The parkrun Facebook page and twitter made this week's photo all about parkrun tourism. This would be easy for me as I am a perpetual tourist of late, having not run at my home run this year, but I was on holiday in Chirk meaning that Errdig parkrun was only 8miles away – a parkrun that I hadn't run.
But my family and I ended up at Dolgellau parkrun a further 1hr 20min drive away. Some may question my sanity at this – normally my wife! However obviously she was feeling very relaxed after a week with me visiting National Trust properties and scoffing down vast quantities of picnic food and tea room cakes that she indulged my desire to tick off one of my 10 must do parkruns – Dolgellau. Dolgellau often appears on weekly parkrun Stats, collated together on http://www.elliottline.com/parkrun in the smallest parkruns in the UK; a low finish token called.
However scanning over the results I see a numbers trend – greater numbers in the summer. Maybe the better weather draws out local runners or more likely people holidaying in the area (even 1 hour away) can't miss their weekly parkrun fix and travel to a new one near where they are staying!
So it was that at 8:20 we found ourselves in a carpark in Dolgellau ready to parkrun.
For any visitors reading this news to give information about the parkrun before you visit key points...
· Postcode for the carpark is spot on! £1 per hour for up to 3 hours (You will need £3 if you visit the café).
· Toilets cost 20p to spend a penny (or more).
· The start (and finish) is in the corner of the car park! VERY EASY TO FIND.
· Road Shoes.
This week 32 first timers listed to the run briefing. Only Walter KING had never heard one before as this was his first ever parkrun – whether Dolgellau is your home run or being away from home (on holiday) inspired you to run please come back again.
After the briefing was over there was no rush to start the parkrun as it was before 9am, the Run Director carefully looked at her watch (Garmin? TomTom?) for the satellite set time turned to 9am precisely before the off. Just long enough in fact for my wife to run back to the car – drop her hoody rather than leaving it by the finish (it started to drizzle) and run back - I am sure a rolling start isn't allowed at the World Championships!
As runners streamed off along the flat riverside path the church clock chimed 9am.
Even though Dolgellau sits amongst a host of rolling hills the path follows the bubbling river (or over it on a bridge) – the route is flat... very flat! My Garmin 920XT registered 13ft of total elevation on the whole route! The only thing to slow me down (apart from a week of eating a cream tea each day) was the turn around the cones on the out and back route – that you do twice – so three u-turns. At my size they aren't quick or pretty! In fact on the last one I managed to kick the cone out the way for the poor marshal to replace for the runners behind me.
Despite the low clouds hovering menacingly over the hill tops and the initial drizzle before the start the rain held out for the first 20mintes of the run – those racing snakes could have finished, been scanned and sat back in their cars wet from only perspiration, not the rain.
With all my tourism if possible I offer to write a run report, not just as a record of my travels but as a way of properly thanking all the volunteer heroes in hi-viz who sacrificed their morning parkrun this morning so I along with 71 other runners could enjoy a lovely run – This is even more important today as by the 2nd loop I was blowing and unable to offer any more thanks to the marshals on course other than a thumbs up (and maybe an apology to the turn marshal as I kicked over the cone!) and having to stand out in the mizzle whilst us runners got to run between the rain drops. So Ashley CHARLWOOD, Katie COLE, Karl COOPER, Elly DOWNING, Iwan EVANS, Zoe HOBBS, Gudrun JONES, Glyn ROWLANDS, Alison SMEDLEY, Sarah WELLS, Ben WELLS – many thanks.. As with parkruns around the country if you fancy giving scanning a go, fancy being the time keeper, marshalling and encouraging others or are happy to help out in any role please look on the roster and e-mail - email@example.com
Proper parkrun tourism always involves a trip to the Café afterwards and after a long drive I enjoyed my full (English or is it Welsh) breakfast with black pudding as my family had various bacon/egg/sausage batch options - vegetarian options available. As I scooped up the last drop of egg with a hash brown my parkrun text came through – 30th place... Just too many tourist visiting boosting up the numbers!
Thank you all for being so welcoming to me and my family. Happy parkrunning.
As always a full set of today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Dolgellau parkrun Results Page, but a few Stats highlights from today's run:-
Olly SHEPPARD (SM20-24) (Unattached) set a new PB to become this week's first finisher in 17:28.
Colchester Harriers AC's Rebecca COOKE (SW20-24) took the honour of first female runner home in 21:17.
4th finisher Stuart BURGESS (VM50-54) (Unattached) recorded the highest age grading of 79.97 % with his finish time of 19:03, as well as claiming the honour of most experienced parkrunner (based on number of runs 214 not age!)