Clitheroe Castle parkrun, Lancashire

Map of Clitheroe Castle parkrun, 5 anti-clockwise laps in the park outside the castle.
Clitheroe Castle parkrun. 5 anti-clockwise laps.

A misty morning lured people into wearing more clothes than were needed as the sun broke through around 9am, but on the upside the sense of giddiness that engendered meant that people wandered up and talked to me before and after the run, and then on the streets of Clitheroe. Based on today, I may have found England’s friendliest town.

A castle keep up on a grassy hill that is model-perfect in its perfect state of being kept.
The remains of the castle overlook the park. The path behind, with benches, is the longer uphill section (then heading downhill behind the parkrun flag).

There are a few car parks around the area, but I didn’t have the right change, and the streets to the South of the park offer free parking in any case, so I just parked a few roads away and wandered to the castle grounds. The toilets in the park were open, and just down the small hill from the start.

Pre and post run happens at the bandstand, with the short path that leads there used as the finish funnel, steering everyone off the path.

Tiered concrete steps provide seating in front of the bandstand, on which sits the Clitheroe Castle parkrun sign.
The bandstand, with a view off to the side.

The course is 5 anti-clockwise laps, heading downhill at the start, taking a left turn to run down the side of the park before wiggling through some sharp turns and a couple of short uphill sections before a slightly longer grind uphill past the castle.

It’s a reasonably tough run, fairly described as undulating, given the twists and turns and repeated (and repeated again) uphill sections, plus a slightly damp course making caution wise on those turns. Unlike the last time I ran a course with so many laps, I managed not to overthink the laps I’d done and found counting straightforward (last time, I worked out I’d pass a particular tree 6 times, this time was the second, but I’d only finished one lap, and went from there in confusing myself a little).

After the run I wandered up the hill to the castle, which has a short walk round part of the old walls, with great views of the town and countryside beyond. I wandered back down and into town, where several residents shared their excitement at how lovely a day it was, and how they’d worn far too many clothes for the conditions. Tesco is nearby for food and a sit in the sun, and in general I was filled with the joy of a warm Spring day. I only hope that if you go, you have a similar experience, because I can’t emphasise enough how genuinely I mean that this felt unusually friendly for an English town.

A war memorial in front of the castle keep, with a line of purple flowers all along the railings in front.
Walking down from the castle into town.

With a fell race locally in the afternoon, attendance was down on the usual – the week before was relatively busy, with 114, and on this Saturday we had 51 finishers. That meant relatively few people were lapped and there was little pressure on the narrower sections of the course, though I’m sure it’s no problem even with another 50+ people.

A testing run/walk in a friendly town with plenty of foliage to enjoy as you go round; if you’re anywhere near, take it in on a Saturday. A surprisingly warm one, if you can.

Looking down from the height of the castle, seeing a path winding below, the whole of the bandstand and its concrete steps, and houses behind the well-defined tree-lined border of the park.
A view from the Castle (you don’t get this high on the run).

Results from Clitheroe Castle event 135, 7/5/22.

Cliffe Castle parkrun, Keighley

Cliffe Castle parkrun route

This 3 and a half lap run round the lovely gardens of Cliffe Castle was described as 90% downhill – which sounds great, till you realise what that means for the other 10%. It’s worth mentioning early on, then, that there is a pretty steep uphill in which, other than a very short rise at the left turn (top right of the map) and an uphill finish, you make up all the ground you have gained.

It isn’t unfair, mind – it starts shallow, gets steep for a while, then levels off (with a couple of trip hazards), goes down for a while before a 180 degree turn to the last, leg-sapping but less steep rise back towards the castle.

Cliffe Castle, an old hall with crenellations.
Cliffe Castle in the sun.

Cliffe Castle is an 1880s building with a free museum inside and free parking outside – not for loads of cars, but the roads nearby are fine, too. It’s open 11-4 on Saturdays and Sundays, 10-4 other days except Monday. That was just a little late for me, even after a chat at the end and a further wander round the grounds to enjoy the sunshine.

A wide path leads downhill through grassy banks which are tree lined.
The start line, with PA system to address the crowd.
Wide tarmacced path with other paths leading off to left and right.
The left turn after the initial swooping downhill. On laps 1-3, take the middle path, heading slightly up. For the finish, it’s the path to the left. Ignore the path going straight on!

The downhill running starts right at the beginning, with a gallop along a wide tarmacced path, swooping round to the left before a slight uphill at a sharpish left turn, well-marshalled, and onto a gravelly path. The surfaces are good pretty much throughout, with just those trip hazards waiting for tired legs on the uphill section.

The course narrows at the uphill section, though there are still places to pass on most of it if you need to. I was busy concentrating on breathing, and on moving my legs just fast enough to still consider it a run, though it was pretty marginal. It’s hard work (though friends ran Church Mead parkrun in Amersham on the same day, and that has 3x the elevation gain).

The fact that the whole place is on a hill does make for great views over the valley, though I confess to looking at them much more after the event than during.

After the climb there’s a short tunnel under the house before a right turn to run round grassy areas at the top of the course, heading downhill again and with a couple of sharp but fast turns.

Top end of the park, with a large greenhouse at the side of the house and a well-mowed grassy field to run round.
Section of the course after the tunnel – you run down towards the camera here, appearing from the right side of the wall.
A lawn decorated by very low-pruned bushes is shaded by trees, with paths all around.
A view over the course – running from right to left, then turning right and heading along the path furthest away.

After three laps, you finally pass the start again, head down the hill and make a slightly sharper left to head towards the fountain and pond in the middle of the park – the fountains start at 9:30 – before a climb up to the finish. That isn’t steep, but felt it to my tired legs. There is a lovely grassed area right at the finish, perfect to collapse on to for a break. I accepted the opportunity gratefully, chatting to the people who finished nearest me.

So long as you know the hills are there, it isn’t perhaps quite as bad as I might have made out, and you can certainly make up time on the downhills, but this is a good challenge. It’s also a lovely park to see, there’s the museum to visit and the Leeds-Liverpool canal is not far away if you want to take a longer walk.

Results from Cliffe Castle parkrun event 120, 30/4/22.

Clare Castle parkrun, Suffolk

Clare Castle parkrun route – 3 laps.
Grass on either side of a wide beige gravelled path, with small brick buildings to one side.
The start/finish area.

I headed to Clare Castle because of the name – there are only a limited number of parkruns including the word “Castle” and because I thought it was a little closer than it was. I had allowed enough time, but was still a little surprised to have got all the way to Suffolk – I don’t know what I’d expected, but it wasn’t a “Welcome to our county” sign.

It is possible to park in town for free, but I used the car park right next to the start and finish, which is £1/hour, max. £5. There is one toilet right next to the start, and some more further round the park.

Wooden railings overlooking a stream (which used to be part of the moat).  Behind is a mound a few metres high, on top of which runs the "Lady's walk", and then another, higher mound which holds the remains of the castle keep.
A view of the castle, off to the left of the run route.

There isn’t much left of the castle, but what is there is immediately obvious and overlooks the start and finish and the car park. The route doesn’t head up that hill, and is pretty flat, in fact. It may not be the easiest, with a 180 turn at the end of the out and back section (covered 3 times), some grass and a few turns, but it isn’t as tough as you might expect from a castle grounds, which tend to have hills available.

Cones down the middle of the path at the out and back section, which starts here, on a bridge with girders holding up the railings at the side.
The out-and-back section.

A local triathlon club had “taken over” the event, covering the volunteer positions, and every marhsal provided great energy and encouragement as we headed round. With 3 laps, we got to see all of them a lot, though none as often as the ones above, who cheered everyone they could on at both the start and end of the out-and back-section.

A view over the park from up high, having walked up to the castle keep. The moat is off to one side, and a clump of trees to the right, with a path disappearing down the centre, forming the Lady's Walk.
View from the castle keep.

Afterwards I had time left in the car park to wander into town and pick up some food while having a little wander around the streets, and that even after walking up the path to the castle keep and taking a few photos of the views. It’s all very pretty, at least on a warmish Spring day where being up high doesn’t bring risk of exposure.

As for the event, parking is easy and cheap, the facilities are nearby and straightforward to access, and the course is flat enough to allow you to complete it at your own pace without too much worry – and with multiple laps, if you want to just do part of it and then disappear, that would work just fine, too.

Results from Clare Castle parkrun event 162, 23/4/22.

Henlow Bridge Lakes parkrun, Bedfordshire

Map of the parkrun route, a 2.5 lap route round the edge of the campsite and lake.
Henlow Bridge Lakes parkrun route, 2.5 laps going anticlockwise from the top right and finishing at the bottom.

The site this event runs round is well-maintained thanks to the owners and some grants, and hosts camping, fishing and anything else I might have missed. It’s an oasis of nature and water, just off a busy road and next to a railway line (which briefly interrupted the pre-run briefing, though they carried on bravely throughout).

A wide mud-packed path with thin trees on either side.
Wide path.

The route has plenty of potential to be muddy and relatively difficult despite its flatness, but it is also run on wide, clear paths and with gentle turns, often with a view over a lake, so it’s pretty and straightforward. It does also cross a couple of access roads into the site, but those are well-marshalled. Occasionally you might have to pause to let someone in, but no biggie (and it didn’t happen to me).

A wooden railing, painted black, marks a bridge over a stream, was the path continues over and then round a left corner ahead.
Over the bridge at the top of the course.

There’s a large car park, serving Arlesey station, just over the road from the site, with a few more minutes needed to walk to the start line. I chose to park the other side of the course, next to a local park, and walked down and along the main road to get there, which was a little further. On the way back I took a slight short-cut, walking past Champneys and cutting across the field. It was good to see other people, clearly locals, walking that way too – and lovely to have an event that close to your house.

The finishing line, with a bush marking one side and wooden railings the other.
The finish line, next to Arlesey Road. Note the path is wide here, but the actual well-used line is narrow, making the rest of the space bumpy underfoot.

This was one of the first non-muddy days of the year, thanks to some dry weather, which almost certainly made the course easier than it had been. That still brought its own challenges, with recent churned up mud, now dried, making for some ruts to avoid, but the footing was secure all round, and it is as flat as a flat thing. Though, as ever, I quickly compared it to the Dutch parkruns I ran, the first few of which varied from 1 to 3m of elevation and, yes, this one had more, at 8m.

Arrows and cones mark the finishing line as people chat and wander off after the event.
View of the finish line – run past it twice, then head left.
A cone on a bench, to make sure no one runs into it, by the side of the path. The biggest lake is to the left.
Cone marks the bench. The biggest lake is to the left – this path is at the end of each lap.

There are a few other paths to explore if you have time and on a sunny day it’s a lovely place to be. I was near enough not to need any other facilities, but apparently they are available at the main entrance – see the course page for full info.

A wide grassy area is used for the start line.
The start, after the event has happened.

Results from Henlow Bridge Lakes parkrun event 27, 16/4/22.

Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire

On the last day of the unseasonal, if welcome, warm weather in March, I was headed South and took the chance to stop at Bolsover Castle, which is very close to the M1. It’s an English Heritage site, free to members, £12.60/11.30/7.60. There’s a free car park in front, which is also very convenient for the Wetherspoons pub. The latter may explain why on a quiet day the car park was full, but at any rate there is an overflow car park by the side of the castle, just continue along the road past the castle entrance and take a sharp right.

Panoramic view with battlements at the front and rolling green fields disappearing down the hill.
View from the castle over the model village.

The castle as we see it, dominating the skyline as you approach, was built by the Cavendish family in the 17th century on the site of an older medieval fortress. It had plenty of bedrooms, but was meant more for entertaining than as a place to live, with the administration of the estate (essentially all the eye can see, and the Cavendish family owned several of the other ‘great houses’ in the area) carried out from elsewhere. Most famously, William Cavendish spent £14,000 (his entire yearly income) to entertain the King and Queen when they visited in 1630.

There is plenty to see. The views over the valley are spectacular in themselves, the old long buildings are fascinating, the gardens kept simple but smelling lovely and the Little Castle with partial reconstructions of the ornate insides. There’s also an exhibition and second-hand bookshop in the first buildings you find, which contain the parade ground. William Cavendish is known as the English father of dressage, believing strongly that there was no need to brutalise a horse to make it behave, and proving so. Apparently his manuals of horsemanship are still relevant, which is quite something.

The Little Castle was holds rooms for entertaining and Cavendish’s bedroom, with upper floors closed for renovation. More entertaining happened in the long building to the side of the Little Castle, but the cost of maintaining such a large site meant a later owner took the roof off it and let it fester. As a result it looks older though it actually isn’t. The paintings above the wood panels, seen above, are described as closer to fine art than just decoration. There are plenty of staircases and small rooms off to one side (originally privies, but now clean and tidy!) to check out, but the art is the highlight, and so the video below is recommended to give you an insight.

A QR code inside the entrance to the Little Castle links to a YouTube video, Bolsover Castle: A Journey in Art (6:44).

You’re never far from a great view of the countryside. The model village down the hill (not a small one, a real one laid out in a ‘model’ of good living) is clear because of the square layout – it was known as New Bolsover, which is now the name of the road on which it sits.

Looking through a 'v' shaped archway  to a wall, stairs and then countryside behind
View through an archway.
Looking at a tall tree in the castle grounds, with a wall and the Little Castle behind. Mole hills dot the grass close to the camera.
Little Castle stands on the right, the abandoned long building to the left.
View of the Little Castle from the courtyard.
Venus statue in the courtyard, a rare working fountain from the 17th century.

I wandered round Bolsover, a nice enough town, with a pretty church and footpaths heading off down the hill if you want to explore. If you fancy a pint I’d recommend The Blue Bell, on High Street, based purely on the views – it has a beer garden perched right on the edge of the hill, so you can sit and enjoy the view. With a long drive ahead, I managed to resist temptation, though it was strong, and instead found an all-day breakfast for a fiver at a cafe in town which also did excellent cakes.

Felixstowe parkrun

Felixstowe parkrun route – start by the leisure centre, head SW then back past the start to the NE, though we headed NE first.

On a warmish sunny day, in between a couple of storms, Felixstowe was a lovely place to be. Around a third of the UK’s parkruns were cancelled for stormy conditions or the after effects of same, so as soon as Felixstowe said their course was fine, I headed down to the seaside.

Picture of the Felixstowe promenade, with a caution runners sign on the railings and an ice cream stall on the other side.
Near the start – the leisure centre is on the right.

The webpage suggests gathering on the grass in front of the Leisure Centre, but I chose to stand on the beach, and many others were clustered on the promenade, catching up and counting our good luck in finding a run that was definitely going ahead, and without too much wind compared to the night before, though it was still there.

Cones mark the finish line on the promenade, under blue skies, with a yellow sandy beach to the side.
The finish line.

The route is very straightforward. I missed the first part of the briefing, blown away on the wind, but he may have announced that we were doing it in reverse, as the official site says the opposite, but we lined up facing the pier and headed NE past it and on to a turnaround, then back past the start and to a turnaround over a km from the finish. It’s not a course you can go wrong on, unless you try and run on the beach and get carried away, but the regular groynes would make that a hurdle course rather than a lovely run on the sand.

A building with a small tower on the pier, with sandy beaches in front.
Felixstowe pier.

We had the wind behind us for the first section, which gave genuine assistance, but meant that we then had it in our faces for twice as far as we went back on our tracks, past the start/finish and on to the second 180 degree turn. I managed to catch a group ahead of me, with the intention of drafting for a bit, but ended up going past and allowing them a brief respite from the wind. Reaching the last section is always good, but on this windy day there was the extra incentive of knowing the wind would be behind us again.

Caution runners sign on the prom, looking North.
Fish & Chips store.

Aside from the wind, the only other things to cope with were a slightly narrower section near the start, with beach huts taking up some of the promenade, but given that no one was yet coming back on the other side, there was plenty of room. Stones had blown over the course at the second turnaround, which slowed us down, but otherwise this is a flat and fast course, depending on conditions, on a good surface.

View North along the promenade, with beach huts on the left and sandy beaches on the right.
Looking North.

It looks pretty good in the sun, too. There are plenty of attractions for afterwards, and parking is easy. There’s a paid car park right by the start, or the roads behind the front are free to park in. They are immediately up a hill, but it’s a short but hilly walk to the start.

Results from Felixstowe parkrun, event 131, 19/2/22 – 165 finishers.

Rothay Park parkrun, Ambleside

Route map of Rothay Park parkrun in Ambleside, Cumbria.
Rothay Park parkrun route. Start next to the playground, three laps.

My original plan was to struggle up the hills at Whinlatter Forest, but they have to cancel when there are high winds. Luckily, that meant I could walk to my (temporary) local run at Rothay Park, in the North of Ambleside. It’s very easy to find – Ambleside’s not that big, and the church is a good landmark. There’s plenty of car parkland free parking for a few by the river.

Cut trees beside a wide path and a large tree stands over a trimmed hedge.
The start, which heads towards the camera. On each lap you then run away from the camera past the tree on your right, turning right at the end to go past the playground.

This is a lovely run round the town park and a field next to the football club. Three laps, a little bit of up and down, some mud (but nothing this weekend that needed special shoes), parking and toilets nearby.

Path at the top end of the park with thin metal railings keeping us off the river on the right.
Round the field, alongside the water.

The paths are pretty narrow in places. Room enough for the 92 of us there were, but it does mean there are a couple of stretches where you either can’t or shouldn’t overtake, as people come back the other way. The path to the field next to the football club is also the path back from the field, for instance, and so are busy in both directions. I say “shouldn’t” not to say you must not if there’s space, but because one of the leaders only looked straight at me as he stepped out in front of me to overtake a back marker. I was happy to move aside, but probably shouldn’t have had to. But no biggie.

A bench in the foreground, with green grass and a tarmacked path to the right.
A bench. The finish is towards the back of this section.

It was a windy day, which didn’t affect this course too much, though it did hit us as we turned into the field, which is also the soggiest part, needing a little care. A little frost would toughen this part of the course up, otherwise it’s only going to be muddier in the next few weeks. You wouldn’t feel daft running this course in trail shoes during the winter, and many people did exactly that.

Narrow tarmacced path runs down a small incline, toward a playground in the distance.
A small downhill section down the twisting path.

I’ve taken photos on a sunny day, though Saturday was a little drizzly. It was still perfectly good weather for a run, though, and there are plenty of trees and hills around to break the weather up a little.

A muddy path through gates, with the local football club building on the right.
Through the gates into the field, and back out again after you’ve been round it.

It’s a lovely event in a gorgeous small town, with very friendly and welcoming volunteers. I was running a milestone event, but quietly – all those months conspicuously not getting to the milestone during the pandemic closure meant that I was not really feeling it. A friend had tipped off the run director, but with many other things to think about, he got the name a little wrong at the start, and I only realised he meant me when he said “ah, must have gone to Whinlatter”. Too late by then, but I did say hello at the end and we had a laugh about it. That worked out ideally, really – no fuss made, but it also wasn’t a total surprise so no-one was offended that I hadn’t mentioned it to them. A couple of others also ran milestones and they hadn’t had a shout-out, so I was happily tucked into a sub-group, enjoying a lovely run without distraction.

The town really is set in a lovely location, especially when the sun is out. A few views below.

Results from Rothay Park parkrun, event 29, 29/1/22.

Haverhill parkrun, Suffolk

Haverhill parkrun route. Parking by the bottom-left arrow.

At this time of year, and following rain, this is a lovely but very muddy parkrun. After I’d parked where the event webpage suggested, near the Golden Apples day nursery in Homefield Road (they call it Dizzy Duck’s on the page, presumably they’ve changed name), I peeked into the field and immediately changed into trail shoes.

A caution runners sign in the field, with a muddy puddle off to one side.
Muddy field

The route is run entirely round fields, so although it’s flat, it’ll only be quick when they’re firm underfoot. This was not that day, with particularly wet areas behind the football goals and at the entrance. With footwear on that could handle it, it was fun slogging round the 3 laps. By the end we were all experts on the wet and dry-est areas.

A muddy field after the runners have been by, with footsteps covering a wide lateral area as people look for relatively untrod ground.
Footsteps in the mud after the event.

Any first-timers at the course received a lovely welcome from the run director, who talked us through the route and gleefully sympathised at the mud in prospect. Anyone who’d parked in Homefield Road had already walked across the fields, and almost certainly stepped in a hole a little deeper than they’d expected, and so was prepared for wet feet. This isn’t the largest event, though, and I got a definite sense that locals from the surrounding houses contributed plenty of participants, which made for a great community feeling that I was welcomed into.

Muddy field and a puddle next to the football pitch. Plenty of green grass in among the slightly churned up mud.
Puddles by the football pitch.

As you can see from the above, there’s a puddle by the football pitch, right where you’d be running on a hard-surface day, to run the shortest route. The advice to avoid going too close to the pitches was spot on, but as you can see, that didn’t mean we weren’t muddy. All the volunteers were cheery and encouraging, despite standing in the rain on a cool day, which really helped. For me, particularly on lap 2, when the thought of another lap picking through the boggy bits was not motivating. A well done from a nice face or three was, though.

A hedge marks the edge of the field, with a yellow cone marking the route, and a pothole to avoid.
Cone marks the spot.

The whole event lifted my, and I’m sure pretty much everyone involved’s, spirits on a wet day when thoughts might otherwise have been on how early into the year it was, and how much more of this weather there might be to come. Instead we could hang out with kindred spirits, with veterans of hundreds of parkruns finishing along with those completing their first. Don’t be put off by the thought of slogging round fields multiple times, this is a great community event with a warm welcome.

Results from Haverhill parkrun event 128, 8/1/22 – 45 finishers.

Houghton Hall parkrun, England

Houghton Hall parkrun route. 3 laps, only the first include the small loop at top right.

On a wet, wet, wet day, I was in Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire. Unlike the volunteers, I could at least shelter in the car till it was nearly time to start, and we all caught a break as it stopped raining for 20 minutes or so, just before 9am.

The route heads round past the visitors’ centre, away from the camera here.

Despite the weather, I enjoyed my run around, and was happy to be doing laps of the park. Those laps vary a little, with the first a longer one, taking in a wooded section at the top right of the map. After that, we headed round the main loop a couple of times, avoiding some puddles and splashing through others.

I missed all the hay bales on the way round, but they’re not hidden.

I blame those puddles, and my focus on planning a route round them for the fact that I missed the inside of the park entirely. There is more there than I appreciated at the time, with a large grassy area spotted with hay bales at this part of Autumn.

A view I completely failed to take in during the event.

The route heads out of the main part of the park for a short downhill section. It’s worthy of note mainly for the narrow gates on the way out and then again on the way in, which are described as an impediment, but have a gap big enough to tempt you into racing through them. A tempter! They definitely don’t need much of a shuffle for most of us, but if you get it wrong you’ll be brought up short by the metal. A nice piece of jeopardy on the route.

The narrow gates.
More narrow gates to head back into the park.
Not on the route, but a particularly verdant view.

A pretty park, a well-organised event, and all the facilities are available right by the start/finish.

Results from Houghton Hall parkrun, event 129, 30/10/21.

Harleston Magpies parkrun, Suffolk

Harleston Magpies parkrun route. 3 laps, running round the edge of two fields. Except! In each field you cut in and run back toward the corner from which you came, then turn away, and finish a triangle, back where you made the first turn, to complete running round the field. It is *much* easier to do than to explain.
Bemused faces (not pictured) as the route is explained.

A mile or so South of the Suffolk town of Harleston is a hockey club, from which this parkrun takes its name. Since parkrun spread widely, and calling the runs after the town became problematic (taxi to London, please!), they updated their naming convention such that we will see more and more of these eclectic names. (Take a bow, Dallas Burston Polo Club parkrun.)

Wondering whether I should park elsewhere to make sure there was space, and that there was no need to test the instruction to park not in the club car park, but on the grass behind the club house, I looked at walking from town, and found a couple of lay-bys to the North of the club, next to the water, which looked like a decent compromise between parking right at the event, and walking down pavement-less roads to the place. In the end, I was there so early I just parked in the field, and for the numbers attending at the moment (66 this week), that’s unlikely to cause any problems.

The clubhouse has refreshments after the event, and probably facilities beforehand, too, though I didn’t check – frankly, given England’s current “hey, let’s ignore the queues outside A&E, the fact it’s only early Autumn by any sensible measure and just pile into places without masks” madness, I preferred to keep away from crowded spaces, even if they’re only full of lovely runners.

Me, making a turn at a corner of one of the mid-field triangles.

The ground was pretty firm underfoot this morning, but being grass throughout it’s never going to be especially quick, despite being fairly flat. As you’ll see from some of the photos, the route is already getting quite nicely (I hope that’s the club’s view, too) marked even though this is only week 5, but at some point that will probably be a little muddy, too.

The start of the second field; this marshal can cheer people on as they turn into the field, as they make their turn on the triangle, and again as they leave the field.

I went to this event partly because it was a new event, and partly because of the unusual name, but it was enjoyable. Everyone involved seemed very keen to see it succeed, and there was a general air of excitement, suggesting new runners and a community being formed. I overheard a couple of hockey players talking about it, and they obviously didn’t know much about it – there’s an obvious possible cross-over if any of them can fit in some pure cardiovascular activity on a Saturday morning, though the event will happily go on around them.

Leaving the second field. That marshal could do with a turntable. That bump ahead is the big hill of the course.
Running past the hockey pitches, on and out of the second field. This small stretch of uneven ground is as tough as the footing gets.

With such an open course, you’re going to be subject to whatever the weather throws at you – this was a cool October morning but with nothing else we were free to get on with getting round as well as we could.

Far corner, second field, and an enthusiastic marshal.
You can see the ground marked where we head down to run the triangle.

The turns within the fields were often just a little bit further round than I expected – turning a right-angle is apparently easy for me, but going a bit further is something I apparently forget to do – so it helps to keep your wits about you, or have someone to follow. You can see from the width of the lighter colour on the field that people have not picked one line and stuck to it. It doesn’t matter, so long as you head for the sign and turn round it, you’ll cover at least 5k, but if you’re pushing for a time you’ll want to pay attention and keep straighter lines than I managed.

In to the finish (or round again for another lap).
The parkrun flag marks the entrance to the club.

I hope club and parkrun have a long and happy association.

Results from Harleston Magpies parkrun, event 5 23/10/21.

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