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Mersea Island parkrun

Most of the UK parkrun world was in turmoil this week, thanks to Storm Arwen. The storm had resulted in red warnings for wind in the north of England, and yellow warnings for wind throughout most of the rest of the UK, resulting in at least 290 UK events cancelling. The one fortunate thing from my perspective, was that the warnings didn't cover a lot of the south east, and so my planned trip to Mersea Island was a go.

Clouds off the coast of Mersea Island

The area

Mersea Island is the most easterly inhabited and publicly accessible island in the UK. The island is connected to mainland Great Britain by a single road - The Strood. Access to the island can be affected by the height of the tide, and approximately once per month, the tide covers the Strood, making the island temporarily completely inaccessible by road. If you are planning to visit by road, you're encouraged to check the tide before starting your journey!

While the western half of the island is the main residential area, Mersea Island parkrun takes place in Cudmore Grove Country Park at the eastern tip of the island. The park provides easy access to the beach, as well as views to Brightlingsea.

Brightlingsea from Mersea Island

The course

The route was described during the first timer's briefing as two fat "V"s, and a sausage, which is perhaps the best description of a course I had heard so far! The fat "V"s consist of a run through the woods, before following the coast to the north. Runners then head back towards the woods, before veering left to rejoin the start of the path into the woods. This is followed twice, before the sausage, which is simply the same path through the woods, then followed by the path towards the start of the woods, skipping the run along the coast.

The route consists of grass and trail paths, but the grass is firm enough that trail shoes weren't required when I ran it. Ample paid parking is available in the park's car park, as well as toilets and a cafe.

The run

During the run briefing, we found out that one runner was running her 100th different event - a goal I hope to achieve before too long! There were only 26 runners at the event this week - a combination of a small event and the storm warnings!

It seemed like we encountered every type of weather during the run today - a new variety on each lap! The first lap was windy, the second lap was sunny, and the third lap was rainy! I managed to finish the run in 3rd position overall due to the small field, before cheering in the remainder of the field.

Ian running at Mersea Island

Thank you to all of the volunteers this week for braving the weather to host a great, super friendly event!

After the run

Following the run, I run-toured around the island, first exploring The Strood a little more closely.

West Mersea Island from The Strood

I also took the opportunity to explore the many World War I pillboxes located both in the country park, and along the beach.

Collapsed pillboxes on the beach, and one of the remaining pillboxes in the country park

The pillboxes in the country park (one in the woods, and one in the meadow) are still largely fully in tact, while those on the beach have collapsed as the underlying ground has eroded into what is now beach.

Pillbox in the woods

Links: Results | Strava

References: Strood Cam with tide times

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