Over Christmas I realised that my total number of parkruns was creeping up, and my first one in January was going to be my 300th. I have an agreement with my dad that we’ll celebrate all the arbitrary milestones (as it’s going to be at least 5 years until the next official one between us now), and so I requested a new event. Church Mead started up last year, in Amersham, around a 45 min drive from St Albans, so doable in a morning, and it was finally time for us to head there.
The weather was not very inviting- pouring rain and strong winds- we were quite pleased that the start sign was visible from the car park. We had to walk along a very short path from the car park to where everyone was assembling. It actually wasn’t too bad once we got out- we sheltered from the rain under a tree before the new runners welcome took place (along with very enthusiastic volunteer children rounding us all up). My Dad (without me realising) had spoken to the RD so I even got a little shout out in the main briefing for my 300th! I was shouting “arbitrary” in my head!
The course is two laps, muddy and very hilly. We were warned of so called chicken sh*t corner being particularly muddy that week. It does make me chuckle when event teams have names for various parts of the course.
You start off right by the car park, so we walked back to the start together once the run briefing had been carried out. After a shortish flat part we were soon heading up the hill, and my, this is some hill. It just kept on coming- after a mile we were still not at the highest point of the course! After most of the hill was done, the runners headed into the woods- this was also tricky ground as there were big flint rocks half covered by mud and leaves, so it was hard to see where best to place your feet.
Once out of the woods you headed back down the hill on the other side of the field, along the bottom and then back up the hill for the second lap. If I had not been trying to keep up with my dad I definitely would have walked on the second time going up that hill, but somehow we kept on going.
As we headed downhill it felt like we were running into the wind and rain, but then on the uphill of course you can’t feel the wind helping at all.
I was surprised to get token 24 when I finished as it felt as though there were more runners ahead of us. I think we did overtake a few people on the way up the hill the second time around, and I suppose the rain kept a few regulars away.
We had to head back quickly as my parents were having some of their friends around, so we head to speedily get back, shower and change before breakfast. We did have time to thank the RD and also have a quick chat with someone who went to parkrun for the first time that morning- in that weather and with that course it was not an easy first visit!