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.
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.
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.
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.