Sizewell is a lovely location for a parkrun, right on the East Coast of Britain, among the rural towns and villages of Suffolk. It is also, as you can’t miss from the map above, a nuclear power station. Someone is almost bound to mention it to you in some joke form, though there weren’t any in the pre-run briefing.
I was slightly torn between running here or at Felixstowe, until I realised that I could jog to Sizewell, through fields and tiny lanes. It was just over 9 miles from Blaxhall, roads to start with but soon onto footpaths and muddy farm tracks. Also a new housing estate, where new construction seemed to have removed the footpath, which left me with one foot in someone’s front garden, and briefly in a paddock, to avoid a detour. Sorry, Leiston. The light at around 7.30, as I ran through Snape, was a treat for the couple of photographers who had positioned themselves on the bridge.
The run itself is almost an out and back, along wide, hard packed sand/earth. Nothing muddy, but not super fast thanks to a spongey, comfortable surface. Certainly I struggled a little to get going, though the couple up front raced away from the rest of us. Between them and me were a couple of gents, but they expended energy racing each other and facing into the wind that hits you after the turn, and I caught them before the finish.
As the photo above suggests, there is a loop – you head out for nearly a mile, then turn left onto it. It’s flat, so the route back is not far away from the route out, but it makes for a good, clear course, in that people at the front are not running on the same paths as people at the back for very long. And there’s loads of space, which meant several people were running with their dogs, which was lovely.
Lovely run, even with some wind. That is variable – last week it blew people to halfway, then they had to struggle back into it. This week we weren’t conscious of it on the way out, then realised there was a retarding breeze on the way back, but it was nothing too serious.
It’s a great course for pretty much anyone. Nicely marshalled – with just a few people, as that’s all it needs. There is a sandy patch near the start which might be tricky with a buggy, and you’d want all-terrain wheels in any case, so as not to be at a standstill, but it is doable. Just don’t get put off by the very beginning.
I’d also recommend some version of my run there. I met another bloke who had run to the start, in his case from Aldeburgh, and he’d enjoyed the countryside. It’s some of the best around, I always think when I come up here. And there are big pig farms. Big farms, and big pigs, that is.