexpected sprint finish

Thank you nice finish token dispenser.  Then through the funnel to the barcode scanner.

Then, well ohmygawd, it’s taken super-human strength of will not to blurt this out at the start, but at the moment my finish token was scanned, I bore witness to possibly the greatest innovation I have ever seen at a parkrun.  No really, and dear reader, I’ve seen the double funnel finish at Bushy parkrun, so I speak with some authority on this topic.  It was a barscanner cosy!  Lovingly knitted, each scanner had it’s own bespoke garment.  Genius.   Complete genius.

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I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm for this item, marginally coveted it even.  Anyway, this turned out to be a good thing, as I got chatting with the barcode scanner and a recent barcode scannee, and that was entertaining, which is the main point of parkrun.  I was going to say after the running bit, but we all know that’s a lie.  Nice to meet you my new parkrun friends, you were awesome (then again, all parkrunners are, so not unique in that respect, but isn’t it grand to be acknowledged as awesome all the same).  Told you I’d see you again in cyberspace!  (Enthusiastic virtual wave coming your way RIGHT NOW!)

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So they were my new best friends ever, but I abandoned them in favour of this star offering.  Anyone would have done the same, check out this cool dude, similarly decked out in his fifty milestone top.  Ben apparently.  There are a few celebrity parkrun dogs out there as you know. Graves has Lily the wonder dog with her very own portrait in the Graves park Rose Garden cafe and a 100 bandanna, I’m sure there are other barkrunners in abundance all over, but this mutt was special.  Oh, and he had a companion human along with him too, but it’s pretty clear who the star attraction was I think we can agree.  And he has his own barkcode too (sort of) long story.

So there we are, another parkrun done and – good news  people, my SoYo9 in the bag. Look, you can see it was 🙂

Soyo9

Just the quest for coffee remaining.  There was a bit queue at the cafe, but it did look like it did decent coffee, and I wanted to stay at the finish to cheer the final finisher home.  Quite a few people were doing likewise, well, all that cake wasn’t going to eat itself now was it.

The cafe queue was not fast moving, but the coffee was good.  It was also an opportunity to talk to other parkrunners.  My first conversation was around how taxing it was to choose coffee in these days of multiple choice offerings and extras.  I went for the flat white.  Whilst waiting for that, I got into conversation with some llama people.  I mean, they weren’t actually related to llamas as far as I know, but just people who appreciated them.  People who appreciated them sufficiently to have some re-useable coffee cups adorned with their likenesses.  Also, if I am to believe it, matching underwear too, though not in use today because sometimes going commando under running gear is preferable.   All I know is I was very impressed.  Home bargains too apparently, I’d had them down as more erm, frankly exclusive bit of merchandise, but this is a result.  Would it be too stalkery to source my own I wonder? Anyway, apart from swapping anecdotes about alpaca noises, we also swapped tales of parkrun tourism and fantasy destinations.  we both have our eyes on the one involving a ferry, unfortunately I can’t remember quite where it is – Shetland Islands maybe?  One day though dear reader, one day…

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Cheers alerted us to the returning final finisher hero so we joined the crowd to welcome him in.

Then we checked out what cake was left.  I had a slice of lemon cake, I felt a tad guilty for not having brought anything to share but then again there was mountains of the stuff, and I didn’t let the guilt get in the way of actually eating it.  Very hospitable crowd at Barnsley.

More chit-chat with one of the regular RDs, I expressed enthusiasm for the minions barcode countdown, but agreed not to let the compliment go any further, it would be our secret.  She was also able to fill me in on some background about the park and its history, which I learned is handily outlined on some of the signs near at hand, and explains the recurring train motifs.  Nice. Good to have local tourist guides when you are doing parkrun tourism jaunts.  I thank you!

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and then that was it, all over for another week.  I’d say a hit though.  I’d recommend this parkrun.  Very friendly, interesting park, good facilities, fine coffee and surely the innovative barscanner cosies alone are worth the trip?  Oh and the elevation – well, according to my Strava 328 ft, but it felt like more to be honest.  Then again, it always does.

Back through the park, few more scenic sights, and the delights of the secret alphabet steps within a little hidden grotto somewhere.  Isn’t that lovely.  But what were those weird cardboard circles on the grass about?  There were thousands of them.  Really, all in one big patch, like finding a mound of roman coins or something, only these were worthless, soggy and cardboard circa 2018 as opposed to a valuable, solid gold cache  circa 2500 BC.  Am I being naive here, is it a thing?  An installation art homage to the millstones of the peak district perhaps?

and a final browse through the offerings at the car boot sale.  I was amazed how much that had thinned out by now though, clearly with car boot sales, it’s the early bird that gets the proverbial worm – or chintzy home furnishings / choice knick knackery in this case.

One thing that made me smile was an overheard conversation as I wandered through.  One of the stall holders was on the phone talking about the car boot sale.  She was explaining how a bit after they’d set up there was suddenly this sea of people storming towards them off the horizon, and she had a moment of thinking ‘my we have an unexpected rush on‘ before clocking we were ‘some sort of runners‘.  Fair enough.  I love that though, the thought of several hundred people (343 to be precise) racing to get to the bric-a-brac ahead of everyone else, and the rising panic of the car boot stall holders watching it draw closer like pyroclastic flow.  Love parkruns, always a micro adventure in waiting, wherever you rock up.

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Bye bye Barnsley, thanks for the hospitality.  Hope to see some or indeed all of you again sometime in the future. I’m sure I will, it is the parkrun way.

🙂

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Oh, and back to post parkrun ding-dongs, here are some photos of people who did get to ring the PB bell, photos courtesy of the Barnsley parkrun facebook site, thank you people, and well done all!

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

Happy parkrunning til next time.  Feel the parkrun love and joy!

 

 

Categories: 5km, parkrun | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments

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