A new junior parkrun!

When I’m around on a Sunday morning I have been really enjoying volunteering at Beehive junior parkrun, and so I was very excited when a new one in Hatfield was going to be launched. I volunteered as a marshal at their (very boggy) test event, and then at the inaugural. My friend is the ambassador for the event, and as well as her being there, pod host Danny Norman was on the roster, along with his parents who used to be at Ellenbrook Fields come rain or shine.

The team of volunteers ready, the With Me Now fan photo and scenes from the field.

It already felt like a brilliant community, and after the first event I joined the team for a cup of tea in the cafe (which is right next to the car park and start). I couldn’t make the second event as I was doing the Brighton half marathon, but the following week I was back handing out tokens- the only time I ever get to hold the number 1 token (well apart from when I did token sorting!).

A misty event when I was handing out tokens, my parkrun pal Branka and the sun coming out later.

I had volunteered as tail walker for another week but unfortunately was sick on the Saturday night so I couldn’t go, and then the next few Sundays were busy, but I am looking forward to getting back there soon.

At the moment they are only having a handful of runners, but I am sure as the word spreads and the weather gets better, more children will come along and discover the joys of junior parkrun! It is also brilliant to have a parkrun event back in Hatfield so long after Ellenbrook Fields was put on pause.

Are you a fan of junior parkrun?

Pymmes parkrun – finally ticking off my NENDY

According to my facebook memories, the start of February half term seems to be a traditional weekend for me to have some solo parkrun tourism. This time last year I went to Highbury Fields for the fun and madness of 5 laps (and of course a visit to Bird and Blend after), but with the trains having engineering works a trip into London wasn’t so easy this year. In the end I decided to brave the drive to Pymmes parkrun. It’s been my NENDY (nearest event not done yet) for ages, so it felt like a good a time as any to head there.

It’s only a 40 minute drive away, and fairly straightforward, mainly on the A10, but there is no car park, only street parking (which I worry about), and the added complication is that it is close to Spurs so on match days the streets have restrictions. Looking at the signs on google maps this seemed to be from noon onwards (and that was correct when I was there too). A friend did suggest Just Park (which she had used) but I wasn’t organised enough to sort that. Luckily as I got closer to the park I was driving down some residential roads and found a space (in fact I found two but decided to move it from the first one as it was a bit further away and there was a guy hanging about on the corner who I am sure was fine but made me feel a little nervous) on Sweet Briar Grove and close to Park Lane, so basically the north-western corner of the park. It drizzled as I drove there, but when I got out of the car to jog to the start it had cleared up, and the weather was actually pretty good for running- no wind and not too cold.

The scenes in the park before parkrun started- I found the Pymmes sign and then later on found the purple pop up!

I had a little wander around the park, looking at some of the regeneration that was going on. There were some wildlife area and a reclaimed wetlands section. It reminded me a lot of Lordship Rec with all the houses so close to the parkrun, and a really nice community feel, as well as more variety in that park than you might expect from a city centre one.

The first timers welcome was so friendly and informative, even warning us of the ground next to the CCTV poles, as the ground by them had sunk a little. The main briefing was equally welcoming, and it wasn’t long before we walked to the start (the main briefing was midway between the start and end- you can see on the map below that they are very close together and you could pretty much see one from the other). I left my jacket on the tarpaulin of trust, and then got very excited by the size of the cones that marked the start area (they were tiny!).

See how tiny they are? Over my shoulder in the top left pic you can see the teeny cones and the normal ones. One by my shoe for comparison, plus the main briefing (bottom right) and a photo taken mid run.

The route is very compact- just under 3 laps of the park. It’s also pretty flat, with a little slope as you head up towards the finish area (next to that little pond at the very bottom) but that really is minimal. I wasn’t planning on going particularly fast but I did end up with my fastest time of the year with 28:04- I think I’d like to revisit at some point and have a go at a faster time. It wasn’t busy (139 runners on that day) and there was no mud, plenty of space even when being lapped by the front runners, so would be pretty ideal and quicker compared to my local ones.

When I finished I chatted to a few people- one of the scanners was really friendly and wanted a chat, and then a tourist who saw my Ellenbrook Fields top had a chat, before I headed home. I also got a proper photo with the sign, which had been moved from the start line to the central area where the main briefing was. I do love the little chats you end up doing by the sign, offering to take a photo in exchange for someone taking a photo of you. I got to hear about some parkruns in Kent – the seafront ones appeal definitely, as I really like Hove Prom. Once home I made pancakes for breakfast and watched With Me Now.

NENDY ticked off, and 107th different event (and parkrun 347 too- closing in on 350!). Happy half term!