‘Polkemmet Country parkrun Event 24 Run Report’ or ‘Winter is coming!’
After it started in May, I really wanted to visit Polkemmet Country parkrun! I’d done a bit of a ‘recce’ of getting to the carpark on the way back from a wee break for the EMF with family. I’d had a previous attempt at getting there in late June, to the point of being in running gear ready to leave the house only to be called to work urgently! Then there had been the work involved in training up as a volunteer and launching our own ‘Country’ parkrun. Finally a weekend came up when the roster was healthy and my co-ED at Drumpellier said I should take the time to tour, and it was ‘on’.
However a fairly busy weekend lay ahead and I couldn’t take the (good) car - so a quick bit of route planning and it seemed a train journey was just about feasible assuming the other car held out (its next journey should really be to the scrapheap) to take me to the station at Coatbridge, and if someone would give me a lift from Armadale at the other.
Fortunately I got a nice response on the Facebook from JK offering to take me since she was coming from that direction!
So Saturday morning saw me on what felt like a proper parkrun adventure! Got to the station ok and got my ticket, crossed to the eastbound platform and I was off through a frosty landscape - in multiple layers and non-matching running socks! JK and Emily picked me up from the station and we headed for Polkemmet. Love the way that we can make new friends in the parkrun family!
We got there and I met some of the other core team - with some ‘vigorous’ discussion on issues around today’s society! (thanks Gary!) - and met today’s RD, Fraser.
We stood around trying to keep warm in the baltic temperatures, I got a few photos of the team assembling, and some selfies (with the static steam engine on display, and of course the pop-up banner). Soon it was time for an excellent First Timers’ Briefing (by Kirsty) at which we discovered a few were brand new to parkrun that day (what a cold one for your first! - in fact 9 were brand new that morning) and then we assembled round the corner at the start line. By this point I had decided that not only 2 layers of apricot would do me for the run but also kept my hoodie on, simply leaving my fleecy coat on the wall.
The main run briefing covered all the important ground and highlighted a few running for Poppy Scotland, and then we were off! I found the initial downhill fun, and possibly took it a bit too fast in places, though fortunately I didn’t find any icy parts to the trail! It seems that by the time I was onto the first and shorter ‘out and back’ section towards ‘Teletubby Corner’ I was easing off a little - just as well given the slight incline after the first bridge, that continued onto the longer second out and back down beside the golf course. There I saw JK again at the turn, and then it was back before another hill that seemed more challenging, towards the finish area. As the FT Brief noted - there was a nice ‘springboard’ off the second wooden bridge before that wee uphill - and then of course we had a right turn before doing it all again.
By this point I found that the 56 runners were a little bit more broadly spaced out (indeed the eventual first finisher John Gladwin would have been close to the finish by now, while one of our two Tail Walkers Sheila Baxter and Helen McDowell expressed a little surprise later on at being passed so soon) - this meant that I had times of being, if not completely by myself, then certainly making sure that the next runner ahead of me wasn’t out of sight for too long. I appreciated the ‘out and backs’ a little more on the second lap for seeing runners, as well as the various marshals, venturing a few high-fives with some of the runners on the golf course section, and exchanging smiles if not words with a few as well.
The music that had been on the go at the end of lap 1 was no longer working I think but the cheers of Emily and the other finish area volunteers kept me going - I always think I should take it easy the first time I run a course, for a straightforward PB the next time but think I put in a decent effort, though I might possibly have started a ‘surge’ a little sooner!
Having had my barcode scanned, it turns out I finished 29th in 32:04, setting my PB to be beaten on another occasion, while 10 finishers achieved new PBs - 9 females (3 Juniors and 6 VWs) and the second finisher Michael Connelly. Third male was Ross Lorimer, while the first three ladies were Raechel McCallum (on a pleasing ‘111’ parkruns), Shirley-Anne Weir, and Heather Orr.
Josie Coull was joining the ’50 Club’ (in 49th position!) which may have been the only ‘official’ running milestone but we all have our own ‘markers’ and signposts on the way and I’m sure many found it significant for different reasons. Steven Knox came 7th on his 7th parkrun, and Kieran McGonagle got a nice time of 27:27. On the other hand, 3 participants didn’t scan a barcode in positions 4, 22 and 44 - always personal choice but if you want to take part, register beforehand, bring a printed copy of your barcode, and always check before you leave the house - have I got my barcode?! #dfyb
I tried to thank or high-five on the way round but may have missed a few - so thanks to all the volunteers for being out, setting up or performing other roles on that cold morning: Niccy ANGUS, Sheila BAXTER, Frances BROGAN, Shirley CULL, Michael DAVIDSON, Rob DIXON, Gary FRATER, Karen KILPATRICK, Emily KILPATRICK, Fraser LAWSON, Helen MCDOWELL, Eileen PATERSON, Laura ROSS, Kirsty SCOTT, Gillian STAPLEY, Roy STEVENSON, Georgia THORNE.
I know from our own event too how great our volunteers are and you could add to their number! All roles are straightforward and easy to pick up - the team will be glad to hear from you!
Thanks for the visit which I really enjoyed - not to mention the lovely cafe afterwards which serves a good and very reasonable breakfast roll and cup of tea - I also got a doughnut to take away afterwards. And thanks again to JK & Emily for trusting that I wasn’t a dodgy character and giving me a lift back to the station too! Hope to visit again sometime - and maybe see you at Drumpellier Country parkrun too sometime!