Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Home on the Range

Hope they've not sent me round again!
A bit of a gloomy photo but then it was a gloomy day. Highlight of the cross country season in North Wales is the Rhug Championship event near Corwen. It's a course with a difference because it's run on Lord Newborough's estate and race HQ is the  estate farmshop which is famous for its bison meat. There's been a herd of North American bison here for several years and they've become a bit of a tourist attraction in their own right. Meanwhile we are on the opposite side of the road and the very wet course is laid out on rough pasture -  no well worn paths to follow here! Two laps for the ladies, four for the men, apart from the older men who just do three - how can they keep count? You might well ask! This race is always in January and staying afterwards for the presentations is a challenge as it's usually freezing - today was no different - but I guess it was worth it. The Harriers won a number of medals including a team silver and an individual silver for yours truly.

Lord Newborough is always up for new ideas for attracting new customers and making more money and he's taught one of his bison to jump up onto a prominent position next to the main road - here it is standing on four wooden pillars with an exhausted runner posing underneath.

Bison Burger anyone? 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Festive Parkrunning

You've forgotten your barcode, now bite the dust!
Shipley Park in the south of Derbyshire was created out of the remnants of Shipley Hall's grounds and a vast area of disused railway lines and coal pits and open cast mines. Various attempts have been made to do something constructive with the area including the installation of an amusement park called the American Adventure. For twenty years the folk of the East Midlands were entertained with white-knuckle rides, a ferris wheel and even a shoot out at the OK Corral. It's all been knocked down, the roller coasters, etc, dismantled and reassembled elsewhere and the site levelled for development. Most of the rest of the park is now a vast attractive semi wild area reserved for walking, biking, horse riding and a Parkrun.

Loop the loop - two outer loops and one inner loop! 
I always worry about Parkruns with more than one lap, am I going to lose count and do an extra lap? Will I get lost and finish with a dreadful time? The website map looked complicate enough but then the organisers announced that we wouldn't be running round the very muddy recreation field at the start (the green space at the top of the map) but would be doing an extra inner lap as shown on my Strava trace. As it was I managed to negotiate the various twists and turns including the crossover point and finished strongly - but with a time of 24:30 this was a bit longer than 5K!

No we didn't run through the boating lake!
Even more complicated was the Parkrun at St Helens on New Years Day. At least it followed the website map and I was happy with 21:26. Here we had two and a half outer laps and an inner one round a nice traditional Victorian park named, you've spotted it, Victoria Park. We were treated to well tended formal flower beds, play areas and a lovely bandstand where the enthusiastic organisers had laid on free tea and coffee for the thirsty park runners. I had hoped to get to four or even five Parkruns over Christmas and New Year but with one thing and another I ended up doing two. The two-in-a-day winner of St Helens Parkrun had already won the Widnes Parkrun (also in a Victoria Park, a 9 am start) and then cycled 9 miles to start at St Helens at 10:30!

The bandstand with band (in summer!)