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My Journey of Parkrun Tourism by Nick Finney

Fartlek Family member Nick Finney tells us about some of his southern Parkrun exploits so far.

"Inspired by the Parkrun power pairing that is ‘Bemma’, I have started to look and plan my Saturday morning trips in advance, rather than heading to the same 3-4 regular haunts nearest to me.

When I checked my 5k app over Christmas I was pleasantly surprised to find I had already notched up 17 different locations since starting Parkrunning in October 2017.

My earliest events were down on the Kent coast where my in-laws used to live: Margate, Walmer and Deal Seafront and Pegwell Bay. All beautiful on a nice calm sunny day; all hideous when there’s a gale blowing in from the sea and each step sees you being buffeted sideways rather than forward. For anyone chasing a PB, Pegwell Bay is ideal. I’ve only run it twice but it’s given me two of my three best times. This is perhaps something to do with the fact that the course seems to only measure 4.85k on most people's GPS despite the Run Director being adamant it’s a full 5k. I ain’t complaining though…

Living on the border of London and Middlesex, with Essex close by too, I’ve got a vast number of Parkrun events that I can get to without needing a passport. Over the next few months, blatantly ripping off Ben and Emma’s segment (but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery), I will be posting the odd report here and there when I get to check out different events.

To kick-off, here’s a little summary of some of those I’ve already had the pleasure of attending, but probably won’t be back again

Sunny Hill – The description was misleading as it was not sunny. It was, however, hilly. The uphill sections leave you needing oxygen, the downhills are very similar to those videos you see of

The Cooper's Hill Cheese Roll; so steep that you end are likely to end up going flying and ending up in A&E. You do get to see the Wembley Arch from the peak of the course though. As a Spurs fan that’s about as close as I will be getting for the foreseeable future.

Ally Pally – another horrible hilly one, not helped by the fact I went on one of the wettest weekends when parts of the course were just mudslides. Lovely location though.

Highbury Fields – a lovely 5 laps of utter carnage. It’s fantastic to have an event so close to the centre of London, but with space at a premium, I found as a mid-paced runner that my brain hurt as I lapped someone for the third time just as I was being lapped yet again by the faster folk

Finsbury Park – one I will always remember just for the sound. There were some 700 runners on the day and the noise of all those feet on the tarmac at the start was something else.

Hampstead Heath – one of those events that it seemed like a good idea to go to, but I really should have checked the course out first. You start with a mad rush downhill followed by what seemed like the rest of the run all uphill. Again it was a muddy course when I visited and a couple of poor people almost impaled themselves in the finish funnel, slipping over as they tried to sprint through to the end. You do get some fantastic views of London though.

Next time I will regale you with a few of my trips into the sticks (that’s the countryside to us Londoners, where cows and things live)"


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