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Valentines parkrun

I am still targeting the less common letters of the alphabet. I couldn't overlook the fact that it was the day after Valentine's day, and I had the opportunity to run at Valentines Park, so the decision around where to run was quite a simple one this week.

One factor that I did keep in mind was that Storm Dennis was due to hit most of the UK this weekend, which had already resulted in a number of cancellations, so I did keep a watchful eye on the cancellations page in the run-up to the event.

The area

Valentines Park is the culmination of the merging of a number of parcels of land in Ilford over a number of years in the early 20th Century. Areas of the park were formerly part of the Valentines Mansion estate, which was built in 1696 and is now accessible to the public 3 days per week, though not on Saturdays.

The park itself comprises a mix of landscaped open fields, formal gardens, lakes, and 26 tennis courts.

The course

Runners start the run in the centre of the park, near to the cafe. The course leads runners to the outer perimeter of the park, which runners follow almost in its entirety, deviating only to follow other major paths through the park. The main loop is then repeated for a second time, before runners return to the start/finish area near the cafe.

On-street parking is available, but there is also some paid parking available in the various car parks surrounding the park. Toilets are located in their own building near to the cafe.

The run

The day started with the "tourist briefing" (not a first timer's briefing!), and I realised that I was not alone in my thought process in deciding to run here this week!

Tourists gathered for the tourist briefing

Following the tourist briefing, we were also told that today was Valentines parkrun's 9th birthday, which was met with a huge applause. We were cautioned to be careful on the course with the gusts of wind we were experiencing, and without much more fuss, we were on our way.

The run itself was a very well operated affair, and I noticed a few times people were trying to slipstream others (including me) to avoid the wind. I couldn't find anyone tall enough to attempt it myself though!

After scanning our barcodes, we were asked to put the token back into the correct position in a wooden sorter - the first time I had seen something like that used directly by runners, rather than a designated token sorter. It seemed to go well, but a queue did form as people took a few seconds each to find the correct place for their token.

Finish funnel, barcode scanning and queue for token sorting

Thank you to the event team for making sure the run went ahead this week, especially when so many others cancelled!

Links: Results | Strava

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