Report by Adrian Mountford - Exeter Riverside parkrun
We had to drop our son off in Teignmouth just after 8 on Saturday morning for a Ten Tors training walk, so getting back to Exeter in time for our home parkrun might have been a bit of a push.
We’ve run at Parke a few times before, including the very first parkrun, but we hadn’t visited since back in 2015, so apricot shirts at the ready, we made the journey to Parke for a spot of parkrun tourism.
Our home parkrun at Exeter Riverside course is pretty flat, mostly on tarmac, with a jaunt round the University sports field. In dry conditions, it is good for a PB although it can get a bit congested at times with regular attendances now in excess of 300 runners.
Parke, although it is only eleven miles away could not be more different. A steep rise up the hill not long after the start and then another rise at about 3.5km, and that long relentless climb up to the finish just when you want it all to be over and your legs are full of lactic acid. And then there is the mud….Thankfully I picked up my Gore-Tex trail shoes from out of the garage for Saturday!
Given the muddy conditions 145 hardy runners was quite a turnout. There is something quite different about parkrunning in mud, with the ‘hard core’ runners, who are happy to get splashed and risk a slip here and there in their pursuit of a ‘good’ time. Evidently from the state of some parkrunners heading through the finish funnel, not everyone managed to stay upright the whole way round
Parke, particularly at this time of year, won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. The elevation changes probably put some runners off as well as the mud, which will probably be an integral part of the course until April or May when the weather improves. If you want a PB course then Exeter Riverside or Torbay might be a better option.
But that for me is one of the unique aspects of parkrun. Every parkrun is different. We are blessed in the south-west with unique parkruns, on all different types of terrain and in great locations. Some single lap routes, some multi-laps. Some flat, some hilly. All parkruns are unique, but all are essentially the same.
Wherever I go, I meet really passionate people who give up their time to volunteer and support their local parkruns and people with different stories of how they became parkrunners. parkrun has a great sense of community and we all share stories of our experiences and whether your parkrun is big or small, they all offer essentially the same challenge and experience. The age range at Parke covered young children up to people in their 70s all there to enjoy a free 5km timed run on a Saturday morning, possibly followed by a drink in the café.
Ben JOLLY joined the white shirted junior ’10 club’, and whilst there is no milestone shirt available for his achievement, Geoff WOODS became a double centurion. Just another year or so until the green 250 shirt can be ordered. One of this week’s 30 first timers became the 5,000th different parkrunner to participate at Parke, which is quite a milestone.
Many thanks to Angela and all her team of volunteers who made the event such a success and kept us going in the right direction despite someone trying to sabotage the direction arrows prior to the run. I really enjoyed my morning at Parke. I’ll certainly make sure that I return soon.
This week 145 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 30 were first timers and 8 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 17 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 12 volunteers:
Robert WELLS, Sally & Colin SHOOLBRAID, Angela EVANS, Kieran DORE, Graham NEAL, Tracy & Bob SMALL, Jenny SPENCER, Anne-Marie BAKER, Ken DYER and John CORNISH
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Parke parkrun Results Page.
Parke parkrun started on 5th April 2014. Since then 5,001 participants have completed 24,327 parkruns covering a total distance of 121,635 km, including 4,463 new Personal Bests.