In the depths of winter my love affair with Essex and East London parkruns grows even stronger as on this bitterly cold day the depth of welcome I received from Billericay community was heartwarmingly welcoming!
Billericay, Essex is a town with a population 28,000 and in the Borough ofBasildon with this event taking place at the lovely named park in Lake Meadows
This park covers 40 acres and was originally owned by the Spitty family, who had the lake dug out by unemployed labourers, but the local council had the foresight in 1935 to buy this land and transform it into the lovely park you see today, well done!
This parkrun journey of discovery never ceases to amaze me with Billericay parkrun just 7 months old but has the core nucleus of a great community feel is there for any tourist to see soon as you walk through the park gates!
So how do measure this could it be the friendly chat with the local patrons before the start of the run, young Sofie’s corner where she welcomely cheers you up the hill or chatting away with Judith Campbell as we come towards the finish, even the very friendly post run coffee chat (thank you to the kind couple was bought me a unexpected coffee) was a lovely finishing touch to this morning event!
So in summary Billericay has all of these qualities in spades and it is great to see the local town wholeheartedly get behind their event!
Wizard & the Dragon
It’s great to see how the Friend of Lake Meadows come up with this excellent project to turn the sad loss of one of the parks oak trees, then get the necessary funding and with the aid of a talented sculptor in Neil Bruce come up with this excellent depiction of The Wizard and the Dragon that is a striking visual talking point when you enter the park, brilliant stuff!
This winter course was a modified 3.8 anticlockwise laps of Lake Meadows that was a mixture of tarmac paths and grass, undulating in nature that tested your stamina, but the inclines were far from being to excessive! On the final lap you turn off towards the finish just after the edge of the lake!
As with most courses this time of year ice is a continual worry for event organisers with this event not being immune with two short tarmac sections being iced over with standing water so effecting this weeks route that took couple of diversions onto the grass!
My time was 34.21 that is a little bit misleading as with the changes to the route I just run just under 5k distance but is very understandable under the circumstances and 1000% more preferable than cancelling this event!
There is free weekend parking available at Radford Crescent council car park Sat Nav CM12 0DR, For some reason the parks toilets were closed before the event but I have been told by the core team that is is not a usual occurrence!
For the obligatory post run coffee we retired to Cafe in the Park that was very welcoming in that very inclement weather!
Other facilities included
- Playing fields,
- Bowling green
- tennis courts and
- Children’s play area
- Swimming pool,
- Cricket pitch and skate park.
I would like to give a resounding thank you to the run director Samuel Hill and his team of volunteers that done a excellent job in dealing with very tricky course conditions in a very happy positive way!
Finally so Billericay you may be new in parkrun events terms, but have a brilliant exuberance and kind supportive manor about your event that if I did not know any better I had always been a member of your community, top marks Billericay!
Mark aka Silent Runner
Event 77 Reading 17-02-2018
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