Yeovil Montacute

With the summer coming to an end I cannot think of a more stunning location to attend as a parkrun tourist than in Yeovil, Montacute, Somerset!

Montacute House

The event is based at the beautiful location of Montacute House in the small village of Montacute and is about 4 miles outside of Yeovil.

The house was completed in 1601 under the visionary ownership of Sir Edward Phelips and now is lovingly maintained by the National Trust that describes the house as, “Montacute is a masterpiece of Elizabethan Renaissance architecture and design. With its towering walls of glass, glow of ham stone and surrounding gardens, it is a place of beauty and wonder.

If you get a chance please do explore the beautiful house and gardens, trust me you will be handsomely rewarded for the effort!

6th Anniversary

One joy of touring is by a complete twist of fate you end up at a events anniversary and in Yeovil’s case their sixth one with a fun nautical pirate theme 🙂

The reasoning behind the theme is run directors Martin play on the words Pirates in Men’s Pants 🙂 Top idea and as you can see a lot of the local patron’s joined in the fun including Emma, dad Chris and Beans the dog, pleasure to meet you all guy’s 🙂

Alphabet Challenge

One extra incentive to run Yeovil, Montacute is the tourist alphabet challenge of running parkrun events that start with the different letters of the alphabet with their only being two parkruns with the letter Y in the UK and they are Yeovil and York.

Great to see so many tourists there on Saturday including Stephan Wells, Rachel Katherine, Sofie Haidon, Juli Wood, Nick Baggott, Donna Maskell and last but definitely not least local tourist friend to me Mark Wilcox 🙂

Course

Yeovil Montacute course map

The course consists of two parts a inner anti-clockwise lap of 2km that starts and finishes outside the house, then a 3km anti-clockwise lap of the perimeter of the estates park. Finally you finish almost where you started and run down treelined avenue for about 100metres facing away from the house!

The course is almost entirely run on grass undulating paths all but a small broken tarmac path section running outwards on the inner lap section!

Points to Note

  • After a period of wet weather I would recommend running in trail shoes
  • There is a short steep rise about a quarter of a mile from the end of the course, what on Strava they lovingly call it Killer Hill
  • Please remember in winter months Yeovil run away from Montacute House on their B course that is based in the town of Yeovil itself

Great time running around the course, chatting to the local park runners and taking in the views especially running towards Montacute House along the treelined avenue 🙂

My time was 42:21

Facilities

There is free parking at the House sat nav TA15 6XP and toilets are available before the event starts at about 8:30am when the National Trust opens the main doors into the park!

For me I turned running this event into a mini holiday as there was no way that I was going to drive a total combined distance of 302 miles and a parkrun in one day!  I stayed at the lovely Yeovil Court Hotel that is just about 4 miles drive from this event.

For the post run refreshments you have got to the houses cafe legendary cream tea, may not be good for the waistline but I truly don’t care 🙂

Cream tea

Final Verdict

I would love to thank from the bottom of my heart today’s run director Martin Chaffey and his team of volunteers for making it a special birthday event for all of us attending, top work guys!!!!!

With Martin run director

So my fellow parkrun tourists Yeovil, Montacute is a stunning location to run and this has to be put high on your events to do list, you have all been told!!!!

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

Alphabet Challenge

This is my list of parkrun events that each start off with a different letter of the alphabet.

Still to complete letters Q, Z and any parkrun completed that does not have a link means they were run before I started to write blog parkrun reports!

 

Two Years On

It’s now the second anniversary since I started this blog, so what’s is next for me:

parkrun adventures update

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I am now aiming to complete 200 UK different parkrun events at my leisure with the current total standing at 110 on parkrun UK most events list!

Other Aim Include

  • Maintain my Greater London parkrun regionnaire status – current completed 55 of 56 events
  • Finish off my lucky dip tourism event list – still got 49 of 50 events to go 🙂
  • Reach 100 separate days of parkrun volunteering that at the moment it stands at 83 🙂

Future Improvement

Try to be the best running coach I can be and to improve my PB’s up to and including distances of 10 miles. I have a lot of room for improvement on these aims!

My Biggest Loss

Must admit losing my dad on 18th February 2018 was the most devastating moment in my life and running has taken a back seat for a majority of time since!

My dad though would have wanted me to carry on and try to be happy, so going forward running will again be a big part of my life!

Dad profile

So finally, I hope through my blog continue to tell the history of the places I visit and promote their lovely local parkrun communities:)

Who knows one day I might visit you and until then happy running everyone 🙂

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

Book Review – Why Running Matters

The book I have been asked to review is ‘Why Running Matters” by Ian Mortimer that depicts a man who was coming towards his 50th birthday decided to set himself a New Years resolution to run 45 parkrun events and 5 half marathons in a calendar year!

The chapters are in chronological date order with subjects covered including age grading to his ultimate running challenge. The book gives a great insight why running is such an  important part of Ian’s life and on his reasoning all of our lives who lace up a pair of trainers to go out for a run to a great extent!

Family Affair

The part of the book I really enjoyed is his running relationship with his sons Alexandra & Oliver and his joy of seeing them reach their own running goals. One specific instant I loved was when he run with Oliver at one parkrun with his son very unhappy with his performance and stormed into town after the event, while Ian had run one of the best times of the year!

Oliver while in town checked the parkrun results just posted on the website and immediately had to ring his dad to tell him he was made up for him achieving such an excellent time, priceless family moment!

Competitive Edge

For the record Ian is a naturally talented runner who regularly gets into the top 10% of every parkrun he attends and his range of distances extends up to the marathon!

A term I heard once was recreationally competitive that aptly applies to Ian and I love his running battles with his son Alexandra and other park runners, his strategies he employs in either how to beat them or shadow to get a better time 🙂

Final Verdict

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, finding out another runners perspective why running is so important in their life and inspired me to revaluate why running it is so important to me!

So, Ian I wish you all the best in your running and if you have not already broken the magical barrier of a under 20 minutes for 5K, I have faith that you will achieve your goal one day sir 🙂

Finally as Ian quoted parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt “All we are doing here is building a playground, and if you want to come and take part, you can.” who know’s one day Ian we might bump into each other at a parkrun playground, share a few stories over a post run coffee, but until then let’s just rejoice in being happy in our own respective running lives!

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

 

Friary Park Juniors

So on a Sunday when my  local Wardown Junior parkrun was cancelled due to a weekend festival in our park there was only one place I was going too visit and do some parkrun volunteering tourism at with this being Friary Park, Friern Barnet, London 🙂

Childhood past

Why you may ask this specific junior parkrun and the answer is very simple, this was the  park my mum played in as a child in the 1940-50’s and in the 1970’s she took me back to it when visiting my great aunt in North Finchley on my summer school holidays, great memories 🙂

The familiar sight of the imposing but beautiful statue of the ‘Bringer of Peace‘ welcomes you on your arrival, then it was lovely to walk around the park we saw Blacketts brook again that I once paddled in and explored as an inquisitive child back in the day. I have to ask the question why do we ever have to grow up 🙂

Friary Park

So Friary park is nine hectare Edwardian park that started life when the Friary Estate was purchased in 1909 by the wealthy benefactor  Sydney Simmons for Friern Barnet Urban District Council to be used as a park for the local community to enjoy and it officially opened to the general public in May 1910.

Course

Friary park course map

The course is three and a bit clockwise laps on the top part on the park that is relatively flat in design and run entirely of well maintained tarmac paths!

Facilities

There is adequate free street parking around the park on the side roads and the toilets were available before the start of the parkrun that is always welcome!

For the post run coffee we retired to the parks Bowling club pavilion for a well earned refreshments on this warm day.

A really lovely touch after the parkrun was that the bowls club members had an introductory session for the juniors and their parents into how to learn to bowl, what a top community idea!

Other Facilities

  • Outdoor Gym
  • Children’s play area
  • Skateboard park
  • Tennis Courts
  • Bowls

Final Verdict

I would like to thank Eileen and her team of volunteers for the warmest of welcomes, was great to talk to her afterwards about everything junior parkrun and thanks for the tips Eileen, greatly appreciated 🙂

Friary park volunteers

So if you are looking for a bit of local junior parkrun tourism then Friary Park has to be high on your list, a fast course to run and beautiful well maintained park to explore, shear heaven!!!!!

For me personally this park will always have a special place in my heart 🙂

Best Mark aka Silent Runner

Hanworth

So after the record breaking hot temperatures that hit the UK this week it was great to be back running in the capital in refreshing summer rain at Hanworth, West London, shear heaven!

Aviation Past

This weeks parkrun was based at Hanworth park has a very interesting history including the park was also know as London Air park being once a grass airfield that was operational from 1917-19 and 1929-47

Would have been great to be there when the land was used as an airfield and seeing the mighty Graf Zeppelin airship land on this site!

Saving History

Soon as I arrived it became clear the rightful passion Hanworth parkrun community had for saving the parks historic Hanworth Park House from collapse!

The current house was built after the original Henry VII Hanworth palace hunting lodge burnt down in 1787 and with the work finishing on the new house in 1802.

I hope their mission is 100% successful to bring Hanworth Park house back to it’s former glory for the local community to enjoy and the dream of starting their parkrun event each week in front of this iconic building is achieved, all the best guys!!!!!

50 Not Out

I would just like to wish a big well done the my top buddy Martin Ball who run his 50th different parkrun event at Hanworth and the funny thing was we only found out on the drive back home 🙂

Martin it has been my pleasure to have you as a running buddy on my tourist adventures, you bring sunshine to every event you attend and being there for me in the darkest of day’s with the loss of my dad last year, thanks mate!

As always it was great to meet fellow parkrun tourist for the first time in Nigel Rose far right of picture and Tony Streams standing next to him, pleasure to meet you guy’s 🙂

Tourist group shot Hanworth

Course

Hanworth course map

The course is a simple 2 and a bit clockwise laps of the perimeter of Hanworth Park that is run on multiple surfaces including grass, gravel, tarmac and is flat in nature!

Points to note

  • Potentially a fast course in dry conditions
  • Can see the grass section being very boggy after a long period of prolonged rain.
  • Great for the confidence not to be lap multiple times by the leaders as you would find on a 3 plus lap course.
  • Beware of a few potholes on the grass paths, but to be fair this was mentioned in the run briefing!

Overall I really enjoyed this multi terrain course and the rain added to the fun running with my mate Martin 🙂 My time was 42:45

Facilities

There is free car park at Hanworth Air Park leisure centre quite close to the start Sat Nav TW13 5EG and toilets are available from the same place before the start of the parkrun with doors opening at 8am on Saturday’s.

Hanworth Air Park

Finally for the post run coffee you we popped back into the leisure centre for a well earned hot drink and to dry off. So as a tourist to Hanworth this event ticked all the most important facilities boxes for me, excellent stuff!

Final Verdict

I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart this weeks run director Leanne Murray and her top team of volunteers us the warmest of welcomes and it’s hard to believe your parkrun is only 13 events old, excellent work everyone!

Hanworth volunteer shot

So finally I throughly recommend Hanworth as an event to add to your tourist list of places to visit. So Hanworth I think you have a special community going on there and long may it continue 🙂

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

Felixstowe

So on the hottest day of the year I came to Felixstowe, Suffolk on a summers mini break to visit a close relative and the sun painted a beautiful picture postcard view on this lovely traditional English seaside resort town!

Apart from tourism shipping is also a large part of the Felixstowe economy with the port being the biggest and busiest container port in the UK and is located at the mouth of both the River Stout and Orwell.

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Great to see the huge container ships leaving the port on the horizon and wondering what distant countries they are bound for with their expensive cargo 🙂

Volunteer Superstar

On my tourist travels I have been lucky to meet so many parkrun event volunteer superstars that every week they give up there time just to volunteer at their event, but I think at Felixstowe our tail walker Rory Marriott has to go down as a ultra volunteer superstar with 589 roles completed from run director to barcode scanning, 106 of them as a tourist and over a 8 years period that started at Valentines parkrun, London back in 2011, simply wow!!!

Rory you are a dream for a event team trying to fill their weekly roster, a credit to the whole of our parkrun community and jolly decent chap to have a talk to as well, we all salute you sir!!!

Small World

I had a lovely chat to a number parkrun patrons on the day including Gary Parr from Peterborough another fellow member of the unofficial UK parkrun tourist group, but Emma Hoddy who I run with at the end like me was born in Luton and noticed I was from the town as I was wearing my apricot Luton, Wardown parkrun vest, a very small world 🙂

For the record it was Emma’s first parkrun and I hope one day if she reads this article will join us back at my beloved home event of Wardown park 🙂

Course

Felixstowe course map

The course is a single lap of the promenade that starts and finishes by the distance marker next to the leisure centre and surface is entirely made up of tarmac! The run starts off in a South West direction for 1.2km and your turning point is in front of the Martello tower, once you have got back to the start/line your run 1.3KM in North East direction until you reach the final turning point and then run back to the finish funnel.

In the right weather conditions this has the potential of being your of being one of your fastest ever parkrun time!

My time was 40:54 OK for the hot weather and where I am fitness wise at present!

Points to note

  • Position yourself at the start where you think time wise you with finish the event as it is a bit congested to overtake for the first couple of minutes
  • Definitely trainers running shoes kind of course
  • Very slight incline towards both turning points of the course!

Facilities

There is pay and display parking at Undercliff Road West that is right next to the start, post code IP11 2AE or about half a mile away there is free parking at Garrison Lane Car Park post code IP11 7SH.

There are toilet facilities at Broadwalk cafe on the pier and is a great location for the post run coffee afterwards!

Boardwalk cafe

There is so much to do in the town after this parkrun, I would recommend taking a look at their visit Felixstowe tour guide and explore!

Final Verdict

I would like to thank this weeks run director Caroline Stafford and her team of volunteers for the warmest of seaside welcomes and done a great job managing the 274 strong field of running, outstanding effort guys!!!!

Felixstowe volunteers

So finally if you are looking for a flat fast course in a lovely traditional seaside town setting then Felixstowe parkrun has to be high on your to do list of touring!!!!

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

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