On Sat 14 March, we had a celebration of St Patrick's Day, with an Irish RD and some great outfits.
We had a new course record, with Amber Watson the first woman to break the 20 minute mark at KGV, coming in at 19:59 - brilliant work Amber! And a young lad, Richie Stuart, achieved membership of the '10 club' today, having done 10 runs in the 'Junior' category - all of them at KGV, and even better got a PB today of 28:25. Unfortunately, we also had a nasty fall on the course, and we are sending our best wishes for a speedy recovery.
Today was 6 months to the day since we started KGV on 14 Sept 2019. Our tail walker for many of the 26 events during those months, Bob, has put together this longer term run report, looking at KGV from many angles.
The Winter's Tail
Please forgive the title. I had been toying with The Madness of King George and Tails of the Unexpected, so I hope you’ll agree it was the best of a bad bunch.
Tail walking and car park stints through the course of our first winter have given me lots of time to observe and consider our surroundings at a more relaxed pace. These are a few of the characteristics of the KGV course that I’ve come to recognise and appreciate:
1 King George V himself. Our very own slice of royal patronage, he was a diligent monarch and stalwart figurehead through the First World War. Legend has it that his last words were “bugger Bognor”. Nevertheless thanks to him they got to add “Regis” to their title, and we got our playing field - established in his memory, along with 470 others throughout the UK.
2 The hills. Fantastic views of the Cotswold escarpment. Topped off with magnificent sunrises on those frosty January mornings.
3 The birdlife. Whilst we’re in a built up area, the park itself and surrounding gardens do provide some very decent habitat. My informal KGV twitcher list is up to 23 (house sparrows, robins, wrens, great tits, blue tits, long tailed tits, goldfinches, chaffinches, blackbirds, song thrushes, redwings, herring gulls, black headed gulls, lesser black-backed gulls, pied wagtails, magpies, crows, jays, starlings, dunnocks, wood pigeons, collared doves and great spotted woodpeckers!).
4 The vista. Such is the panoramic nature of the KGV course you can see the majority of the other runners for the majority of the time. A dramatically serpentine sight to behold on New Year’s Day.
5 Our fellow locals. Very nice to have got on to nodding terms and beyond with the other regular park users, feel we’re getting a lot of support from them now. In addition passers by at the main entrance are being curious, complimentary and supportive of the event on run mornings.
6 The rewilding! Good to see us being involved in the planting of the new trees within the park, looking forward to them maturing over the years. That older copse the other side of the rugby pitch from the start line is coming along very nicely too.
7 The inclines. Just right. Enough to provide a bit of a challenge for the fell runners amongst us. Not enough to daunt the rest of us mere mortals.
8 The weather. Tons of the stuff. In countless shapes and sizes. One minute it’s a gentle, sunlit jog in the park. The next it’s like you’re on some wilderness endurance run.
9 The grass. Having been running on tarmac I wasn’t sure I’d take to the KGV softer going, but I’ve come to love it (so much easier on my football-and-squash-battered knees!). Mind you hats off to those hardy souls who come and run the course barefoot.....
10 The peace and quiet. Remarkably free of traffic noise (and fumes). Just the occasional plane coming in to land at Staverton, but even that’s just an excuse to get an eyeful of that big KGV sky.
So All’s Well That Ends Well and that was the tale of the winter through the eyes of The Winter’s Tail. Happy parkrunning from this Man for All Seasons and may KGV always put a spring in your step too.