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Oxford parkrun

My progress towards completing the alphabet challenge is going very smoothly, however, I was reviewing which letters I still need to complete, and noticed that I had been ticking off a lot of the more common letters, and letting the less common letters build up. That wouldn't be a problem in isolation, but as we're entering the time of year when cancellations are going to be more common, I realised that I was making things harder for myself.

In order to manage the difficulty of the challenge, my intention going forwards is to hold off running events starting with "D", "P", "T", or "W", only running them if I can't reasonably avoid it, purely because if one "W" was cancelled, I'd have plenty of alternative "W"s to consider, but if one "Y" is cancelled, I would have to travel a long way to get to the other (if that wasn't cancelled too!).

A graph showing the count of UK parkrun events starting with each letter

With my new focus on ticking off some of the less common letters, I decided that Oxford parkrun would fit the bill for this week's run.

The area

The town of Oxford is most well known for its university, which forms the basis for a significant portion of the local economy, from students during the academic year, to many science and technology companies located nearby, positioned such that they can take advantage of the expertise present at the university.

The university is also responsible for a number of tourist destinations, including the many museums and galleries which are free to visit, as well as the Bodleian library, which is entitled to a free copy of every book published in the UK. At the time of writing, the library has over 120 miles of shelving containing books, and this is growing at a rate of approximately 3 miles per year.

In 1936, Oxford County Council acquired the farmland that now comprises Cutteslowe Park. This was further extended to include the Sunnymead park space in subsequent years, which was previously used as a tip, before being repurposed. The combined parks are now home to a diverse array of sporting events, in addition to a miniature steam railway.

The course

We ran the event's winter course this week, which is 3 flat laps around the park, over a mixture of different terrains (tarmac, trail and grass). The event also has a summer course, which is 2 larger laps.

A number of pay-and-display car parks are located around the park, and free toilets are located near the start. A cafe is also open near the start/finish area after the run.

The run

This week's run started with some light rain, which cleared during the run, eventually turning into sun by the end of the run. There was talk amongst the runners that there were fewer attendees this week because of this, but there were still several hundred runners to keep me company in any case.

The course was slightly muddy in spaces, and there were puddles across some paths, but the grass held up well, and footing was good all the way around.

A popup sign for Oxford parkrun with a crowd in the background

Thanks to the volunteers this week, especially for standing in the rain!

Links: Run report | Results | Strava

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