Roding Valley parkrun- fun with the flooded course

At the start of November our club had arranged a little road trip to Roding Valley parkrun- it’s no far from Herts, close to the Essex border, and we originally had 8 of us going. However, the weather was not great (lots of rain) and so only the hardiest 3 of us travelled there in the end. I think you’ll be able to see why!

We drove and had no problems parking in the little car park close to the start- there was a second small car park a few hundred metres further away which also had plenty of space. We did get there before 8:30 (I am happy that others in my club like to be early to parkrun too), but it’s a small event so even on a better week weather wise I think the car park would be OK.

We had seen on their social media that they were on their B course as their A course was flooded, and as we were there early had a little walk along the path to look at all the flooding. It looked like a small lake in the middle of a field, but there is no lake there at all, it was all just flooded fields.

Some of the B+ course, posing with the sign after and more of the deepest bit of water.

The first timers welcome told us they were on their B+ course, and that we would get wet feet. That was very true, but they neglected to add that we would get wet ankles and wet legs too…

B+ course water feature, running next to the flooded fields, a picture taken by a photographer who was there (in all my green glory!) and the three of us by the sign at the end.

The course was just over two laps- an out and back section along the edge of a field, then a loop around fields, past playgrounds and through water. This was repeated, and then the out and back section was completed for a third time before going to the finish funnel.

The out and back bit was fine- muddy fields but nothing too bad. However, once on the loop it became clear that this was certainly the most cross country like parkrun I’d done (and I am including Jersey Farm when the path up to the finish area runs with water like a little river). One part was so deep I was in up to my knees, and I know a few people fell over in it. On the second lap the marshal had worked out the shallower parts and was encouraging everyone to keep right, and that was better (I’d gone left on the first lap). It was fun though- once your feet are wet they can’t get any wetter, and it just felt a bit manic. I was very very grateful to the volunteers for standing around in the cold. Thankfully the rain eased off and stopped while we were running.

The finish token number was not as low as I had expected- more hardy souls braved the weather than expected (I was number 64)- my poor green leggings at the end and then us at the new runners welcome trying to keep warm at the start!

When we had arrived, someone had asked about the purple pop up sign, and it was still in the storage shed. There were lots of tourists (there was a Met Police sports club meeting there too) and so some of the volunteers kindly got it out during the run. I don’t think I have ever been asked to take quite as many photos after parkrun- I must have taken pictures for maybe 5 or 6 groups of tourists. I think everyone very much wanted proof that they had run in such tough conditions.

We had all packed spare shoes and jumpers for the journey home, which were very much appreciated. Of course one you are home and have warmed up, you feel great! Plus my trail shoes had a nice clean in all the deep puddles!

So that was my 105th different parkrun event. I’m gradually filling in the gaps on my map (Roding Valley is between Gunpowder and Valentines, which I have already been to, so it was quite satisfying to join them up).

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