Or, to give it the full name, Millennium Country parkrun, Forest of Marston Vale.
I fancied heading there this weekend as it was event number 4 (I needed a 4 for my Wilson Index…) but it was around 45 mins from St Albans, so getting up early in the holidays isn’t as bad as after a week at work. My dad and brother decided to come too, and we offered to have them back here for breakfast after, so I prepped the baked French toast the night before (brioche loaf spread with peanut butter, a mixture of eggs and almond milk to soak in, and sprinkled with blueberries). I gave our ETA to Andy so he knew when to put the oven on.
I drove to St Albans, then Dad drove us up from there. Millenium Country parkrun is between Milton Keynes and Bedford, and not far off the M1, so most of the journey was very easy. It is made up of woodlands, grasslands, meadows and a wetlands nature reserve, with a car park (pay and display- £1 for the hour) and visitor centre (with toilets and cafe) right by the start.
The welcome centre had a lovely circular skylight above the entrance hall, as well as information boards about the various birds and animals that had been seen in the park.
As it was fairly new (this was the 4th event) the new runners briefing was for people new to parkrun- the RD explained the course to everyone at the main briefing. It was super simple- out and back next to the water- we just had to remember to keep left because of runners coming the other way.
Dad was taking it gently as he was coming back from a little calf strain, and my brother hadn’t run a parkrun for a few weeks, so we ran together and chatted, while Dad ran behind (so he wasn’t tempted to go faster). I really loved this parkrun- I love running by water and the out and back is good as you see people going the other way. The gorgeous sunny weather helped too! It was super flat, and the paths are fairly wide (not like the narrow one of Maidstone which is flat but isn’t good for pb potential) so I think it would be a very fast one if you wanted to go for a super fast time.
I took a few photos as we ran and they came out pretty well. Although we ran by the water, often we were running next to trees and every now and then it would clear and you would see the lovely lake. At the turnaround point we began to look out for Dad, but saw the tail walker and we hadn’t seen him, so we did wonder if his leg had meant he had to pull out, but we crossed the finish line, got our tokens scanned and then Dad appeared in the finish funnel- my time was 30:24, and he finished in 31:05 so he must have been right behind us at the turn around! It was Dad’s 150th parkrun, and my 60th different event, so it was nice to have some (arbitrary) milestones to celebrate together.
After some stretches in the car park (next to someone sitting with their car engine on idling away and polluting the air- why do people think it is OK to sit and have their engine idling away???) we hopped back in the car, drove back to St Albans where we picked up Mum and then headed home for breakfast.
Strava told me off though, saying that my run was easier than usual- I need a button to say “yes, I was chatting and I’m fine with that”. My 10 mile run on Sunday, although slower, was apparently harder than my usual effort. I’ve not noticed this feature on Strava before, not sure if it’s trying to get me to upgrade to the premium one, but I really just like tracking the routes and my monthly mileage.
Anyone else got these messages on Strava? I’ve not had one yet telling me it’s the same as my usual effort…
Which parkrun course do you think is the fastest that you’ve run, and where have you run your fastest time?