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Showing posts from 2019

Cambridge parkrun

With the exception of Houghton Hall, my parkruns to date have mostly been in and around the same area, and so this week I wanted to try an event in another region. Checking the events map, a number of events around Cambridgeshire seemed to fit the bill, with the added benefit that if there were any cancellations, another event beginning with a "C" was within easy reach. Of the parkruns in Cambridge, Cambridge parkrun seemed like it would have the highest attendance, so that was my first choice, with Coldhams Common a close second. The area Cambridge parkrun is held at Milton Country Park, located in the village of Milton on the outskirts of Cambridge. The site of the Country Park was the location of a gravel pit, before being transformed into lakes starting in 1990, and opened to the public in 1993. Owing to nearby sewage works, coupled with two recycling centres, Milton has a reputation for the resultant smell - the "Milton Pong"

Milton Keynes parkrun

After my really positive experience running at Northampton last week, something I was attributing to the well-attended, mature nature of the event, I decided that I wanted a similar experience for this week's extra event, and Milton Keynes fit the bill perfectly. The area Milton Keynes parkrun takes place in the East of Milton Keynes, tracing sections of both the Grand Union Canal, and Willen Lakes. The Grand Union Canal was formed from a number of waterways to connect London with Birmingham, with construction of the earliest developments beginning in 1793, and development of the latest chunks of development between Milton Keynes and Bedford being delivered in 2009. While the canal was originally built to improve trade and communication links, it is now a popular route for pleasure boaters, cyclists, walkers, runners, dog walkers and anglers. Willen Lakes form the largest purpose-built stormwater balancing lakes in the UK. Unlike most of the

Northampton parkrun

After the strange run last week, I wanted to try another event that wasn't in woodland. I enjoyed the course last week, so maybe I was just having an off-week (everyone has them occasionally!) I knew that Bedford met the bill, and was very close, but I had also been "saving" that one for the New Year's double, which I planned to do before Great Denham, and so I settled on Northampton for this week's event. The area Northampton parkrun takes place at the Racecourse, in the heart of Northampton. The area, originally known as Northampton Heath, was the host of frequent horse races between 1632 and 1681 when a large number of accidents drew proceedings to a close. Horse racing resumed in 1727 however, until more fatal accidents resulted in horse racing ceasing again in 1904. The Racecourse is a popular and high-traffic area of Northampton, and is considered the heart of amateur sport in the area, with football, rugby union, c

Houghton Hall parkrun

After last week’s run at Irchester, I decided that I wanted to try a different type of event. While I was really enjoying the off-road forest/woodlands runs, I was very aware that most events aren’t set in such landscapes. With an eye still on the alphabet challenge, Houghton Hall seemed like a good option which didn’t require too much travel. The area Houghton Hall is located in Houghton Regis, towards the south of Bedfordshire. The greenspace, which consists primarily of fields, with some mature woodland, previously formed part of the grounds of the Houghton House estate. Much of the former grounds has since been used for housing development, with the park being the last remainder of the space, while the hall itself is now used for office space. The course The course begins in the centre of the eastern field (nearest the car park) and consists of two and a half laps of the perimeter of the park, including a short section through the woods to the e

Irchester Country parkrun

Running in Salcey Forest last week was refreshing, and so I was looking for another forest/woods-based run this week. While checking the event map, I saw that Irchester Country parkrun had popped up - an event I had heard was mainly in woodland, but also quite hilly. I hadn’t run a hilly event yet, so this extra dimension was enough to confirm my destination for this week. The area Irchester Country Park is located on the outskirts of the village Irchester, in the south of Northamptonshire. The village was noted in the Domesday book 1086 under (then spelt Irencestre), and elements of the village still survive from that date. The maturing woodlands that cover the majority of the Country Park were planted around 1965, and sit on the site of a former ironstone quarry. Ironstone extraction continued until the deposit’s exhaustion in the 1960s. The remainder of the site consists of meadows and a miniature railway museum. The course The course is described as a lollipop, and begins i

Salcey Forest parkrun

When the excitement of having run my first parkrun last week had died down, I took some time to reflect on the run. The biggest thing to improve was pacing - it was very unpredictable at Linford Woods, as I basically just went all out, recovered, and went all out a bit more! This week, my goal was to try to smooth out the peaks and troughs from last week, even if it means it takes longer to finish. As I was reflecting, I also realised that I really enjoyed running through the woodland at Linford Woods parkrun. I used to enjoy spending time in various woods growing up, but I think the last visit was probably when I was still in school, so even though I wasn’t expecting the rainforest, the idea of a forest definitely added to the lure! The area Located on the outskirts of Northampton, and close to the M1 motorway, Salcey Forest is the largest remnant of ancient woodland in the country. The forest is home to a number of 500-year-old oak trees, known as the Druids, and a wide ran

Linford Wood parkrun

Today marked the start of my parkrun journey, and so I started as I mean to go on - by touring! As this was to be my first parkrun experience, I sought a deliberately low-key, reliable debut, which was also easily accessible from my home (though not my home event). Linford Wood seemed like the ideal candidate! The area Linford Wood parkrun takes place along the paths and redways of Linford Wood, in the north of Milton Keynes. Milton Keynes is the largest town in Buckinghamshire. Famous (or should that be infamous?) for both its roundabouts and its grid system, the town was purpose-built to relieve demand for housing in the South East of England. The town adopts the concept of a forest city, where local areas (within grid squares) are separated from through-traffic travelling along the grid by trees, bushes, hedgerows, and other fauna. For local residents, this provides both a sound-barrier between them and traffic, while also enclosing neighbourhoods, which in turn encourag

The end

Hi! I’m Ian! Welcome to my parkrun tourism blog! Big boy My story begins in 2019, when, I think it’s fair to say, I was a big boy. I had brought an end to my previous hobby of weightlifting without reducing how much I ate anywhere near enough, and those calories decided that they needed to live somewhere. My accumulated chonk was often becoming the limiting factor in many things I wanted to do, and so wanting to get back in some sort of non-wobbly shape, I thought to myself, “...running’s a thing!” First steps My very first run was a very exhausting half mile. I was so out of breath from such a short distance that I remember being so frustrated with myself for allowing the chonk to grow unchecked. Needless to say, my determination to become less of a big boy went through the roof! I continued running, slowly increasing the distance until I could manage the occasional 10k long-run. The challenge began to shift though! For 6 months, I had largely been running the same