Traveller’s Joy – event #378, 6th November 2021
The hedgerows in the North Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) were wreathed in the wild climbing plant Traveller’s Joy, known in historic times as Old Man’s Beard due to the fluffy seed heads seen in late summer and autumn. The plant is frequent on the chalky soils of the North Downs on which Shorne Woods parkrun takes place. The hilly nature of the Downs is evident at Shorne Woods where the parkrun course undulates through woodland, twisting and turning past ponds dug for clay. The site was part of the medieval Cobham Hall Estate, the ancient coppice woods full of bluebells in spring. The woods have a wide variety of trees such as hornbeam, oak, sweet chestnut and yew and are superb for fungi in the autumn.
Shorne Woods is reportedly flat but I’d describe the route as undulating due to the 100+ ft. elevation gain on the completion of the three laps. For my 100th parkrun, I wanted a picturesque venue and Shorne Woods delivered on that magnificently and it’s only right and proper to run up slopes on the Downs. The run is three-laps, each lap taking you on a winding route around the woodland with several slopes which appear innocuous at first but by the final lap test legs and lungs. I enjoy trail runs more than tarmac ones; running between the trees with the yellow, brown and red colours of autumn leaves was worth the trip and exertion. I managed to miss a giant sculpted great crested newt by the edge of the path but did find the green man in the sensory garden afterwards and a wooden dragonfly on the pond behind the visitor centre.
Event 378 had 238 finishers and was made possible by 17 fantastic volunteers. Lesley Covington completed her 25th parkrun to earn her first running vest, while David White joined the 50 Club. Polly Akehurst (JW15-17) completed her 10th run to enter the Junior 10 club. Congratulations to all runners for achieving these important milestones. There were 8 athletes new to parkrun and 28 people recorded a course PB. First finishers were John Whittaker (18:50) and Hannah Mitchell (21:04). A total of 140 athletes beat the poet (31:44), the scribbler suffering on the slopes. Having struggled on the return to parkrun after lockdowns and a knee injury, I’ve talked to many runners and walkers who are finding the return to action physically and mentally strenuous. A new book details how runners coped with running during the lockdowns. The book is titled ‘A Tussle of Clouds’ and is edited by top fenland runner and poet, Elisabeth Sennitt-Clough and me. The book was published on 29 October by Stour Valley Publishing and is available to order from https://www.shookbop.com/products/a-tussle-of-clouds
Poetry corner #6
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:
good for age
old man’s beard
if anywhere’s home
why not here
And finally, a massive thank you to all of the volunteers including the five speedy runners who helped scan barcodes at the end of the run and Rachel who’d just come off a night shift:
Anne REEVES-WHITELEY • Dawn GRANGER • Emily BAXTER • Graham WRIGHT • Jonathan CROWLE • Julie ASPINALL • Lesley WRIGHT • Lisa SMITH • Luke REEVES-WHITELEY • Matthew BAXTER • Phil SWEETING • Rachel DELLAFERA • Richard HART • Robert Norton SIBLEY • Stephen CASON • Susan Louise BEECHAM • Tim GARDINER
Tim Gardiner, aka the parkrun poet