Views of Treviso

I walked back from parkrun, at Parco della Storga, into Treviso, and round part of the city walls. It is very pretty, and the water in the moat round the city is super clear.

Tiny truck, Madonnetta
This seemed pretty Italian to me.
Water, path, greenery
Water, path, greenery.
A defensive position at a corner of the walls
A defensive position at a corner of the walls.

It was a warm day, a great walk, with any part by water a highlight.

Treviso parkrun, Italy

Treviso parkrun route
Treviso parkrun route.

Parco Della Storga is to the North of Treviso. I walked there from the station, about 5k, because I had plenty of time, but there are buses. It would make a nice run, too – you start following the city walls and moat, then into quiet streets, before heading into even quieter ones through Madonnetta (and past its tiny church, with glassed doors allowing you to peer in), before heading up a dirt road and into the park. The last few hundred metres are a walk in the park, in a real and lovely sense. Normally I’d use maps.me to find the more interesting, footpathed route, but Google maps was aware of this back entrance to the park.

The course is two laps, starting on the main gravelly road. Essentially, the West side of the course is on that surface, the rest on hard-packed trails, weaving through the woods. Occasional tree routes and tiny bridges, currently being repaired, to keep you alert.

Treviso group photo
Treviso group photo.

I walked up, with my buongiorno ready, only to be greeted with “Morning!” That came from an Irish visitor and Italian marshal. We also had Scots and other English folk, lacking only Welsh to make up the whole British contingent.

Treviso parkrun banner
Treviso parkrun banner.

The meeting place is marked with a banner. Behind it on the right is the finish area; they leave a marshal there for your security if you want to leave belongings, though the park is pretty quiet. Off to the right, not pictured, is the start line.

Tree-lined start
Tree-lined start.
Italian flag flies at the finish
Italian flag flies at the finish.

The whole thing is a lovely run, assuming you don’t trip over a root as a fellow Brit did, leaving him slightly bloody, but unbowed. The organisers provide water, tea and cake at the finish – it was set up on the table shown above as we finished. No marshals out on the course, but good signage shows you the way and lets them run with 3 or 4 volunteers, quite comfortably. We had 28 finishers, and the record is just 36, so for now this is a lovely small event; smiles and chat all round at the finish.

Running (or walking) from Mestre to Venice

Route overview
Route overview – AO hotel to Santa Lucia station, Venice.

I really fancied the run, and a quick look on Google street view suggested it was possible. I struggled to check that, though; I expected to find someone saying “yes, you can do that!” on several forums, but only found one, after some searching. That was enough, but I figured I’d add one more voice with this post.

Yes! You can run, or walk, from Mestre to Venice. It’s around 10km from Mestre station to  Santa Lucia station/Piazzale Roma and not beautiful. Buses, trains and trams cost €1.35 (March 2019) so at that point I understand if I lose walkers’ interest. Cyclists, though – go for it, the route is made for you. And despite the lack of beauty, arriving into Venice is stunning, and I felt my soul calmed. That despite my getting there after 10am, with the place full of people.

A couple of fiddly bits. First, if you are staying North of the railway tracks, you need to get South. There are a few options, but some involve strolling along the side of elevated roads, and Italian drivers are merciless, so I’d advise a crossing. You can go under the tracks at the railway station – walk in, go down stairs, pass all the platforms and out the other side. And just a little further along, at the back of the (open air) bus station, there’s another underpass. It is pungent, but wider and less busy than the station.

I used the bus station underpass, just 100m (ish) East of the railway station. Once out on the Marghera side, cross the road and follow what starts out as a road, with chain link fence on your left.

Bus station underpass
Bus station underpass – the lower circle is the Marghera side.

Then you can follow the Rampa Giorgio Rizzardi, on a separate cycle path for a while. Fairly soon, you run out of road. There’s a bus stop, but that’s it. Instead of running along the side of the main road, cross one single railway line and turn up the Via delle Industrie. No need to loop back on yourself as I did – that was me checking that yes, I was out of pavement.

Use the Via delle Industrie
Use the Via delle Industrie.

From there you can take one of the side roads, or continue on the Via delle Industrie. Below is an overview of this section, which is heading round another railway station, Venezia Porto Marghera. The path proper picks up behind the Expo. Most of this area seems set aside for parking.

A separate note, from a previous run. The circled area is a bridge from the end of Via Torino (the roundabout, disappearing into the top of the picture). There is a footway to take you onto the main road, on the left of the road/bridge. However, at the moment it is taped off. From the North, it looks like there is also a footway on the right. But when you get to the SW of the circled spot, that ‘footway’ is very narrow (I had to turn sideways and side-step my way down it). It isn’t really a good way onto the main road, though I made it, was ignored by the policeman on the road, and was able to cross the Via della Liberta to get onto the main path. Happier to stick to the underpass, though.

Porta Marghera overview
The whole dog-leg, overview. Plenty of road options, before getting on to a path.

There’s one more deviation away from the main road, but you are just following the path here. Keep your eyes open where it crosses roads – they may be busy if lots of people are heading to park.

One more dog leg
One more dog leg, but just follow the path.

From here it’s easy, and flat. The path narrows at a couple of points, so just check for bikes coming up behind you. The bridge is not high, just a metre or two above the water. The only raised section is as you come into Venice itself, but doesn’t go more than a couple of metres up, and by then you are on a separate boardwalk area, so your way is clear. That may not be true as you hit the first island – in my case, the pavement ahead was full of 100+ school kids in a group. But running in the road was okay. I took a slight detour heading for the station, but getting a ticket and getting back was as easy as you like. The machines have several languages, including English and Arabic.

Over the bridge and into Venice
Into Venice, Piazzale Roma South, Venezia Santa Lucia North.

The views, even on a quick visit as I had, are fabulous. Go early if you want to run round more of Venice, or there will be people everywhere.

Ponte Papadopoli, Rio Novo
Ponte Papadopoli, Rio Novo.
Venice Grand Canal
Venice Grand Canal.

Farfalle parkrun, Italy

Farfalle parkrun route
Farfalle parkrun route.

A wiggle! It’s a right wiggle! It might not look it from the course map above, but this course wriggles its way through Butterflies park in Padua. A right turn after the tennis courts is tight, the turns at the top right of the course, above, are tight (with a drop into a stream on your right, to keep your footing honest), and there are barriers before the start/finish area, which make that a wiggle, too.

Parco delle Farfalle is in the Northeast and easy to reach from the town. I stayed at Casa Rebelde, which is a private apartment (recommended – inexpensive and pretty) already to the North of the town centre, so it was just a 2km jog, but it wouldn’t be much further from town.

Farfalle start group photo
Group photo at the start.

The wooden hut shown above contains a bar, which people use after the run. There are flags outside which are ever-present, so the start is easy to find. Plus it’s not that big a park; the course is 4 laps, which might help you understand how tight some of the turns are. I tucked in with a group for a lap before trying to head out on my own (and being chased down!) on the second. You run clockwise around the course, with a couple of wooded sections. The part at the top right is fun – back and forth along paths to run round water, then back into the woods.

Farfalle on course
On the route, seen through the trees.

As at Milan, there was little pre-run briefing, though the run director had already taken me and a Scot aside and had a local translate a quick course preview for us, so I felt very welcomed. It was a sunny day, the temperature rising, so the shade on the course was welcome once we got going.

A chatty lap after the run
A chatty lap after the run.
Gathering and talking in the sun afterwards
Gathering and talking in the sun afterwards.

It’s a small enough field that you can feel the sense of community. One runner completed his 50th run, and it seemed that almost everyone dived into the post-run photo. Plenty of people hung around talking at the end, with some heading into the bar. I jogged one more lap with a Chinese student, here for a 3 year course, whose English is (fortunately for me) so far better than his Italian. He had already made trips to the local parkruns, and was happy to hear I was making my way to them over the next couple of weeks.

As always, recommended if you are nearby. If you can get to the station by 8:30, a jog to the start would get you there without too much trouble.

Running friends in Padua, post-run
Running friends in Padua, post-run.

Milano Nord parkrun, Italy

Milano Nord parkrun route
Milano Nord parkrun route. 2 laps, anti-clockwise. Tiny hill somewhere on that top straight.

Milano Nord parkrun is a flat two-lapper in the North of the city. I am no use for public transport or facility information, because I jog there and just, well, cope, if there’s nothing.

I was staying at Milano Ostello, Viale Monza 38, which is almost exactly 5km from the start. Okay, it’s a little more, but it’s 5km to the cafe they use post run; Bar Enigma, 283 Viale Giovanni Suzzani. There was a parkrun flag outside, so some people must meet there. I saw the flag carried to the start just before 9am, in the park, a few hundred metres North.

I went straight to the start, and found plenty of people mooching around. The crowd was small till 10 or so minutes before 9, showing that it is supported well by locals who can jog from the other side of the park (or from Bignami metro station, which is very close – there, public transport!). There wasn’t a pre-run briefing as such, but after a few words from the run director, everyone moved to the hill. That confused me – surely we aren’t walking up a hill just to get a crazy fast start in? No, we weren’t; this is just a good way to arrange everyone for a photo.

The whole field pose at the start
The whole field pose at the start. The hill is not used in the run (though many of the locals run up it in their warm-up).

Back down the hill for the start, and we headed off anti-clockwise round the park. There is one lump – think height of a small bridge, packed into a few metres, so it is short and sharp – on the back straight (North side of the park), but otherwise it is flat. I didn’t think it the fastest surface, given that there is loose white gravel on much of it, but it isn’t hard work like grass or mud can be.

People gather for the start
People gather for the start. ‘Finish’ is on the back of the sign, which is moved accordingly after the start.

The events in Italy are growing nicely, but are still small by UK standards, which makes a nice change. The record turnout here (March 2019) is 160, and we had 99 this time. It makes for an easy run round the park, and nothing too intimidating for the few dog walkers and cyclists also out using the place.

Parco Nord Milano
Parco Nord Milano. The hill behind is where the group photo was taken.

On a sunny day this was a lovely event. The park is pretty; I’m sure it’s pretty hot in summer, but on a Spring day it was a “wear what you like” situation; locals were well covered without overheating, while I was fine in t-shirt and shorts.

Post-run, I wandered through the park a bit, before joining people in the cafe. There were a couple of Brits there, and others in attendance at the run who didn’t go, and we sat and talked running, Lake Como and the next night’s Milan derby over food and drinks. The cafe owner speaks good English, too, so you can have the menu translated if you need to. Lovely run, great spot, friendly folk.

A walk round Milan

10% off your stay when you book with Booking.com? Use my link (and I get cashback, too). I stayed at Milano Ostello, Viale Monza 38.

Just one day in Milan, which took me on a run in the North West, from Pasteur metro station NE then back down through Parco Lambro, and then a walk from Pasteur into the centre, via Indro Montanelli Park (one of Milan’s many beautiful and spacious parks – seriously, just wander from park to park on a warm day and you’ll be happy). I managed to drag myself from the park before the day ended and headed past the Cathedral (Il Duomo), then West because Cairoli Castello distracted me as I meant to head South. The sightlines are much more Paris (long, clear roads with sights at the end) than London (buildings everywhere with gems hidden behind them).

Woolacombe Dunes parkrun, Devon, England

Woolacombe Dunes parkrun route
Woolacombe Dunes parkrun route. Hills and tough terrain not pictured.

Tough. Ever so tough. Lanhydrock is considered a tough course. I ran there the week before, nearly two minutes quicker than I then managed here. It is possible to improve, without any extra fitness, by running a course multiple times and getting better at it, and I am sure that is especially the case here, but still – it’s tough.

There’s a big carpark before the start – so big that if you park as soon as you get in, you’ll have a long walk. It’s reasonably expensive, though you are paying for the day – catering for the surfing crowd, who will be here all day. Out of season, though, as I (just) was, it is free.

Woolacombe Dunes
Woolacombe Dunes. Some of the twisty section of the course in the mid-ground.

The start is on tarmac, and slightly downhill. You’ll run that section at the end, so that is uphill. Then a steepish descent down a path, onto sand, and another sandy descent. I was lucky to be following someone who had run it before and hurled himself down this bit, which helped me do the same – it would be very easy to take it easy here, but it is about as safe as a sharp descent can be, with a sandy surface and running through a gully.

Then you’re onto the sand, which on a good day will be pretty hard-packed for your run along the beach. A nice stretch, though you might hit some wind. Then, the dune. The travelator. The bit that most people walk, and those who don’t will do well to go any quicker than the walkers. I walked it, was passed by a couple of people, then caught them on the twisting, undulating section that follows – saving some energy up the dune may help you.

Woolacombe Dunes
Woolacombe Dunes. The car park overlooks the dunes and sea.

And then you hit the path you ran down, and the other tarmacced section back to the beginning. It is marvellous. And very tough. I am still not quite sure that I am willing to say it is harder than Dunedin, but I was definitely quicker there – this is a slow kind of tough, a course on which only the trail experts are going to feel they have really got going. Don’t miss it, though – if it gets tough, walk, enjoy the views. They are great, too.

Results for event 13, Woolacombe Dunes parkrun.

Carnewas at Bedruthan, Cornwall

South West Coastal path to Bedruthan Steps
A 14 mile route. I recommend the coastal part (under 5 miles). The road route back is nice for a run, but the loop via Rumford entirely optional.

The Bedruthan Steps, a series of sea stacks (big bits of rock) across Bedruthan Beach, are a tourist attraction in Cornwall. Probably hugely popular in the summer, but on a blustery Thursday in March, it is pretty quiet. I approached from the North, via the South West Coastal Path (SWCP), which gives a great, cliff-top, view of the stacks and beach as you approach.

Bedruthan steps
Bedruthan steps, on Bedruthan beach

The SWCP is a great run, taking you through the ups and downs of the coast, with constant views. I had a clear day, but a blustery one, and the wind coming in ahead-and-to-the-right of me made things a little tougher. It was still great.

Clifftop view
Clifftop view, near Treyarnon.

Recent weather has seen a storm, leading to the winds we are all experiencing (but which are surely worse right by the Atlantic, aren’t they?) and plenty of rain, so some of the ground was wet underfoot. I slid occasionally, but never near the edge – even at its most exposed, there is always some space between the pedestrian and the edge. Even with my dislike of heights, I never rose above ‘mildly bothered’ (paths right by cliffs see me at ‘bothered, tending to fearful’, by way of comparison).

Path to nowhere
Erosion causes the path to be redirected from time to time.

It looks calm and sunny in these photos. It really wasn’t. As you can see from the route, above, I ran back via the roads, to make a loop. That was great; the roads are narrow, mostly without pavement or verge, but unproblematic on a bright day, even if not all drivers returned my friendly wave. Only a very few didn’t get one, having got a little too close. I planned to run up through Penrose, but didn’t check the map there, figuring I just had to keep on going (it is more or less a straight line!). I actually needed to turn left in the village, but carried blithely on, only realising when I was in Rumford, and still 3 miles from Treyarnon, just as I’d been in Penrose.

Path to beach
Path to beach; not possible when the tide is in.

It didn’t matter, it extended my time out in the sun, and just meant that my last few miles, which were directly West, were right into the wind. Resistance training is good for you. My resistance will now be strong.

View from the top
View from the top

The National Trust’s site has more info on Carnewas for visitors.

 

Lanhydrock parkrun, Cornwall, England

Lanhydrock parkrun route
Lanhydrock parkrun route. One lap, anticlockwise.

All parkruns are created equal, and I don’t have favourites, but those on National Trust property always have stunning scenery. And generally hills. Lanhydrock is known for being tough. Is it harder than Lyme Park, which has hard rocky trails? Or Dunedin, which is all on tarmac, but features its toughest hill twice? I am not sure. Similar, for sure – I was only a few seconds slower here than Dunedin, and my quicker time there was on a second running, so I’m putting the quicker time down to experience, rather than it being an easier run.

I parked at Bodmin parkway (all-day parking at weekends – £1.50), which also has a cafe and toilets, if you need either. From there it’s a 1.7mile route to the start, down the original carriage-drive to the house (as the course page points out). That is, in itself, a lovely route; firm underfoot, via a stone underpass under the railway line, past ‘Station pond’ and with the River Fowey on your right, then left, as you go.

Lanhydrock is the name of both the house, the estate and also the civil parish. The house has some sections from the 1620s with some built after a fire in 1881, and is set on hilly ground. The National Trust has looked after the place since 1953, while the parkrun dates back to January 2014. It is well worth a visit; I was surprised that the entry prices were so reasonable, at £8.45 for an adult, but the website suggests that is the winter price. Given the website says that will next run from November 2019 to January 2020, but it is now March and those prices were at the gate, it might be worth checking if price is a deal-breaker.

Lanhydrock - milling before the start
Lanhydrock – milling before the start.

The house isn’t open till 11, though, so we were free to jog in. The route from the station takes in the worst of the uphill (almost all of it if the signs are in place when you run up the main avenue, and you follow them off to the right) and none of the down. Plus there was an extra uphill section to get from drive to avenue. That made the run a nice surprise for me – I had done the up, knew it would be tough, but ran down (past the house, then up) and down and down, before the up, which doesn’t come till you are a couple of miles in. Given the length of the downhill section, I was even surprised at the up – it just didn’t seem like we had come back up far enough.

Lanhydrock, arrow points the way
Round this corner, past the house, is an uphill section.

The course even has a net downhill – there’s a small truck at the start for you to put stuff in, which is taken to the finish – as you run past the start, downhill to finish on the main avenue. I didn’t feel like I hit top speed, tired from the slog uphill, but it is definitely a faster finish than it could be.

There are plenty of other paths to explore in the grounds, though most of the ones I took ended at a road. Access from all directions is good! Eventually I took one of those gates, rather than doubling back, and had a short section on the road, down to Cutmadoc village, before heading back into the grounds. That brought me back to the main entrance, from where it’s a left turn back onto that carriage-drive. Lovely. Glorious. Worth the journey to Cornwall, all on its own.

Go on then, one more picture of the house and grounds – even in March, some great colours on the trees (because we’re all doomed, but it’s enjoyable while it lasts).

Downhill section to the finish, pink blossom on the trees
Downhill, then turn left to finish.

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