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Aylesbury parkrun

I was a little nervous attending Aylesbury parkrun this week. It had been cancelled the week before due to flooding, and so I wasn't completely sure it would be going ahead this week. Fortunately, the event never appeared on the Cancellations page, and so I headed towards Aylesbury!

The area

Located in Buckinghamshire, Aylesbury has been a settlement since at least the 4th century BC, and has a long and storied history, playing key roles in many major events through the years. Plans are in place to increase the population from roughly 75,000 people to over 100,000 by 2023, which includes the building of hundreds of new homes around the town, including the Buckingham Park area, located to the north of Meadowcroft Open Space where the course normally takes place.

Meadowcroft Open Space is an area of land adjacent to the River Thame, and acts as a floodplain during times of peak rainfall.

The course

While the flooding had allowed the event to take place, it took place on the "B" course.

The "B" course is a two-lapped out-and-back run along a tarmac path near the Buckingham Park neighbourhood, north of the run's usual location. There is an incline at the western end of the route, and the route is deliberately longer than the normal 5km run - an attempt to ensure that the regular attendees don't set a personal best that they can't beat on the normal course.

Free parking is available at Meadowcroft Open Space, along with toilets and changing facilities.

The run

After parking in the Meadowcroft Open Space car park, I was guided by a marshal to the "B" course start area. This allowed me to witness first-hand just how flooded the main course was. The main path was submerged in 6 inches of water in some places - it was definitely the right call to switch courses!

The start of the run

The main course was supposed to be very flat, so I wasn't anticipating the hill to be navigated on this course, but all of the runners took it in our strides. This was the first out-and-back parkrun event I had taken part in, so it was novel to see how so many people handled running in relatively close proximity to each other. The "ankle-breaker" turn-around points were another unexpected surprise to navigate, but fortunately only a minor one.

While the hill presented an unexpected challenge, what goes up must come down, and so it actually turned out to be a lot of fun running down the hill on each of the two laps!

The eastern half of the course, with runners on the tarmac path and pooled water on the grass

There was another unexpected addition to the run this week, with a drone recording the start of the run. Some of the pictures shared after the event highlight the extent of the flooding even around the "B" course.

The eastern end of the greenspace, with pooled water on the grass

An extra special thank you to the event team this week, as there wouldn't have been any complaints from me if they had to cancel due to flooding, but their forward planning saved the day today!

Links: Results | Strava

References: Meadowcroft Open Space

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