parkrun Tourism: Blandford parkrun

Tamsyn and Stuart running at Blandford parkrun. They're both smiling.

We had an opportunity for some parkrun tourism (minus M) on 14th December. We had a trip to see Santa planned with Stuart’s parents, so we agreed to drop M off at their house in Ferndown before driving further to Blandford parkrun. That way, M got to spend some time with her grandparents, aunty and cousins and we got to do another parkrun.

Start of Blandford parkrun

We arrived in plenty of time and parked at the leisure centre, where there were toilets. We then walked to the start, which has a convenient area to wait. It starts by a bridge, which provides respite in cold and windy weather.

People getting ready to run at Blandford parkrun.

As we were there early, Stuart and I did a 500m warm-up run. I always find it bizarre that even a short jog makes the start of a run so much easier.

There was a relatively small crowd at the start for the Run Briefing, which was done by the RD standing on the bridge so everyone could hear. We could do with a bridge at Southampton!

Stuart and I were relatively near to the start. You might be able to pick us out in the photo below – I’ve got on a green 250 t-shirt and Stu is just behind me in a grey Christmas t-shirt.

The start of Blandford parkrun.
Startline at Blandford parkrun.
Runners at teh start of Blandford parkrun.

The first half of the run

The path was a reasonable width and there were only around 150 runners, so everyone spread out fairly quickly. The first part of the course has a slight incline, so I knew that I’d have to work hard.

A runner at Blandford parkrun. Tamsyn can be seen in the background.

The course is an out and back. After the long gradual incline, there is a very short sharp decline at a junction.

The official description says:

Starting under Jubilee Way bridge on the Bland ford to Sturminster Newton trail way you head north keeping to the left at the Y junction and continuing along the trail way under the Bypass and then sharp left, continue past the barn then into the open until you meet a fence that cuts across the trail way, at this point you turn 180 degrees and return along the trail way to the finish near the start point.

Blandford parkrun

The section of the path under the bypass was a bit muddy and wet, but there was plenty of room to avoid it, so it didn’t bother us. Then we got onto the smooth straight trailway. I thought this bit would be quite easy. I was wrong. We were hit by a strong headwind that sapped all of my energy.

The second 2.5km

I hoped that I would pick up the pace after we got to the turnaround point, but the benefit of the tailwind just couldn’t be felt and I’d lost a lot of time.

Stu had agreed to run with me and was being really motivational, but I was disappointed that I wasn’t going to be able to beat my time from Southampton the previous week.

Finally, we were on the long decline back to the start. A photographer was there, so I smiled for the camera. The second picture isn’t too bad, but the first one shows why I need to lose weight in 2020!

Stuart and Tamsyn running together at Blandford parkrun.
Tamsyn and Stuart running at Blandford parkrun. They're both smiling.

So how did I do?

I was quite disappointed that I hadn’t managed another sub 28 minute time, but given the headwind, I didn’t do too badly. My final time was 28:24.

I came 86/145 runners. I was 20/56 women and was 5/7 in my age category. I’d run the second-highest number of parkruns out of all the runners there.

Have you done any parkrun tourism recently? Where would you recommend?

I'd love to hear your thoughts...

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