A soggy tourist!

It’s been a little while.  Sorry for my absence from the blog.  I have a lot to write about and a lot to catch up on, and I’m hoping to do just that this weekend.  I’ll start by telling you about my most recent parkrun tourism trip…
Not last Saturday, but the one before that (7th November), Laura and I headed off to Daventry for a bit of parkrun tourism. Daventry was the sixth parkrun course I’ve run, and was parkrun number 36 in total.
My usual parkrun courses are all a good thirty minutes away and Daventry showed as being 50 minutes away when I punched the postcode into the satnav.
After a week of 5am get ups, I had decided to set my alarm for 7:20am on Saturday morning so it ended up being quite a rush getting round, ready for leaving by 7:45am. I did it though…Only to discover that there were just 60 miles of petrol left in the tank of my car. I always do this…Leave buying petrol until the last minute and then not factoring in the time to purchase any on the way! Luckily I arrived with 10 miles to spare and there was a petrol station within sight of where I parked.
10 miles left
It was absolutely tipping it down when I arrived. I’d had my windscreen wipers going on full blast and after getting out of the car to change my trainers, I was soaked through within seconds. I’d arrived wearing road shoes, unsure of the terrain we would be running on.  I knew trail shoes would be a better option when I glanced up to see the muddy field in front of the car park where the finish funnel was being constructed though.
The reason we had decided to head to Daventry on Saturday was due to the first birthday celebrations that were taking place. Fancy dress and slotting in some parkrun tourism is high on the agenda this year and we both really enjoyed the Corby’s first birthday parkrun back in September.  The Daventry event was a black tie do and so there were plenty of runners in dresses and suits, slipping around in the rain. This included Laura, who arrived fully dressed up, including wearing accessories of a necklace and also clutching tightly onto a handbag, which she used to carry her parkrun barcode around in!
Laura at Daventry parkrun(Laura in her get-up post-race!)
There were some fab outfits, and despite the rain, loads of people were wearing dresses, full on suits, or like one guy who zoomed by me early into the race, wearing a suit jacket and dickie bow with running shorts on his bottom half!
Daventry parkrun in the paper
I bailed out of the fancy dress at the last minute, despite Dan intending on pulling out his tux tie for me the evening before. Waking up late, not feeling great, the horrific weather and the mad rush as I realised that the parkrun was actually 50 minutes away and I had limited petrol were all contributing factors to this decision. I felt a bit bad texting Laura to say I was just in regular running kit, but I think she let me off in the end!
When I arrived I was desperate for the toilet. I don’t think the noisy rain had helped. The rain, along with downing a pint of water just before leaving the house an hour earlier, meant that by the time I had changed my trainers, found Laura and asked where the toilets were,  it was 8:55, I was desperate for the loo and with no time to make it to the toilets and back before the start. Damn!
Not knowing the course, we lined up at the back and chatted to the other runners around us. I decided to keep my hoodie on as it was still really raining. It wasn’t cold though and I instantly regretted it when we started running.
Daventry parkrun
Although Laura had done her research and declared the route off-road, we weren’t sure if the course consisted of multiple laps or just the one lap.  We began on a pathway, gradually picking off other runners in front of us.  It was a proper Autumn day out there, with leaves on the ground everywhere you looked.  The heavy rain meant lots of mud to either side of the path, and there was a brief bottleneck near the beginning as runners slowed down to head through a water-logged gate one-by-one.
Daventry parkrunI really didn’t have a great run and realised early on that if you need the toilet before a run, it’s probably better to go, rather than to try and run with a short stride and ignore the sound of rushing water under the bridges you run across!
I hadn’t planned on a quick one, which was good, as it definitely wasn’t!  Laura and I chatted away for the first couple of miles, but I was even struggling with that towards the end.  I just wasn’t having a good day!  The course was just one lap in the end, and I really enjoyed the route.  One to go back for again for sure.
Mile 1: 10:46
Mile 2:
Mile 3: 10:22
Nubbin: 8:51mm pace
I removed my jacket and carried it after about a mile.  It was too warm and faffy to be wearing it AND run.
Daventry parkrunI told Laura to push ahead near to the end so she went off and left me for the last little bit.  I did the best sprint finish I could muster whilst needing a wee, and as soon as I crossed the finish line I thrust my barcode into Laura’s hand for her to scan so that I could nip off and find the loo!
Official time: 30:54
Gender position: 21/67
Category position: 4/7
A few minutes later, and with an empty bladder once more, Laura and I made our way to the post-parkrun cafe for cake and hot chocolate.
I did point out to Laura that it was looking like we were becoming the parkrun crashers – going from birthday parkrun to birthday parkrun and enjoying the birthday cake!  And it was good cake…
Guinness cake at Daventry parkrunAlthough not normally a Guinness fan, there was something about the density of the Guinness cake that appealed to me and I did not leave disappointed following a slice of this!
Laura and I stuck around for a long gossip after the run, and one of the main organisers came to chat to us about where we were from and ask if we had enjoyed our first experience of Daventry parkrun, which was really nice.  I do love the smaller events like this.  Parkrun is such a friendly community!

Do you chat to parkrun tourists at your event?  Our local event, Northampton, is so large I wouldn’t know who was a regular and who wasn’t.

6 thoughts on “A soggy tourist!

  1. Oh no that sounds very stressful indeed! I love the idea of tourism and there are a few a bit closer now (although still 40 mins away instead of 15) but then when I am home I just love my local one so much, it’s so pretty, that I am not sure I will be motivated to try a different one. Plus one is in a country park that charges £4 for parking which seems a bit much for 45 mins!
    (It’s £4 minimum charge)
    I think I recognise a lot of regulars now, and I do chat to a few of them, because I have volunteered quite a few times now too, and also as I am running I get to see the same people in the similar positions to me. I do find small events to friendly though- last weekend I went to the Hove prom one, and I think there were only just over 100 runners- I had messaged them on facebook to check it was on (because of the wind) and so when I arrived one of the ED’s shook my hand as he recognised me! Very welcoming :)
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…Parkrun tourism, a windy weekend and a windy race!My Profile

    1. I find it very frustrating that some of the parkruns charge parking costs for the event, when it is meant to be free and available for all. A parkrun near to my parents doesn’t charge parking until 10am on Saturdays to allow for parkrunners to attend, which I think is a lovely gesture.
      How lovely that the Race Director recognised you and shook your hand when you arrived! I do like little personal touches like that.

  2. I’ve only been a tourist in Kirkcaldy – we did have a vague idea about Hastings one week (but would have had to get on a train at about 6am to get there, which seemed a little excessive). Next week, I have my eye on Frimley and the week after on Aldershot – and then I’ll know which will be my new “home”. Going to miss Hampstead Heath…

    1. A 6am start for parkrun does seem a little excessive, yes! 😛
      Sometimes a group from our club run home from parkrun (about 15 miles-ish) but getting up and there for 9am on a Saturday morning is plenty early enough to begin with already! 😉

  3. As you can probably gather my local parkrun is super close and full of loads of locals, whether from my own club or nearby clubs or just regular runners. Doing the set-up in the morning as well makes it very easy to see those who are regular as well as you’re there for the entire event. I love how sociable it is – though I am in a situation where I’d feel too guilty to not help out in the morning and afterwards if I wanted to run! But I enjoy it. I try and chat to lots of people, though it’s tough because though I know the faces I don’t always know their names which can be awkward!
    I know that we’re so lucky to have so many parkruns nearby – even Basingstoke (where I work) is only about 35 minutes away. It’s odd how there are so many in my area and then in other areas barely any.
    Haha love that you’re essentially parkrun cake bandits 😉 I’d have done the same! I’ve never had a Guinness cake though. Looks really good!
    Anna @AnnaTheApple recently posted…Grumpy running, good snacking and a leg workoutMy Profile

    1. I can see how you might feel like you should always help out, even if you really just want to run one week. I love how many successive parkruns you ran this year. I ran loads week after week earlier in the year and it just seems like I’ve had a batch of super busy weekends now for the past couple of months and haven’t really made it to many at all. This makes me sad. :(

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