Craig Butler - Home parkrun: Exmouth
It was the weekend of an annual jolly to Newquay. In recent years I have tried to abstain from too much “jolly” on the Friday night by committing to participate in a Cornish parkrun. Lanhydrock and Trelissick have been ticked off, so this year I had to travel slightly further afield to Eden Project.
I had heard great things. Stunning scenery, super fast (not that I am), amazing facilities and loads of downhill (which was perfect for my “over-jollied” head on Saturday morning). I’ve been to Eden Project with the family a few times in the past and always marvelled at the place. I was so keen to see what it would be like to run around the famous bio-domes. A pal told me, “it’s like a rollercoaster ride” - and that was about the best description I can offer too.
Jane was our RD for the event. She was joined by a band of fantastic volunteers - all sporting their new-ish hi-vis pink tabards, plus plenty of purple clothing for the special International Women’s Day event and an additional collection of fab “This Girl Can” t-shirts. The pre/post-run coat collection/delivery service on this point to point course was a lovely addition and most welcomed on what was a bright, but chilly, day.
An informative briefing was completed and we were off - cranking up the hill like that rollercoaster and ready to let fly down the winding path into the crater and towards those amazing domes.
We crested the top and then, with a childlike grin on my face, I Iet gravity take over and barrelled down the hill, twisting and turning all the way down. We circumnavigated the lower crater and I wondered how we would continue our repeating laps of the park. This was where the rollercoaster had to go up again! The grin temporarily disappeared and we we climbing. A full 5k of downhill was simply too good to be true.
The hill out of the first lap was ok. Legs still belonging to me. Still in control. Further loops were greatly assisted by the wonderful support of the hi-vis heroes of whom there were many - all wearing a huge smile and ready to offer all the encouragement you needed. The hill out of loops two and three were, let’s say, challenging. The excesses of the previous night were taking their toll and my legs were increasingly feeling like they now belonged to many of the solid looking pieces of artwork that lined the route (and that’s not a euphemism for the lovely marshals).
I was cheered through the finish by an endlessly supportive timing and funnel team and then sat down to reflect on the foolishness of the preceding night and how I couldn’t have picked a better, more picturesque and welcoming parkrun to set myself up for the day. I’d have loved to stay for coffee in the huge cafe but, alas, I was under orders to swiftly return to Newquay for a day of traipsing around the shops before the England six nations rugby started. We won. Life was good!
Thank you Eden Project parkrun, I will definitely be back.