Oakwell Hall is a fine setting for the parkrun. It’s not as big and grand as huge places such as Temple Newsam but it’s very much of its time and place being a late 17th century family home more suited to the affluent upper middle classes of the time rather than the nobility you would find in the great houses. It looks hard, stern and super tough. The parkrun course is similarly tough and this rhino found it difficult going up and down the hills, through the trees and then slogging its way through the mud.
We are waved off and go charging past the house circling right around and then charging down the hill. Going down seems fine but then you have to climb back up the other side. No mean feat for a rhino that can’t see its legs. I know that they’re down there somewhere but not entirely sure what they’re getting up to. We flounder our way along until there’s a car park and then dive into the woods. This is a really pretty bit. There are trees and tracks and all sorts of good stuff. Then we come out of the trees into a short stretch of field before another track. The mud is so thick here that I become completely stuck and can’t move for a moment. I haul one foot out of the mud and plonk it down in front of me. Then repeat process for next foot and continue until the gate of joy and hope is reached and normal rhino running can be resumed.
Then there’s more running around Oakwell Hall and the stables and we can begin all over again. It’s a great run but a difficult one. There’s no chance of a rhino pb today despite the abundance of super manic marshalls cheering us all on. The course is just too tough. Great fun though and absolutely gorgeous.
I eventually crown the hill and am running along the finish funnel. Amanda, our run director is there cheering everyone in and doing the timekeeping too. We wait until the flood of runners coming in slackens off a little and then bag her for a rhino and run director photo.
There’s a whiteboard at the finish line and various people write on their new year resolutions. I couldn’t think of any new ones so didn’t add to it myself.
We go for a coffee afterwards and discover a Leeds Rhinos fan who would very much like a picture with the rhino and I also meet the chap who had been taking video with his GoPro on buggycam at Woodhouse Moor and Temple Newsam. He promises to post the link to the video on the Oakwell Hall parkrun page.
We took some more photos around the house including this one from the front which mirrors Charlotte Bronte’s splendid description of it when she used it as a model for Fieldhead in the novel ‘Shirley’
and then this great model of a sheep which is hanging about in the front garden. Me and the sheep make a splendid art installation I reckon.
We have a great time relaxing with a coffee and talking to other parkrunners but must eventually leave as we need to drive back to Cambridge today. There will be two cats waiting for us there who haven’t seen us for two weeks and will need their cuddle quota topped up as soon as possible.
If anyone gets the urge to donate to Save The Rhino then please visit the page http://virginmoneygiving.com/jimmowatt and donate whatever you feel you can afford.