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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 in the small meadow adjacent to the railway museum to the west of the park. From there, runners proceed east along the gravel path, before transitioning to trail as you enter the woods. The 2nd to 4th kilometers are rather lumpy treks through the woods, while the final kilometer levels out to the finish on the grass meadow near to the cafe.

Ample paid parking is available on-site, and toilets are open before the run starts. The Cafe is also open as the run finishes.

The run

This was a tough one! Still being new to running, I was perhaps too naive about how much hills impact things! I set off at around the same pace as usual, and when the inline started, I tried to keep the same or similar pace. This was a bad decision! I sapped all the strength from my legs before we had even finished “licking the lollipop”, and it took all I had to hold on to the end. Lesson learned - don’t take hills for granted!

One thing that did stick out on the trail hills, that I want to keep in mind for next week, is that I was running in road shoes, whose grip was probably not quite up to the task at Irchester, as I wasn’t completely sure-footed all the way around the course this week.

Ian struggling to run up a hill

Thank you to all of the volunteers, who made this run a very pleasant one!

Links: Run report | Results | Strava

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