Thursday, 5 February 2015

Newbury parkrun

I enjoy parkrun. I've been parkrunning since 2010. I've completed 71 runs at 9 different venues and volunteered 10 times. This year I'm hoping to reach my 100th parkrun and so far it seems I'm right on track. My latest bit of parkrun tourism was at Newbury. I'd had this one in mind for a while, as it's my friend Debbie's local one and I'd been invited a few times. Finally we found a Saturday that worked for us all so it was game on! I met Debbie and her hubby, Steve, at their house which meant getting up even earlier than on a regular work day but it was absolutely worth it.

We'd had a dusting of snow overnight so there was some um-ing and er-ing about trail shoes vs road shoes but as the Newbury course is quite flat and mostly on hard packed paths road shoes were perfectly adequate. It's a single lap course, not something I come across very often and a very welcome change. It's also somewhat larger than my regular haunt boasting between 300 and 450 runners.
With a race the next day I was supposed to be taking it easy but my legs had lots of energy in them and a slight competitive edge came out. Debbie and I ran together for the most part until she pulled a sprint finish out of the bag. And I thought we were friends! But it was a good fast course, well marked and I thoroughly enjoyed the change.
Some expert photo-bombing in the background there.
One of the big attractions for a lot of people is the social aspect of parkrun. I must confess this is something that I often bypass. I generally go alone or have something to dash off to afterwards so it made a nice change not only to run with friends but to stop for coffee and a natter afterwards in the local caff, that opens just for us runners on a Saturday. I met the lovely Theresa from Miles Stronger, purveyor of barcode t-shirts, and ate the largest rock cake you ever did see. It was the first time I'd stayed for coffee after a parkrun and it's something I resolve to do more often in the future, even if that means being brave and introducing myself to people I don't know.
Second breakfast
I hear on the grapevine that a couple more park runs are starting up near me so I look forward to a little more parkrun tourism in due course. In the meantime I'll be going back to Newbury for Debbie's 100th parkrun in March so I'd best get working on my sprint finish... or would that be out of line?

Have you done any parkrun tourism? What's your favourite course? Do you stick around for socialising afterwards?

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