The US is seeing a welcome boom in parkrun events – at the time of writing, event 25 is about to start, and that number will soon seem very small. For now, though, there is only one event near New York, and that is this one. It’s Southwest, even of Newark (where I stayed, and quite an edgy place) and needs a bit of transport planning. Some people drive, of course, and the locals have got you covered – check the event’s Facebook page and you’ll find a regular weekly call out for those travelling from New York, who will be directed to a volunteer who can pick them up from New Brunswick or another station.
It worked for us, anyway, with three of us getting picked up after the train pulled in at 8:11 (back of the train, John, was the instruction I didn’t get, but it’s not that far from one end of the platform to the other).
If you’re driving or getting a taxi/Lyft, parking lot F is the key thing to know. Colonial park is a big one, and it’s a fair way from other parking lots. So long as you know that, there’s your warm up. But if timing is tight, as it was for one of our number, thanks to Uber delays, you’ll want the near parking area.
The welcome was warm, with Rory, the Irish event director, a serial event-starter and hugely experienced volunteer (this is an understatement). The weather was warm but not too hot – the sort of humidity that British people call “muggy” when they mean “keeping us nicely warm”, rather than what I’ve seen in DC recently, which was “hot”.
The course is as easy as you could hope for; a straightforward 2.5k out and back, albeit you start on the far side of a bridge, then cross it at the end and turn immediately left for the finish. Normally there would be a turn-around marshal, but even without one, knowing that “if you hit a road, you’ve gone too far – turn around by going round (not in front of!) the gate before the road” it is so simple even I could follow it on my own.
Fast, flat, scenic. It’s a lovely run! There is even water on both sides, with a river and a canal, but I didn’t spot that on my right. Kate jibed me for it, but admitted she hadn’t spotted the second set till the 3rd time she ran here.
Post run, coffee and breakfast is at a cafe up the road; it’s easy to find if you get a lift, check the address or follow someone. I chose the former, and the food was good, chat flowed and the prices were reasonable. You don’t even have to have an enormous breakfast, so fear not.