The cancellation of Sunnidale parkrun, Barrie, gave me the opportunity to rent a car and head North, to Huntsville and from there to Algonquin Provincial Park. I’m sure Sunnidale Park is lovely, but running along the shore of Hunters Bay and then taking a dip – legs only for me, but full swim for some – in the water afterwards was a huge pleasure and this was a great parkrun day.
It really is a stunning setting. The route is an up, down, up, down, never-let-you-go kind of course, along paths and the new boardwalk over the water. You head West/South to start, touch the gate at the turnaround, come back on yourself and then head North onto the longer section. The best view of the Bay is from the start/finish area, which is just as well because you’d be advised to keep your eyes mostly on your footing in some areas.
Many runs in the area had posted “rain or shine, we’ll be there!” type messages the night before, because the forecast wasn’t good. It was cloudy, but with no actual rain, which was a bonus. There were a couple of slippery mud patches on the course, but nothing to cause more than a small slide, or a change of landing position for the wise.
There’s a small car park right by the course, which is fine for the numbers they are getting now, and a couple of portaloos there. You cross a railway line before you get to the car park and the run director waited for a freight train to pass – both saving her voice and allowing one last car which, yes, did contain a parkrunner, to cross over. Apparently trains are very rare at that time in the morning. She came up and said hello. I assumed that was because she had spotted my parkrun 250 shirt, but no. After the run she admired that, which was nice but, more importantly, suggests she had initially just spotted that I was a new face, which is really lovely. With 20-30 participants typical at the moment, it’s a lovely community event, and one at which it is straightforward to chat to most, if not all, people afterwards. I got touring tips while bathing, talked parkrun in the car park and asked about the event under cover after scanning. Apparently they do go for coffee, too, but as people dissipated, I chose to get up to Algonquin (just over 50km away) and make the most of paying the entry fee (CA$21 per car).
Results from event 18, Avery Beach parkrun.