In case you hadn’t guessed, it was a 5 lap course. Yes, five laps.
So this was step 1 of our holiday to Scotland- we left on Friday lunchtime and drive up to York, to stay there for the night. In a previous trip to York I had completed York parkrun (Y? Yes, to get my Y for the alphabet) and I wasn’t overly keen on the route, so I was keen to do a new course. Heslington parkrun was just under 3 miles from our hotel, and an easier route. I remember getting a bit lost on my way to York parkrun as I had to get out of the walled part of the city.
I set off and only got stuck for directions once, where Google Maps wanted me to go straight one (with a slightly slower alternate route turning right), but there was no pavement, and I saw a runner heading off to the right, so I decided to go the way of the runner. This took me through some of the roads near to the sports village complex, and soon I saw a car park steadily filling with people dressed in brightly coloured running gear- I’d made it!
Just before the main briefing there was a quick call for new parkrunners, and they explained the course- not much explanation needed as it was 5 laps of the cycle circuit- you just needed to keep count! A quick main briefing and then we were off.
I didn’t think I would enjoy the 5 laps that much, but in fact it reminded me of the East Brighton one, where pretty much the entire time you could see everyone who was participating. They didn’t need many marshals, but each time you went past the finish area you got lots of cheers from the marshals. Some people were thanking the volunteers- this is something that seems to vary a bit from course to course. I’m never running flat out so I can always thank them! The route was pretty flat, but at some point you were heading into the wind so it was harder to keep a steady pace. I had to be mindful that I had another 3 miles to run back after, and think I managed a fairly steady run in the end- 9:35, 9:24, 9:27 and 8:28 for the final bit, with 30:45 being my finish time.
I took a few photos when I had finished and then headed back to the hotel. Andy made me a cup of tea and had been out to Pret to get one of their delicious vegan berry croissants, so once I was showered we headed back to the car to drive up to Edinburgh.
Are you a fan of lapped routes? I think the most I had done before this one was 3 laps, and although they are OK, my preference would usually be a single loop, or out and back style route.
Do you tend to revisit parkruns if you are travelling, or do you always look for a new one to go to? I do love going back to the Brighton ones whenever I am down there.