It will be shortlived, but I have had a winter this year and boy, do I remember what being cold is like. Not quite freezing, but it is a cold, cold day, with an icy breeze. I had my parkrun 100 t shirt on, but no one saw it underneath the warm long sleeved top that I kept on.
There are plenty of hotels in Livonia, but none within a couple of miles of the start. I’d compromised on price and location, going fairly cheap but five miles away. It was an easy jog there, though – out of Days Inn, right, left onto Levan road then turn right four miles later and into Bicentennial park. The temperature has warmed up enough here to melt snow from paths and fields, but it is still there where it has been piled up or sat in shaded areas, and any grassy areas are soggy, tending to wet, as I found out, somehow managing not to sink ankle deep.
As a result, the course is staying on the paths, making for a slightly odd route. From the car park start, onto the road in, skirt the park then left, following a twisting path, round back on yourself, down a dead end and back again, then do the same twice, so as to complete three spars of a plus sign, then back round the way you came. It gives plenty of opportunities to see everyone else, and the atmosphere is particularly collegiate, with several people pointing out that without parkrun they certainly wouldn’t be running 5k on a Saturday morning, and might not be running at all. Unless chased. Rick and his wife have converted several non runners and bolstered their parkrun congregation that way. I ran with their son, Alex – picking him because he ended up way in front, I caught him and then needed a guide. It was possibly a bit rude to run off when I was sure of the route and leave him to gallop in second but he is young and has plenty of time.
I stood around and talked at the end, hearing stories and realising that my travel into Detroit to run a parkrun and then scoot off elsewhere in the afternoon was far from an unusual choice. It seems almost the norm that the hardcore enthusiasts are joined by a tourist who might then, as it was put to me “gonna fly to Chicago, spend the afternoon there, then head to New York…” There was a good proportion of young runners, too, making for a good family atmosphere at the start and end. My parkrun odyssey pauses here, thanks Livonia.
Results from Livonia parkrun event 92, 29/3/14.