Continuing on the tours of local(ish) park runs we were highlighted to a new one starting up fairly close by. Almost the same distance from home as Basildon but in the other direction.
This new parkrun would be in Lake Meadows a lovely park I was introduced to not so long back. This park reminds me of my local Raphael Park, with a lake, children’s playground, tennis courts, a half decent cafe and some trails.
Although it was 3.8 laps which at first I thought would be brain numbing I was keen to give it a go. A number of us hit the road without too much planning between us for this inaugural event.
The heat from the previous week had almost gone with storm clouds threatening to give out during the morning.
Arriving to the park was easy and parking even easier. The park has its own parking but there is also another car park within walking distance of the start, meaning that the locals hopefully would not get the hump that us parkrunners have taken all their spaces.
The toilets were close to the entrance and well maintained.
The core team seem to have things organised really well, a place to put bags, good signage and plenty of marshals all ready with their hi viz.
By the time there was a “new to parkrun briefing” the crowd had swelled, it looked to be about 250 people all ready to walk, jog or run their way round. The sun was not out in force unlike the crowd so it felt as if it would be a nice run.
The main briefing started, it felt great to be part of the start of a new parkrun, great to share with running buddies old and new.
Briefing over we made our way to the start and then we were off. I felt that the route was technically challenging, moving from path to grass then trails all rather undulating. The first lap was rather tough with a hill meters from the start, good in some respects as it stopped me shooting off too quick. I also knew that I would be seeing that hill again another 3 times, rather crushing mentally. The start had been slightly cramped and I had realised quickly that I was stood with the fast runners as the route would be going the way we had just walked. A squeeze past the crowd got me to the middle of the pack but I would have preferred to have been able to get to the back of the group and avoid the worry about getting in the faster runners way. Maybe this will be ironed out in the coming weeks.
The marshals were fabulous, really helpful with their guidance and encouragement, I try and thank the volunteers at every parkrun. I also am very polite to the public as we don’t have sole use of the park, we all need to share.
The route took us through the trails and around the lake, past the playground and tennis courts there was plenty to keep me occupied visually.
The final lap was when I felt that I had got into my stride and started to feel comfortable. The final 100 meters or so are on grass a swing to the left from the path and is pretty flat if you have the energy for a sprint finish.
I thought being lapped by the faster runners would get under my skin but it was actually not that bad, I was lapped by hubby and mates (as expected as they are so much faster than I) once and I didn’t see them again. I lapped the last runner along with the tail runner and it gave me a chance to shout encouragement towards them (I hope they appreciated it).
There were people walking, jogging and running today. Some with buggies, some with little children, some with dogs but it was inclusive to all that were there today.
The support was amazing and if there were any hitches I really did not notice them. The scanning was quick and the results came out whilst I was drinking my tea so super fast.
The cafe did a great cup of tea and there was plenty of seating for people if they were staying for a brew after their run.
I will be back to see if I can better my time. If you fancy trying this parkrun, details can be found here http://www.parkrun.org.uk/billericay/course/ and remember parkrun is for everyone regardless of ability and speed.