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Manor Field parkrun, Whittlesey

The cold weather which started last week had worsened in the week since, with many cancellations across the country. After seeing my original planned event cancel, after some research, I decided to visit Manor Field parkrun, Whittlesey this week, as it and its neighbours were all due to take place on Friday night, so even if Manor Field cancelled last minute, I still had alternatives!

The area

Whittlesey is a small town on the outskirts of Peterborough. The town is built on a former island, but as the Cambridgeshire fens were drained in the 1600s, the island became much more readily accessible.

The town has a local tradition known as the Whittlesey Straw Bear, where someone is covered in straw, and dances in the local streets. The event takes place on a Tuesday in January.

Manor Park before the event

The course

The course follows one part-lap of the leisure centre playing field, followed by three complete laps, is all on grass, and is very flat throughout.

Parking is available both in the leisure centre, as well as within the town itself, while the pavillion houses toilets. A number of cafes are available in the town centre for refreshments, only a short distance away.

The run

In a rather unexpected twist, today's event began with a mention of it being the 119th anniversary of first Wright brothers flight, which was followed by an aptly themed run briefing which had all of the participants laughing!

Fortunately, the all-grass course meant the run today was fairly straight forward, while making the views particularly impressive, even though on paper, Manor Field is largely just a run around a recreation field.

River Nene at Manor Field

Thanks to all of the volunteers for a great event, especially in the cold!

After the run

As the town dates back so long, I took the opportunity to explore some of the sights, including the church, which was constructed in the 13th and 14th centuries

The traditional Straw Bear is referenced at several points throughout the town.

Artwork depicting the Straw Bear

One of the more extreme aspects of the surrounding landscape is the River Nene. Much like further downstream at Littleport, the river acts as a drain for the surrounding fen land, which was drained in the 1600s, at the same time as the rest of the fens.

River Nene from near Whittlesey

As the waterways have historically been navigable, they were deemed to be significant enough a risk to warrant defence, and several pillboxes were constructed to this end.

A pillbox guarding the River Nene

Because of the recent snow, an ice sheet had formed near the river, which locals decided to use as an ice hockey and ice skating rink.

People playing ice hockey and ice skating near the River Nene

Links: Results | Strava

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