Sheringham parkrun number 347 – 20th July 2019

Wuthering Heights

cloud busting
the forecast wrong again

Checking the long range forecast mid-week, it seemed that there would be thunder in our hearts running up THAT hill; fortunately the storms skirted around Sheringham Park on the day. My trip to the Everest of East Ran-glia was a pilgrimage to the top of the local parkrun world, the elevation gain (279 ft.) and maximum altitude (298 ft.) making it the loftiest event in Cambs, Norfolk and Suffolk. Many warn of the terrors of Heartbreak Hill in the final half mile and rightly so. But there is so much to recommend Sheringham, both in the run and by an exploration of the park afterwards. I wrote several two-line haiku on my visit and these are scattered throughout the following report, inspired by Kate Bush songs (previous Saturday was The Most Wuthering Heights Day).

wow, wow, wow
between breaths, windmill view

A total of 193 athletes completed the course, gaining a glimpse of the famed steam train as they descended the hill from the start. The train featured in an episode of Dad’s Army. Later, I discovered that runners don’t like it up-hill! Admiring the view, one woman tripped up on a tree root. Thankfully, she was unhurt from the fall and continued on her merry way soon enough.

dad's army dreamers
puffing along the sandy track

Alan Smith completed his 50th parkrun and earned his t-shirt, well done to him. The start of the run took us through a corridor of rhodedendron, sadly not in flower until next spring.

flower of the mountain
rhodedendron

Several pooches were scurrying along the paths with their owners, who gained some much-needed assistance on the hills. A buggy was also pushed around the off-road course; I can only imagine the hardship this must have brought the runner.

hounds of love
on short leads

trail run
the man with the child in his buggy

After the downhill first mile, the middle of the course undulates, sapping energy from runners and walkers alike. I made the mistake of starting off too quickly, before fading badly on the hill at the end; consequently, a total of 76 athletes beat the poet (pos. 77, time 29:15) this week.

wuthering legs
the hills go on and on and on

The trials of mid-run were nothing compared to the final mile where the sting in the tail was revealed. Elevation was gained quickly, culminating in the spirit-draining Heartbreak Hill. The real challenge is to keep on running, even if it appears easier to walk! Despite the hilly terrain, there were 13 personal bests, congratulations to all.

this woman's work
her partner leaves on Heartbreak Hill

breathing
summit air in short supply

A brief stroll after the run meant I gained a terrific view of the woodland from the lookout tower, low clouds descending into the high canopy. I also visited the butterfly garden near the finish funnel, a flower-rich meadow with orchids and a kaleidoscope of colour from purple knapweed to yellow hay rattle. Butterflies such as the meadow brown and ringlet flitted around the meadow, along with several bumblebees. The insect hotel was strangely silent, perhaps the bees were out!

king of the mountain
the bumblebee drone soars

An amazing 16 volunteers helped with event which I highly recommend to anyone wanting a challenging parkrun in the most beautiful setting imaginable. The moment I came out of the trees and gained the panoramic view of the sea and windmill will stay with me for a long time, as will the sight of the steam train in the station.

Tim Gardiner aka the parkrun poet @parkrunpoetry

The volunteers

Jeremy BOLAM, Chris CHORLEY, Nancy CROW, Sally DAVENPORT, Tim GARDINER, Stephen HIGGS, Sara HOLROYD, Mark HOLROYD, Phil HOUGHTON, Kay KING, Gary LINDER, Bobbie SAUERZAPF, Ed SMITH, Tina TUCKER, Richard WEST, Karen WEST