On Saturday 24th October, I awoke to the sound of gentle rain on my caravan roof in Woolacombe. I was around 4 hours drive from home, but I had prewarned my friend that I was going to be a parkrun tourist and the weather wasn't going to stop me! I had been in contact with Barnstaple parkrun through twitter to confirm that it was my closest and was looking forward to trying a new course.
My sat nav was set to Tarka tennis centre, which took me past Tescos and to huge concrete barrels that prevented access to the tennis centre car park. As I was worried about being late I parked in Tescos car park, knowing full well that I had to go shopping afterwards and after reading the signs, customers can park for 3 hours...
I used Google maps to find the path to Rock Park. I was happy to have a runner jog past me as I found my way and in true friendly parkrunning style I was given directions! Once on the bridge I saw a huddle of high vis and headed towards them. After checking that I hadn't missed a briefing, I watched as the crowd grew for a couple of minutes before we were all briefed together. Congratulations to Paul CUMMINS who was celebrating 100 parkruns (wearing a cape!) and the two runners celebrating 50 parkruns. I still have some way to go for that!
The Barnstaple parkrun is 2 1/2 laps of Rock Park. I'm used to a 3 lap course (Woodley) and like at home, I just followed faster runners and counted! It's a flat course, apart from the small slopes up and down from the river bank, with an flattened figure of 8 shape and a pinch point in the middle. It was dry when we started running, but it did turn drizzly and I was definitely damp at the end! I followed runners who ran at about my pace around the course and despite being tempted to slow down to take off a layer or to wipe the rain drops off my glasses, I decided to keep up with them, so I was melting with dodgy vision at the end of my run. Many thanks to the volunteers who must have been really quite wet when they finished. I hope that I said "thanks marshall" to everyone at least once.
Despite the weather, I really quite enjoyed my trip to Barnstaple parkrun, and not just because I now have a new overall parkrun PB! If in the area again I will definitely return. The surfaces are easy to run on, the course is mainly flat and everyone is friendly. It is definitely PB worthy!
I was just one of 121 runners on October 24th. Congratulations to the first runner across the line: Iain HINDES with a time of 18:07. The first female was Samantha ANTELL with a time of 21:54. Well done to all who ran and thanks to all the volunteers, without whom the run wouldn't happen.
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