Skip to main content

The pause


As with most people, the world being on pause has given me more opportunity than normal to reflect on what I'm doing with parkrun. The outcome of that reflection is that I'm mostly happy with touring, and more so than ever, I really appreciate the time I can spend outdoors exploring, but there are some adjustments I want to make too.

I've continued running during the pause, but as happened prior to starting touring, it did get a little stale running the same landscape. One good thing is that I am now running further than I was at the point of initially starting touring, so I was seeing more scenery which in turn reduced how stale things were getting.


Perhaps the biggest change I want to make is to take more advantage of the fact that I am visiting these other places. I want to explore the area around the event more and record those explorations, and thanks to the inspiration of, record it - hence this blog. It won't always be possible, but I will be taking time to explore the surroundings and local area after events more frequently going forwards.

Future challenges

I have also been getting close to the end of my alphabet challenge, and so I needed to decide what challenge I wanted to pick up next (if any).

One of the things I have found talking to tourists in the past is the challenge posed by selecting events based on closest event, and eventually getting further, especially when weather can be unpredictable and cancellations a factor. I haven't repeated any events so far, so if I want to continue this pattern, the fact I've already done some of the local events means I'm less flexible in the event of cancellations, which also means unnecessary stress that can be avoided.

The UK doesn't have an event beginning with Z, and so my original plan was to visit one of the European events to tick that box. I don't know what travel restrictions are likely to be in place going forwards, but I don't feel that a trip to Europe primarily around parkrun is something I want to do at the moment. Limiting myself to just the UK alphabet seems like a reasonable concession for the time being.

Another factor is that thanks to Queen Elizabeth parkrun before the break started, I was able to join the UK Tourist group on facebook. While I haven't been particularly active there, it has allowed me to see how other tourists approach it and learn from them, and the tools and resources they've already created. Through the group, I also found the With Me Now podcast, which (along with The parkrun show podcast) I consumed over the break. Alongside the banter and comradery oozing from the podcast, two of the biggest things I want to account for are the fact that actually, the community around parkrun is more important than the run itself, and also that even though a course may look uninspiring from an aerial view, it can be incredibly important for its community, and those communities are usually extremely welcoming of tourists.

With all of the above in mind, once I have finished the rest of the UK alphabet, I'll switch to focusing on running every event in the East of England. There are currently around 80 events in this area, but I've already done some, so all being well, this challenge could take the next 18 months to complete. I did consider other regions too, but my main reasoning for focusing on the East of England is that it's the region that I actually know least about of my local regions.

As a B goal, I'll also try to complete most of the alphabet within the region, and I'll generally look to do events from east to west (which is out to in for me). After the alphabet, I'll put more emphasis on just completing the most easterly event I can until the region is fully explored.

Popular posts from this blog

Coldham's Common parkrun

As my recovery from injury is still underway, I decided that I would attend a flat course this week to avoid any potential for reaggrevation. Unfortunately this means I will need to pause my completion of the Essex events, as the remaining courses are all somewhat lumpy. Having visited all of the other Cambridge parkruns, including Storeys Field parkrun, Fulbourn Hospital parkrun, and Cambridge parkrun knowing that they are all relatively flat, I decided that this week I would complete the Cambridge set. The area Coldham's Common has a long history, serving as both a hospital during the 17th century smallpox outbreak, and a quarry during the 19th century, as well as a rifle range also during the 19th century. The course The route follows two laps of the perimeter of the common through an hour-glass shape, connecting two fields through a five-bar-gate. The course is all on grass, and is all flat. Limited parking is available nearby, while toilets are available in

Markshall Estate parkrun

Having spent a number of weeks focussed on events in the north of the East of England, I decided that this week I would pay some attention to the south of the region and visit Markshall Estate parkrun while still in the best time of the year to visit an arboretum. The area The Markshall Estate (interchangably the "Marks Hall" Estate) is the remains of a former country estate located in Coggeshall, between Colchester and Braintree. The hall itself was demolished in 1950, leaving its grounds to be converted into an arboretum, featuring trees from around the world. Coggeshall has been a settled area since at least the Saxon area, and was later served by Stane Street; a Roman road stretching from modern day Colchester to near St Albans. The course The route follows just under two laps of the arboretum, starting at the top of a hill, and finishing at the bottom, meaning this is a net down-hill course. The course is run on a mixture of tarmac, concrete, gravel, trail an

Aldenham parkrun

Icey conditions in days leading up to parkrun day meant many events were cancelled this week. While I would have ideally been able to visit another event in Essex, I decided that I valued having options more in the event of cancellation this week, and so I instead headed to the cluster of events surrounding the Watford area. The area Aldenham Country Park is located near Watford, and centres on Aldenham reservoir, with grassland and woodland surrounding the reservoir itself. The reservoir was excavated by French prisoners of war during 1795 as part of the wider management of the Grand Union Canal's water levels, and now serves as a reserve water supply. In addition to the reservoir, the country park also supports the breeding of a number of rare species of farm animals, including cattle, goats, pigs, and sheep. The course The course follows two laps of the reservoir, with the second lap skipping the inner peninsular. The course is flat, and is run mainly on trail pat