Run report 1/2/20

Weather Apps & Sat Nav
Don’t you just love a weather app, I always start to monitor from midweek for the parkrun at the weekend. This week, if the app was to be believed, on Tuesday I should have been packing my wet suit, by Thursday I needed to swap this out for a light waterproof and by this morning little or no rain in sight. This proved to be the case so a good start to the day.
As we approached Machen a balmy 9°C was showing on the car dash and I cheerily made a left turn, under instruction of the Sat Nav, for the last couple of miles. Rookie mistake!! We found ourselves on a meandering single track road for a mile or so which, to be fair, was very pretty and also to be fair, took us past the start of the parkrun but it would have been very interesting had we met an oncoming car. A cautionary tale perhaps for any would be tourists, definitely stick to the main road. The route out after the run was much easier.
Arriving at the carpark it quickly became obvious that there was a real community feel about today’s run. The marshals seemed to know every other driver by their first name and those they didn’t know still got the same smile and wave, as directions to the start were issued.
I don’t intend here to take you through every bend and incline of todays run, you can find that on our course page. There is also a link on our Facebook page to a YouTube video by ‘Ginger Al’ showing his run around the course which is both informative and entertaining. I think the word he used to describe the start was ‘brutal’….a description that is perhaps a little extreme, I would be happy to leave it at challenging. Instead a few highlights of the day for me:
Challenges – For those of you who are into the parkrun running challenges, today’s event ticked boxes for a couple of my companions. Andrea completed her pirates badge and Chris became a tourist, this being his 20th tourist event. Well done guys.
Walk From the Carpark – Uphill all the way so offered a little pre-race warm up for free. It also made me grateful that it was not part of the run.
Run Brief – Quick and efficient, covering all the required points without extending too long. Just as I like it. I did think the warning about it being ‘a bit mucky’ on the inbound loop was a little ironic as I was already standing in three inches of mud and leaf mulch. Also, though it might sound a little strange at first, the news that the first kilometer was all uphill was a major positive; my understanding had been that it was the first mile. Result.
Personal Possessions – A place for these at the start. The volunteers moved these to the finish funnel during in the race so that they could be collected easily. A nice touch.
Marshals – Were friendly and enthusiastic. Where required the course was marked with bright cones and we were clearly directed. My only caveat here is the encouragement offered by the marshal at the 3K marker ‘all easy from here’ at which point of course the terrain immediately changed into a 400m uphill section..  Thanks to you all for your efforts today.
Finish Funnel – Very loud and supportive and I liked the collection box for the finish tokens, I am sure this made it easier for the volunteers to sort them ready for next week.
After Run Refreshments – These were excellent, provided in the local church hall, hot drinks, bacon rolls and cakes with payment on a donation basis.
Similar Course – I have done quite a bit of touring and would have to say today’s course was a bit like Mallards Pike with fewer dogs and more grunt….much more
All in all a really enjoyable morning and well worthy of a revisit, perhaps in the summer where I am sure sunshine and fully dressed trees will give the whole event a totally different vibe.