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York parkrun

After the exciting return of parkrun last week, I was super keen to complete my outstanding alphabet challenge without as many hiccups as possible, which meant ticking off the rarer letters while I still had the possibility to divert to other events as possible. Yeovil Montecute parkrun hadn't returned since the break, leaving York as the only option for a "Y", and so while I still had some contingencies available in the forms of Wetherby and Potternewton parkruns.

While not a big factor in deciding this week's destination, this was to be York's first event back, as it wasn't able to take place last week due to horse racing taking place.

The area

York parkrun takes place in the Knavesmire, in the south of York. The city of York was founded in 71AD, and then known as Eboracum, was the capital of Britannia Inferior - one of the Roman provinces. As with any city of this age, its history is vast, and the city has played many important roles in the United Kingdom's history. Amongst the many sports practiced in York, horseracing is one of the highest profile ones, and York Racecourse at the Knavesmire is one of the UK's premier horseracing venues.

In addition to horseracing, which attracts 350,000 attendees annually, the Knavesmire has been home to a variety of activities in the past including a golf course, a school, a gallows, and more recently, a very well attended beer and cider festival.

The course

The route is one and a half laps around the tarmac path on the inside of the course used for horseracing. The path is typically used by television crews to record and broadcast racing, and so is very smooth, flat and quite narrow - roughly one car's width.

Runners start on the side furthest from the grandstands, near the Dringhouses carpark, and finish next to the grandstands, and the main racecourse complex.

Free parking is available near the main racecourse complex, both in the parking spaces along Racecourse Road, and along the length of Knavesmire Road. It wasn't clear whether toilets or a cafe were available due to business still reopening when I visited, so I relied on the service stations close to York.

The run

The start had a very similar atmosphere to Dinton Pastures last week - a lot of people were returning to parkrun for the first time, and so were understandably a little nervous still, and cautious of getting close to other people, but there was still the same buzz in the air that people were getting back to their normal routines. I briefly met a person in a With Me Now vest, but didn't get to spend much time with him as he was just arriving as I was setting off for my warmup.

runners at the start line ready for the return of York parkrun

The run was a quick one, and I was surprised at how windy it felt as it was quite calm prior to reaching the racecourse, but then I realised we were in an open field with no trees or any other windbreaks. I ran most of the route alongside a very quick runner, who was having an easy day. It was both eye-opening and inspiring to see how quickly he was running without breaking a sweat, or breathing even slightly heavy while I was running at tempo pace.

Runners congregating and faffing after the run

After the run I chatted to a couple who had travelled from Edinburgh, and like me, they were ticking off their "Y". At the same time, a steady flow of runners continued through the finish funnel.

A steady flow of runners passing through the finish funnel

Thank you to the whole team for another seamless event, especially given this was the first event back at York!

Links: Run report | Results | Strava

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