Drizzle, mud and marshals! 27th July 2019

It was great to visit Worcester parkrun this weekend – I was meant to be here three weeks ago but a muscle spasm in my back put paid to any chance of running. Fortunately, it’s improving and I’ve since got a couple of what my friend and I term ‘therapeutic’ parkruns under my belt so I thought I’d do a spot of parkrun tourism as this weekend, once again, I was visiting friends in Worcester.

Most Saturday mornings, you’ll find me 100 miles further north in Derbyshire, running at Poolsbrook parkrun in Chesterfield. It’s now a country park but was formerly a colliery from 1875 to 1988. The 5km is a flat gravel path, ran anti-clockwise three times around a large lake. There’s some lovely wildlife, including great crested grebes, moorhens, coots and the resident heron! It took me a while to pluck up the courage to give parkrun a go – my barcodes gathered dust on my bedside table, but 26 parkruns in and I love it!

The thing about parkrun is it’s so inclusive and welcoming and it doesn’t matter if you run the 5km in sub-20 minutes or walk it in an hour, you’re still exercising and taking part and that’s the important bit. I do like to push myself but know that I don’t have to get a PB every week. The power of parkrun is truly amazing!

Earlier this year I tried Worcester Pitchcroft parkrun as friends I visit overlook the racecourse; on this occasion, I wanted to try Worcester Woods. I spent eleven great years in the city and like to visit whenever I can.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a fair-weather runner! Having heard the rain in the night, I feared the worst this morning! I decided though, that running in drizzle was preferable to a few days ago when it was 36 degrees plus! If I’m honest, the light rain was quite refreshing and human skin IS waterproof after all!

Before we had the first timers’ briefing (thanks to Dave), I got talking to Jen from Warrington. She was travelling to Cornwall, had left home this morning and purposely stopped off en-route for Worcester parkrun. That’s dedication! It was great to meet you Jen. Hope you enjoyed the parkrun and managed to dry off before re-commencing the drive south.

Around 220 parkrunners turn up at Poolsbrook each week, so today’s event with just short of 500 people was huge! I really did enjoy running the course. It’s a very interesting and pretty route on a mix of flat, up and downhill, field, trail and tarmac – I can’t imagine you’d ever get bored of it. As a parkrun tourist, I love not knowing what’s around the next corner on a course – the time seemed to go quickly too, which is always a good sign.

I must say a big thank you to the volunteers. Talk about a well-oiled machine! The marshals, especially, were brilliant – everyone was smiling, enthusiastic and encouraging. I think one lady’s hands must have been bright red and she didn’t seem to stop clapping! It really does make a difference for the runners. I’ve volunteered a few times and think it’s a great way to put something back. It’s also nice to see parkrun from another angle. A lot of work goes into it every week and without people volunteering, there wouldn’t be a parkrun so thank you all so much.

I’ve had a really good time at Worcester parkrun today. The course was great, the weather reasonably kind and runners and volunteers welcoming. I’d love to run it again so hope to come back soon. If you’re ever in Chesterfield or passing junction 29a of the M1 and fancy a spot of parkrun tourism, please come and say hello at Poolsbrook and try our course – it would be great to see you.

Rowan Roberts (A2471504)