Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Event Review : Stokes Scurry

The Stokes Scurry is a little gem of an event that I'm almost loathe to share. I've been trying to get to one for a long time which, given it's held monthly (except during Winter), is quite something and more a reflection on my diary than my motivation.

Held at 10am on a Sunday morning at Stokes Farm on the outskirts of Wokingham, the Scurry is a relaxed and friendly run around the fields of the farm. There's a choice of either a 2 or 4 mile run (1 or 2 laps) although occasionally there is a 5km distance instead. You do need to register in advance but you don't ned to decide on your distance until the morning of the event.
On the start line
There's plenty of parking and registration is easy. The atmosphere is a relaxed and sociable one with people returning to the registration point afterwards for tea, coffee and delicious home-made cake. And it shouldn't be a surprise, with an event on a farm, that there are free range eggs available for sale. I was a little unnerved when I arrived and on giving my name to the organiser was greeted with the words "Oh you must be the sporty one - four miles then?"... To be classed as "the sporty one" at a race makes you wonder about your reputation!
From a distance... looks as though I'm the only one in the event!
Your timing "chip" is a peg with a number written on it - suitably rustic and a system that seems to work very well. Although it's timed this isn't a race, unless you want it to be. Many people run this at the speed of chat while some leave you in their dust. I was somewhere in between which made it a little lonely but the rutted ground kept me occupied. The choice of distance means it's suitable for all abilities and ages, including children. The course is signed well enough that they don't need to be supervised too closely.
Having a zen moment
The grass had recently been cut which made the going easier and the ground was dry so road shoes were perfectly fine but trail shoes would be a benefit in wetter months. It's not hilly but there are certainly some gentle inclines. You'll pass fields of hens, busy laying eggs for you, encounter the occasional dog walker or horse rider, and forget for a moment that you're a stones throw from the M4.

The Stokes Scurry is on again in September, date to be confirmed, and although I know I won't be able to join that one, I will certainly be going again!

Do you know of any other free or inexpensive runs like this near you (apart from parkrun)?