All posts by mhatter67

Sutcliffe

Always a great pleasure of mine to be back in the capital after being 3 years away running new events to me and today I visited Sutcliffe park, Eltham that is in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

Evolution of a park

Formerly known as Harrow Meadows the land was developed into a park in 1937 and named after the Royal Borough of Greenwich engineer Mr J Sutcliffe

Due to this area being a flood risk the park was redeveloped in the 1990’s and reopened in 2004 to become ‘a very special place, where it has been possible to protect 600 houses and business from flooding downstream. This has been achieved by reshaping and restoring the natural river floodplain

I always love to hear stories where public parks are transformed for the betterment of their local community of which it serves and brings nature back into the park for generations to come!

Course

The course is a simple, three clockwise laps of the perimeter of Sutcliffe Park with very little or no elevation to note that starts and finishes just outside the sports centre.

The running terrain is a mixture of well maintained tarmac and gravel footpaths

Points to note

  • At the end of lap one and two, you run around an oak tree to start the next lap
  • On the final lap there was a short grass section where the finish funnel awaits that could get boggy, but it was fine on the day

Sutcliffe is a seriously fast PB style course, and I was very happy with my time of 30:15 that is my fastest time of the year πŸ™‚

Facilities

There are toilets available before the start at Sutcliffe Park Sports centre that is always great news for us tourists πŸ™‚

Travelling By Car

Due to the train strike I decided to drive to Sutcliffe that is unusual for me as if it is straightforward, I will use public transport from my home in Luton to London.

There are a few points I need to address about using your car to get to this parkrun and they are:

The advice on Sutcliffe parkrun event website is there is paid parking available at the sports centre car park postcode SE9 SLW this is fine and relatively cheap at Β£1 per hour.

Problem is the payment meters do not allow you to pay before 9am, the event team though kindly start the event a couple of minutes late so you can pay for your parking.

I seriously recommend if you are going to park at the sports centre car park download the Y-Pay application onto your smartphone and make payment in advance for the car park before you travel to Sutcliffe on the morning of the event you are attending.

I did find out on the day that there is free road parking just outside the park on the A210 that has the same postcode address.

ULEZ

Sutcliffe Park is just inside the Ultra Low Emissions Zone ULEZ that if your car does not meet the set emissions criteria you are charged Β£12.50 per day to travel around this zone. Please check the TFL website to see if your car is exempt from this charge link here

Finally, on ULEZ the London Mayors office plans to extend this zone to all London Boroughs on 29th August 2023

Post run Coffee

I retired for a well-earned coffee to Better Coffee Corner that is inside the sports centre and sat down to have a lovely chat with fellow tourists who’s local parkrun is Tunbridge Wells

Conclusion

I would like to thank the lovely, Catherine and her team of Hi Vis heroes for doing an excellent job today.

So, if you are looking for a fast flat parkrun with a very friendly community then Sutcliffe has to be very high on your tourist list πŸ™‚

Now I have 3 more Greater London parkrun events (currently 60 in total) to visit to regain my LonDone regionnaire status and I am looking forward to it πŸ™‚

Until next time happy parkrunning everyone πŸ™‚

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

Rugby

Great to be back on the road this week in market town of Rugby, Warwickshire and this being the first parkrun I have ever run in this county.

The town is probably being best known as the modern birthplace of the game of Rugby where the sport takes its name from the public school in the town.

The story goes that in 1823 “when William Webb Ellis caught a football at Rugby School and ran with it, a game was born.” source

Today’s venue

Rugby parkrun is based at Whinfield recreation ground that is the largest multipurpose sporting venue for the town and caters for football, rugby and cricket!

Also part of Rugby parkrun course is run around Whinfield woods that boasts recent grants for both planting new trees and improving the paths around the woods.

Excellent stuff love investments in green projects that are good for one’s mental health and the natural environment!

Course

Rugby parkrun course map
Rugby course map

The course consists of 2 clockwise laps of Whinfield recreation ground & woods with a mixture of running surfaces that included gravel, tarmac paths and grass field sections.

At the end of the second lap, you turn right with the finish funnel awaiting you!

Points to Note

  • There is a wide start line on the grass near the changing rooms and I would start off at the pace you are going to run the event as the following corresponding paths around the main playing field is hard to overtake on
  • There is a short trail section they call Wilderness that incorporates a downhill then short but sharp uphill piece that will test your fitness
  • Love the Strava name for the uphill section Alpe-d’ cemetery with a gradient of 4.8
  • Could see running around the grass football pitches perimeter getting very muddy if they have a long period of rain
  • Love 2 lappers as the pace I currently go did not get me overtaken by the faster runners that is always a boost to your morale.
  • Finally, tourists do not panic like me with no other parkrun runners are around, they all seem to turn up at 8:55 πŸ™‚

Over I am happy with my time of 32.47 and I was delighted to be able to run up the hill section twice πŸ™‚

Facilities

There is free parking at Whinfield Recreation ground and Cemetery Sat Nav CV21 3SB, but there are no toilet facilities in the park.

For the post run coffee they retire, to The Canal Lounge @ Bridge 66 Sat Nav CV23 0EY

For me I had to get away afterwards, but on the way home I was so hungry, I pop into the closest service station for breakfast.

It was not lost on me being a Luton Town supporter that I was having my pit stop at Watford Gap Services πŸ™‚ but little did I know was that the service station took its name from the Northampton village of Watford with a population of 320 πŸ™‚

Conclusion

I would like to thank this week’s run director Joel and his team of Hi Vis heroes for doing an excellent job on the morning and it was great to chat to the marshals & tail walkers David, Tracey Donaldson after I finished my run!

So, if you want to experience an interesting multi terrain course with a hill section then I can highly recommend a visit to Rugby parkrun.

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

Watermeadows

Great to be back on the road again after 6 weeks away from parkrun touring with today visited Watermeadows parkrun that is based at in the lovely market town of Towcester, Northamptonshire.

Watermeadows History

Watermeadows park used to be part of Easton Neston estate and closed off to the public until 2009 when it was purchased for the people of Towcester, by the then South Northamptonshire Council.

The park has been developed over the subsequenting years to give the local community a beautiful green space to be proud including a natural designed play area for the children.

Milestones

So today I have reached the unofficial milestone of 150 parkruns events with 125 of them being different ones.

I have been blessed with so many great adventures on my travels that I cannot wait for to see what happens in the next 150 πŸ™‚

I would like to also give a big well done to my running club & parkrun friend Dawn who reached her 100 events at our home parkrun of Luton, Wardown today.

Dawn 100th Event

Course

The course is a simple just over 4 clockwise laps of Watermeadows park, run almost entirely on newly laid gravel path that is almost flat in elevation terms.

After finishing the final lap there is a short stretch run back along the footpath, then you veer off onto the grass where the finish funnel awaits.

Sorry no course map image this week as I am still getting to grips with my new sports watch and my map was not accurate enough to publish!

Points to Note

  • New path was only laid by Christmas last year and is in excellent condition!
  • Be careful if you go onto the grass to overtake as it is a bit uneven and cracked in places
  • Narrow gate pinch point near the playground section that are to be fair marshalled

Overall, this is a very flat well-maintained course to post a fast time on, for me I was happy with a posted time of 32.42

Facilities

There is free parking at Tove long stay car park Sat Nav NN12 7AH and as stated on their parkrun event website there are no facilities in this park.

For toilet facilities they recommend using is at Tesco, Old Tiffield Road, Towcester, NN12 6PF

For the post run coffee, I retired to Claire’s Cottage Kitchen that is a lovely mobile cafe that is set up just outside the parks main entrance.

I do recommend after completing you parkrun pop up to the top of the ancient monument Bury Mount for excellent views of both the park and the town.

Conclusion

I would like to thank Grace this week’s run director and her team of high viz heroes for making us all feel extremely welcome on the morning, well done guys!

So, if you want a flat fast course to visit then Watermeadows has to be high on your tourist list, you have been told!

For me that I have learned on my travels is parkrun events evolve and are not cast in stone, courses are modified and, in some cases, even change location.

So, my parkrun event reports are only as accurate I can make them for the day I visit, but if I ever go back, I will update my report accordingly to reflect any changes that may have occurred.

Finally, until next time happy parkrunning everyone:)

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

Margate

Great to be back again having a parkrun mini holiday break for the first time for me in nearly three years with a visit to the quintessential of English seaside towns in Margate, Kent πŸ™‚

Special Mentions

Huge congratulations today go to Kylie running her 50th parkrun and Hi-Vis hero Holly who tail walked on her 25th volunteering event, top work ladies!

Course

Margate course map

The course starts at the shelter, then you run 500m west, run around the bandstand and back past the shelter run 2km until the pumping station you then run around the bend onto a small grass loopback section onto the main footpath again and finish back at the shelter.

The course steady undulates in elevation along the cliff top footpaths and apart from a short, small grass loop back section is run on well-maintained wide tarmac paths!

Points to note

  • I have been told the short grass loop back drains well and never get that muddy
  • As they state on their course description always kept on the left at the junction points on the course

My time was 33:44 that I will happy take that especially as somehow, I ran 5.11 km πŸ™‚

Facilities

We stayed in rented suite on Ethelbert Crescent with all the mod cons, so my journey on the morning was just a half mile walk away from the start of this event.

If you are driving, they state there is free street parking on the B2051. Update I have been informed that you can use the toilets at Walpole Bay Hotel that is very close to the start of this event!

For the post run coffee, we retired to the Palm Bay cafe where I had to indulge myself with double scoop of vanilla ice cream 🍨 and a flake, how lovely and refreshing treat that was to behold.

An alternative if you want a more substantial breakfast, I can highly recommend the well named builders’ breakfast from the Rendezvous Bistro.

I didn’t need to eat for the rest of my day after that monstrously beautiful, cooked meal I had for dinner later in the day, but they are open from 9am.

Builders Breakfast

Other Attractions

There are a lot of things to do in Margate if you plan to stay for the whole day or longer after the parkrun.

Walpole Bay Tidal Pool

If you wish to cool down after your parkrun, why not don on you bathing gear and try the grade 2 listed Walpole Bay Tidal Pool that is 4 acres in size. The tidal pool is located directly below the finish line of Margate parkrun, so you have no excuses 😊

Walpole Bay Tidal Pool

Shell Grotto

We went to the fascinating Shell Grotto that has 4.6 million shells studded into the limestone walls and was discovered by luck in 1835.

A truly breathtaking sight to behold!

Conclusion

I would like to thank this week’s run director Allison and her team of hi vis heroes for an excellent job and the nicest compliment I could give to you all are one of my most favourite parkrun communities that I have ever had the pleasure to visit πŸ™‚

I would say apart from my home parkrun of Luton, Wardown I could not find a more lovelier bunch of people to spend my parkrun morning with. Top work guys πŸ™‚

Margate Hi-Vis Heroes

So, if you are looking for inspiration for a seaside mini break with a top parkrun community, then Margate must be on your parkrun touring to do list, you have been told!

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

Chichester

Today I am In beautiful cathedral city of Chichester, West Sussex that is also their county town and boasts a large number of grade two listed buildings.

Chichester Cathedral Image source wikipedia

Chichester parkrun is located at the city’s Oaklands park that 10 acre site was originally bought by the council in 1939 for the princely sum of Β£11,000 then after the second world war it was opened up for sporting use including becoming the home of Chichester RFC

Special Milestones

Lynette Woodward -250th parkrun

The main reason why I chose Chichester to visit this week was to help celebrate with my good parkrun friend Lynnette on her reaching the impressive milestone of 250 events today and she was ably supported on the day by Jasper one of her dogs.

Lynnette has also amassed 157 volunteer credits to her name including 65 as run director and was also event director as well.

You are not only a credit to Chichester but the whole parkrun family and you should be rightly applauded by all of us for the volunteering work you have done!

Paul Sinton-Hewitt – 500th parkrun

Big deserved well done to parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt the man who started parkrun back in 2004 at Bushy Park, London completed his 500th milestone parkrun today!

Me with Paul Sinton-Hewitt

I was lucky to meet Paul at Raphael parkrun during my charity year of running all the Greater London events.

A true gentleman who concept of parkrun has inspired so many people around the world to don on their running trainers and just enjoy parkrun being with their local community every Saturday morning.

We all salute you sir!

Course

Chichester Course amp

The course is three laps of Oaklands Park that both starts and ends outside Chichester Festival theatre, and it is undulating in elevation and running surface mainly comprises of grass but there is a short section of both tarmac and gravel paths.

The course is criss-cross in design that slowly works you up the highest point of the park by the pavilion, then you run back across the top and down the tarmac footpath to either start a new lap or turn off to finish!

Points to note

  • At the start we run a short distance across the field then do a u-turn, that is a little bit of a bottleneck, but to be fair all the runners soon sort themselves out afterwards on the course.
  • Overall, I would use normal running trainers even in the wettest of conditions because I know how slippery trail running shoes are on tarmac surfaces especially on this course when you are running down hill
  • Love the wooden post parkrun directional markers dotted around the course

Finally, on the course any event that finishes with a welcome downhill section gets top marks in my books!

My time was 33:52 that that is fair a reflection of my parkrun times right now.

Facilities

There is pay and display parking available Northgate car park with a tariff of Β£1.90 for up to 2 hours that is located adjacent to the park Sat Nav PO19 6AA

There are also free public toilet facilities in at the corner of Northgate car park that were open when I arrived at 8:15 am, that is always welcome news for us parkrun tourists.

For the post run coffee, we retired the Chichester Festival Theatre and it was lovely to sit outside in the late summer sun and chat with the local parkrun patrons πŸ™‚

Conclusion

Big thank you this weeks run director James and his team of volunteers for making us all feel very welcome on the day, top work guys!

For my tourist friends I see Chichester as a mini break holiday destination by not only running their event, but also exploring for example England’s newest National Park in South Downs and book tickets to their theatre of the evening πŸ™‚

Talking out mini break parkrun holiday weekends I am really looking forward to mine next week πŸ™‚

So, until then happy parkrunning everyone,

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

Harcourt Hill

On one of the hottest Saturdays of the year it is great to be back touring with today’s event being held at Oxford Brookes University, Harcourt Hill campus.

First for me running a parkrun on university campus grounds with Harcourt Hill just 3 miles away from Oxford city centre and boasts excellent sports facilities that not only benefit university staff and students, but also for the local community as well that is great to hear!

Special mentions

I would like to wish Adam Clilverd and Rebecca Acton all the best for their upcoming wedding in 3 weeks’ time. Their plan is to run Oxford & University parks parkrun separately on the day and meet up for the wedding at 2pm. I love these parkrun stories 😊

Adam & Rebecca

Always a treat to meet up again with my very close running buddy Martin for another enjoyable fun packed morning!

Warm Weather Running

Even though parkrun starts at 9am in England & Wales, 9:30am in Scotland & Northern Ireland in heatwave conditions it is also good to take precautions!

  • Make sure you are well hydrated before the start of your parkrun event
  • Wear loose clothing and preferably a running hat to protect yourself from the sun
  • If you wish carry a small water bottle around with you to drink on the course
  • At the end of your run make there is water available to replenish what you have lost through sweating!
  • If you are feeling unwell on the course, if you can get to the nearest marshal who can help or if not the closest runner to you to get assistance!
  • Finally, you can always run a PB another week and be kind to yourself and run at a more conservative pace

Course

Harcourt Hill Course

This course is a simple 2 anti-clockwise laps of the perimeter of the campuses playing fields that is run entirely on grass and is almost flat in elevation!

With the amber heatwave warnings in place, I decided to run very conservatively in the baking morning sun time: 33:56

Points to Note

  • In the winter or after prolonged periods of rain I would recommend using trail shoes on this course
  • Just be weary of exposed tree roots in the short, wooded section

So finally on this course in the right temperature conditions this could be quite a fast grass event to run with overall a well kept surface even though it is very parched in this current drought!

Facilities

There is free parking available at their sports centre car park Sat nav OX2 9AT and we have been told by the centre staff it is free on Saturdays. As a precaution though I did leave my car registration details with their reception staff

There are toilet and changing/shower room facilities right next to the start of this event that is always a great bonus to any parkrun event!

Changing Facilities

For our post run coffee, we travelled just over 1 mile down the road to West Way Square complex Botley to Missing Bean coffee shop for a lovely beverage and quiche tarts for a perfect finish to our morning adventure.

There is free parking up to 2 hours at West Way Square multi storey car park sat Nav OX2 0LW

Conclusion

I would like to thank this week’s top run director Jenny Cooke and her team of hi-vi heroes for making us feel all extremely welcome!

Who knows Jenny we may bump into each other again on our tourist adventures πŸ™‚

So is you want to run a fast flat grass course with excellent facilities, then Harcourt Hill parkrun should be added to your parkrun tourist list πŸ™‚

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

Stevenage

It’s great to be back at Stevenage, Hertfordshire for their 250th event with the last time I visited was over 6 years for their inaugural event on 28th May 2015

The reason for me repeating this parkrun event is a very simple one like five others I have toured in the past before I started writing parkrun blog reviews deserve a revisit to right this wrong!

Park History

Today’s parkrun is located at Fairlands Valley Park that is 120 acres in size and as they say has something for everyone to enjoy on their visit.

They parks name Fairlands comes they think from the “Fairlane which used to run almost due south linking Shephall with Pin Green.

In modern times in the 1966 master plan for Stevenage, Fairlands Valley was proposed to become the new towns principal park and the rest is history!

Special Mentions

I’ve met some inspirational people on my parkrun adventures and today I had the pleasure of meeting Roger Biggs marathon runner extraordinaire, and he informed me that he has currently run 913 marathons!

Roger, I doff my cap in your honour sir, a simply an outstanding achievement.

Roger Biggs

Big well done to Mylo the dog reaching their 100 parkrun today. I hope they gave you cake and a lovely bowl of water to celebrate this great achievement afterwards.

Finally Tony Randfield broke his all-time parkrun PB with an outstanding time of 20:24

Well done sir!!!

Course

Stevenage course map

The course is 2 clockwise laps of Fairlands Valley Park that is steadily undulating in elevation which starts by the main lake.

The surface is made up of 90% tarmac paths with a short 150 meter woodland trail section, then finally finishing off on lap two with a short trip on the grass to the finish funnel!

Points to note:

  • At the start of the parkrun the field splits into two, half runs by the lake and the other half run up a parallel grass bank before both groups joins back up. The core team have added a short dividing fence near the start for safety purposes that is an excellent idea!
  • Just be careful there are two sets of bollards on the course that you need to keep an eye on when running around
  • The 150-meter woodland trail section is a lovely addition but be wary of the exposed tree roots
  • Near the end you have a short sharp grass slope to test you before you run into the finish πŸ™‚

I was very happy with my time considering the undulating nature of the course as the previous few parkruns courses I have been too were very flat in nature!

Finally memo to myself concentrate at the start and make sure you have set your sports watch to record into outdoor running mode and not like me treadmill mode with it only said I had recorded 2.86 miles lol πŸ™‚

Facilities

This parkrun has excellent facilities with multiple free car parks dotted around the park. I chose the one very near to the start postcode SG2 0BL

There are toilet facilities available from 8:30am at Costello Cafe that is situated next to the main lake and I retired back there afterwards for a well-earned coffee and it had to be a strawberry ice cream as well πŸ™‚

Conclusion

I would like to thank this week’s run director Amy and her team of volunteers for an excellent job hosting your 250th parkrun milestone event, great work guys!!!

Stevenage Hi-Vis Heroes

Sorry did not have any green running top to help you celebrate your 250th event, but I hope that I have got away with wearing this turquoise work one πŸ™‚

So finally, if you like to test yourself on this gentle undulating course that has excellent facilities and a friendly community then Stevenage must be added to your tourist list to visit!

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

Millennium Country

Great to be finally back in my home county of Bedfordshire today at Millennium Country park, Forest of Marston Vale.

Forest of Marston Vale

I love to hear about sympathetic green projects returning once scared industrial landscapes in this case “Massive pits had been dug throughout the countryside to supply Stewartby Brickworks with clay” and converting the land with government approval into the Forest of Marston Vale that is 1 of 12 community forests in England.

The forest of Marston Vale aim is to cover 30% available area to them with trees that equates to planting 5 million extra saplings!

Planted tree sapling – copyright image from Forest of Marston Vale

As everyone knows who follows me that I now plant a tree in my dad’s memory for every new parkrun event that I travel too and will now moving forward make all future donations to The Forest of Marston Vale appeal.

Fun Fact

I was told by Millennium Country was their 98th event with 49 taking place before the pandemic and 49 afterwards, so an equal split πŸ™‚

It was great to bump into good friend John Tate from my home parkrun of Luton, Wardown and fellow tourist including Peter Brasted from High Wycombe picture below right wearing purple parkrun tee shirt!

Course

Millennium Country course

The course is a very simple out and back route around half of Stewartby Lake. There is very little elevation on this course and the surface is made up entirely of gravel trial path that are well maintained!

Points to note:

  • Dogs are not allowed at this event
  • The path is wide enough to allow for overtaking, but just take it easy if one of the runners is trying to overtake in the opposite direction on the way back!
  • This is a bridal path so be wary if horses on the course and walk if instructed by the course marshals. To be fair I think the riders knowingly decide to stay away for the duration of this event!
  • I have been told in wet weather the wooden footbridges could get a bit slippery so just take care around there

For me I feel like the parkrun weather gods were on my side with overcast conditions at the start, flat course to run and most of it was shaded with trees either side!

Facilities

There is paid car parking at this event that tariff is Β£2 for 3 hours and can be paid either by cash, card or phone app Sat Nav MK43 0PR

Always welcome before the start of any event there are toilets available outside the Forest Centre.

After the parkrun me and John retired to the Lakeside Cafe inside the Forest Centre for a well-earned cup of coffee and remember you get 10% off your bill on the production of your parkrun barcode, that is always a welcome bonus!

Lakeside CafΓ© at the Forest Centre

Conclusion

I would like to thank this week’s run director Verity and team of volunteers for making us all very welcome today and organising an excellent event!

Millennium Country volunteers

So, if you like a fast flat parkrun to run with excellent facilities, then Millennium Country must be high on your list of events to visit!

Finally, I would like to wish them all the best on their 100th parkrun event in a couple of weeks’ time and I’m sure you will all have a great time πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘πŸ»

For me next week I’m back at Luton, Wardown for my running club Stopsley Striders beginners course graduation parkrun and I’m really looking forward to it πŸ™‚

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

John Bunyan Trail

After nearly 2 years of completing virtual run/walk challenges like Land’s End to John O’ Groats during this pandemic I needed a change, so I finally got around to joining a local walking group and I am so pleased that I did.

Bedfordshire Walking Club

After a quick web search most walking groups seem to be on a platform called Meetup and this is where I joined a group called Bedfordshire Walking Club.

They clearly state on their what we’re about profile they recommend you should have a good level of walking fitness to be able sustain a good pace of over 3 miles per hours for a long period of time (on the day we were averaging 3.4 mile per hour) with most of their guided walks are 10 miles or longer before you sign up and join them!

So wisely chose the correct walking group for you in terms walking pace, distance you want to walk etc!

For me I have been doing a lot of walking during the pandemic and recently seriously upped the miles walked on weekend routes to 10+ miles, so this was the ideal group for me to join!

The Walk – From Sharpenhoe Clappers on the Trail of John Bunyan 11 Mile Walk

Route Map

The route follows a small part of the 86 miles of The John Bunyan Trail that starts on the top of Sharpenhoe Clappers, which is a stunningly beautiful point to start any walk πŸ™‚

With our host Nick we walked a 11 miles approx clockwise loop that incorporated woodlands, rolling chalk hills, public footpath trails. We even went close by to Bunyan’s Oak.

Verdict

This walk reinforced my view that I am so lucky to live in South Bedfordshire with an area of natural beauty on my doorstep in the form of the Chiltern Hills.

Very well organised, attractive planed route and I felt safe in the knowledge I was in the very capable hands of Nick guiding the way!

I have as well personally learnt one very important lesson on the day about pacing yourself while ascending the steep steps of Sharpenhoe Clappers near the end, I really struggled halfway up as I when off to fast for me, then had to stop for a few minutes to catch my breath before finishing the climb, lesson learned!

Facilities

There is a free car park at Sharpenhoe Clappers post code MK45 4SH but be aware there are no on-site toilet facilities.

Conclusion

For me I thoroughly enjoyed the company of Bedfordshire Walking club members, chatting to them and feeling that I have always been part of this group, thanks guys!

I will be back walking with them again on 24th July for the Olney 13 Mile circular walk and I am very much looking forward to it πŸ™‚

So finally happy walking everyone,

Best Mark

Points to note for newbies

  • I strongly recommend investing in a good pair of hiking boots & socks to protect your feet during these trail walks
  • Carry a rucksack containing water and a small amount of food to sustain your energy for 3+ hours of walking
  • Obvious one make sure your mobile phone is fully charged and I have an ICE tag tied on my boot lace in case something goes seriously wrong
  • Always survey the ground ahead of you for any trip hazards
  • Finally, to cover the Meetup site group admin costs Bedfordshire Walking Club charge Β£3 fee per members payable on the day of the event

March

Wow what a difference a day makes, yesterday we’re in the middle of a heat wave with temperatures over 30Β° C and this morning it was a much more desirable running conditions that was cooler & drizzling at March, Cambridgeshire.

History

March is a Fenland market town that once was once based on an island surrounded by marshes, but once they were drained it has grown into the lovely town we see today.

Today’s parkrun is based at West Park and allays a pleasure to have a beautiful meandering river to run beside on one side of the park in the form today of the river Nene old course πŸ™‚

Special Mentions

First to a lovely gentlemen called Peter (picture below right) who I chatted with afterwards and he told me back in the day he used to race against my local running club Stopsley Striders founder Tony Simmons, it was all my pleasure to meet you sir!

Also, Lenny who I first met at Whittlesey parkrun last week doing some local touring and I hope to bump into you again in the near future at another parkrun event πŸ™‚

Course

March course map

The course is 4 flat clockwise laps of the parameter West Park and terrain is a mixture grass, wood chip, gravel and tarmac paths with very little elevation to talk about anywhere on this course!

Points to note

  • Could see after a prolonged period of rain some sections of this course getting waterlogged, but I would struggle to make a case for in certain conditions trail shoes would be advisable to run in!
  • As said this course is very flat in nature so you could run if you wish to in a very fast time
  • Loved going up the steps at the end of each lap that is very unusual addition to any parkrun course

First for me today I have never had a run director running beside me for a lap and Andrew, you helped me keep my pace honest πŸ™‚

Facilities

There is free parking at City Road car park sat nav PE15 9LT that is right next to the start of the parkrun!

For toilets I used the George Campbell Leisure Centre and please follow the staff’s instructions that park runners either use the shoe overriders they provide or leave your shoes at reception before to go into use these toilets!

I have also been told you can use the leisure centre changing facilities and as a goodwill gesture please donate to the charity stick shaker they have on the reception desk.

I personally had no cash on me at the time, but when I got home made a small donation online to Macmillan cancer support their current chosen charity!

Finally, I did not stay afterwards but I have been told that a few of the regulars go for their post run coffee to The Griffin Hotel

Conclusion

I would like to thank Andrew and his team of volunteers for making us all feel extremely welcome today with the likes of marshals Thomas & Gary and their ghetto blaster playing a positive playlist of music to keep us going, well done lads!!!

So, if you want to run a fast lovely flat course then March parkrun has to be high on your tourist list to visit!

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner