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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". Fortunately, there was no trace of any odours during my visit.

The course

The course is one smaller lap around a lightly wooded area, followed by two bigger laps of the lakes, with the finish funnel located on a spur off the main path into the centre of the smaller lap.

Toilets, and a cafe adjoin the car park close to the start location outside the cafe.

The course page describes the surface as "gravel", however, this is closer to the gravel used as foundations for roads, rather than the tiny stones I initially expected. If this wasn't the site of a former gravel-pit, you'd probably call it trail, and so road-shoes with limited grip are therefore not advised during winter months!

The run

I began today's run with a short warm-up, and realised pretty quickly that I was in the wrong shoes for the course! The starting straight was muddy, and slightly slippy in places. Never mind, I'd still give it a go, I thought! My poor shoe choice was further highlighted during the run briefing, when we were told about the "water hazard" after the first corner (entering the first small loop), and we were encouraged to run through it.

Fortunately there was enough space that I could mostly run around the edge of the water hazard, and as we only had a single loop to do around the smaller loop, it was mostly just mud to contend with for the remainder of the course, along with a short wooden path which was slippy due to the mud.

One observation of the finish process I noted was that finish tokens were handed out at the end of the finish funnel as usual, but barcode scanning took place several hundred metres away, near the cafe. This is perhaps an attempt to support the cafe's business, but it was a contrast to other events I've attended, who are keen to scan barcodes as soon as possible to avoid losing (and having to replace) them.

As always, thank you to all of the volunteers, especially at this time of year!

Links: Results | Strava

Reference: Milton Country Park

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