My fastest parkrun of the year, and quickest since almost exactly two years ago, when I ran at my 250th different venue, Beckenham Place. Add a visit from Rosie Swale-Pope, who has run round the world, sailed across the Atlantic, and who ran here from the UK, and this was a great parkrun for me.
It’s also a lovely place to run, even on a freezing-cold day. I ran there in hat and gloves, and regretted neither (despite usually running a little warm), though I did take the hat off for the run itself, mostly so I could tuck my phone in it and leave it at the start, in a pile with other people’s bags and coats.
The course looks more complicated than it is. Start in the middle, and head West, to go clockwise. You do one big loop round the edge, ignoring the circle. And you only run the very bottom right section once, on that first big loop. The second time round, you take a right turn (marshalled) to run up the hill and complete the circle. Once you have run the circle, you are back where you made the turn, so this time you have to run past the turn. Which might be confusing. Run round the top section and take a right turn into the finish. Here’s a Strava Fly-By.
The run briefing was in English. Germans have taken to parkrun, and the number of events is growing steadily. Less than half the crowd, however, headed off to one side for the announced first-timers’ briefing in German, while the rest of us stuck around to hear the English version. And like an English parkrun, the start was pell-mell, with several people heading off very fast and then slowing. Noticeable for me purely because I just haven’t experienced that for a long time, so can’t help thinking it’s a British thing, though it may just be what happens once you get a larger field of people – 97 here, when recently I have been at runs with 11, 13, 30 odd, etc.
It’s a fast course, despite my watch deciding it was a little bit long. Although a whole group of people were out of sight in front of me, I was very pleased to feel like I was moving quickly, and see my mile splits were within a few seconds of each other. The difference was caused by the bit with the hill in. It is otherwise a pretty flat course, gently rising up one side and down the other, with one dip and climb, which is very short but feels tough at any sort of effort. The park itself is picturesque; autumnal now (what, in Autumn, you mean?) but must be green and pleasant in summer. There are trees all around, so there will be blessed shade on a hot day, too.
For me, a lovely gallop, a nice chat with a couple of Germans at the end (they weren’t so hard to find, despite all the Brits) and with Rosie in passing, and a whole new parkrun-country added to my profile. If I can just get to South Africa (technically Namibia and eSwatini have parkruns too, though for now they come under South Africa) then I will join a select group who have run in each country. Till the next one starts (editor’s note – the next one, Japan, has now started, with Netherlands following on 29/2/20).
Results from event 50, Hasenheide parkrun, 15/12/18.