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Oaklands parkrun

Today, I am breaking my alphabet streak in favour of attending the With Me Now Pow Wow at Oaklands parkrun!

I found the With Me Now podcast during the first lockdown, and have thoroughly enjoyed listening to the back catalogue, in addition to the parkrun show's back catalogue, and I've learnt a lot about parkrun and its history from these two podcasts. While it doesn't contribute towards my East of England goal, being sociable triumphed this week, and it only made sense to meet some other listeners!

The area

Oaklands parkrun takes place in Oaklands Recreation Ground in Birmingham. Birmingham is the UK's second most largest city by population, and as one would expect, has a long and varied history, but on this occasion, I didn't get the chance to explore it in any detail on this occasion.

As one of the conditions of Tesco building a new supermarket as part of the development of the Swan shopping centre adjacent to the field, the local council insisted that the field was redeveloped, which resulted in the formerly unloved site being redeveloped into what is now Oaklands park.

The course

The course is three laps around the perimeter paths of the main area within the park, alongside the smaller section to the south, with runners almost within touching distance of each other at one section. The paths are all on tarmac, and the route is relatively flat, with less than 10 metres elevation per lap.

Free parking is available in the Tesco car park adjacent to the park, and toilets are available within the Swan shopping centre. A range of cafes are situated in the shopping centre too.

Listeners gathered at the start area

The run

Today's run seemed to be non-stop! I seemed to have arrived at the same time as Danny and his contingent, many of whom I recognised from the Danny's With Me Now vlogs. I said hi to Danny, but decided to not pester them, and to instead head off for my warm up - after all, they would be in for a far busier day than me! At the start area, I met a bunch of other listeners as well as regular commenters, and we chatter until the start of the run.

Run briefing

The run itself was an extraordinarily positive experience. With so many positive people, and experienced parkrunners all in one place, one couldn't help but to be in a positive mood! All of the positivity, coupled with the cool, dry weather and smooth tarmac paths resulted in me finishing with a new PB of 23:17 - almost 1 minute quicker than at Felixstowe 2 weeks ago!

Ian running towards the finish funnel on the final straight

After runners finished their runs, we formed a mega-funnel leading to the finish line, and cheered and clapped all of the other runners in, through to the tail walker. The mega-funnel was a lot of fun - if only it was a common thing at all runs!

After the run

After the event, we all congragated, and Danny gave a short thank you speech, before the masses of people headed to the Swan shopping centre for a short time to continue chatting, but as time was pressing on, I left soon after to attend some other activities I had planned for the day.

With Me Nowers after the run

Thank you both to all of the "regular" Oaklands event team, as well as to the voluntourists! Special thank you too to the Danny, Nicola, and the With Me Now community, for hosting such an enjoyable morning!

Links: Results | Strava

References: Photo album 1 | Photo album 2 | Nicola's vlog | Danny's vlog | Podcast

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