Ben, one of our tourist visitors yesterday, wrote us a great run report with a nice summary of our event and some info on a couple of the unofficial parkrun challenges
Cowell Club on the Clyde - 07/12/2019 - Event #8
So this run report really begins around the end of 2014 when I first heard of a phenomenon known as parkrun tourism. Getting out of bed at well before 09.00 on a Saturday morning to travel the length and breadth of the United Kingdom to undertake a different parkrun to your usual “home run”. At first even moving at this seemingly ungodly hour seemed like a MASSIVE chore but as time goes on I have come to relish meeting new people, seeing new places and experiencing all the awesomeness available in parks up and down the country with groups of likeminded people.
In fact this was to be my 100th different event and 224th parkrun. Some of you may know that at 100 different events parkrunners join the unofficial “Cowell Club” named after the first people to complete the feat. In all honesty I don’t think I could have asked for anywhere better to complete this challenge!
So it is at 5.40am on a Saturday morning that myself and Gina Biggs are sat on a train on the way to Queens parkrun in Glasgow. Interestingly (and to link in another parkrun challenge) many people might choose to travel here as part of their alphabet challenge. Q is a notoriously rare letter to acquire and I imagine I would not be too far from the truth in saying that Queen's Park will see throngs of becowelled runners flocking to cross this one off.
It’s now a bit later and I'm a bit more awake having completed Queens parkrun up in Glasgow. Let me tell you a bit more about it!
On our arrival we were greeted by Laura who was to be our Run Director for the day. Accompanying her was a full compliment of smiling parkrun volunteers all up and about on a chilly Glaswegian morning making sure our course was all set up and ready for a couple of hundred runners to make their way around the three laps of Queen's Park.
Indeed when Laura began the first timers briefing along with ourselves we also had tourists from as far away as Manchester, St Helens, Blackburn and several other locations a bit more local. In fact it would seem a lot of people had decided to visit Queens parkrun from our home region of the Northwest among the 54 tourists at Queens, Glasgow this morning.
We were also joined by 3 first timers on Saturday morning who decided to keep this fact to themselves on Saturday which meant we didn't have chance to celebrate their phenomenal achievement on the morning. However we can celebrate them now. A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS AND WELCOME TO THE PARKRUN FAMILY GUYS!
Once all the introductions were done Laura moved on to describing the course to us. We were on for a hilly three laps round Queen's Park in reasonably cold conditions but the aforementioned hill made sure our runners were kept plenty warm!
Before hitting the hill we set off around the perimeter of Queens Park before turning up the central path which would be our first ascent. Luckily we had a marshall waiting at both the bottom and top of this hill to give us all a bit of encouragement. Turning left we then had a brief reprieve with a slightly downhill section before we turned back for the LOOONNNNGGG uphill. Call me a wuss if you like (I’m sure the Queens regulars who are used to this sort of thing will!) but to turn a corner and continue going uphill was starting to make me think I might end up letting down the volunteer team by not getting to the finish to barcode scan. However there were plenty more hi-viz heroes lining the paths up the hill and their shouts spurred us all on to keep going.
After one final ascent we were at the top of Queens Park with a view out to Glasgow. Personally I think it might be worth heading back to Queens when summer rolls around if just to check out the view down to the Clyde.
Anyway... after getting all the way up the hill it was time for the inevitable down. This is the prefect counterbalance to all that uphill running allowing us to open up a little bit and get some pace in however we all knew that there were still another 2 rounds of gruelling hill running to go...
All 163 runners made it up and back down again all three times and I also managed to get back in time to scan some of you and say a massive congratulations to each and everyone of you especially our 32 runners who managed to bag themselves a PB! On a personal note please allow me to say thank you to all the people who congratulated me on my cowell club. I can honestly recommend getting out on a bit of tourism as there is just so much to experience in the parkrun world. Maybe you like me might even engage in a spot of voluntourism (visiting a different parkrun and volunteering)! If a bit of a lie-in is more your style you can still volunteer at Queens by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
After scanning my barcode and Gina getting hers scanned I had the privilege of scanning our tailwalker in and with that we were off for a brew with the other volunteers over in Queens Park Baptist Church (coffee and treats for only £1 - what better incentive is needed!)
After chatting with some of our fellow tourists it was time to be heading back to Preston so one last time let me say a HUGE THANK YOU to EVERYONE at Queens, Glasgow and we will hopefully see you again someday!