On a bitterly cold bright morning was a time of personal reflection for me in running at the beautiful village of Ottershaw, Surrey as my dad who sadly passed away last Sunday aged 82, a rock in my life, best friend and allround good man to know!
So decked out in his beloved Tottenham Hotspur top I run in his honour today, now on for the rest of this challenge and also in memory of Mark Sherwood a top parkrun tourist friend I will dedicate what I do in their names!
Now for Homewood, I always find fascinating looking a little deeper about the places I have run and Ether Hill Wood where the course is based around has a bit of a gruesome past!
Back in the 14th Century it was used as a site for the gallows and was said because of the vantage point of this hill this would deter members of the local community from ever wanting to break to law, glad the woods are being used for more positive pastimes nowadays!
I love when a local parkrun community calls for help and everyone pitches in to assist! In this case with shovels, wheelbarrows in hand there were some very muddy path trails on the course that a working party that was set up after the parkrun to repair!
This involved redistributing piles of wood chips left by the council work then relayed over the most effected paths, outstanding work guys!!!
Can I add it was mine and my friends honour to help your working party in bolstering these paths so they would be fit enough to either walk or run on in future weeks!
It was again to great to be around top parkrun tourist friends that came to support me yesterday in Martin Ball, Kevin Brown and Robert Kidd thanks for coming today guys, very much appreciated!!!!!
Another joy of mine is making new friends, so today I had the chance to chat to Richard Eggleton (gentleman on the left side of the above group shot) who’s a run director from Boston, Lincolnshire who is a member of a family of top parkrun enthusiasts!
This is what Richard kindly messaged me afterwards, “9 of our family regularly run and last week when I crossed the line it was our cumulative 1500 run. We consist of Grandma and Grandpa, their two daughters and husbands and 3 grandchildren. We have also cumulatively exceeded 250 volunteers between us.” Wow!!!
Richard I salute you and your family as being a great credit to the Boston parkrun community, will defiantly have to visit you one day sir!
This course is 3 anticlockwise laps of Ether Hill that start and finish either side of Ottershaw Memorial Fields!
This is an undulating trail course that you need to take with care as there are a large number of exposed tree roots on a lap of Ether Hill woods! I love the name of the difficult short climb on each lap called Achilles Hill that the locals had a vote on and I can add it did test out my Achilles 🙂
Points to note
- This is definitely a trail shoes course except for the driest of summers
- Hard to explain but there was a few gravel paths dotted around the course that just started and stopped, strange!
- Definitely add a few minutes onto your average parkrun times on this course
Must admit I was in awe of some of the runners yesterday with their confidence running at high speed and being sure footed! Sadly that is a skill I was very much lacking with my time being 40:03
There is free parking available at Ottershaw Memorial Fields Sat Nav KT16 0NQ and a added bonus is the toilet facilities are available before the start of the parkrun in this site!
For the post run coffee we retired to the lovely Old School Cafe Sat Nav KT16 0DP for a well deserved breakfast after all that course maintenance work, I decided to go for the Olympic sized breakfast that was very delicious indeed 🙂
Other facilities at the adjacent Ottershaw Memorial Fields include:
- Children’s play area
- Picnic benches
- Tennis courts
- Multi-use games court
- Bowling Green
I would like to thank the run director Steve Dye, Dee Harper and everyone associated with Homewood parkrun that made us all feel extremely welcome and part of your community, well done guy’s!
So if you like a challenging trail course through lovely woodland then Homewood is definitely a must location to visit!
Finally dad you may have passed away, but you will always be in our hearts & minds,
Love Mark xxx
Event 79 Kettering 10-03-2018