I returned to Yorkshire after running York parkrun on 1 February 2020, the weekend of the Covid-19 outbreak in the city. It was good to be back in the north, this time on the coast. I was tempted by the spectacular views of Bridlington Bay from Sewerby parkrun and the varied route of the course which included steps. Sadly, I’m no stranger to steps, having run the Lowestoft Scores route in Suffolk (401 steps over 4.75 miles), Whitby’s 199 steps to the Abbey (minus goth attire) and Newark parkrun which has the stairway to Devon (and Sconce Park). Having picked up a knee injury during the first lockdown, it was with some trepidation that I looked forward to Sewerby parkrun.
A Robin Hood’s Bay sunrise percolating through cottage windows was the perfect start to the morning. Arriving at Sewerby Hall after an hour’s drive, we soaked up the friendly pre-run atmosphere. At the start line, a fenced enclosure had deer among the long grass, something you don’t see at many parkruns. The first mile provided panoramic views of Bridlington Bay as the surfaced path swept downhill to the turnaround. I was lulled into a false sense of security by the gentle topography of the start. The second mile was mostly uphill along the cliff edge path, admiring the stunning chalk cliffs stretching into the distance between breaths! For me, the long uphill slog was the hardest part of the course as forewarned by numerous marshals before the off.
Turning into Sewerby Hall, the final mile is a meandering route through the gardens and woodland to the staircase of sorrow. Every move you make. Every step you take. They’ll provide that final drop-kick to the energy levels. One step beyond, the finish funnel was hidden from view in the winding labyrinth of the gardens, signs helpfully pointed out where there were 400 and 200 metres to go. After a post-parkrun drink at the charming Clock Tower Café (a must-do), the parkrun fresh feeling was neutralised by a bracing dip in the sea (there are steps down the cliffs to the sandy beach). To summarise, the varied course has it all for the runner and walker: uphill sections (elevation gain around 150 ft.), surfaced paths, off-road sections and lots of twists and turns. You really have no idea where you’re going to finish until you reach the picturesque finishing straight lined with statues in front of the Georgian country house.
Event 442 had 245 finishers and was made possible by 24 fantastic volunteers. A special shout out to timekeeper Jayne Sissons who has volunteered over 400 times; an incredible contribution to Sewerby parkrun. She was joined in the volunteering by Josh Smith (With Me Now club), touring with Lauren Turner who ran well (24:39). First finishers were the greyhounds Liam Morris (18:00) and Emma Artley (23:11). Christopher Humphries ran his 50th parkrun and is eligible for the red t-shirt, congratulations to him on reaching this first significant milestone. Six people ran their first parkrun and hopefully began their long running adventure: Joanne Deighton, Chloe Harrison, Jo Hodgson, Madeline Rowntree, Sarah Smith and Sarah Newman. It’s fair to say, many of us would not have started running without the incentive of parkrun. A total of 136 athletes beat the poet (31:11), not too difficult an achievement these days.
Poetry corner #3
Finishing with the artistic portion of the report, here’s a haiku-like poem which is to form part of a series of linked poems (called a renku) as I wander between different parkruns in the coming months (fuel availability permitting):
step by step
a runner’s shadow
from the lungs
to give to the heart
And finally, a massive thank you to all of the volunteers:
Andrew GODFREY • Ann DENNIS • David DUFFILL • Elizabeth INGLE • Gill FIKSEN • Heidi BAKER • James Stewart ABEL • Jayne SISSONS • Jon PURDY • Joshua SMITH • Joshua TAYLOR • Kara MAINPRIZE • Kathryn HAMMOND • Kirsten PORTER • Lynda GENT • Penelope THESEN • Pete COLLINS • Pete ROYAL • Robert EYRE • Ros PUDSEY • Simon PORTER • Steve MARTIN • Syd WARLEY • Tony STEWART
Tim Gardiner, aka the parkrun poet