Posts Tagged With: Penistone parkrun

Taking the plunge on parkrainday aquaplaning the undulations at Sheffield Castle parkrun

Digested read:  went back to Sheffield Castle parkrun today, it rained.  It’s been a while.

Undigested read:

I wasn’t going to do a blog post today, as it’s sort of my home patch and I’ve done a post about Sheffield Castle parkrun before, loved it then, two years ago – they had tadpoles* for goodness sake – what’s not to like?  But then this is such a fabulous parkrun and so under-recognised in my view, I changed my mind.  Putting up a post, even if no-one ever reads it, is my way of sort of writing a thank you letter to the individual and collective awesomeness that is the Sheffield Castle parkrun team.  They are dedicated, welcoming and cheerful, and I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to come back for another visit.  It’s a great run, and hardly ever cancels.  Once because of black ice, and once because of another event in the park, which isn’t bad going for a parkrun which started way back in August 2013.  Today was their 318th run.  And the ratio of volunteers to runners is impressive, how they pull it off week in week out is a minor miracle.  It would take more than apocalyptic flooding for them to pull the plug on their run.  Though to be fair, the irony is if that flooding did make them pull a plug, then the water would all drain away and everyone could run without getting their feet wet, so they wouldn’t need to pull the plug after all.  I know, the contradictory logic messes with your head!  Still, point is, lovely parkrun, why not celebrate it in a post.   Thank you lovely Sheffield Castle parkrun people, your parkrun is epic, as indeed are you!

Also, on the subject of plug holes, check this one out at Ladybower, not a magic portal to a parallel universe unfortunately, but pretty impressive all the same, although not a good idea to dive into it I’d venture.  It would have taken something on this scale to dry out the roads of Sheffield this weekend though.

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So there has been was a lot of rain.  No really a lot.  They say every cloud has a silver lining, and that is true, but they also hold an enormous amount of rain, and a great many large clouds have been jettisoning biblical quantities of rain for what seems like forever.   This plays havoc with my parkrun plans!  What to do?  I was thinking earlier in the week of venturing away from Sheffield before winter properly sets in.  However, parkrunning tourism isn’t that appealing when it might involve aquaplaning down motorways in early morning darkness through zero disability torrential rain.  I’m a bit of chicken driving, unlike rats, surprisingly.  No really.  Look, it was on the BBC website so it must be true check this out:   Rats taught to drive tiny cars to reduce stress levels.  I mean, they’d probably be less stressed if not in a lab in the first place, but even so.  Amazing.  Counterintuitive, as I find driving incredibly stressful, but then again, I’m not a rat, and maybe the roads are better in Canada?

Fab ratmobile though…  I wonder if this was inspired by the bat or popemobile, or vice versa. So hard to establish what is cause and what is effect sometimes, or indeed correlation.  We live in a world of mystery and wonder.  On the subject of bats (yes we were, albeit tenuously) did you see this?  Sweetest thing ever.   Bumblebee bat apparently.

bumblebee bat avant gardens

Stop distracting me by asking about the bat, I’ll never get to tell you all about the Castle of parkrun adventure at this rate what with all these pesky interruptions!

The other complication, was the amount of cancellations popping up.  Wouldn’t want to risk life, limb and worst of all sense of humour bypass, from turning up somewhere only to find it cancelled at the last minute.  I’m desperate to get my running challenges gold running obsessive badge this year by completing 50 parkruns within one calendar year. I know it’s basically a virtual sticker chart for grown ups and inherently pointless, but I don’t care.  I seek it out.  This compulsion hurts no-one.  Sigh, it would be awesome on my profile…  Blooming love the Running Challenges Chrome Extension.

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I’ve actually not missed a parkrun this year, but at three of them I didn’t get to run.  Two of them I ended up watching with my mum including supporting her getting her Spirit of parkrun award which was amazing by the way (parkrun royalty, had to be done, and well worth it), and one I turned up at only to find it had been cancelled at the last minute due to high winds, which I completely support – difficult decision for RDs and all that – but it meant it was too late to go anywhere else.  Can’t afford for that to happen again this year.  I’ve just one parkrun in hand, perilously close… in my reach, but not in my reach, like blooming parkrun bingo.  The idea for Stopwatch Bingo , is that you collect all the seconds from 00 to 59 in your finishing times.  I’m on my 227th run, and yet STILL the 20 second time eludes me.  So near and yet so far.  Aaaargh.  Would today be the day I scooped it.  Spoiler alert, nope, it wouldn’t.  But I did a whole lot worse than that, though you’ll have to read on to find out why.  Blooming hate the Running Challenges Chrome Extension.  Pointless stress-inducing obsessive-behaviour-cultivating oojamaflip.   As if life isn’t fraught enough!

Where was I?  Oh yes, in Sheffield, watching the parkrun cancellations tally be revised ever upwards on the parkrun cancellations page.

parkrun cancellations

Bit of a theme emerging eh?  It’s worth looking at this page from time to time, some parkruns are quite creative with their cancellation reasons.  My favourite was one stating the parkrun had actual polar bears on their course, such were the arctic conditions, which I daresay they did, though I can’t remember which one it was now… oh hang on, I can check.  Give me a minute…  it was Bradford parkrun!  I mentioned it in an earlier blog post.  I’m almost disappointed they didn’t cancel today, because they have a gift for communicating their cancellation reasons.  They’d have been building an ark or something.  Wish we’d thought to do that in Sheffield too to be fair.  And, of course I wouldn’t really wish a parkrun cancellation on anyone.  The horror of turning up and finding only tumbleweed or a solitary sodden marshal detailed with breaking the bad news to you.  Too cruel anywhere, as has been said before…

Best stay local.  I was thinking Millhouses parkrun, to continue to support it, what with it being both local and new having only had its inaugural last Saturday.  Then that became definite, because I was going to stand in and be tailwalker for someone else (complicated story), and then there was a suggestion it might be cancelled, due to stretches being not so much puddled as underwater and then it was cancelled.  Oh dear.  Now where?  And then there was a chance Sheffield Hallam parkrun might be cancelled too, on account of the fact it basically being a pond.  I didn’t want to leave it too late to decide where to go if I was going to need to drive.  I wasn’t 100% about whether Graves parkrun would go ahead (also good choice for halloween theme of course) it usually does.  Then as I was browsing through various Sheffield parkrun Facebook pages there was a little comment on one of the posts for Sheffield Castle parkrun Facebook page, just saying almost coyly – ‘yes, we’ll be there in the morning‘ with some fine running emojis.

we ll be there

It was meant to be dear reader, it was meant to be.  I’m in!  Sheffield Castle parkrun has slipped off my radar lately, mainly because it involves driving without the incentive of Highland coos at the end of it, but it’s a great reliable parkrun, so why not.  Make a change.  It’ll be fun, it’ll be fine.

In the morning there was some conferring and some last minute call outs and checks.  Smilie Selfie Queen was going for Castle, Sheffield Hallam reported flooding but would try to go ahead -though not confirming til 8.30.  It’s astonishing those that did as well as those that didn’t.  Penistone parkrun cancelled the night before on account of a bog:

Sheffield Hallam parkrun went ahead, too good an opportunity for triathlon training to pass up.  Plus, must have been hilarious to be fair.  Not to mention a triumph of hope over experience, as one parkrunner at least clung to a King Canute like belief he could turn back the tide.  You have to admire this kind of tenacity, not to mention my boundless appreciation for any parkrunner who seemingly never travels without a yard broom in case of just such a parkrun eventuality.  Yes, that is on the actual course by the way, and what’s more, a bit you get to run/ splash/ swim through four times.  The joy!

Sheffield Castle parkrun facebook page hadn’t got a more recent update, but that’s OK, I’d go there.  Point of information if you don’t know this particular parkrun, it’s a really cool parkrun (get me and my trendy yoof speak**), small (by Sheffield standards) and ‘proper’ community one.  It’s held in Manor Fields Park, which to be honest, when I first moved to Sheffield about ten years ago had a reputation for being something of a dump.  Dog shit and fly tipping, a sad and derelict site.  In recent years, it has been utterly transformed with wildflower planting, sculptures and – best of all – it’s very own parkrun!

Sheffield Castle parkrun is small but perfectly formed, so we can forgive it for being devoid of an actual castle.  The committed team of volunteers who run it are locals invested in the area rather than necessarily runners as such. This gives the run a uniquely friendly, welcoming and community vibe.  It also has a sort of informality to it, which to the uninitiated may seem disconcerting. For example, if you look at the volunteering rota as a way to check its on as tourists often do (blank rota usually means no run) you’ll just see a void, stretching into eternity, it only gets populated immediately after the run when they are events processing for the days parkrun.  In fact, they don’t really bother with it in advance, they have a dedicated team, who presumably rock up each week and sort it out on the day I think.  It works anyway, but is unnerving if you are traveling any great distance I imagine!  Concord parkrun similarly don’t really bother with their volunteer roster in advance either.  Nerves of steel to travel a long way to go there too, but each Christmas day they deliver parkrun magic, no excel spreadsheet required!

castle vol rota

The website also doesn’t list any facilities, but dear reader, on arrival you will find there is a loo, and a little warm room to wait at the start and ‘free’ (for an optional donation) tea and coffee in the community room at the end. Some limited free parking, but it’s on a tram route so accessible by public transport anyway.  if you are driving, I went with the postcode for the premier store next door at 525 City Road with a postcode of S2 1GF, and that worked fine, but be warned, it isn’t a premier store anymore, it’s called something else, so you could miss the turning on arriva.  However, the postcode will get you there – make sure you don’t use the store carpark, turn into the Manor Fields Park area instead.

Right, whilst I’m doing the routine stuff, I might as well tell you about the course, don’t think I did last time, honestly can’t remember. Anyway, the Sheffield Castle parkrun course blah de blah on the official parkrun website describes it thus:

Course Description
The course consists of three laps of Manor Fields park in an anti-clockwise direction.
The Start/finish line is situated at the entrance to the park from the car park adjacent to York House, City Road.
From the start head east following the tarmac path which descends gently and then takes a more north easterly direction. Take a right fork climbing gently on a curved path towards the Queen Mary Road entrance to the park keeping the houses to your right.
Adjacent to the Queen Mary Road park entrance take a left turn following the tarmac path north east towards the children’s playground.
Immediately prior to the playground, at the cross roads, turn left and take the gentle descent north westerly. Continue along the tarmac path following it north keeping rocks to your right and over the discreet, level bridge.
Take the next available right and continue along the tarmac path in a generally northerly direction as it ascends ever more steeply towards the Raynald Road exit from the park.
Follow the tarmac path left and north west as it descends steeply towards the Manor Park Crescent park entrance keeping within the park boundaries following the path as it bends left passed the entrance heading south in a steady climb.
Stick to the main tarmac path as it bends south westerly and commences its steady climb past the cemetery entrance on the right back to the start/finish line.

Which makes it sound reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally complicated.  It’s not, you can either just follow the person in front, or just be guided by the strategically positioned cones and smiley marshals.  You won’t be lost.  You do need to be able to count to three though, or you might over or under shoot your parkrun experience.  It has happened.  I was definitely at a parkrun where a first timer did an extra lap once, but then again, I like to think how chuffed he would have been on completing his ‘difficult second parkrun’ where he must have got a stupendous personal best!  Not sure if that would be absolute consolation though.

The course looks like this:

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What they don’t tell you with quite sufficient emphasis in my opinion, is that it’s Sheffield Flat.  i.e. undulating, i.e. some really quite big hills, two in fact, each of which you do three times.  The views are fab though, and what goes up must come down, so you do get to whizz down them again, which is always a boon.

Anyway, that’s the background info.  My day involved waking up early and thinking it was the middle of the night it was so pitch dark outside.  It wasn’t.  It sounded like torrential rain was beating down on my attic window, shudder.  It was.  This was definitely going to be a wet one. What’s more, at the minute my back is stuffed, so I’m just walking.  In a way, this was something of a relief as it legitimised me wearing waterproofs and even a scarf and woolly hat, but I am getting so sick of not being able to run or do anything very much.  It’s soooooooooooooooo frustrating just pootling round, I wonder if I’ll ever get back to running again, however ineffectually.  Mind you, pootling might be the better option to running to the point of collapse.  Super speedy runners are impressive, but sometimes I worry they don’t have as much fun as the walkers.  Here’s one trying to emulate Mr Kipchoge’s marathon pace for just a kilometer.

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It didn’t end well.  Worth a gander though, and if it’s still raining and you now know what happened in the Rugby***, what else are you going to do today?

Sometimes slow and steady will get you there more reliably.  Hare and tortoise anyone?  For longer distance challenges, pause for a moment to celebrate this woman.  Maggie Guterl.

Maggie Gurtel winner ultra

Oh yes she did!!! Maggie Guterl just won Big’s Backyard Ultra. She ran 250 miles straight and was on her feet for 60 hours!! She is the last WOMAN standing and the first woman to win this race. History is made and barriers have been smashed.

Both ends of the distance are impressive.  Beyond impressive, but I’m thinking for me the goldilocks zone is somewhere between a flat out 1 miler and 250 miles straight (averaging 4.1 miles an hour – about my parkrun speed today, so I’m on target 😉 ) that is, a nice 5k parkrun distance.  I’ll try that, but note the achievements of others in terms of acknowledging what is possible.  Maybe not for each one of us, but within the potential of humankind at least.

So up and out and off to Sheffield Castle parkrun.  My satnav obviously felt my life needed an element of surprise and enrichment, and not only took me the most roundabout route imaginable, I’m pretty sure I went via Aberystwyth, or possibly Cape Pembroke Lighthouse parkrun, but also had a 3 second delay as the signal dropped in and out, so I kept misunderstanding or missing altogether directional instructions.  Probably those things are related, but I choose to believe my satnav is sentient and mischievious, trick or treating me in keeping with the season.

It was pyjama parkrun day, so in theory you could run with your duvet, which would have been fab, but susceptible to extreme waterlogging, so that didn’t happen. Oh well.

I still arrived really early, and was seriously impressed to see a cheery finish funnel already up.  Welcoming lights gleamed out from the community building, this run was happening!

I love the sculptures in this park too, they truly are spectacular.  It’s a while since I’ve been, and I went for a quick wander a  gander.  I  think it was winter when I was here last, so I didn’t fully appreciate the amazing wetland bit with huge bulrushes and boardwalks as well as ducks, and I do love a duck as my regular reader will know.  There was also a great playground, and even though it’s basically winter now, still lots of flowers around.  It’s an amazing place.  It has taken real imagination, passion and dedication to transform this site, it’s astonishing.  It’s not promising when you approach, and then you find the oasis of green space for wildlife and people alike.

I also spotted another slow and steady potential parkrun participant.  This is the parkrun pact, thou shalt not finish last, there shalt be a tailwalker, and possibly even a mollusc, to reassure you there is a chance you’ll get to storm ahead of some living creature at least!

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And, for the first time, I spotted this fabulous revelation.   Finally, a pb parkrun, even if three laps!  I know, I know, the jokes been made before, but with an open goal like this one what are you supposed to do?  It might be raining, but this is doable, very doable indeed!

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It was definitely still raining, really rather a lot.  So I used the facilities for my precautionary pee.  Top tip, the light switch is inside and low down, you will be plunged into darkness if you shut the door first without locating it.  Just passing on the info for a friend, obvs.  Next door there is a store room, where the innovative Sheffield Castle parkrun team have completely solved the impossible challenge of working out how to pack away the start/finish banner.  Just leave it popped up the whole time!  Genius.  No more ritual humiliation trying to contort the parkrun pop-up banner cat back in the proverbial bag! Talented team here at Manor Fields Park like I said.

I went to join the little huddle in the brightly lit community room.  I didn’t take a picture as it didn’t seem appropriate.  But volunteers were assembling and hot steaming cups of tea and coffee were available as hi-vis was donned.  A few tourists appeared, I like to think it was quality if not quantity.  Some from Nottingham, braving it in shorts – skin is waterproof being their mantra.  I know they are right, but even so, brave and bold parkrunners there.  Properly hardcore.  There was a Rother Valley ‘local’, who like me had decided venturing too far for tourism with so many cancellations potentially pending was not the best move, so keeping it relatively local and visiting a too long neglected parkrun friend.  There were also some refugees from Millhouses parkrun as well as some who were clearly regulars.  A friendly and even optimistic vibe.  Call that rain?  Hardly drizzling!

This parkrun prides itself on starting bang on 9.00 (my watch today said I started my run at 9.01, which is pretty darned close).  So about 15 minutes before the run director braved the rain to put out the final course touches pre run briefings.  Seeing the activity, parkrunners began to emerge from their cars like crabs from under rocks.  It’s always amazing how from nothing a parkrun appears just at the last minute.

The unique selling point of this parkrun is that the volunteers are all spectacularly photogenic, and also have the most extensive collection of golfing umbrellas ever held aloft at a parkrun.  FACT****.  I had no idea golf was so big up at the Manor.  Assume nothing dear reader, rather expect and embrace the unexpected.  I don’t know (or care) enough about golf to make any golf-related small talk, but if it’s your thing I daresay you could give it a whirl.

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Whilst chatting with volunteers I also learned more about Manor Fields.  For example, it was among the first in the UK to adopt

an exemplar SuDS system reproducing natural wetland features to assist with drainage solutions designed to cope with major wet weather incidents.

That means, all the run off from the surrounding houses collects in Manor Fields, and so creates that amazing wetland habitat.   I also learned that the work that has gone into creating wildlife habitat has started to pay off.  I’m not a twitcher as such, so might be getting this wrong, but various endangered species have somewhat surprisingly found a safe haven here, including I think the grasshopper warbler.   According the the RSPB website:

The high, insect-like reeling song of the grasshopper warbler is the best clue to its presence. Even when you hear one it can be difficult to locate it due to the ventriloquial effect of its singing. If seen on migration it moves like a little mouse, creeping through the foliage. Dramatic population declines have made this a Red List species.

Who knew a bird could be a ventriloquist!  Every day’s a learning day!

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So that was great, but we were here to parkrun, and so volunteers headed off to the far corners of the fields, and parkrunners materialised in time for briefings.

Smiley Selfie Queen and her making-an-effort comrade were just in time arrivals, but appropriately attired.  Good work my running friends, good work.  Also, handily posing in the doorway of the community room, so you get a little hint of how welcoming and roasty toasty it was in there, pre or post run.

CS made an effort

There was a little comradely huddle of first timers:

the atmosphere built, the crowds assembled:

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and then the RD was astride his podium.  I like to think this was put in place especially for this purpose, but reluctantly concede it is part of the kit for an outdoor gym type initiative:

The brief was pretty focused and brief, with a pleasingly attentive but small cluster of a select 56 runners.  A late arrival didn’t mean there wasn’t time for a bit of parkrun posing.  Shame not to.  After all, if you can’t flash your boo at the parkrun nearest to halloween, when can you?  There were some fine skeleton earrings donned by a participant today, but you might need to be rather eagle eyed to spot them.  … Anyway, ages since I’ve been at such an intimate parkrun gathering.

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quick shuffle round to get in position

and then – a la junior parkrun – there was a collective countdown from ten, nine, eight… to go!  This was great, as it meant I had an accurate start time, creating the giddy possibility I might be able to help along acquisition of my last outstanding parkrun bingo number.  Ye gods, if only!

Awf we went.  Two tail walkers at the back, I wanted to keep just ahead of them.  Despite appreciating the social aspect of parkrun, I can’t bear running with other people, I just find it really stressful.  There was a jeffing run/walker with the tails, so I sort of did impromptu jeffing to keep just away from them, but interspersed with pauses for photo ops.  One thing about being really slow at the moment, is I can appreciate routes more and stop to take pictures on the way round.  Might as well quite frankly.  I think I overheard the tailwalkers say to one another ‘oh no, only runners today!’ which made me feel better in the event I was last one in.  They were looking forward to a walk and talk perhaps.  They were lovely anyway, I warned them I might have to walk a lot because of my back and they just said ‘no problem, that’s what we’re here for’ and more than saying it, clearly meant it.  I could feel the wave of relief wash over me.   The inclement weather did seem to mean only the more hardcore runners had turned out, numbers were definitely down – well, that and the Rugby apparently – so fewer slow and steady participants than usual perhaps.

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It’s a three lapper, and I normally don’t like them, but honestly, there’s so much of interest to look at going round this course is isn’t boring at all.  You can see the other runners in the distance, you can admire the views across Sheffield or the cemetery, you can admire the autumn leaves on the trees or the weird and wondrous sculptures, AND, as if that wasn’t bounty enough, you can interact with the cheery marshals on the way round.  No chance of getting bored here! 

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You start off down hill, but pretty soon have to go up, but it’s fun, no really it is, like a DIY roller coaster.  And it looked spectacular.  Those golfing umbrellas are great for creating a cheery and colourful vibe too!

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Check out the wildflowers too.  Reet nice oot!  Reet nice marshals too, which was fortuitous as you pass them at least three times, more if you are wandering around pre and post parkrun.  Here is one, strategically places at the bottom of heartbreak hill.

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What’s that you say?  Why heartbreak hill?  Erm. Tell you what, come find out for yourself, put on a spurt as you go past the entrance to the conveniently placed cemetery and you might be able to make an educated guess.  Alternatively, if like me you are walking at parkrun on the day, you can pause to admire the bog plants thriving at the wayside, look in admiration at the community orchard, planted so people can help themselves to the fruitful bounty (brilliant idea, don’t know if that’s a thing elsewhere too) and watch in wonder as front runners – admittedly somewhat sodden, come steaming by!

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Walking at parkrun is fine by the way, parkrun are rather proud of their walkers as it shows it is creating opportunities to be active for people who might not otherwise be so.  There is even a Walking at parkrun Facebook group.  Good to know.

You have a tantalising glimpse of the finish funnel, with a concentration of high-vis heroes all tooled up and ready to go, and then round you go for lap two.  Or lap three, if you are faster than me, and have just lapped me.

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Ding ding, round two.  Looking lovely curving round the uphill ahead.

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I love that you can see the houses, it really highlights how the park is city based resource.  There weren’t all that many other users out and about today, a couple of dog walkers.  And one guy with a huge umbrella in one hand and an enormous bap in the other, chomping away.  I’m not going to line, I did have a moment of thinking his approach to a walk in the park looked like it was potentially a bit more fun than mine – but then again, he didn’t have the camaraderie of an entire parkrun community alongside him.  Though he did have breakfast…  tough call.  Still, no breakfast is better than a post parkrun breakfast.  FACT!*****

As I went round again, I espied a different style umbrella, this one with unicorns.  Not real unicorns, just a pattern of them.  Not sure if this was here as an emergency resource, much like one of the volunteers was despatched to their spot clutching a first aid kit, and there’s a defibrillator somewhere – or if it was just soooooooooooooo wet now, even the bushes wanted a bit of respite from the inclement weather.

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Round we go, wave at marshals, back to heartbreak hill, oh look, more runners coming through, and sprinting to their finish.  Yay!  Go them.  Some still had time to shout encouragement or offer up a cheery wave as they sped on by.

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Past the finish again.  Inexplicably, I am never thought to have already done two laps, but I got cheers of encouragement as I set off for the final lap.

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In truth, I think it was me, the jeffer behind and the tail walkers on our own for the final lap.  A couple of the volunteers had started to wander back towards the start to see where we were.  They were still directing, just checking everything out, which was fair enough.  The tailwalkers were a bit further back, as they ‘released’ marshals as they passed, and scooped up the cones that had signalled the way.

In the final stretch, Smiley Selfie Queen appeared.  I thought she’d have had to rush off, so that was great.  And also, of course she obliged with photos.  Yay!  I concede I’m hardly dressed for running, but I was dressed for the elements.  And I still got wet through to my knickers.  It was a wet one, seriously, very wet indeed!

CS not very action stations

Finally, the end was in sight, and I glimpsed my watch.  Oh.  My.  Gawd.  So close to time, I jogged and then sprinted through the finish, and the time called something 20!!  BINGO!!  BLOOMING BINGO!!!  DONE IT DONE IT DONE IT!!!  If this comes good, I’ll get a pointless virtual badge that only I can see on my running profile!  I wondered if it was cheating to have helped it along, but decided not, because it’s not like I waited, and it’s so arbitrary, and anyway, it felt goo.  Hurrah.  This is the parkrun that keeps on giving.  Could this get any better?

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Through the fun of the funnel, token issue, 15th birthday flat-band scanned.  Job done.  Smilies reunited.  Boo!  I wasn’t alone in getting wet en route methinks!

Time for the obligatory group selfie, courtesy of Smiley Selfie Queen and facilitated by a volunteers golfing umbrella!

CS selfie

And that was that.  Team stood down.  Course dismantled, and volunteers disappearing off to the community hut, splashing through the standing water en route to get there.

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I had wanted to stay for coffee to be sociable, but I was so wet I decided to head home after thanking the team.  It was an excellent choice, and I’m really glad to have Sheffield Castle parkrun back on my radar once again.  It’s such an intimate run, and it’s an interesting course, challenging if you want it to be, but supportive if you are wanting to take it more slowly for whatever reason.  A good inclusive parkrun community.

Rained on the way home, but some nice views across the city from on high.  Don’t worry, I was stationary when I took the photo.

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And as I stepped through my front door, super fast results processing meant I heard the ping of the results coming through on my phone.  Just a formality to check.  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  Not my twenty second time as expected, worse it was twenty-one seconds.  One second awry!  That’s hard to take dear reader, I’d rather miss it by a mile.   If there’s one thing worse than not getting a bingo number, it is to miss it by just one second.  I don’t think I’m ever going to get that elusive 20, it is so very random.  Oh well, perhaps I should be grateful to have it still outstanding and something to chase.  Who knows, when all my bingo dreams are fulfilled, perhaps life will seem strangely pointless?  Best not to know.

Oh, and in a parallel universe, they were showcasing the joy of running, if not singing in the rain over at Sheffield Hallam parkrun. Good work behind the camera George, with these pics you have surpassed even yourself!  Just a bit of surface water, no great drama.

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There was a fair bit of water at Poolsbrook parkrun too!  Never have so many parkrunners had soooooo much fun, splashing through puddles.  You have to pity the poor trolls that normally live under the Poolsbrook parkrun bridge – where would they have gone to hide?  Heaton parkrun had a water feature too! 

So that’s that, thank you fellow parkrunners in general and Sheffield Castle parkrun team in particular for another precious parkrunday.  What a cracking parkrun Sheffield Castle is, I’m not going to leave it quite so long between visits next time!  Special thanks to the amazing volunteers who kept cheerful and enthusiastic with their clapping and directional pointing despite what might be referred to euphemistically as ‘sub-optimal’ conditions. You are all superstars!

What did we ever do with our Saturday mornings before.  I know one thing, as I stood dripping in my hallway, gazing at my one second out bingo time, there is no way on earth I’d have spontaneously out of the house for any sort of outdoor exercise today were it not for the pull of parkrun.  It’s been life changing for me as well as life enhancing.  #loveparkrun hope you do too!

That’s it for now then.  Don’t forget, clocks go back tonight, we all get an extra hour in bed in which to dream about parkrun, sigh.  Lucky it was a day full of adventures!

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You can waste more hours of your life by reading all my parkrun related posts here.  Or not.  It’s up to you.  You’ll need to scroll down for older entries though.  Enter at your own risk.

You’re welcome.

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*just to be clear, the tadpoles were present, but not actually participating. That would be stupid.  Little did I know back then that 2 1/2 years later, I’d have tadpoles of my own.  Just goes to show, you never really know what the future holds.  Giddy times.

**sarcasm alert people, sarcasm alert.

***don’t tell anyone, but I don’t really care about the Rugby, and haven’t found out the result yet therefore.  Hence you’ll find no spoilers here.

****Lucy fact, that is, I choose to believe this to be true.  Works for me.

*****also Lucy fact.

Categories: 5km, parkrun, running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Phew what a scorcher! Pounding the Pennine paths at Penistone parkrun.

Digested read:  did Penistone parkrun.  It’s on the Trans Pennine Trail.  Out and back with a XC twist.

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Undigested read:

There isn’t a chrome extension running challenges badge yet for ‘body parts’, but I daresay it is only a matter of time before there is so I thought I might as well get this parkrun in early in eager anticipation of the inevitable. To the immature, that might sound childish, but it isn’t really, it’s just pragmatic.  Also, just so you know, it was also not childish at all to have sniggered at the Facebook post I read online somewhere about someone who’d suggested to a deaf friend that they try Penistone parkrun out next.  However, they couldn’t properly use British Sign Language so were spelling it out a single letter at a time, this led to both much wide-eyed incredulous raising of eyebrows and subsequent mutual guffawing.  Can’t just pretend not to notice the name can we, especially given the idiosyncrasies of my satnav’s pronunciation and diction!

Penistone parkrun is a relatively new kid on the parkrun block, this was only their event number two, but it is, or rather was until just after 9.30 today, my Nearest Event Not Done Yet NENDY, and so I was keen to get over and give it a whirl.  I avoided their inaugural last week, in case they were hoping for a low profile start – parkrun etiquette favours avoiding inaugurals unless they are your new local to avoid overwhelming the event teams and scaring them off!  However, I gather it was absolutely heaving last week, quite a party by all accounts, so word got out somehow.  To be fair, there are some thriving running clubs in the vicinity and of course the lure of The Trunce nearby, so perhaps it is destined to be one of the bigger parkruns. Hurrah!  Lyme park parkrun was pretty fine and dandy too though, just so you know.  They have had a fire at Lyme park since which is terrible news, hope it recovers OK.  All news seems depressing at the moment, although I did hear that hives of bees survived the fire at Notre-Dame, so there is the occasional glimmer of hope in dark times.  Don’t you think the hives look a bit like beach huts though?  No?  Just me then…  not for the first time.

Where was I?  Oh yes, heading to Penistone parkrun as my newly launched NENDY.  It’s an easy run out – well drive in my case – from Sheffield, although I do find the route keeps you on your toes.  The speed limit on the A61 Penistone Road changes with such frequency it’s like participating in a reflex test in the Crystal Maze or doing a pilots proficiency test or something.  You really need to keep your wits about you. Even on the ‘faster’ sections, there are constant ‘warning slow down’ signs to 40 or 35.  This wouldn’t have been quite so bad, except that some bastard car was tail gating me apparently oblivious to the changing speed limits, I was scared it was going to turn into a hatchback version of the film Duel, and I’d miss parkrun.  I know!  Can you imagine?  Unthinkable.

I made it in one piece, it was misty to start, but promising to be a scorchio day.  You drive through some pretty lovely scenery, not spectacular like Winnats Pass perhaps, but pretty nice, farm land and past the intoxicating promise of the turn off to The Trunce.  Finally, I arrived at Penistone Tesco!  Not the most inspiring of locations in and of itself.  I was a bit sheepish about parking up in there, but that’s what the course instructions said.  I read the parking signs with care, but couldn’t see a time limit, and I figured I’d do a shop there post-run anyway.  I also took solace from seeing another parkrunner had got there even earlier and parked up their camper van really close.  If they were that brazen, I could be too!

Officially, there are no toilets at the start of this parkrun, but unofficially, there are some nice ones in Tesco.  I joined the steady stream of parkrunners traipsing through.  How Tesco feel about being unofficial sponsors of the Penistone parkrun event is currently undocumented.+ The proliferation of running tees in general and parkrun tees in particular was a bit of a giveaway as to the origin of this sudden influx of trainer wearing people.  All the best people were hanging out by the loos – I got to bump into Smiley Selfie Queen for the first time in a while, sporting her Sheffield Half tee.  I admit to some runner envy there. It’s a really cool t-shirt, good colour.  I just wasn’t fit enough to make the start line, but definitely feel like I’ve missed out. Yes, there is always next year, but what if the t-shirt is fluorescent yellow or lime green again?  I shudder at the very thought.

+Edit – alas, we do know as of 10 May 2019.  They are now unimpressed and have requested that parkrunners refrain from parking in their carpark or using their loos. It was perhaps only a matter of time before they did so.  I concede they have a point, it is a relatively small tesco after all.  If you use an official pay and display somewhere you can then seek out an independent coffee shop afterwards angst free.  Would recommend 🙂 .

I dumped my dark glasses in the car – not that I didn’t need them, but they are my expensive prescription ones and I was scared of losing them – took time out to cheerily point a fellow parkrunner in what turned out to be completely the wrong direction to get to the start.  Oops. Never saw them again either, hope they made it – and then rejoined Smiley Selfie Queen and her entourage so we could go to the start together.  For future reference, the start is at the back of Tescos and to the right hand side.  Just stand in front of the store, and go to the right, following the signs to the Trans Pennine Trail.

You can’t go wrong really, unless you make the mistake of asking someone like me, nope, scratch that, not like me, actually me.  Don’t think anyone else would have been quite so spectacularly wrong.  In my defence, it’s because I was having some distressing flash backs.  I’d been here before.  For my ill-advised foray into cross country hosted at Penistone, which I think must be an acquired taste, I found it humiliating and traumatic.  NEVER AGAIN.   That event started slightly higher up the field and was indeed accessed by the stairs round the back of Tesco on the left hand side, so my directional advice earlier on may have been delusional and distinctly unhelpful but it wasn’t actually deranged.

Burdened by negative thoughts and replayed humiliations, I was therefore feeling significant apprehension as we wended our way down to the start.  Oh gawd, that blooming field, I remember running round that and being lapped and wanting to die, those sentiments have never featured in the parkrun rule book surely?  Gulp.  Yesterday, was hot, cross bun day, I wasn’t reckoning on being hot and cross today as well!  I was anxious not only about the course, but the rising temperature, I was wearing waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many clothes.  It was good to have some familiar faces around to calm my nerves.

The start was by a skate park, which handily concealed the start flag, however, there was quite a gathering of people so you couldn’t really miss where to go.  There didn’t seem to be anyone wearing hi-vis to start with, but maybe they don them at the last-minute or something, as ‘suddenly’ just before the RD briefing there seemed to be loads, like a flash mob or something.

Whilst waiting for the start some time for a few mandatory selfies, hurrah.  Lucky I had some expert assistance on hand to ensure these were achieved to acceptable quality control standards, thank you Smiley Selfie Queen, you never disappoint!  She has a special tee shirt now you know, though wasn’t wearing it today. I’ll try and find it, just so you know I’m not making that up.  Here you are – this one is at Graves parkrun, another fab one by the way, highland coos en route, can’t go wrong with an offer like that.

Smiley Selfie Queen at Graves

Good to get a random runner who knows how to pose in front of the obligatory signpost too.  This bodes well.

I gazed about, watched people warming up, dumped my fleece

Then I had a genius idea!  I decided to clamber up one of the skate boarding ramps to get some nice aerial views of the starters, looked a picture from up there:

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Genius indeed!  Unfortunately, I then realised it was actually quite a daunting prospect to clamber down the ramp, wet with morning dew and super-slippery.  This is how cats end up stuck up trees.  There was a definite risk of somersaulting down ar*e over t*t, I decided the lesser indignity of going down on my backside was the way to go.  I descended in one piece, edging my way down behind a very small child who was adopting the same strategy.  It takes a toddler to teach us how to interact appropriately with our environmental challenges at times!

Nine o-clock was approaching, and the hi-vis heroes started to materialise

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The RD was looking super-cool, surveying the field from on high. He just materialised up there too, like when they use the teleporter on Star Trek (the original series of course) and just beam people right in.  I don’t know for sure, because I’d run off by that point, but I bet he didn’t have to just slide down the ramp on his arse when the time came for him to get off.  Plus he was holding a clip board, life can bestow on you no greater responsibility and status of importance than that.

Astonishingly, there was silence for the run director’s briefing.  This is really good, but does suggest to me that people were quiet perhaps because they were, like me, newbies, and needed to hear.  This raises the awful possibility, that people who regularly shout talk through run briefings are in fact the parkrun regulars who should really know better!  It infuriates me when people talk through the intros, it’s right up there as on offence along with failing to return library books, just soooooooooooooo anti-social.  Anyway, it was refreshing to see a bit of courtesy extended to the team, who are, after all, relatively new to this although the event ran like a well-oiled machine so if there was any event organisation stress going on, it wasn’t in evidence.

The course was explained, oh ye gods – you do have to start AND FINISH, by running round that blooming field.  Curses.  Then it’s out and back along the trail, trying not to collide with the barriers at various points.  I’ve seen loads of runners run into such obstacles, so that advice was by no means sarcastic, but sincerely meant!  He also said about juniors needing to be with a responsible adult as opposed to any old adult.  Few nervous parkrunners out there on the course on hearing that I shouldn’t wonder.  That bit of information could be a game changer!

Oh, hang on, you probably want to know the course don’t you?  Erm, it’s described on the Penistone parkrun official website blah de blah thus:

Beginning by the skate park the route follows the perimeter of the playing field in an anticlockwise direction and then exits left on to the Trans Pennine Trail heading towards Millhouse Green. It is out and back along the trail turning at the bench immediately before the Millhouse Green Crossing. On return to the park, enter at the Stottercliffe entrance and continue straight ahead once again following the perimeter of the field to the finish at the approach to the swing park. The course is a combination of gravel paths, grass and trail.

and it looks like this:

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I think the parkrun shape is a bit like a bent parkrun directional arrow, but then again, I’ve probably done a few too many junior parkrun set ups.  It’s quite fun coming up with interpretations of the Strava images of parkruns.  There was a thread on just this topic recently.  Hilarious, will try to find the link and borrow from it for your enlightenment and amusement.  Oh in the meantime, have you come across this ‘parkrun shape’ gizmo courtesy of Andrew Chilcraft?  Tells you how many laps each route is.  Fab eh?

Hang on, found it!  ‘If you look at your parky what shape does it make?‘ Rolls up sleeves – so can you make out the sperm; the squirrel pouring water into a pond from a watering can; the cowboy boot; the footprint with missing toes; the gurning one-eyed robot; the mini Australia; the duck eating spaghetti; the one that if you squint looks a bit like a child’s drawing of a house (genius work there – had me fooled) to describe (tortuously) but a few?  What a troubled creative lot parkrunners are!

I dare say, over time, someone will come up with a better interpretation of the Penistone parkrun shape, than ‘bent parkrun flag’, watch this space.  Or better yet, the Peniston parkrun Facebook page, reckon it will be cited there first.

According to my Strava it was 107 foot of elevation – no idea if that is accurate, but might be, might not.  It’s all flat really, apart from the Horrid Hill at the start.

Brief intro from the RD, applause for the volunteers, and then we were off.  Up and round the cross country field, in my case trying to avoid both crying too noticeably or being trampled.  It’s shortish, wettish grass, and up hill.  The only plus side to this start, is that you get to see the sight of the faster runners trailing off in front of you in all their picturesque glory.  It is indeed a sight to behold.

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The smiling marshals dotted along the way offered some solace, but I can’t lie, I wouldn’t relish that as the start of my home parkrun – though I suppose as you got better at it, you would feel great satisfaction in doing so.  Teasingly, you pass through the finish funnel very early on, at least this forewarns you that you will be required to tackle the hill again at the climax of your parkrun.

There is a nice bit of downhill, and then you slalom through the offset barriers to get onto the Trans Pennine Trail itself.  There was so much red and white warning tape, it was like there had a been a major incident there but moments previously.

Joking apart, I can see how you might crash into it what with the forward momentum from sprinting so fast (cough) down hill and being part of a crowd of other runners so you couldn’t quite see what was ahead.  It was very well marshalled, and today, as far as I could tell, their collective vigilance paid off.  Nobody winded themselves – or worse –  running into them, no incident reporting required today!

I felt palpable relief when we got onto the trail.  Even though you are barely underway, I felt less conspicuous somehow, and the flashbacks to getting stuck in tiny tyres in school obstacle course races (true story) abated as I trotted along the path along with everyone else.  It’s basically an out and back course really.  The Trans Pennine Trail was surprisingly picturesque, if you take a moment to look left and right there are some good views from the path.  I took this to the next level, taking several moments to stop and take pictures.  I nearly caused just the one pile up, for which I apologised profusely to a very forgiving fellow runner, but I inspired envy in another ‘I wish I’d thought to bring my camera with me so I’d have an excuse for stopping all the time‘ she lamented.  That’s me rumbled then.

There are some cool bridges to pass under along the way, one had mini bicycles adorning it, I like that.  I liked that a lot.  I wonder how they got to be there.

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One is either a stunt rider, or falling off.  I wonder if it’s like the Bayeux tapestry, or the Game of Thrones tapestry, and is representing actual stories?

Incidentally, did you know an Oxford Don has counted the number of penises in the Bayeux tapestry and it is 93, of which 88 belong to horses and 5 to humans (men for the most part I’m going to presume).  The professor concludes that the tapestry was therefore made by men since:

the evidence points to the embroiderers being male. ‘This is just the sort of thing which will be familiar to anyone who has spent any time in a boys’s school, but seems unlikely to have been the product of a female mind,’ he wrote in a BBC article. Now we know what fragile masculinity looked like in the 11th century.

All sounds very peculiar to me.  That’s his idea of academic rigour is it?  Mind you, we women are all made of sugar and spice and all things nice*, so perhaps he has a point….  However, it just goes to show the perils of using google search engines to search for historical tapestries just after searching for Penistone, computer algorithms eh?  Not inherently smutty perhaps, but reflecting the cultural context in which they operate and everybody is currently googling if not actual porn, then something titillating for the weekend.  Did you know somebody using the search term ‘Dogging in Endcliffe park‘ was directed to my blog.  I wrote a post especially for them, how disappointed they must have been!

I digress, which has never happened before – where was I.  Oh yes – Game of Thrones was a documentary right?  I think I may be the only person in the known universe who hasn’t seen it.  I’m a late adopter for lots of these things.  Shame.  The problem is I stuck with Lost, and it let me down.  Most anti-climactic ending of all time – actually, I bailed before the last series, once I cottoned on to the fact it wasn’t ‘clever’ writers making the plot so confusing, it was writers who hadn’t expected to have their bluff called by writing another series. They also had no idea where the story line(s) were going.  That’s hours and days and weeks of my life I’ll never get back  It’s no wonder I have trust issues these days, I just wont enter relationships with long series anymore, for fear of history repeating itself.  At least with Jessica Fletcher you know where you are, and also, she’s a parkrunner, even got a cow cowl themed neckerchief (stolen observational humour, thank you Bob Jones) – its similarity to my cow cowl buff is unmistakable, must be the American equivalent.  She sports hers with a bit more flamboyant bravado – could catch on.

So off I trotted, feeling waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too hot.  It was fairly crisp first thing, but as soon as the sun peaked out it was tough going for me at least.  I’m not good in heat.  It was a pretty full field here at Penistone parkrun, but it didn’t feel congested, I think the hill and field at the start spreads everyone out quite well.  The instruction is to keep to the right, but obviously you also need to give way to other users of the path, there didn’t seem to be all that many others out and about, a few runners coming cheerily in the opposite direction, but nothing that created a problem as far as I can see.   Though I did eavesdrop a interaction between an adult and junior and I could have sworn it was along the lines of ‘you are supposed to be at arm’s length’ as opposed to ‘within arm’s length’.  Nice twist on a theme there.  I’m better than I used to be around children since I got involved with junior parkrun (which for the record is the best thing in the world ever, FACT), those youngsters are hilarious, fantastic, inspirational and joy-filled – but I can lapse into fearfulness with unknown children as I don’t really know how to interact with them.  There have been many occasions previously when been instructed to keep a child at arm’s length would have been hugely helpful, reassuring and indeed most excellent advice.  … I don’t know for sure that that would extend to practical parenting skills though.  Then again, what do I know?

There was a lovely cross-section of participants.   All ages, all shapes and sizes, some very speedy buggy runners, one at least of whom disappeared over the horizon before I’d run five paces.  A couple of dogs on short leads, tails wagging.  It was an extremely good-natured parkrun, and it felt more established than it is.

Through the trees, under another bridge, gaze about.  Inevitably, there came a point when faster runners were coming back the other way, looking super speedy, and focused.  Also, like they were really pushing themselves.  I must try that for myself sometimes and see how I get on.  Scary thought, I do tend to stay in my comfort zone (I use the term loosely) I should really try to see how fast I can run flat-out one day, I’m scared of falling though, and that’s not completely irrational, last time I ran as fast as I could I ended up breaking my knee cap running into a low brick wall (in my defence it was dark at the time), and you’d have to concede that would put anyone off running really fast ever again surely.  I’d put 50p on that none of these front-runners have ever broken their knee cap as a result of collision with a brick wall whilst running.  Not one.  (Some of them will have done the odd face plant though for sure, goes with the running territory)

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They were a safety conscious lot at this parkrun, so wherever there was a gate, or similar potential obstacle, there was a marshal in place to offer support and, somewhat superfluous, directional pointing.  Super friendly to the last.  There were various running marshals visible en route as well, and that worked well, and is probably a good idea on a well-used public trail like this one.

Eventually, you approach the well-coned turn around point.

Cheery marshals waved you in.  That’s great, but, bit of feedback for the organising team, it did feel a bit too much like the finish funnel as opposed to the half-way point, could have raised some false hope there, for first-timers, oh and for me too, now I come to think of it. Actually, scratch that, maybe that’s why as you head back the way you’ve come from they’d got their inspirational tee in place to get you going again 🙂

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Going back seemed a lot quicker, it always does.  I appreciated the bird carving, which was keeping an eagle eye on us runners (gawd, I’m hilarious – can you see what I’ve done there)

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It was good to see the tail, cheerily marching at the rear, and quite a novelty for me to pass someone still coming out as I was on the way back.  I’ve been final finisher plenty of times.

It was but a hop, skip and a jump back.  I met a fellow Graves junior hi-vis hero who’d already finished and was coming back out again to meet another runner, I parasitised the advice a responsible adult was giving his accompanying junior, ‘count down from ten, then we’ll run to the bridge‘ whilst really wishing I’d gone for short sleeves and left my buff at home

Took in the sunshiney views and nearly went over on my ankle – made a good recovery though

At some point, I espied the parkrun photographer, taking shots from quite low down.  I immediately adopted my apparently nonchalant running gait, and then impulsively went with the not-at-all nonchalant grimace and wave seen a photographer AND a marshal oh my god how exciting pose.  We shall see if it makes the cut. BREAKING NEWS I did!  Here it is dear reader, a rare moment of smiling and running at the same time.

SF here I am

Steve Frith regularly turns out to take epic photos at running events locally, they really raise the bar in terms of action shots, often ‘telling a story’ or including character capturing portraits.  We shall see – I’ll be looting those that end up on Facebook later.

Here is but one story, to whet your appetite, this is how the parkrun relationship starts, ‘I’ll just try it once‘ you say, and then week two you are back again – this picture is the start of someone’s parkrun story, you can just feel the parkrun working its magic:

Penistone parkrun story

Thank you for giving up your time photographer and marshals one and all.  It was buzzing out there today, you should all be very pleased and proud of what you’ve achieved.

and tried to disguise my relief and joy at seeing the marshals at the end of the trail, who were sending us back off up the cross-country hill and to the finish.

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The cross-country hill was still scary.  I know it’s in my head.  I could hear a crowd at the finish funnel cheering other parkrunners in, but it just feels quite exposed, that hill is hard to run up.  Fortunately another cheery marshal appeared from nowhere to offer encouragement, and also fortunately, a woman running alongside me was similarly puffing at the effort of hoiking upwards.  I was not alone.

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Eventually, like a mirage on the horizon, the finish funnel came into view, volunteers back-lit to create a vision of loveliness.  There was quite a party atmosphere going on.  People were cheering in friends, clapping anyone in view and at least one person ran in with another runner – though I fear that may have caused some confusion for the timers.

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and so it ended.  Smiles all round.  The Penistone showground site transformed into a parkrun vision of loveliness.  Thank you Penistone parkrun event team, you have created a thing of wonder.  It was a super friendly, well organised event.  Looks like it will be thriving with regulars too, there seemed to be a fair few genuine first timers and locals alongside the tourists and the curious who were represented too.  All in all orsum!

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I went to retrieve my fleece, and then wandered to Tesco to do a bit of a shop.  It was slightly surreal doing my supermarket shop in a place heaving with other runners.  Every other shopper appeared to be a parkrunner, seemingly we’d completely swamped Penistone like some sort of benign contagion.  Everyone’s a parkrunner now!  This is as it should be.

I was still a bit dubious about what Tesco might be making all of it, so I did a sample survey of one by asking the woman on the checkout what she made of it all.  ‘I think it’s great‘ she said, ‘all these people discovering our lovely town‘.  So that’s good.  I appreciate the results should be seen as illustrative rather than representative, but even so, it’s nice to be able to state with confidence that 100% of the people I questioned about the impact of parkrun on Penistone were unequivocally positive about the whole thing.  Me too, so that’s more than 100%.  Phew.  I packed my hot cross buns purchase into my bag for life (I didn’t only buy hot cross buns) and made my way back to the car with a new spring in my step.  Now if only I could find a way to harness that elusive spring for when I was actually running…

Did you know, that accordingtoDavidAttenboroughsoitmustbetrue the wolverine can eat more food at one sitting than any other animal for its size?  Remarkable, especially discovering that a wolverine is an actual animal not a made up one.  In the category of reindeer (which some Americans believe to be a fictitious animal based on my experience) rather than (spoiler alert) phoenixes, which are if not actually imaginary, then probably extinct.  Unicorns are rare, but I’ve seen loads at Bushy park parkrun, so no worries on that score.

Well anyway, sounds like a challenge to me, I wonder how many hot cross buns I can demolish in one sitting, wish me luck…  I would think my own body weight for starters, but we’ll see.

Whilst I’m doing that, can we have a moment to offer up our gratitude to all the parkrun teams out there who make it so.  Penistone parkrun was great, the XC fear was person specific to me, more generally this was a friendly and inclusive run with a great cross-section of parkfunners enjoying the sunshine and camaraderie that is parkrun.  Oh, actually the sunshine bit, that isn’t always a given, just to manage your expectations if you are a newbie, but the warmth of the welcome will make you feel like the sun is shining on you, even if it’s actually hailing.  I promise.  Or your money back!

For all my parkrun related posts click here.  Or don’t.  It’s up to you.  You’ll need to scroll down for older entries though.  Bit of a time vampire, if you do, you might be stuck on the sofa for a while, read on at your own risk, if you choose to do so, that is contributory negligence and I’ll have no sympathy for you at all.  Lost all over again…

Next weekend is the London Marathon, I can’t believe I actually did that, I can hardly run 100 metres at the moment.  Oh well, whatever, at the very least, it does mean we get to watch running on the telly – or even actually run, be it at London or elsewhere.  How exciting is that.  May the weather gods be kind, don’t want another heat wave.  Whatever you are up to, happy running in general and parkrunning in particular.

In the meantime though, check out Steve Frith’s awesome pics for Penistone parkrun #2 on his Facebook page here and another fab album from Penistone parkrun #2 album 2 here.  It makes such a difference having these quality shots – I love reliving running events poring over the photos afterwards.  It’s like you get a window into other people’s running adventures too!  Thanks Steve.  Here are a few tasters for you to peruse as I finally take my leave.  Joyful runners, runners who’ve also seen the photographer and some stunning atmospheric shots.  If these aren’t enough to entice you down to join the fun factory at Penistone parkrun I don’t know what is!  Try to get beyond the XC reference, that honestly is just me 🙂

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*not really

Categories: 5km, parkrun, running | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

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