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Billericay parkrun

After the hustle and bustle of Gunpowder parkrun last week on Guy Fawkes day, I decided that I'd focus on some more time on the remaining Essex parkruns in the coming weeks. My aim is to complete the Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex regions within a few weeks of each other, and so my next few events will all be focussed on those regions.

The area

Billericay is a small town in Essex, near to both Wickford Memorial parkrun, as well as Basildon parkrun. The town is popular with commuters given the easy access to London.

Fountain at Lake Meadows Park

Lake Meadows park, home of Billericay parkrun, has an interesting history of its own. Originally owned by Barking Abbey before the dissolution of the monestaries, the land eventually found its way into the hands of the Spitty family. The Spittys became a prominant family in the area, serving in many public offices, as well as the Essex Militia. The family were known to sponsor many local events and developments, with the park's lake being constructed to provide work for local out-of-work agricultral workers while also paying and feeding workers handsomely in the process.

The Child In The Park sculpture at Lake Meadows Park

The course

Billericay's route takes place over 4 laps of the perimeter of the park, on a mixture of tarmac paths, and grass. The course includes one modest rise to navigate per lap.

Free parking is available in the nearby car park at Radford Crescent, while toilets are available at cafe near the park entrance.

The run

I haven't run at a 4-lap course since Brundall parkrun in February, which I remember thinking was hectic with a much smaller number of runners. Billericay averages around 200 participants each week, compared to Brundall's 80 participant average, so it's fair to say, this week seemed a little hectic!

Even with so many participants, today's event managed to seem very friendly, perhaps because the many laps gives you chance to recognise the marshalls in a way that's not really possible when you only see each marshall once or twice.

Thank you to the volunteer team for hosting such a pleasant event!

After the run

After today's run, I first explored the park, which crams a lot of features into a relatively small space. Apart from the lake and the grasslands, one of the stand out features is definitely the sculpture of the age old tale of a wizard fighting a dragon!

Wizard and dragon sculptures at Lake Meadows Park

I then decided to explore the nearby Norsey Woods. The woods were the location of the Battle of Billericay - one of the important battles in the Peasant's Revolt in 1381, although unlike North Walsham parkrun, there are no obvious landmarks to remember the event in the woods.

Norsey Woods

Apart from the woods themselves, Norsey Woods also houses a bronze age Tumulus, though it could easily be overlooked as a mound of soil.

While I'm aware that Billericay is the setting of TV show Gavin & Stacey, I can't claim to have ever watched it. While perhaps lost on me, there is plenty of opportunity to explore the town's landmarks in the context of the show too!

Links: Results | Strava | Map of Norsey Woods

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