Colney Lane parkrun, Norfolk. England

Colney Lane parkrun route
Colney Lane parkrun route.

In the grounds of UEA (University of East Anglia), this is a run round some fields, but much more than that. Some runs with that description are a bit dull, this one is not, with plenty of variety. I ran it in road shoes, which was fine – some will tell you you ‘need’ trails, but not this time. The surface is all on fields, and a couple of sharp turns that might need a bit of navigation on a wet day, but otherwise it’s a good surface. Probably the playing fields have decent drainage.

Finding the place is simple enough, and parking is free – the event team put up a couple of arrows to the car park, and cover the payment machines with “free to parkrunners, 8-10.30” to reassure you in the face of many, many signs warning that the place is for permit holders only. Works for me. Lots of bikes, and foot traffic into the grounds, show that many people aren’t driving there in any case. You might feel you’re in the middle of nowhere, but there are facilities at the start (yes, toilets, to be precise, and also a place to leave your kit, and free hot drinks at the end – donations online via the course site welcomed).

The course page suggests you do a short loop first, then two laps. You can see the laps above; the loop is just the squiggle at top left, so not a full on loop. I wasn’t feeling quite in the mood, first thing, but still set off at a reasonable pace, and then found many reasons (also known as ‘people ahead of me’) to keep making some effort, so sped up in the middle of the thing. It is obviously, given undulations and soft terrain, not the fastest course around, but it’s not super-testing, and I was pleased with my run. There are plenty of things to see – playing fields on one side, a lake, wooded areas – to keep your mind occupied, and just checking where your feet are going (not that I’m suggesting this is in any way a dangerous course) is diverting.

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