parkrun volunteering

My first love about parkrun was and has always been volunteering in both supporting the event and the runners who partake each it each week!

Today after a long delay completing my year long capital parkrun challenge I finally reach the coveted 25 event club for the purple volunteers shirt! I am proud to say all but two of these have all been at my home parkrun of Luton, Wardown that started back for me at Week one 18-04-2015 as a Finish Token Support 🙂

So why do you ask volunteer, it is great to give something back to a concept that has given me so much pleasure running over the last 2 years, I would reply why not!!!!!

Here are two brilliant examples through the camera lens that capture the fun and the inspiration of the life of parkrun volunteering. The first was of a lovely lady who I had the pleasure to tail walk for that depicts the shear enjoyment parkrun brings to her! The second shows the competitive edge of two good friends battling to the end even through the finishing funnel, brilliant 🙂

So next time you have Saturday morning free or coming back from injury don’t think twice sign up and volunteer to support your local parkrun!

Become a Hi-Vis hero, you wont be sorry 🙂

Best

Mark

Next event 59 Heartwood Forest 23-09-2017

Event 58 Inverness

There are times when I am almost left speechless by a beautiful location and the friendliness of people that I have met and Inverness was one of those places!

My original reasoning for choosing Inverness was very simple, I as a parkrun tourist who wanted to chose one of the northern most parkruns on the UK mainland and it was easy to get to from Luton Airport with Inverness just a 1 hour 15 minute flight time away!

What a treat I was in for Inverness alone is quite simply a breathtaking city on the banks of the river Ness, even the weather played it’s part bathing this exquisite location in beautiful sunlight!

 

So on the Saturday afternoon after the parkrun I booked myself onto a cruise that incorporated Caledonian Canal, then a trip across Lock Ness to as far as Urquhart castle 🙂

Wow to say I was stunned by the beauty of the Loch and surrounding countryside would be an understatement, I even had record a video of my cruise trip on the Loch to show it in it’s full glory, with link here

Next time though let’s hope Nessie makes an appearance 😉

So what about the parkrun itself I only turned up on the day of their 6th anniversary birthday what a coincidence, they kindly even on request organised a team photo of the whole of the Inverness parkrun community, what a lovely touch we make!

 

Course

Inverness course map

The course is just over three anticlockwise laps Bught Park pitches that is run entirely on grass and considering how hilly the surrounding area there is probably not a flatter course you will find in the UK, you have been told!

My time was 37:13 just happy to be there on the tough road improve my times to ultimately running times averaging 25 min parkrun times I hope!

Points to note!

  • As with all grass courses after a prolonged period of rain, definitely run in at least trail running shoes!
  • Very slightly changed course as there was an event in the bottom corner of the park, so we had to run in front of the marque tent thats all!
  • Finally importantly all parkruns in Scotland start at 9:30am not 9:00am back in England

Facilities

This is an unusual one for me as I am normally driving to the venue and this time I was staying in a hotel not more than half mile from Bught park, they quote for car parking it is best use the Canal Park rugby pitches.

For the post run coffee it was a first for me having a lovely coffee at Floral Hall Coffee Shop that is inside Inverness Botantic Gardens a must look-around  for any keen gardener!

I also would also recommend being a sports lover timing your visit to Bught park when the local Inverness Shinty club have a game on!

Conclusion

I would like to thank RD Gary Reid and the whole of Inverness parkrun community for making all of us tourists extremely welcome on your birthday, excellent stuff guys!

Volunteers goup shot

So finally I have had a brilliant mini weekend breaks in this most picturesque of Highland locations, so you have been told visit Inverness you will not be let down!

Best

Mark

Event 59 Heartwood Forest 23-09-2017

 

Hatfield Forest

A first for me I am writing a review of a stunningly beautiful parkrun based at Hatfield Forest that will be relocating Castle Park, Bishop’s Stortford in just over a months time due to popularity of this event and the pressure the forest winter car park!

So where do you start with Hatfield forest, well for one thing this very well maintained National Trust forest is as the Trust states,

Hatfield Forest is the best surviving example in Britain of an almost complete Royal Hunting Forest. It has seen many owners, from Kings to commoners. No other Forest on earth evokes the atmosphere of a medieval hunting Forest so completely.”

A could not agree anymore, I think it would take a day of exploring to be able fully grasp the beauty of the forest and the animals that inhabit it!

Again today it was great to see so many Cow Cowl tourists in one place, making sure they had a chance to run this parkrun before it goes! Special mention to fellow tourist Trevor Rawson and his lovely dog Teddy, it is great to see that when Teddy gets tired Trevor has a brilliant dog rucksack that he puts him in so they can run the rest of the 5k course together, this is another reason why I love parkrun and the people who run it every week!

 

Course

Hafield forest winter course

As the last parkrun event at Hatfield is on the 23rd September 2017 it is great to see the core team choosing different used in the past routes each week, today we were given the winter course to run that included the informs Bridge of Doom that has legendary status with the locals 🙂

The course itself is one single clockwise lap that incorporated a number of different surfaces, from grass, trail dirt through the woods and tarmac road section!

Point to note

  • There was one pinch point on this course at the wooden gate next to a cattle grid on the road section as the gate used by runners in both directions of this loopback section! To be fair it was well marshalled there and it wasn’t a real issue if you were careful!

Time for me today was irreverent at 41:10 just happy to be their taking pictures and enjoying this forest parkrun!

Important Info

There is a paid £2 grass summer car park available at Sat Nav CM22 6NE and this is about half of a mile from the start at Shell House and for a post run coffee they use the forest cafe!

Final verdict

I would like to thank Susan Anderson and her time of volunteers for making us all feel extremely welcome, the course was laid out very clearly and well marshalled, excellent job guys!

So if you get a chance to run this beautiful forest before in relocates after 23rd September event, just do it!!!

Finally I would like to wish all the very best to Chris Holt and the rest of the core parkrun team on your relocation and I promise to visit once you have settle in your new home,

best Mark

Event 58 Inverness 03-09-17

Future Challenges

So after a successful Capital parkrun adventure of running all Greater London parkruns in a year for charity what next for me:

parkrun challenge

IMG_3149

I am aiming complete 100 UK parkrun events in 2 years starting at Hatfield Forest on 26th August, 2017 with the current total standing at 56 on parkrun UK most events list!

Rules include

  • Any new parkrun in London (Capital Adventures will be updated with this information as well)
  • Complete all parkruns inside the M25
  • At least one parkrun in each home country
  • Finally the 100th parkrun will be Letchworth, Hertfordshire

Personal Improvement

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

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