Posts Tagged With: Somerdale Pavilion parkrun

An out of this world parkrun, Alvaston parkrun welcomes wandering earthlings

Digested read:  went to Alvaston parkrun for a spot of parkrun tourism.  It was very nice thank you for asking.  An absolute blast in fact.

pooh

Undigested read:

Yes indeedy, it was an out of this world parkrun, because it offered up an earth rise, and not (m)any parkruns do that, and I particularly appreciated this what with today being  the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing it was a nice touch.  My photo of this Alverston offering is almost as good as those taken by the actual moon landing crew of the actual earth.  I wonder if you can tell the difference?  I’m giving no clues…

… though I will say this, I think mine is actually better because you can make out the UK and therefore if you squint a bit, quite possibly the location of Alvaston parkrun itself.  Win for me therefore, though I suppose to be fair the crew maybe had other skills, but they also had a team behind them.   The Clangers made exactly this point in their Facebook post today – it takes a team to make history.  I love the Clangers.  I hope they have survived the moon landing.  Not so much as take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints, we left a load of trash last time we visited including 96 bags for poo, urine and vomit.  Poor Clangers, hope their planet is still safe.

Coincidentally, that is exactly the guiding principle of parkrun too.  Not the leaving your poo behind, that’s a definite no no, but in that it takes a team to deliver parkrun too.  It’s all about the team work – and there was a well-oiled team in operation at Alvaston today, hurrah!  Here are just some of them:

Alvaston parkrun team

In less joyful mood, Alvaston parkrun might as well have been on the moon given how lost I got on the way there.  The directions they give are good, the satnav postcode works.  However, I somehow, somewhere missed a turn off, and then I got caught up in road closure and a veritable vortex of roundabouts and circles that would have left even a Somerdale Pavilion parkrun regular, dizzy with confusion.  I’ve yet to experience their Curly Wurly route to be fair, but I nevertheless know it to be the stuff of legend, but going by their ace video of it, I’m confident I was doing the vehicle based equivalent.  Either that, or possibly Scalextric, but not in quite such a fun way.

Somerdale Pavilion parkrun

It didn’t help that my satnav was soooooooooo judgemental about the whole thing, suggesting U-turns, ‘at the first possible opportunity’ even though it wasn’t safe to do so, and then having a definite edge in her voice when I failed to oblige.  Why can’t my satnav be all friendly and supportive when it comes to a U-turn, like the lovely Alvaston parkrun marshals, such as the one exhibited below for illustration purposes?  (Thank you lovely marshal).

DSCF1398

At one point my satnav just entirely gave up on me and started to give my ETA as post parkrun start.  At that point I can’t lie, I did start to catastrophise a bit, WORST DAY OF MY LIFE, and may even have cried with frustration momentarily before I had a self imposed reality check.  It’d all be alright in the end, and if it wasn’t alright then it wasn’t the end, and anyway, it’s parkrun, it’s supposed to be parkfun, not worth getting into such a disproportionate state of angstiness about the whole thing.  Worse case scenario, freedom run.  That’s not so bad.

Even so, I was relieved when I got back en route, even if my need to get to my destination promptly meant I had to drive straight past Tile Town, which I’m sure is a great loss.  I imagine it’s a bit like legoland, and they recreate extraordinary wonders out of tiles.  They are bound to have done something lunar related given the significance of the day, I’d love to see the whole known universe miniaturised and recreated in ceramic tiles.  Oh well, next time.  Disappointingly, I couldn’t even find any images of this exhibition on the interweb, but I did find this very nice cactus sculpture made out of glass tiles which gives a glimpse of what might be possible, so that’s good.

On arrival at Alvaston parkrun I was reminded anything is possible apparently, so that’s good to know too.

Yeah, OK, to pacify the pedants among you, what they actually say is ‘impossible is nothing‘ which is very Yoda, but it that’s good enough linguistically for a Jedi Master then it’s good enough for me.  I took the image from Yoda’s Wikipedia page by the way, not quite sure how to attribute it properly.

Oh, you want to know what possessed me  made me choose Alvaston parkrun as my destination of choice?  Well, partly I was in search of an ‘A’ (alphabet challenge for the running challenges chrome extension), it’s amazing how even a virtual badge can assist with running motivation.  If you’ve not come across this yet, it’s basically like a sticker chart for grown ups.  Having said that, I find the running challenges operates more as a guide to choosing a parkrun to head off to for tourism purposes.  It’s all a bit arbitrary, and picking up an ‘A’ is a good a reason to rock up somewhere new as any.  Alvaston is also reachable from Sheffield, particularly if you don’t get lost in all the flyover dual carriageway scary bits, and a relatively new one.  It’s only 8 weeks old (bless).  Perfectly formed though, like my new froglets!  Have I mentioned them recently?  I do try to at every possible opportunity.  No visitor to my house, or indeed anyone who walks past it but makes eye contact with me as they do so, is entrapped and made to come and admire them in my back garden.  I’m so excited, they’ve all just appeared en masse, exiting my pond.  It’s my first year of home grown spawn to froglets and I couldn’t be prouder if I’d given birth to each and everyone of them myself, even if, had I done so, I’d probably have been burned as a witch a few centuries back – heavens, even today, given how bigoted this world seems to have become.  Maybe heading off the moon and staying there isn’t such a bad idea.  … Nope, not going down that wormhole of misery and despond, let’s admire a newly emerged frog instead.

See, gorgeous aren’t they?  Phew, now doesn’t that feel better  🙂  everybody loves a froglet.  Well, they should do, surely this is something we can unite around!  They are so very tiny, and yet completely perfect.

Where was I?  Oh I remember.  Lost, hopelessly lost.  And a bit panicky.  When my satnav was telling me (with rather unnecessary insistence and a somewhat patronising tone I felt) that I’d ‘reached my destination’ I was apparently in the midst of some sort of out of town shopping centre/ industrial estate.  Surely not?

Just as I was losing hope, this vision of loveliness and competence appeared:

DSCF1199

I know, how fortuitous was that!

I overshot the entrance, but this legend in a tabard, stopped the traffic so I could reverse back and into the designated Derby Homes car park.  I’m not sure how the core team have negotiated this, but it is a boon, as they have agreed:

Free parking (approx. 110 spaces) is available at Derby Homes (the entrance is opposite Wickes) on London Road, DE24 8UZ between 8:30am – 10:30am

It is worth noting the finish time though.  I completely didn’t.  More of this later.  I parked up, alongside loads of work vehicles and motivational bannering.  I do like a motivational banner.

Parked up, at around 8.30 fortuitously enough – in fact, if I hadn’t got lost, I’d probably have been too early, and never spotted the marshal or the entrance at all, overshot, and still be driving towards Dover even now, and there isn’t even a parkrun there.  Well I don’t think so anyway.  Look, it’s not important, I was just trying to emphasise a point.  Move on dear reader, move on.  The point is, it it isn’t hard to spot the car park entrance once you know it’s directly opposite Wickes, and also that it does look like you are going in to an industrial estate, because you sort of are.

The directions I’d printed out, said exit car park and turn right.  In fact, the marshal directed us left, unless I’ve forgotten how to tell my left from my right which is entirely possible, but I think not on this occasion.  So I went left, following other parkrunners to the bus stop and the slightly hidden entrance into the park just behind it.  Leaving our friendly car park marshal expertly coraling cars and parkrunners with extreme competence (yes, that is a thing).  It should be an extreme sport really, like extreme ironing.

So, I sheep like followed other parkrunners into Alvaston park.  Well, this is a surprise.  It possibly helped that near biblical rain and storms of the night before suddenly gave way to glorious sunshine, but you enter this gorgeous verdant park, which comes as a complete surprise as you’ve just been driving on a rather dull and grey roadway to get here.  Just wow!  Mature trees lined the walk way down to where the volunteer team were congregating.  It smelt wonderful, the trees heavy with pollen after rain.  The joy of that wore a bit thin as I was near asthmatic by the end of it, but you have to appreciate it all the same.  On the horizon were giant sculptural wind turbines.  I quite like them, I think they are rather elegant, I recognise not everybody feels the same, but, at least one other parkrunner paused en route to capture the scene.  We can’t both be wrong!

Other worldly indeed.  You get to pass Mars on the way in, which was a first, and if you listen out carefully, no, more carefully than that – there you go!  You can just make out the melodic tones of Holst’s The Planets, carried across to you on the breeze.  Very atmospheric.  It all helps to set the scene.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The finish funnel was all set up.  There was a gathering of folk near the imaginatively named Waterside Cafe.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There are loos, and I made a new friend in the queue, bonding over the mutual necessity of a pre parkrun precautionary pee.  There are only two loos, so a bit of a queue potentially, and they had alarmingly weak flushes, but fine.  There was also an informal bag drop (at your own risk) which rather sweetly, kept your bags of the ground.  We have no such provision at my home parkrun Sheffield Hallam parkrun.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

People milled and chilled, and I had a little explore.  So glad I did.  I not only discovered another planet – well, not in absolute terms, I think others had found it first, but it was a surprise to me – but I also hooked up with Jessica Ennis!  I’ve been trying to get a photo with her for years.  First tried at a VitalityMove event at Chatsworth, and she even commented on how fine my companion animal Geronimo was – and someone took some pics of me and her (and Geronimo) all together – only they didn’t, missed opportunity. Today though.  Result!  Also, I’m ahead of her on this occasion!  The camera never lies remember dear reader, humour me!

Oh look, first timers’ briefing, went and joined in that.  The briefing was good, but oh my that course is complicated, wait, what two out and back sections you say?  That’s erm, not my first choice…

It all seemed very well organised, with a lot of volunteers, the course is quite complicated so does need a fair few marshals to keep people literally as well as metaphorically on track.  Oh I suppose you’ll be wanting to know the course, well, according the Alvaston parkrun website the course blah de blah the route is as follows:

Course Description
This is a ‘pancake flat’ course on tarmac and is a creative variant of an ‘out and back’ route. We start next to the community/café building in the centre of the park completing one and half laps of the grass field ending up at the corner of Lakeside school. From there we then do a long ‘out and back’ up the Route 6 cycle super-highway turning around near Aldi. Once back at the school there is a second short ‘out and back’ section in the opposite direction turning around at the end of the park’s lake. You then finish close to where you started back in the centre of the park.

and it looks like this:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Maybe a bit like a kite, with a string flowing out behind?  Oh I don’t know, you’ll have to come up with your own idea.  But you know what dear reader, unless you are super fast, you can just follow the person in front, and if you are super duper fast, then it’s extremely clearly signed and marshalled – just watch you don’t overshoot at those U-turns, your internal satnav will be furious.

After the briefing, parkrunners moved to the start, which was pretty near to be fair.  Although it’s a 5 minute walk to the start from the car park, the cafe, start, finish, loos are all pretty close together.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Check out the super polite dog too – one for barkrun methinks.

then it was the Run Director’s Briefing.  It was her debut apparently, but I didn’t know this at the time as she seemed like a pro to me.  It was nice and friendly, welcoming, milestones acknowledged, tourists acknowledged, first time everers greeted, an invite for a family day in the park tomorrow and a big cheer for the graduating group from the Alvaston C25K.  It was all very friendly.  About 200 or so runners I think, I didn’t count, and can’t be bothered to go check the results – I don’t know what the normal turn out is, but I expect with it being a new one, it may take a while to plateau.  Anyway, here is the RD in action, with attentive wide-eyed in wonder parkrunners taking it all in.  It’s genuinely refreshing when people are quiet during the briefing.  Long may that habit continue, it’s a rare thing indeed.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

and then, ‘suddenly’ we had count down, 10, 9, 8 etc*, and then lift off!

I turned my watch off instead of on by mistake.  I’d like to think that was the critical point at which a new pb became out of the question, but it wasn’t.  Off we all went.  Scampering down the avenue of trees.  You do sort of one and half laps of the field, but it’s not too bad as it isn’t miles and miles and it’s fun seeing the runners all streaming ahead.  I think must thin things out a bit for faster runners too, though I think it’s a good pb course for anyone wanting to chase those, as it’s a cunning layout that means if you position yourself in the right place at the start, then you shouldn’t really be having to do all that much overtaking.  By the way, before you get too critical, it’s harder than you think to take photos whilst running, even at my lamentable speed.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I think it’s fair to call this course erm, ‘idiosyncratic’ but no worries dear reader, it’s well signed.  At the top corner of the park there are signs to differentiate between the first and second lap routes – and then, it changes again later.  As if by magic.  These are high end marshals, not just directional pointing, high fives and cheering – though they perform those tasks admirably too, but actual relocating of cones and selves mid course.  Respect!

One new thing I saw here, which I’ve never seen before but which is genius and lovely, was the presence of an official parkrun buddy!  What a great idea.  I mean I’m just assuming that’s sort of part running marshal (keeping and eye on things on the course) and part befriending anyone that might want a friend.  Aw.  Every parkrun should have one!  Or lots.  I mean, on one level, every parkrun has the potential to become a parkrun buddy, but this sort of breaks the ice if you are new and feeling a bit of a wall flower or otherwise lost and lonely.

So we carried on round for the first lap, past the satellite dishes that are actually whispering domes which sounds a lot of fun and to the next set of marshals in situ to stop you running on to infinity and beyond, because being space themed is all well and good, but it’s better all round if we just stick to the usual 5k.  Also, you might end up in the lake if you didn’t take a sharp right here.

As you corner, you can see faster runners on the other sides of the square.  Very scenic!  And then you are back up at the ‘lap 1/ lap 2’ intersection, only this time you get to travel onwards, past the (slightly scary) owl cut out and on to pastures new.  How exciting!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You jog on – or perhaps in your case sprint, it’s all tarmac, waving at the marshals as you pass and then you do the first out and back bit.  Caution, it’s a lot further than you expect, I don’t know why.  I think because I hadn’t looked at the route in advance, and I just assumed the out and back sections would be evenly split, and they most certainly are not!  However, it is pleasing all the same.  For example, you get to pass the marshal with the classiest leggings of the morning. Check out those different patterned legs.  You espy the dancing car-park marshal from earlier, now relocated and dishing out high fives and high tens even like they are going out of fashion, you even get to see the speedier runners rushing back towards you.  Lots to take in and all marvellous of course!  I also saw my toilet buddy from earlier – but my reflexes weren’t quick enough to snap her, and an actual proper first time ever at parkrun parkrunner and the parkrun buddy with her buddies, having a ball. Hurrah!  Feel the parkrun love people, bask in that glow of parkrun joy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And then you reach the end, and the turning point.  This could be viewed as a metaphorical turning point in your life, things will be different from now on, you can be the person you want to be – or you could just turn around and start over again – though that would be figuratively rather than actually, it was a 5k not a 10k today remember.  The 10k was yesterday, apparently…. I  met someone who’d run it and someone who’d marshalled it, but couldn’t find what the event actually was. Oh well, no worries, it’s been and gone now, I’m sure it was lovely, if a bit wet and blustery out!

Or it might just have been a turn around point of course, but where’s the fun in that.  Lovely helpful marshalling though.  Another highly trained special operative in action here!

And if you set your course up, people will come!  And they did, running up, turning around, running back to the tunnel and the high-fiving hi-vis hero and back to the right and down to the park bit where you can see where you started and runners trailing on right in front of you …  Wave at the tail walker, check out those leggings again, wave at pee partner, check out the tunnel mural.  It’s busy, busy, busy, out on them there paths at parkrun I don’t mind telling you!  All parkrun life present and correct.  And those photos won’t take themselves!

My favourite overheard conversation of the morning though, was when a dog walker (not a parkrunner) was strolling towards runners and her friendly hound was tempted to come up and greet parkrunners as they passed. She immediately called the dog back ‘nobody wants to say hello to you right now‘ she said firmly but with good cheer, and then I heard an immediate desperate chorus from parkrunners behind me calling out ‘but we do want to say hello, we really do!’  It was quite a cute dog to be fair, and another polite one.   I heard doggy hellos and greeting hugs being exchanged behind me as I ran on.  They seem do seem to be particularly polite the pooches in this park, no Wellard rough necks in these parts to be sure!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

and oh no, we aren’t allowed to carry on straight, we have to go out and back all over again!  They weren’t joking about these out and back bits, oh no sorree.

So awf we go again, back out towards the pond.  Haven’t we been this way before?  We go a bit further, taking in planet earth, mercury and more marshals until we get to another turn around, fair play, this is a much shorter section.  Oh, and I actually found a living thing I could overtake, left that slug standing.  Well, I say ‘standing’ I don’t know if that’s anatomically correct, upright maybe more accurate…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Then, finally, you get back to the place you were earlier shooed away from, and you can weeeee down the hill (it’s a very, very slight downward incline) and the end is in sight.

So down you go and then another right angle turn past the marshals and you are on the homeward straight.  It’s not far now, through a spectacular avenue of trees, and towards the finish line, where it feels like you must be the first parkrunner through as a veritable mob of well wishers line the finish funnel, cheering and clapping and making you feel truly a.maz.ing.  Now, I’m not completely delusional, I may have benefited from the extreme solidarity of the C25K group who came en masse for their graduation run.  Every member was there at the finish to cheer all the other runners in their band through.  They supplemented the event team, who were also out cheering and clapping in force.   Heart warming, and also brilliant fun.  Who wouldn’t feel better after being cheered home by this fabulous lot!

Featured image Alvaston parkrun 20 july 2019

So the experience is nearly over, through the finish funnel, scooped up by the lovely scanners and time to cheer through the last few finishes.  It’s always emotional parkrun, and this seemed a particularly cheery and supportive one.  What parkrun should be, it felt inclusive and fun, with the super speedies through to the slow and steadies and the long in the tooth experienced runners to the just starting out.  #loveparkrun

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There was bell ringing, by those who felt the urge, and the C25K group, gathered for post parkrun photos, which is compulsory.  It takes a great deal of photographers to faciliate that.  These milestones matter,  good job people, good job!

and the last few volunteers found their way back to the finish hub from their spots on the course.  And I had my suspicion that occasionally the start and finish lines at parkrun do get moved whilst you are en route.  I’m not saying it’s not the event team’s prerogative to do this should they so wish, is just that I’ve never caught them in the act before.  I don’t think they were moving it any further away on this occasion though, or indeed closer, perhaps just testing the water in case of future need.  Stress testing I think it’s called.  Yep, that’ll be what it is/was.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Aw, love the parkrun picture, check out this tableau and all’s right with the world, for this snapshot in time at least.

DSCF1454.jpg

Before I peeled away, I checked in with a couple of parkrunners that they’d be OK with me using their pics.  100% I spoke to seemed fine with it.  I explained my rule which is I delete any really unflattering ones unless comedic value is strong enough to outweigh compliance with personal dignity.  This seemed broadly acceptable.  However, if youa re reading this and I have included a photo in this that makes you want to crawl into a hole and never emerge again, or you just don’t want to be here, let me know and I will immediately delete.  By the way, I didn’t get any peeing shots, the person to whom this statement is relevant will understand.  All good.  😉

I then I retrieved my bag, and headed to the cafe via checking out the waterfowl, which are numerous and impressive:

Then to the cafe.  Turns out, the cafe is really good value, I got a veggie cob/bap/roll/breadcake  with quorn sausage and egg and a latte for £5 which is pretty good I think.  They also had cake and ice cream, a fairly impressive menu for the size of cafe, and it was immaculate, with seating inside and out.  I wasn’t sure I’d find a seat, but good news, my pee partner from earlier was outside on a table, which she’d been saving for her husband, but he’d been waylaid by token sorting duties inside, so room for me.  Yay!  We had a companionable chat, good to hear more of other tourist options.  Walsall Arboretum sounds fab!  The coffee was a bit rank, I think they make it with UHT but the bap was OK, and the company grand.

We were chatting away quite companionably, until, thankfully, a friendly local asked if we were in the carpark, as it shuts at 10.30.  Eek, I had no idea.  ‘What happens at 10.30 then?’ I asked, revealing myself as the dullard half-wit I am ‘erm, it shuts.‘  OK then, best get moving, what with it being 10.23.  Our conversation ended abruptly, I bolted the last of my bap, and got in the fastest parkrun sprint finish in many moons.  Those affected, made their speedy way back to the car park.

DSCF1476.jpg

and that was that.

For the record, I was the last to leave the car park, waving to the security guard who emerged from his hut at 10.29 just as I was pulling out.  Phew, that was a close one.  I honestly don’t know what would happen if you over stayed.  You’d be unpopular for sure, or stuck.  10.30 is plenty of time, you just mustn’t forget.  The marshals were discussing this as a group of us sprinted off, I think ‘remind visitors they need to leave by 10.30’ may be added to the ‘to do’ list for oneo r more of the hi-vis heros in future.  It probably comes under ‘any other duties’ that always covers a proverbial multitude does it not?

By the way, today was an extra special parkrun, at Alvaston because of the following happenings, all of which are epic, and all of which were reported on the Alvaston parkrun Facebook page in a post following the event.  Hurrah!

Congratulations to all 222 finishers today. A special mention to the Alvaston joggers couch to 5k group who ‘graduated’ today and Val Naylor for breaking the Age Grade course record at 99.26%. Also well done to Clare for her first time Run Directing.

Alvaston joggers couch to 5k

Did you see that though?  99.26% that’s insanely impressive.  Just wow.  In fact, it definitely is, because it set a new age category record for this week for the 75-79 age group, and I reckon it’s one that will stand a loooooooong looooooooooooooong time, as other age category records have been achieved largely by runners hitting ‘just’ the high eighties.  She got a mention in the Alvaston parkrun run report for event #8, and quite right too – ‘rocket-propelled Val’ indeed!

Mind you, having said that, she has a young whipper-snapper at her heels with Angela Copson achieving  97.12% in the 70 – 74 at Nobles parkrun today as well.  Blimey.  And I’ve never even come near their finish times now, let alone these percentages.  Hurrah for the VW.  They are bringing running home.  Mind you, some women runners are pretty hardcore.   What about that one that got knocked down by a deer in the middle of a 10k but still bounced back and recovered sufficiently to come first in her age category.  Not only that, but Karen Brewer, for it was she, told the BBC news

 “I heard a rustle and seconds later I was thrown into the bushes and a deer landed right on top of me. … After I found out I was OK, I got up straight away, I didn’t want to waste any precious seconds.  … I actually found it quite hilarious.”

and, on Friday, July 12, Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands broke the women’s mile world record at the Diamond League meeting in Monaco by running a time of 4:12.33.  Just believe dear reader.  It’s amazing what is possible.  She didn’t get hit by a deer though, so I suppose she had it a bit easy really, but even so, fair do’s, that’s still impressive.

It’s been a good week for running veterans to be fair.  Did you see that Roy Englert, a 96-Year-Old man ran a 42-Minute 5K to Break World record for his age group a couple of days ago too.  He shaved 8 minutes off the previous record, and, was still faster than me today, though I dare say he didn’t stop to take photos and chat to the marshals on the way round. parkrun is a run not a race people, so I’m allowed….  Here he is:

m96-roy-englert-5000m-gold-wr-42-30-23-1563369702

So there you go, that was that.   Pretty epic.  Other epic parkruns are available of course.  Conkers parkrun did a fancy dress theme, or at the very least, some game parkrunners unilaterally decided to don fancy dress, which amounts to the same thing.  That’s pretty epic.  Went to Conkers parkrun with Smiley Selfie Queen on a penguin mission, I can imagine they’d embrace any excuse for a parkrun party to be fair, and quite right too!  They had quite a cool Conkers parkrun run report from their space-themed event in fact.  Worth a gander, particularly if procrastination is your thing.  You’re welcome, happy to help.

Bushy parkrun also had an ace run report with space referencing a-plenty.  Loving your work run writers parkrun world over!  Also, they included a picture of my mum, in good form, cheering on the runners.  Good choice.  I was pretty over the moon about that I don’t mind saying…

mum cheering 20 july 2019.jpeg

Also this courtesy of  Durham, NC parkrun, America:

Durham NC parkrun

Respect.

In other news, there was an actual al pacino, cappucino, al fresco, Acapulco, A capella chorus, when Hallmark of Harmony were a flash mob of singing marshals at Sheffield Hallam parkrun this morning.  That would have been quite something.  Thing is, all parkruns are epic in their own ways.  Wherever you are epicness will out.  I’m happy to have experienced Alvaston epic today.  I hope you embraced epic wherever you were today, or if – inexplicably – you didn’t get to parkrun, enjoyed being epic in your own way!

Only this flash mob could better that – credit to AXEL SCHMIDT / REUTERS. People dress like singer-songwriter Kate Bush as part of the “The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever” flash mob in Berlin, Germany.  Excellent.  With this photo BBC week in pictures you spoil us indeed.  Imagine that lot singing ‘running up that hill‘  just wowzers!  Maybe if  Hallmark of Harmony recruit enough new members they may yet make it so… stranger things have happened.

best flash mob ever

parkrun all done and dusted for another week.  Yes, yes, that is a wee bit sad, but there is always next week.  And remember dear reader, don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened!  Dr Suess – indeed Mr P S-H himself too no doubt – wouldn’t want it any other way!

dr suess

There was one poignant moment though.  I couldn’t find the moon, not anywhere.  I asked, but we all concluded it must be up in the sky where it belongs.  Maybe that’s a good thing, maybe it will be safe there.  This park hosts Venus, Mars, Earth and Mercury and yet the moon sits apart.  It is a thing of wonder.  Stay safe.

Full-Moon

Of course in the meantime, no need to moon around (see what I did there?  Lawks a lordy I can be hilarious at times) if you want to prolong your parkrun fix, 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.

So thank you lovely Alvaston parkrun people however you participated to make it the fab event it is.  May I just conclude by saying thank you for posing so beautifully, what an exceptionally photogenic lot you are!  One small point – constructive criticism if you will, any chance of a lead emu for next time I come?  Thanks in anticipation.   Appreciated.  This one is called Fluffy apparently, and after all, if Nambour parkrun can, then…

How exciting that so many new people were doing their first EVER parkrun at Alvaston today.  I predict a rosy future for you all!

parkrun day

#loveparkrun

*only they didn’t actually, I think it was just ‘go’ but you get the general idea

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

Another place for parkrun tourism? Fun and frolics at Crosby parkrun

Digested read: parkrun tourism took me to Crosby, sun, sea sand, what’s not to like?

Undigested read:

Crosby parkrun is on a beach!  How cool is that.  The best thing about running on a beach in the sunshine is that you get sand in your shoes so when you come home the memory comes with you.  Nice.  Very exciting.  So exciting in fact, that for some it can be overwhelming it seems.   Fair enough, we all need to know our limits.

DSCF0925

Before I get stuck in though, I feel compelled to offer up a bit of a warning.  Just to let you know that this is an arching tale, and has a forlorn bit early on, but then everything perks up and all ends happily – mostly.  So don’t be sad.  Life is too short. Without the lows, you wouldn’t get the full benefit of the highs.  Imagine a seesaw horizontal.  That’s right.  Pointless!  Safe and predictable perhaps, but entirely devoid of joy.  In fact, basically a plank.  Where’s the fun in that? Whereas if you embrace the potential of a see-saw you can have this much fun! Only in colour! Quite.

So I was enticed to Crosby parkrun to join a fellow parkrunner who was doing his 100th different parkrun.  That’s quite some touristing, and a good excuse for me to try a new parkrun.  Leaving aside the fact I nearly went to Corby parkrun – which I’m sure is lovely but lacks a coastline – Crosby appealed a lot because it’s by the sea, you get to see those iron men statue things and I get a ‘c’ for my pirates challenge , by going to an actual sea parkrun for one of the seven seas. (Pirates! – Run seven Cs and an R – say it out loud).  Hurrah.  Those Running Challenges have a lot to answer for, but what can I say, I blooming love it, chasing down virtual badges works for me!  The respectable face of sticker charts for grown ups.  I’m a long way off nabbing this yet, but one run closer for getting to Crosby…

runner-pirates

Living in Sheffield as I do, at a push, I could maybe have got up early and driven in the morning, but I loathe driving at the best of times and hate being late, it’s a weird drive too, unpredictable for timings.  I decided I’d go the whole hog and book a night’s B&B in Crosby and make a mini-break of it.  This is crossing into new parkrun tourism territory, booking a B&B purely to do a parkrun could smack of the extreme to the uninitiated.  Admittedly, last year I did go to Hasenheide parkrun with the pathologically friendly Tralee parkrunner (wave) but that was a bit different, because it was a full on jam-packed sight seeing trip to Berlin to boot.  It’s easier to exp lain why you are spending the weekend in Berlin to an acquaintance as opposed to Crosby.  No offence meant to Crosby there, but I think it would have to concede it’s not an obvious ‘go to’ location topping everyone’s parkrun bucket list – though maybe it will be from now on, once my account of the place goes viral.

There wasn’t an embarrassment of riches accommodation wise, but I plumped for Burbo Bank B&B, near the beach and just a mile from Crosby Leisure centre where the parkrun starts.  Looked OK.  I headed off from Sheffield on Friday afternoon, surrendering my route planning to the idiosyncracies of my satnav.  Not sure we have really evolved that much with satnav.  In the olden days, when I use one of those mahoosive AA road maps, I’d have worked out a much more sensible route.  This trip took me such a circuitous way it made Somerdale Pavilion parkrun look like a straight out and back course by comparison!  You know the one I mean – it’s the the curly-wurly one right – now that is a parkrun destination on my to do list for sure.

I somehow went to Glossop, did a massive loop round – I thought to bypass Glossop and then ended up back there again just a hundred yards down the road.  It was a grim drive, I was indeed wondering what possessed me to embark on such a road trip.  It took 3 hours ish, and was joyless.  The entire journey was accompanied by news updates re resignation of Theresa May and speculation about the blood bath to come.  And you thought things couldn’t possibly get any worse… No wonder life seemed grim by the time I got to Waterloo/Crosby.

I found the B&B, an impressive looking faded grandeur huge Victorian building from the outside with a ‘for sale’ sign outside.  It was imposing rather than welcoming judging by the exterior.  However, the welcome was warm.  Inside wasn’t faded grandeur, but recently refurbished grandeur.  Original tiles on the floor, not one, but two chandeliers gracing the hall entrance, as well as the picture of the Mona Lisa.  Not the actual Mona Lisa I think, but then again, I’ve never studied art history particularly, so I’m not really in any position to authenticate the image one way or the other.

I was led up to my room. There followed the most extensive health and safety briefing I have ever undergone.  I have had less thorough inductions when starting new jobs.  There was the caution to make sure I used the anti-slip mat in the shower.  Actually, that’s sensible, did I ever tell you about the time I was doing a course in Hastings and one of my house mates broke her arm falling over in the shower?  No?  Are you sure, it was the same course at the end of which I broke my knee? Not in the shower, but on the beach.  Long story.  We were an accident prone cohort.  Just shows, you have to take care.  Did you know umbrellas can cause terrible accidents on beaches too – even fatal ones, they can function like torpedoes when the wind is right apparently.  In 2016, Lottie Michelle Belk was killed when an errant parasol pierced her torso while she was on holiday in Virginia Beach according to the BBC website, so it must be true!

It was lucky there were no umbrellas in the B&B that I had to contend with, or the safety briefing would still be going on now.  The other hazard was the stairs down to my room, I had to be instructed to carefully pull aside a drape, ensure the light was on ‘actually, don’t worry about that, I’ll put it on now for you just in case‘ and then look ahead before negotiating the steps. If I got up in the night, no need to panic, another light would come on to help me guide my way to the bathroom.  Phew.  I had no idea staying over somewhere was so potentially risky.  Oh well, feel the fear and do it anyway as the saying goes.  Get me and my dare devil impromptu parkrun B&Bs!  Joking aside, it was a friendly and immaculately clean place, so I was happy.  Dumped my stuff and went for a wander down to the seaside.

It wasn’t a long walk to the beach. If you don’t know Crosby beach, it’s a massive expanse of seemingly flat sand, and relatively featureless apart from the wind farm or docks on the horizon.  I walked through a marine park area to get there, which was relatively deserted, apart from gulls jockeying for position on a beam like parkrunners on the line up at the start of Sheffield Hallam parkrun.

DSCF0753

I followed the sign out to the iron men, across what seemed to me to be quite a bleak landscape.  It was still light, but the temperature had cooled, and as there was no-one around it seemed desolate.

I’d been ridiculously excited about seeing the sea, and Antony Gormley’s iron figures, staring out on the horizon.  However, now I was there, I felt weird.  I walked out across the sand to one of the figures.  They are remarkable, and I really like the installation of the figures in the space the picture below is not my photo, but captures it well (taken it uk_anotherplace_1997_008from Antony Gormley’s website)

I stood with one of the figures for a while, and looked where he was looking, out to sea, and suddenly I felt weirdly emotional.  It was like this wave of profound loneliness came over me, the place seemed so desolate, the figures so separated from each other, immobile and consumed with a longing for what lay over the horizon that they couldn’t see let alone ever reach.  This chasm of emptiness engulfed us.  Everything seemed pointless, this excursion, human life on earth, planning for the future, any previous positivity vaporised as I was consumed in existential angst.  I think sometimes others can smell loneliness, and they back off from it as they would from a creature diseased for fear of contagion, and this is what is left.  Every figure on this beach ultimately companionless, isolated and cast out.  It didn’t matter there were other figures also gazing out, they couldn’t connect with one another or see each other, it just seemed so desperately, desperately sad.   I hadn’t expected to get that flood of emotion, it caught me unawares.  Like a punch to the solar plexus.  Feeling helpless that there is such loneliness and sadness in this world that leaves many of us unreachable, and maybe all of us feel both sides of that at various times throughout our lives, not knowing how  to reach out to others and /or unable to be reached ourselves.  How bloody depressing.  What is the point, really.  What is the point.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I shivered a bit, and decided I didn’t want to pursue those thoughts right there right then.  I stepped back from the sink hole that was trying to suck me down to oblivion. I had a conscious reality check.  I remembered, another running buddy telling me how she experienced the amazing Phlegm exhibition The Mausoleum of the Giants in Sheffield a few weeks back.  I went and found it magnificent, uplifting, perhaps poignant, but mainly remarkable and a testament to human imagination and creativity .  I felt positive about my interactions with others in the queue and watching how people interacted with the exhibits was unqualified joy.  She for her part found it unbearably sad.  Who can say whether such artworks bring these emotions out in us or we bring the emotion with us to them.  Different day, different dynamic, maybe a different mood.  I’ll leave you to ponder that teaser as I share some images of the giants.  They made my heart sing.  I can see why they might not produce that effect in others, but they did me.  The iron men, not so much…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My heart wasn’t singing on Friday night though.  I went to a rather grim tapas bar and had a lime juice and soda which came with a plastic straw, so then I felt like I’d personally practically held down an endangered turtle and killed it with a straw up the nostril and into its brain.  Still, at least such straws are a rarity these days.  Though it is weird, how we can all get outraged by plastic straws and rightly so, single use plastic is for the most part indefensible – yet the majority of plastic that ends up in the sea is apparently from fishing tackle and far more destructive and damaging, not to mention creatures getting caught up in nets etc, we seem able to blank out that reality.  Gawd life is depressing sometimes.  It was going to take a great deal of parkrun lurve to shift my mood.

Back to the B&B, early, ate all the free biscuits in the room and had the complementary hot chocolate.  Went through every cupboard and drawer, no rich pickings here, not so much as a Gideon bible let alone a moth-eared Reader’s Digest, but always good to have a rummage just in case.  And that was that, Friday night in Crosby.  Whoop a doo.

Then it was morning.

Headache.

No enthusiasm

Oh well, I’m here now.  I trundled down for breakfast.  I seemed to be the only guest, I was offered a cooked one, which was tempting, but contra-indicated pre parkrun, even at my leisurely pace.  I went with coffee and cereal and got a few anecdotes from the proprietor about her experiences of B&B hosting.  Incredibly friendly woman, even if she was a bit incredulous about the purpose of my visit ‘so you’ve come all this way just for the race‘ I resisted the urge to say ‘it’s not a race it’s a run’ because I felt that such pedantry would get in the way of getting acquainted.  Instead I asked her if she’d had other parkrunners come to stay.  Loads apparently, and I’m not surprised to hear this, it was a good choice.  I was even offered the option of coming back later to use the shower, but I declined, I think she might have even have done a later breakfast potentially, but I opted to just check out and head to parkrun.

It was a short jaunt to Crosby Leisure Centre, which looks like a space ship imagined from the 60s.  Maybe it actually is one, the beach would definitely offer up a suitable landing spot for a wayward UFO, and repurposing it would be the way to go if it was subsequently left abandoned.

There was loads of parking, all free, and toilets available, and, best of all, some cow buffs visible as I espied my parkrun tourist buddies.  My mood lifted, I bounced across the car park and down to the sand to join them, because it was pre-parkrun play time.   Catch ups to be had, photos to be posed for, stories to share.

The parkrun team were assembling:

The finish line was up:

I joined my tourist friends on the sand.  An extra boon was presence of mini greyhounds with their non-parkrunning attendant.  Fun times.

A great many photos had to be taken of the iron man in all possible guises and variations of the assembled company.  We posed separately, we posed together.  We took photos of other tourists.  We met some women also from Sheffield Hallam parkrun (wave) what were the chances!  Actually, quite high, this was the parkrun before the Liverpool Rock n Roll marathon (or half) the next day, so loads of tourists.  It was quite a party, and good to find out where everyone was from, and why we’d all come a gathering.  I think the iron men were cheered by being the centre of adoring attention, maybe hanging around on this beach wasn’t so bad after all, the parkrun lurve was working it’s magic.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

One thing though, those figures, they aren’t androgynous as you may have previously thought, closer inspection revealed they are definitely male.  No idea where they keep their barcodes.

I got temporary custody of Bully, the touristing cow, a great, if short-lived, honour.  Classy photo bombing action at the rear.  I reckon she’s had training in this, she never lets an opportunity pass her by.  Respect, I learned from the best today.  I had a good old go at trying to photobomb a group pic that was aiming for the run report, but don’t know if I made the edit just yet…  time will tell.

vbc my new friend

After a bit, I suddenly realised I was cutting it fine for my precautionary pee and made a swift exit from the beach just as my Sheffield Hallam compatriots had started to strike up a conversation. Fearing they’d think I was rude (which for the record I can be, but wasn’t being on this occasion) I explained my need for speed, and they were most understanding.  Didn’t want them to think I’d just made friends to get them to take photos and then dumped them as soon as their services were no longer required.  My buddies went for a warm up run.  I think that was what they were doing, it may have been just that I’d broken eye contact and they saw their chance to make a bid for freedom.  After using the facilities, which are unisex by the way – I scared a couple of men who thought they were in the wrong place.  Maybe I’m just scary…. I left my bag with other people’s clobber piled in a heap by the pavilion.  A volunteer explained it is ‘at your own risk’ but volunteers graciously magically move it to the finish line for you. This is indeed service above and beyond, I was definitely game for taking advantage of that!  Thank you fine Crosby parkrun peeps.  Excellent service, I’ll be adding some extra stars for that on the TripAdvisor review later.

DSCF0812

As I came back, a marshal waved me over ‘do you want to be in the photo?’  What photo?  Someone had been proactive enough to get a shot of all the tourists around – well probably not all, but a fair old net of them. I scampered over to be in the team pic.  Here we are, aren’t we all lovely!  And what a lovely marshal to co-ordinate it! And who is that waving and bobbing around so effectively in the back?  Loving your work there, loving your work.

There was still time to play with other parkrun toys. Specifically, the parkrun selfie frame.  This one had been customised by being tacked onto a proper wooden board with some nice silver holding knobs too.  This parkrun had some top personalised gear.  Do look out for Erik later on.

The sun was shining, the view astonishing, the mood buoyant.  Eventually, a call went up to head to the beach for the run director’s briefing.  And we all descended en masse onto the beach, and walking towards the sea, looking tiny on that wide horizon, like newly hatched turtles heading horizonwards.  I don’t know if that’s actually a word, but I feel it should be, so let’s just agree that it is now.  Thank you.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

They like their kit at this parkrun.  Huge speakers were set up, one looked like it had its own legs, it probably did – oh unless it was SpongeBob rocking up for his first parkrun wearing bondage gear? That’s possible…. The RD was appropriately miked and ready to rock’n’roll.

I was rather hoping he would burst into song in keeping with the legendary musical icons that have come from Liverpool, or at least in tribute to the rock’n’roll half marathon the next day.  He didn’t, maybe he was saving his voice.  Bet they could do some mean karaoke with that kit if the mood should ever seize them.

We had a good briefing though, volunteers thanked, a special shout out for tourists doing their 300th run, a special mention for my buddy on his 100th run – partly for tenacity in coming back again, after his last attempt to do Crosby was thwarted by inclement weather and cancelled at the very last minute for fear of runners being swept out to sea.  There was a birthday – ooh, and another one. ‘Good luck for the marathon tomorrow!’  Mutters of panic.  ‘What, oh, it’s a half marathon’ palpable relief moved through the crowd who’d feared a double dose of running fun might be more than they  could cope with, let alone had intentionally signed up for!  Shout out for tourists.  From everywhere basically.  Oh and ‘if anyone needs the defibrillator, that’s in the cafe‘, that’s all well and good, but I did rather get the impression, you’d be expected to go fetch it yourself, but I could have misunderstood, and anyway, whilst seemingly unconventional in approach, each parkrun has its own idiosyncrasies, and as a guest I think ours is not to reason why.  It wasn’t clear to me if they have a given procedure in the event of an umbrella breaking free and making its way down the beach like and exocet missile, but maybe that’s why one of the marshals had binoculars and could be seen constantly scanning the horizon.  No need to alarm everyone about what might happen, as long as the proper precautionary procedures are in place.

That’s it then’, he said ‘where do we go‘- oh yes.  I always forget this too, but people like to know the route before hand, I think the novel element of surprise can work quite well too.

So you probably want to know the course blah de blah?  Well, according to the Crosby parkrun website the course is described thus:

The course starts adjacent to Crosby Leisure Centre and runs along grass with views of the Mersey Estuary on the left. After a left turn onto the promenade the course has views of Anthony Gormley’s Iron Men on the right. Towards the end of the course it turns right onto the beach giving runners the opportunity to run near to the iconic Iron Men before running back to Crosby Leisure Centre for the finish line.

Only, they must have different courses according to the tide, because that isn’t quite the route we took, though near enough, takes in the same sights, but we started on beach and finished on grass.  Almost like this course backwards.  Not us running backwards, but the course in reverse.

The official route looks like this:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

but you know what, it’s one to take your time on so you can enjoy the views and not be frustrated at being thwarted by deep sand, so just follow the crowd.  Incidentally, I think Antony Gormley‘s iron men are just parkrun tourists, who got there a bit early and were hanging around waiting for the start.  A little shy about approaching others until they were properly confident they were in the right place, as opposed to just another place.  Perhaps that’s why they looked lonely and with longing out to sea, waiting for the parkrun boat to come in, that is all.

uk_anotherplace_1997_008

What does this image capture if not parkrunners on the horizon?  I rest my case.

featured image another place

Because, you know what, the iron men were an integral part of the course.   Honorary marshals, kitted out in high – vis and in at least one case, a helmet too.  Some were paired up with human marshals, just to buddy up and make things companionable, a small spirited stand against loneliness, hurrah!

So on ‘go’ or whatever it was, awf we all went.

It was running on sand.  Fairly compact sand at this point, but it is quite hard running on sand. It’s a lovely romantic idea, and feels nice, but it you don’t seem to go anywhere, it’s like the wet sand here and dry sand later act like Kryptonite draining the energy from your legs so you think you are running, you are certainly trying to move your legs in the required manner,  but not actually moving forward in any noticeable way.  Weird.

I was distracted as always, by the sea views, and the colourful vision of loveliness of runners streaming ahead.  You run out, past various iron men, some of whom have names,  I think the one at the turn around is Brenda, but I can’t be sure.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

until you get to the furthest one, where you turn around and run back the way you came

This means that if you are in the fun factory that is the slower half of the field, you get to see the faster runners flying back up the beach towards you, which is social.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

By the time I’d made the turn around the front runners were streaming back up off the beach.  In the distance you could make out the leisure centre.  I took the opportunity to snap some marshals as I passed them again on the way back.  Most were ready for their close up.  I like that one marshal has binoculars, they miss no tricks here.  Towards the back of the pack were some smartly clad parkrunners in matching kit, power-walking, I think stretching their legs the day before the half-marathon, but never got the chance to ask them.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You leave the beach through deep powdery sand, that personally I think must be unrunnable, though I’ll bet some of the speed merchants sprinted over it, or just bounded across in one gargantuan seemingly effortless stride.  Then you are on the tarmac promenade.  I say tarmac, and it is, but sand has blown across in parts, so it’s a slightly unpredictable surface.

So if you look ahead you see parkrunners, if you look back you see parkrunners, if you look to the left you see iron men and sea and sand, and if you look to the right you see dunes, maybe marshals, and as you get further on, you see the front runners doubling back again through the grassy bit behind the sand dunes and back to the finish.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here are some runners heading homewards:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I know they aren’t the best photos every, but I am showing willing, plus it’s harder than you think to take pics mid run and from a distance.  Will give you a bit of ‘mood music’ as to what it was like though.  Hot in the sun by the way, though I imagine a sea fret and a strong wind could change the ambience of this route pretty spectacularly creating ‘memorable’ if not actual endurable enjoyable running conditions as the sand and salt whipped up around you.

As well as the runners, there were teleporting marshals everywhere.  You’d see one on the way out on the concrete promenade, and then by the time you’d come back again on the grass higher up there they’d be again!  Must have teleported, or maybe this parkrun has a particularly high proportion of identical twins on its volunteer roster, and they are all in the habit of dressing in matching outfits.  I favour teleportation.  They clearly have the technology, they must do.  It all makes sense doesn’t it, the space ship, the lost alien humanoids staring out to see, and the ability of both kit and marshals to translocate when your back is turned without you seeing how.  It is the only logical explanation,

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

See?  Definitely same person more than one location.

Then again, not all marshals did this, so that would favour the twin theory.  All marshals did however demonstrate excellent support, superb directional pointing and clapping skills, for which I would like to thank them.  Bravo to all of you for turning out and volunteering. You are superstars.

After the turn around at the coastguard station, you have a bit more tarmac and you go through a car parky bit where you get to meet Erik.  Erik the awesome.

DSCF0936

In fact, closer inspection reveals this to be Erik 1, so that could mean there is an Erik 2, even an Erik 3.  All equally epic. This is what all parkruns need, equipment chariots with if not actual personalities (though I like to believe they have those too) then at the very least customised designs and personalised number plates.  And I thought the X space ship at Wakefield Thornes parkrun for May the Fourth was the apex of bespoke carriage making.  I knew nothing back then, I am older and wiser now….  Still cool though:

WTP finish space ship

More being waved on by

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

and then you really are on the homeward stretch.  It is basically grass, but there are quite a few rabbit holes, or just holes in general as the soft sand gives way quite quickly.  I’d been stopping and starting a fair old bit, what with taking pictures and chatting to marshals, and trying to nab photos of my tourist buddies running back the other way.  I tried to run for a bit, and then realised to my horror, my running pace was barely keeping up with the walkers right ahead of me.  Oh dear, I really do need to get back with the programme if I’m ever to actually run a whole 5k continuously ever again.

Then ‘suddenly’ the finish is in view, and the warm embrace of other parkrunners welcoming you back is made manifest with whoops and cheers.  I don’t know if it was partly because there were so many tourists and a lot of walkers at the rear saving their legs for the half the next day, but there was still a lot of support at the finish by the time I came in.  Also, they seemed to be using mobile phones for timing and scanning, I’m not sure if that was exclusively, but they have definitely embraced the parkrun app here, and it seemed to be working smoothly.  As I’m one of the very few people left in the world yet to own a smart phone, I’m still a bit suspicious of the technology, but no problems were made manifest today.  So I’ll keep an open mind.  I don’t think a defibrillator should be an app, but who knows what future AI technology is capable of. Thinking about it, if they’ve succeeded with the teleporting, I think they’ve established their credentials innovation wise.    And actually, thinking about it,  that might not even be twins, maybe they’ve also sussed effective cloning, to avoid any last minute panic in terms of filling vacant volunteering slots.  Respect Crosby parkrun, you have thought of everything!

A few people were still coming in, and oh look, the selfie sign again!  An open invitation for some more experimentation there:

Reunited with my teleported belongings, time for coffee and run debrief.

Couple of points in summary. This is quite an unexpectedly tough parkrun, because turns out, running in soft sand is really hard, even with practically zero elevation.   Still, let’s keep it all in perspective, it’s hard, but not hard hard, not like running the Great Wall of China Marathon hard for example – although granted I’ve not actually done that one myself yet, so it may be I’ve  just swallowed the hype! Perhaps, I’m just a wuss, I know I’m nesh, but talk of a course ‘Containing more than 20,000 unrelenting stone steps, many vary in height from a few centimeters to over 40 cm in height, with many of the original sections little more than rubble, and no less than 30 km of running‘ makes me a tad nervous.  Can’t knock it for firming the calves and thighs though if you did decide to take it on…

It would be good as your home run as you get so much variation in terrain over the course, plus a sprint section along the promenade if the mood took you.  Not good for hills though.

In the cafe, it was fairly small, but social.  Cow cowl themed cup cakes were brought out to mark 300 runs.  We spared a thought for absent friends. One friend in particular, you were missed, get well soon, you know who you are.  You are not only Troy’s side kick, but a parkrunner in your own right.  See you out and about soon.  We thought of you a lot.  cheery wave is coming right at you from here right now!

and a disturbing yet compelling personal buff donned to mark the 100th different run. I think I’ll just leave that out there for you to draw your own conclusions.  Sometimes, just because you can do something, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should…

DSCF0987

More games, my fellow tourister cleverly appropriated someone’s camera to add some little surprises for him whilst his back was turned, thus gaining the exquisite extra of having him photobomb his own stolen camera shots. Hurrah!  I just love making my own entertainment sometimes!  This parkrun tourist clearly has talent and form in this respect, I can learn much from her opportunism and wit!  Such rituals are all part of the post parkrun faffing – parkfaff if you will, a mandatory part of parkrun tourism in particular.

The cafe was too rammed to be conducive to sitting in, so we went back out for final beach explorations and photo ops.  It was a quite different place, suffused with parkrun joy on a Saturday morning.  Another Place indeed.

didn't we have fun folks

There was alas, one down side to this whole excursion.  Like I said, it mostly ended well, but, the thing is, if you will run on a beach you get sand in your shoes, and in your knickers, so the memory lingers, often trapped in orifices for longer than you might ideally wish for.  Swings and roundabouts eh?

Still, if you don’t fancy a beach, and can handle crowds, there’s a new scenic one in Nepal that’s attracting a lot of attention and is as far away from the sea as you can get at 8,848 m (29,029 ft), doesn’t appeal to me, but each to their own.

everest queue from bbc website

Meantime, there’s always a parkrun near you.  Don’t be lonely, find a parkrun friend.

DSCF0999

So thank you lovely Crosby parkrun people for your warm welcome to your lovely venue.  It was a super friendly and efficient team, and you laid on sunshine for us, impressive.  Also, lots of post parkrun cake.  I forgot to say, someone offered me my pick from a Tupperware container of iced buns at one point, and I asked naively what the occasion was only to be met with a nonplussed expression of incomprehension.  Then, after a pause ‘we need a reason?  But this is parkrun, there is always cake’.  Well said my friend, that’s the parkrun spirit right there!  Thank you fellow tourists familiar faces and new ones too, and thank you non parkrunning fellow travellers, grand to meet you.

I’m sure our parkrunning paths will cross and intersect again sometime, somewhere, but til then, happy parkrunning.

For all my parkrun related posts click here.  Or don’t.  It’s up to you.  You’ll need to scroll down for older entries though, and forward for new ones in time too, once there are some just so you know.  That’s amazing when you think about it, you’ll be able to travel in time.  Cool.  You won’t be able to alter the past as is always the way, but you can splash about in parkruns past with abandon.  You’re most welcome.

🙂

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

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: