#121 – 5th August 2017 – What beautiful gardens!
I have come to really embrace parkrun tourism over the last year; so much so that whilst my wife was planning what the family need to pack for 10 days away I checked out what new parkrun venues I could do within reach of our destination.
After ruling out a few based on a 5am start time – I was happy with that but the rest of the family weren't quite as keen with the idea of a 4:30 alarm call, I looked to venues nearest to home in the East Midlands region. Having completed all the West Midlands region, the East Midlands is my next target. So as Leicester Victoria had the Caribbean Festival and therefore a cancelled event – my next closest was Market Harborough.
After checking an event is on, normally I sling trail and road shoes in the car and head out ensuring I #dfyb and get surprised by whatever course I find. And there is so much variety out there of courses on offer. But today to try and avoid a mass of wet muddy trail shoes in the car I read up on the course page. Seeing the map and reading the description of the route left me rather baffled as to what to expect. I did pick up on three laps, slight incline and a grass section!
As I drove over with the family in tow and ready to run I did pondered the route.
Three laps – running at my current best (always hope for improvement) means that I might not get lapped really helps to push me on for the first two laps and then to hang on in there for the last lap. But really after running two marathons this week (and a cheeky half) I should just have an enjoyable recovery run – parkrun can fit into a runner's schedule so easily; no matter what the aim it can be worked in.
Incline... what sort of incline? Having run at so many different parkruns what one calls an incline another would describe as a mountainous hill!
Grass section so what is the rest of the surface? Compacted stone trail with pot holes?
The postcode on the website was superb and thanks to Google Maps we arrived nice and early to the free carpark and easily found the area for new runners briefing (loved the signs, made it so easy to find). Even though we parked right by the start area we completely missed it as we arrived before it had been set up; in fact we had so much time we managed to do a family warm-up before the run.
After the briefing we were directed to the start – which by now had been staked out, taped up and marked with expected finish times to allow runners to position themselves. This is fantastic for new runners and tourists as it means you can slot yourself into the correct part of the crowd so you don't accidentally get hampered or hamper other runners.
Today we got a treat as a new RD took the reins for the first time: Team PANGBOURNE – had it not been mentioned that this was your first week IC I am sure no new runner to Market Harborough would have known. Well done to the two of you for stepping into the Blue and White tabard and I hope all your tokens are ever present and your funnel duckers few!
You can judge a parkrun a lot by the RDs briefing; not just from the safety talk which every run does but by what is emphasised or the extra things added in. Hearing the milestones of shirts for runners and volunteers as well as your parkrunner of the month award really show what a friendly community Market Harborough parkrun is. I was rather disappointed that we wouldn't get to go to your parkrun social... More than just post parkrun coffee and cake I feel!
What changed Market Harborough parkrun for me from a recovery run to a speed session was the introduction to the runners of the volunteer pacers! 26... 26 minutes! How could you! All thoughts of an easy run in the park went out the window – I was sticking to Simon.
With the off I was soon to discover that much of my ponderings were totally wrong! Keeping the pacer bib close I ran, soon my heart rate raced up and my weary legs started to burn. Passing the river (I remembered that from the course description) the lead runners hurtled the other way and I realised that the slight incline really was slight! This course was really flat, 20ft total elevation from my Garmin 920XT. Shooting round the tree I realised I had skimmed (okay probably stomped) over the grass section 10m at the most – and the rest of the course was tarmac or a hard compressed path – no excuses for me not to go fast. So feeling strong I decided to open my legs up and passing the pacer, at the end of the first lap.
The burning sensation in my lungs and legs started with a vengeance as I pushed myself around the second lap. With the tennis courts behind me the first finisher glided past me... LAPPED! Unwilling to play leap frog with the pacer I kept on going for the third and final lap and crossing the line and collecting a token from a volunteer celebrating her birthday – Many happy returns.
And staggered on down the cone funnel and into a rose garden. Looking back at the course description I see the rose garden being used as a course marker but no mention of how pretty it looked. In all the other 67 parkrun venues I have visited I don't think I have every had my barcode scanned in such a pretty setting.
As I walked back down the course to run in with my daughter (She is over 11 years old so I can let her she can run on her own! – I know I don't look old enough to have a daughter that age...) I realised that in my rush I had missed how glorious all the flower beds were. Welland Park may be small but it is very well maintained and really well used by Market Harborough parkrun for a superb route.
One great thing about being a tourist and offering to write the run report of my travels as it give me the chance to offer thanks to the volunteers who are filling vital roles so my family and I along with so many other runners could enjoy a lovely run. A big thank you to:- Adrian KILLWORTH • Allie WHELAN • Austin HOBBS • Caitlin SULLIVAN • Christine KERSHAW • Christopher MORRIS • Claire PARKER • Graham KERSHAW • Harriet STEVENS • Hazel BUSWELL • Imogen JAMES • Jane PANGBOURNE • Jaz TARRANT • Kenny ANDERSON • Marcia BLAGG • Martin HAZLEWOOD • Matthew PRIESTLEY • Michael DONINGTON • Michael EDWARDS • Oonagh LEWIS • Patricia MORRIS • Paul ATKINSON • Roger PANGBOURNE • Simon GIBBON • Steve CHAPMAN • Tom WARD 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
As always a full set of today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Market Harborough parkrun results page, but a few stats highlights from today's run:-
63 runners managed a PB on today's run including first finisher Andrew QUIGLEY (Fetch Everyone RC VM40-44) in 16:55.
Chloe FINLAY (SW20-24) was home in 19th position overall was first female finisher in 20:11
16 people completed their first parkrun today at Market Harborough, welcome to the parkrun family and we hope that you will choose to parkrun again soon.
Bernadette OWEN (Fleckney and Kibworth Running Club, VW60-64) finished in 53 position 4th lady home but with this week's highest age grading of 85.78%
Thank you all for being so welcoming to me and my family. Happy parkrunning.