On a bitterly cold January morning the warmth of the Great Notley parkrun community was outstanding that I have only witnessed a few times on my tourist travels! It is great to run in an environment where you feel you instantly belong even though I was 70 miles away from my beloved home parkrun of Luton, Wardown, wow!
With a population of 5,500 Great Notley was developed as a self-sustaining garden village back in 1993 by Countryside Developments and part of this village was the building of a new Country Park the home of today’s parkrun!
One tradition for tourists to Great Notley is to sign their guest book that is a great way of you showing your appreciation of the event and it’s volunteers, so if you have the time add a message of thanks!
Today we run the winter course that is two anticlockwise laps of Great Notley Country Park, which is run mainly on gravel paths but has a few grass sections and very unusually a children’s sand play area to run through, I kid you not!!!
Great feature on this course is at the end of lap 1 only you run up the park’s man-made hill to the bird of freedom sculpture and probably for good luck the locals invite you to touch the birds plinth when you get to the top!
Points to Note
- Apart from the hill this course is quite flat in nature
- Wide mass start line of runners jockeying for position for the first 50 metres
- Like a lot of courses this time of year you had to be weary of the mud and ice especially running down their grass hill section!
My time was 39:13 not great but under the circumstances not feeling well the previous evening I cannot complain!
There is a pay and display car park at this event Sat Nav CM77 7FS with up on 2 hours costing £3. There are also available both toilet and changing facilities before and after the parkrun at the parks Discovery Centre building, always welcome for us tourists traveling a distance to a parkrun!
For the post run coffee we retired to the warmth of Lily’s Cafe that is located inside the centre, nice gesture they open up at 8am every Saturday (especially for this event patrons) and give a 10% discount for park runners on production of your barcode:)
Other facilities include
- Children’s play areas including sky ropes
- Horse riding
- Free fishing
- Football pitches and games area
I would like to thank the run director John Stoneman and his team of volunteers for making everybody feel extremely welcome and for the record John you would make a great after dinner speaker!
My favour line of information to the masses at the run briefing was after already telling everyone that the Essex Cross country championships were using the park later on was, “if you are following someone with a race number then you not doing the parkrun“, classic and he got us all to repeat the message back to him 🙂
So would I recommend Great Notley to you all, most definitely with a top parkrun course with a hill test and a real lovely parkrun community, they are a credit to parkrun UK!
Finally don’t forget to touch that bird, you have been told!!!!!!!
Event 73 Oxford 13-01-2018