I’m really finding it hard to exercise this year. I have so few opportunities to get out and, as M is still a terrible sleeper, I’m always sleep deprived. The one thing that is a constant in my life is parkrun. My parkrun PB is 23:40 and I’m a long way off that at the moment, so I’m finding other challenges to keep me motivated. I love parkrun tourism, so I’m trying to complete my parkrun alphabet.
On Saturday, I completed my 18th letter of the alphabet: K at Killerton parkrun. Here’s a list of what I’ve done so far:
My plans for the rest of the parkrun alphabet
I’ve got plans for the missing letters.
The easy to get letters
- G – Guildford parkrun. This is close to where my aunt lives, so it may be combined with a visit to see her.
- J – Jersey Farm. This is about 90 miles away, so I’ll be scheduling it for in summer when the weather is nice.
- Q – Queen Elizabeth Country Park parkrun. This is also in my ten NENDYs, so it’ll help to change that as well.
The ones that require a bit of planning
- The start of Killerton parkrun is up a steep hill. Just walking up it with the buggy was hard.
- V – Victoria Dock is most likely to be the venue for this. I might see whether I can schedule it for the weekend when I do Ride 100.
Y – Yeovil Montacute. This has a separate winter course and summer course. The summer course is not suitable for buggies because of the uneven ground, so I’ll need to wait until winter before we try it. I was hoping to do it this weekend, but there is a two week closure period between the winter and summer courses, so my holiday was timed wrongly.
The biggest challenge
- Z – All parkruns beginning with Z require a flight (South Africa, Poland, Australia and Russia), so this is the one event that I don’t have a definite plan for. I was hoping to be able to see my cousin and visit my goddaughter this year (they live in Cape Town)… but I’m now going to Australia as my brother is getting married there. However, we may be able to visit there in 2020/2021, so it may be postponed until then. I’m still hoping that someone will decide to start a parkrun in Zennor or Zelah as either of these would be conveniently close to where my mum lives.
parkrun tourism Down Under
I’m going to do some parkrun tourism in September/October when I visit my family in Australia. I’d like to do some differnt events form last time. It’s nice to try new event… plus it’s depressing that I’ll be so much slower than I was last time when I could easily manage a 25 minute run.
Frustratingly, there is now a parkrun in Mount Isa – there wasn’t when we last visited there. We’ve done Orange parkrun, so I’m hoping that we’ll get to do Bathurst or Cowra when we visit my brother. Likewise, we’ve done North Wollongong (twice), so I’m hoping to fit in Shellharbour or Sandon Point… or maybe even something in Sydney, depending on when I need to get Stu from the airport.
The start of Killerton parkrun
The start of Killerton parkrun is up a steep hill. Just walking up it with the buggy was hard.
I love parkrun because although each event is different, there’s always a strong community feeling. At the start, Stuart and I had a chat with another buggy runner, Tom Pales. Tom was running with a Thule Chariot Lite like ours (although we were running with our OutNAbout Nipper Sport). Tom noticed that I was wearing my SUTRI hoodie and mentioned that he used to live in Southampton. We continued chatting and Tom explained about his business: Freetrike rehab cycling. It’s such a brilliant idea – getting people out in the fresh air so that they can have adventures and help to get their fitness back.
The first section of the run was across a field and then it was onto a downhill path. Although the path was reasonably wide, there were a lot of runners, so it was quite challenging. The path was also quite rutted, which is challenging when pushing a buggy.
On course motivation
M was giving me a running commentary which was quite funny and I think it entertained the people who were near us.
M: Look! There’s some horses! Neigh, neigh!
T: Um, no, I think they’re cows!
There were some tough hills on the course and I’m really unfit, so I ended up walking a bit. There were some lovely views. M particularly liked seeing Nigel the white donkey who was sharing a field with some cows.
About 1km from the end of the course, we arrived at ‘Jelly Baby Corner’. Although I love jelly babies, I knew that eating one wouldn’t help me to finish strong!
The final section
Killerton parkrun starts and finishes in slightly different places, which was a relief as I didn’t want to have to climb the hill to the start again. There is one final corner before a run across a bumpy field to the finish. The marshal at the corner has a cute dog who also has a marshal jacket.
I ran as hard as I could for the line and was relieved to finish. There was a long queue for scanning, but it moved very quickly as there were quite a few people using the app as well as regular scanners.
I was pleased to find that I had finished in just under 37 minutes.
After the run, we changed into ordinary clothes and went to the coffee shop. The queue was quite long and slow-moving, but the cream tea was worth the wait!