Skip to main content

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

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

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

Brentwood parkrun

This week I decided to return to making more progress towards completing all events in Essex by visiting Brentwood. The area While the modern town of Brentwood is a popular commuter town, being served by the Elizabeth line, it is also where the first events of the Peasants Revolt took place. Locals refused to pay a poll tax imposed on them, and instead rioted, threatening to kill the commissioner trying to collect the tax. Word of these riots spread to the wider country, initiating the wider revolt, including at Littleport , Billericay and North Walsham . The town is surrounded by countryside, and in the west lies Weald Park; the remains of a former country estate. The park was originally considered as a possible location for the mountain biking course during the 2012 Olympics, before the committee ultimately decided that Hadleigh would prove a more challenging course. The course Owing to the wet weather, today's run followed an alternative route nicknamed "The B