running blog


Voluntourism (parkrun)

I may have run my first parkrun in 2011 but I have come late to the delights of parkrun tourism, and parkrun generally.  Only recently have I preferred the anticipation of a new parkrun event (or even my locals) to a lie in.  Must be getting old, or hooked. Maybe both. 

My recent parkruns have been local, repeats and a volunteer stint because of Christmas, socialising and injury plus my desire to get them in towards my 50 shirt. So I was determined to get my 25th different parkrun venue run today and when tentative parkrun plans changed I resorted to finding my event with longest lie in not yet done (EWLLNYD). 

So I rocked up to Finsbury Park. An easy tube journey. I was saved the ‘trying to find the park’ problem by following a family in running kit out of the tube and asking them at the barrier if they were parkrunning. They were. A repeat visit from out of London, so I tagged along. 

At the run briefing, just before they explained the course, they mentioned they were missing a tail runner and was anyone willing.  I found myself volunteering. (I have been supposed to run-walk the past two parkruns after injury so I could maybe behave for one week!?). In a flash I had a hi-viz jacket, a check I knew what to do and an offer to take my bag to the finish . I worked out that as tail runner it maybe didn’t matter about knowing where we were running but I did ask about bringing in any direction signs on what number lap?

When the field spread out and I’d chatted to and seen a few late starters past me I was left with  a regular trying to stay warm by running  zig zags and encouraging his girlfriend on her first 5k run and a veteran speed marching. I soon discovered that I could not walk  as fast as the the speed walker so had to adopt (my physio would approve) a jog walk pattern to keep up with him. 

Chatting at the end and sharing times I discovered that speed walking had been his sport and he’d once ‘walked’ a 5K far faster than I will ever run one. I stood no chance!

My 47th parkrun, 25th venue done. It was my slowest ever, it was social and I volunteered. A great morning. 


Pontefract parkrun

On our journey up North last weekend we stopped overnight on Friday at Pontefract Travelodge which is less than 10 minutes by car from Pontefract parkrun. This was not a coincidence but the result of this comment on my blog…


I’d got back to parkrun in Juneathon and Abradypus had sown the seed so it had to be a full house. I started researching parkruns and travelodges close to the M1/A1 on our route north.

The nice thing about parkruns is once you’ve done a couple you get to know the routine and the same format everywhere is reassuring whatever venue you go to. Once I was there it was easy to follow the stream of runners to the start and the sight of the parkrun banners, the finish pen and fluorescent jackets of marshalls make you feel at ease and before you know it you’re standing in a huddle with other runners exchanging parkrun chat.

The course is at Pontefract racecourse. I learned that the term flat racing describes the lack of jumps and not a lack of gradient changes. However the ups and downs were gradual so it was far from hilly. The course starts with a lap of the boating lake before running a lap of the race course on a path (tarmac and hard trail) on the inside of the rail followed by a quick second lap of the lake in the other direction.

A good course which I liked. Even with 140 plus runners it wasn’t busy apart from the very start. It was interesting, green and attractive even though so close to the motorway. The out stretch round the race course was fast and gently down hill and the return stretch a little slower as the course gradually climbed up toward the lake. At least that was flat for a nice quick finish.

I had a great run, a new attractive venue did wonders for my Mojo. I now understand what motivates people to get to parkrun week after week and some people travelling all over to different venues. I think I could get to quite like parkrun tourism. Bug caught!


Juneathon day 29. 5th of 5 Juneathon parkruns.

3.13 miles in 24.19 mins, parkrun PB.