Run Report for Reading parkrun – event #516 on 07-08-2021

I’m a keen parkrun tourist from Bedford and I’ve REALLY missed visiting different events on a Saturday morning, so when my friend Louise said she needed to do a work event near Basingstoke and was looking for a parkrun not too far from there, I jumped at the chance to join her. I’ve visited Reading a few times for work and pleasure and was quick to suggest we parkrun there for my 178th parkrun and 48th unique venue.

Bedford is about 90 miles from Reading (give or take) and we set off at 06:30 (a lie-in compared to some trips we’ve done for a 5k!). We’d planned to park in the nearby Tesco Extra, as suggested by somebody on the parkrun tourist Facebook group (3 hours free parking, toilets and refreshments/supplies!). After making use of the facilities we asked our trusty friend Google Maps to show us the way to Thames Valley Park, and he politely obliged. We arrived approximately 12 minutes later, after a pleasant walk along the edge of the river.

It had been raining but was dry and cloudy on arrival, with a gentle breeze blowing – almost perfect running conditions! We were very impressed with the lovely river views on arrival.

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As seasoned tourists our first mission on arrival at a new venue is to locate a selfie frame and / or pop up sign in order to take bragging photos for social media. A local parkrunner offered to take a photo for us and took the job very seriously indeed!

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I had a quick chat with RD Fergal to confirm that I had arrived and would write the run report, and then we were pointed in the direction of the lovely volunteer who was to deliver the first timers’ briefing, which she duly did with expertise and efficiency.

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We were then sent to the (wide) start line where the main briefing was delivered, and we were soon off on the grass stretch along the side of the (very pretty) river.

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Anybody who knows me will confirm that I’m a road runner. I like concrete and I avoid trail, gravel, grass, mud etc, so I don’t mind admitting that the course description left me a little concerned. However, this course was pretty, and flat, with plenty of room to prevent argy-bargy, and the runners and volunteers were very friendly, so I really didn’t mind that there was (wet) grass AND (slippery) mud AND gravel.

I loved that the marshal at the halfway point shouted out the elapsed time. This encouraged me to get a bit of a wriggle on after that point, and before long we were heading back over the little bridge and the finish was in sight. And then it was all over!

We spent some time admiring the river view and chatting to a fellow parkrunner in a 250 t-shirt who was trying to coax his dog out of the water. Said pooch had found a tree stump in the water and was determined to take it home, despite the fact that it was almost as big as him and far too heavy. I think Mr 250 would have been there quite some time after we left!

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We then set off for the recommended Tutu’s Ethiopian Table Café where the very friendly staff administered perfect tea with cake and scrambled eggs on toast. Just what we needed.

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We had a lovely time in Reading today. Your parkrun was scenic, friendly and well organised and calm, despite a reasonably large turnout. I don’t love running on grass any more than I did before, but I reckon I’ll still be back! Thank you for having us. Please visit us in Bedford sometime!

 

Lisa Wright