Firenze parkrun, Tuscany, Italy

Firenze parkrun course
Firenze parkrun course. 3 laps – ignore the shortened lap.

Firenze parkrun is in the large Parco delle Cascine, an easy 2-3km walk from the middle of Florence, or SMN station if you arrive by train, as I did (having stayed in Certaldo, a 50-60minute ride away).

The park is big, but because it is cut by roads and tram tracks, the course only uses a part of it. It is (just under) three simple laps, anti-clockwise, starting near the bottom right of the long straight at the top, finishing at the bottom right.

Firenze parkrun group photo
Firenze parkrun group photo.

Or at least, it should be. On the day, the turn around marshal dutifully pointed us left into the woods, some twit Englishman was in front so couldn’t correct her, and we were back at the start about 4.5 minutes after “go!”. Which is pretty quick for a 1.7km loop. Panicked instructions were sent up the line at some point, and by the time I got back to that early turn, the arrow had gone, to be replaced at the end of the straight, where it belonged.

Firenze parkrun start
Firenze parkrun start.

At that point, I wondered what to do. I saw the finish funnel in place, at the end of the lap, and clearly we were going to be well short. As I came round for the third time, though, the funnel had been moved and so I gratefully followed instructions round the corner, past the start, and finished.

I still hadn’t run 5k, though, and the event director checked – on the move – with a regular who was just behind me, and we hurriedly decided to run on and stop at 5k.

That readjusted, then readjusted again, finish made for a brief period of chaos, as our outstretched hands showed the finish for the next few, while the volunteers brought cones and timers up. But it worked, people queued in order to have their barcodes scanned, and the rising temperature warmed us all.

Me, running on the narrow path through woods
Me, running on the narrow path that brings you back to the start/finish.

It is a lovely, and simple (I feel some responsibility for not knowing we were being directed wrongly; if the front few had gone the right way, everyone else could have followed) course. The top straight is on tarmac, then the middle section is on a narrow hard-packed mud path through the woods. The volunteers are friendly and, this being Florence, the count of tourists is high, so they make a point of checking where people are from to give different countries and cities a shout out before we get going.

Afterwards we gathered in the playground, with some cake provided, and a water fountain nearby. There are toilets in the next mini-park over, and you can leave bags etc. in the playground, with a volunteer deputed to keep an eye over them.

A lovely run, mostly shaded so as cool as it can be if the day is warm, and the park itself is a welcome relief from the crowds and queues within the ancient beauty of Florence itself.

Results from event 82, Firenze parkrun.

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