Dewsbury Parkrun

Well, it’s Christmas again and we are doing the tour of mothers.

First mum stop this year is my mum, in Leeds for Christmas and, of course I am looking to do a bit of parkrun tourism while I’m here. This is one that I haven’t done before. It’s in a place called Dewsbury which is in between Leeds and Huddersfield. It is in a park and, as with everything else in this area, it is on a hill.

The wind has been making a nuisance of itself and has blown debris all over the paths on which we intended to run. One of the pieces of debris is a tree and the decision is taken that it is probably a bit too big to just brush off to the side of the path. The parkrun volunteers take the decision to use emergency course which involves going around the small loop section a mighty six times. Our race director tries to explain this and gets into a frightful tangle when she adds extra detail to try and make it easier to understand. You will pass this monument 6 times she says. Ahem say the assembled masses. Seeing as the finish line is just back there won’t it be 5 times. Oh yes, well erm, yes ignore everything I’ve just said.start Dewsbury parkrun

Unfortunately my wife has taken the six times bit of data and possibly hasn’t heard the correction (you are cheating here Jim – you are speaking from the future so you know that is what happened – well yes – and so you shouldn’t go around sounding all superior saying this or that probably happened when you’ve already been to the future and so know full well what happened – harumph, my blog, my rules, if I want to pretend omniscience then I shall).waiting to start Dewsbury Parkrun

Off we go around the monument and down the hill. I’m feeling great and really enjoying it.
The fast folk have already vanished around the bend at the bottom of the hill. I am skipping along happily until I reach the bottom of the hill and have to climb upwards again. It is a long slow hill but I see the finish line for the first time and this gives me cheer until I remember that it I must pass here another 5 times, or is it 6 or 4 or…

I pass Carrie at the top of the hill near the monument. She is wearing antlers and so fairly easy to spot. She hold up one finger doing her Sesame Street impression of the Count saying “one lap, ah ah ah”
Next time around the leaders have already caught me up. Gosh that’s a bit demoralising thinks I. Carrie is waiting for me again, “two laps, ah ah ah”. Around and around we go. I must have slowed down as people are passing me. There are a wide variety of costumes. Santas, reindeer and all kinds of Christmassy things.

“Three laps ah ah ah”.

“Four laps ah ah ah”

The leaders are passing me again on their way to the finish line. One goes speeding by and I hear a voice shout, “get yourself moving, we’re catching you.” The leader grins and steps up a gear.

“Five laps ah ah ah.”

I shout back to Carrie to say that I will see her at the finish line next time around. I look back as I run down the hill and she hasn’t moved at all. I wonder whether she didn’t hear me or didn’t believe me.

A chap looks behind and sees me approaching. “Go one he says, lap me now while you’ve got the chance.” I do as he says and do manage to pick up my pace a little toward the end. My time is still much slower than I expected but I reached the end injury free so am happy with that. I am handed a tag as I finish and then there is a long long windey funnel. This seems most peculiar until I realise that they are doing scanning at the end of the funnel. This makes absolute sense now as it means that there is plenty of room for the people to come through the finish line and then queue for scanning.

I am pounced on after the scanning and offered chocolates. I think if anyone is going to pounce on me then it is favourable if the aim of this manoeuvre is to offer me chocolates.

Carrie catches up with me and admits that there was a bit of confusion as regards 5 or 6 times around the monument.

It was a fun parkrun. It was fairly small (in terms of numbers, there were 119 people there on 25th December) and a very strange course going around and around so many times. I would like to try it again when they do the regular route.

Well done to Joe Sagar who finished more than a minute in front of anyone else and also many thanks to all the volunteers for putting on this extra Christmas Day parkrun.
jim mowatt at finish of Dewsbury parkrun

Bury St Edmunds Parkrun

I love doing a bit of parkrun tourism. It is fascinating going to different places to see how they do their parkruns and to experience so many of the beautiful places in which these runs take place.

My home parkrun in Cambridge was taking a short break for a couple of weeks so that Milton Country Park could do some work on the paths. Richard and I discussed the alternatives and decided to go slightly further afield to try out one that we’d never been to before.Richard twice

The Bury St Edmunds parkrun is held in a beautiful park full of fine mature trees and splendidly springy grass to run upon.

pre race at bury parkrunThe run has a wide start so that no one is far from the start line even with the 259 runners there were today.  We set off like a charging barbarian horde going uphill across the grass. There is much shuffling for position but as we turn the corner to run back downhill, everyone is beginning to spread out a little.

We curved around to the right keeping the trees on our right hand side and then back down another slope eventually arriving at a large clump of trees and a narrow path through the middle. This is very welcome for the shade the leaf cover gives us from the sun but it is a bit of a bottleneck and we must tread carefully to avoid the many tree roots strewn across our path. Having survived the deadly obstacles we emerged back into the sun to skirt around the enclosed football courts and then up the hill back to the start so that we can begin our second lap.

I’m hurting quite a bit now from the ankle injury and reckon that I’m beginning to slow a little. I huff and puff a little up the hill. Richard is running at the side of me and I reckon he’s a little bit alarmed by the noises I’m making.  He suggests that maybe I could slow down if I wish. We turn to go down the hill and my breathing eases a little but as we turn right I’m hurting again and I can tell that my speed has dropped,, as people are beginning to go past. I’m trying to ignore the pain from my ankle and just keep my legs turning over. It’s damn hot and sweat is running into my eyes causing them to sting. The trees are a welcome relief but as we run through this section Richard trips on a tree root and goes down onto the floor. Fortunately he manages to put his hands out and roll so doesn’t get hurt too badly. He gets up and we carry on.

We burst out from the trees again and curve around the fenced football pitches. I put on an extra bit of speed up the hill and am incredibly relieved to see the finish funnel this time and take my token.

end of bury parkrunThis was a lovely course and it must be delightful to see how it changes with the seasons.  I should imagine parts of it become fantastically muddy during the winter months. Of course that kind of weather was a long way away today and both Richard and I suffered from the heat and the humidity of that glorious summer Saturday morning. We grabbed a couple of cold  drinks from the shop and made our way back to the car. We both really enjoyed our visit to Bury St Edmunds parkun and thank all the volunteers for making it happen and helping to give us such a fine running experience.

I got a time of 27:03 which wasn’t amazing but I was reasonably happy with it.