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Roding Valley parkrun

I was ideally in search of an "R" event this week, and as there are a couple of possible events (Roding Valley and Rickmansworth), my choice was largely based on attending the furthest event. Another factor was the size of the event (I would prefer a smaller event with a stronger sense of community given the time of the year) - Roding Valley typically only attracts a small field, while Rickmansworth's field is typically a very large one, so Roding Valley it is!

The area

Roding Valley parkrun takes place in Roding Valley, near Epping Forest. Epping Forest is a former royal hunting grounds, stretching approximately 20 km north to south, but less than 5 km in width for the majority of the space.

Roding Valley is a geological valley to the east of Epping Forest, through which the River Roding flows.

The River Roding, at the boundary of the route

Much of the valley is meadows or grasslands, and acts as a floodplain. The area is grazed by cattle during drier weather.

The playing fields which form the main area of the course

The course

Runners follow two laps of a route around the perimeter of the playing fields over roughly half tarmac, and half grass. There is also a wooden bridge that runners cross, which can be slippy even in trail shoes.

The wooden bridge runners cross each lap

In wet weather, trail shoes are definitely recommended, as the ground can become muddy and saturated with water, but in dry weather, one would assume road shoes are fine.

There are no toilets within the vicinity of the event, although limited free parking is available in the car park near the start area, and on the local residential roads. I couldn't find any details of a cafe that runners attend after the event, although Loughton High Street is a short walk away, which houses a number of cafes.

The run

As soon as we set off today, I was glad that I had selected trail shoes! The grass was saturated, and the first (and most subsequent) corner consisted mostly of mud. As we joined the tarmac path which runs parrallel to the river, I was able to pick the pace up slightly, but I had already decided that this would be a steady effort, so I didn't overdo it.

Approximately half way around the route, we crossed a wooden bridge, which the marshal accurately warned would be slippery. The fact I was wearing trail shoes didn't seem to increase my grip at all.

The rest of the run was very smooth sailing, and I kept to my plan for this to just be a steady effort.

Ian running towards the finish funnel

Thanks to all of the volunteers for a fun event!

After the run

Following the run, I explored a small area of Epping Forest. The area is very lumpy, and would be a great place to run a long run in fairer weather, however, the ground was quite saturated today making running much higher effort.

A view over Epping Forest

The forest is often used as a film set. One very easily accessible such set is the Black Knight's bridge from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

The Black Knight's bridge

Links: Results | Strava

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