Tourist Run Report for Somerdale Pavilion parkrun event #63 on 02 October 2021
By Lisa Wright from Bedford
This was a very special parkrun for me and my friend Louise – our 50th unique parkrun venue! This was supposed to happen back in May 2020, but a pandemic rudely intervened.
For those not in the know, parkrun touristing is great fun. 20 unique venues makes you an ‘unofficially official’ tourist, and 50 gives you ‘Half-Cowell’ status – a definite excuse for picking a great venue and making a bit of a celebration of it all.
But before I tell you about our day, I’d like to start by thanking the volunteers, without whom parkrun simply can’t happen. It can be a big challenge for parkrun core teams to get enough volunteers to agree to help, particularly after 16 months of no parkrun, with runners keen to make up for lost time. However, I can assure you that volunteering is great fun, and so rewarding. If you haven’t done it yet, please consider giving it a go. It’s dead easy and makes such a difference. Huge thank you to these 18 good souls who gave up their time so that this parkrun could go ahead:
Graham HOBBS • Laura Alexandra MANN • Ian MUSSELL • Matthew WOOD • Joan GIBSON • Lynsey MILES • Chris MILES • Gill WHITEHEAD • Jane BEETON • Kieran HUGHES • Stuart WILLIAMS • Jan ISAAC • Susan HOLMES • Bre CAREN • Katie STANLEY • Richard NASEY • Joanne NYE • Mally FIRTH
So back to our visit. I drove down to Bristol from Bedford (120ish miles), with my best friend and her husband, and my good friend Louise – all of us avid tourists – on Friday evening,
Louise and I wanted a very special venue for our 50th, and we both agreed that Somerdale Pavilion would tick all the boxes: fun, a bit daft and unlike any other event.
By Saturday morning the weather was looking decidedly dodgy (wet!) and we drove the 7ish miles from our hotel in Emerson Green to the recommended car park near the Pavilion building, arriving far too early, as is typical of us! Moments later, our more local friends, Claire and her son Stephen arrived (also far too keen!) and we made use of the excellent toilet facilities in the Pavilion, before heading out to the course. Claire gave us a bit of background information about the Frys/Cadbury factory, and we had a look at the model in the foyer of the Pavilion – fascinating!
We always hunt down a selfie frame and/or pop-up venue/start sign to take photos with at tourist events, so that we can brag on social media about our wacky travels! We were delighted to find both a pop-up sign AND a special ‘Curly Wurly’ sign, and we set to work taking first a group photo, and then a photo of the back of our treasured bespoke ’50 venues’ t-shirts, listing all 50 events attended, in order, with Somerdale Pavilion in spot 50.
After much posing, we made our way over to the volunteers to have a chat with RD Lynsey, who was very impressed with our t-shirts! The course was all set up and ready, and other keen runners and walkers were starting to arrive, undeterred by the drizzle. There was an excited hubbub as friends met up, and wet weather layers were bravely discarded in preparation for the run.
At around 08:50, Lynsey asked everyone to make their way over to the start area where a concise and informative briefing was efficiently delivered. This was along the lines of: “Just follow the person in front. If you ARE the person in front, good luck!”
The run started on the dot of 9am and we were soon running under the ‘gantry’.
Despite being possibly the most convoluted course ever, it was actually marked out very well, with tape and cones in strategic places, and friendly and encouraging marshals at key points around the course.
Before very long at all, we were heading into the Curly Wurly! A friendly marshal (we shall call him Mr DJ) stood at the start of the infamous spiral and played fabulous tracks that could have been ripped straight from my own playlist (Karma Chameleon and Sweet Caroline, to name just two). This had us giggling and singing along as we headed ‘in’. Mr DJ commented that singing whilst running may not make breathing all that easy! It soon became clear that this was a hilarious place to be running, and I couldn’t resist taking a photo. Whilst running round and round we kept seeing others in our party heading around other parts of the spiral and it really needed the Benny Hill theme tune! It was fantastic!
We reached the middle of the spiral and then headed back around the spiral in the opposite direction and back out onto the main course… never having a clue what was going on, but laughing LOTS!
We were treated to the Curly Wurly experience THREE TIMES and as we left the spiral for the final time, the track playing was ‘Walking on Sunshine’, and we commented that this was possibly the most inappropriate song for the occasion, since we were RUNNING on RAIN! We laughed as we headed across the finish line. I was disappointed that it was all over!
I’m not a huge fan of running on grass and expected to find this one pretty tough but was delighted to run it in a respectable time. I think it was such a bizarre, comical and confusing experience that I didn’t really think about the actual running much at all, and just thoroughly enjoyed it.
Afterwards, on our friend Claire’s recommendation, we headed into Keynsham for a hearty breakfast at the Bonzo Lounge and later enjoyed tea and cake at Coffee #1.
We had a thoroughly enjoyable morning at Somerdale Pavilion parkrun. The rain did not spoil the experience at all, and it was exactly the right place for our joint 50th celebration. What a lot of fun!
Thank you so much for having us and making us feel so welcome. I’ll definitely be recommending this one to others.
This week 82 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 28 were first timers and 12 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 17 different clubs took part.
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Somerdale Pavilion parkrun Results Page.
The male record is held by David HUDSON who recorded a time of 16:39 on 14th September 2019 (event number 41).
The female record is held by Katrina ENTWISTLE who recorded a time of 19:13 on 25th September 2021 (event number 62).
The Age Grade course record is held by Caroline LAVIS who recorded 87.52% (26:18) on 23rd March 2019 (event number 17).
Somerdale Pavilion parkrun started on 17th November 2018. Since then 3,531 participants have completed 7,453 parkruns covering a total distance of 37,265 km, including 1,296 new Personal Bests. A total of 322 individuals have volunteered 1,159 times.