A Different Point of View: parkrun for a VI Runner (Event #510)

Hi, my name is Karen Mallett. I am a Visually Impaired runner and member of local club Newcastle Frontrunners.  Today was the 510th event for the newly named Town Moor parkrun and was a Newcastle Frontrunners' takeover. Lots of our members volunteered, so many thanks to everyone who helped!

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Volunteer roles fulfilled by club members included Run Director, Lead Bike,  Marshals, Barcode Scanners, Timekeepers, Finish Tokens, Tail Walker, Funnel Manager, Pre-event Set-up, Photographer, Number Checker, Run Report Writer, VI Guide, AED - and being a member gave me the privilege of writing today's run report.

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This week 437 people ran, jogged or walked the course. 50 of those were first timers, I hope you had fun and will come back! 66 recorded a personal best - well done to them.  Representatives  of 45 different clubs took part.

One lady - Becky from Tyne Bridge Harriers - was celebrating her hen weekend: she is getting married in 3 weeks, so good luck to her :-)


As a VI runner I love this course - it's busy but not so busy that it makes it difficult to run.  The terrain is mainly tarmac, gravelly in parts, but I like the differences in surface. Some people will say there is a hill, my Guides tell me it's an undulation, you decide.  We come off the Moor and run alongside Grandstand Road which is tree-lined and my favourite part of the route. VI runners should slow down slightly as there are some tree roots; as a regular runner at this parkrun I know where they are, and, of course, the people who guide me are amazing at making me feel safe.

Once you go back onto the Moor, it's mainly downhill.

The Town Moo-er (sorry) is famous for having cows on it during the summer - this offers its own challenges avoiding the animals and their dung, but they largely ignore parkrunners.

The best thing about parkrun as we all know is the cafe.  Drinking tea or coffee and eating cake afterwards and catching up with other runners. Today was no exception and we escaped the rain shower to regroup at Urban Green Cafe and discuss our fantastic morning.