A revisit to Leavesden and a volunteer celebration!

In the wilderness between milestones (still well over 3 years to my next one) chasing random challenges (hello Wilson Index) is a fun way to occupy the time and also to help me decide where to go. I know I go on about it, but as Ellenbrook Fields didn’t come back after the pause, I do not feel I have a home parkrun. I think Panshanger is my official one, and I do love it there, but it’s not the same.

Anyway, the Herts branch of Vegan Runners UK have a fab stats person (Gary) who each week produces some stats linked to parkrun attendance in Herts- number of Herts locations visited, number of VR’s at each location and so on. I have been to all the Herts parkruns, but not in this calendar year, and so I decided that this weekend I’d head to a Herts parkrun that I’d not been to this year, to move myself up on that table. I’d been to Jersey Farm, Panshanger, Letchworth, St Albans and Aldenham, so my choice was between Leavesden, Westmill and Stevenage.

A couple of other members of my club fancied Leavesden, so it was decided!

It is a super convenient parkrun- there is parking right by the start (you can see the flag from in the car), there is a little cafe and toilets by the start, it’s not too far a journey and not too difficult to find. It doesn’t seem to get huge numbers, but I think that’s a good thing as it’s a 3 lap course with one section where you have to keep to one side as runners come in the opposite direction (almost like a figure of 8 with the middle section where people meet). For us this was fine but if it was busy then it would be harder to pass- we had 99 participants that week.

I ran with Fiona and we had a lovely time chatting about all running and parkrun (and how much we missed Ellenbrook). It was sunny as I left home, but as we drove it had started to rain, and it drizzled on and off during parkrun. Nothing too bad but not really the weather we expect in June! The shade of the trees was still appreciated more as shelter from the rain.

Of course once finished we had to get a few photos. Gary (of VR stats fame) was also there so we got a picture for the VR club, plus of course we needed one of our little touring group too. Gary was also with a guy who used to run at Ellenbrook, so the day felt very themed towards that- lots of our club got into parkrun tourism after the pause because they didn’t have a parkrun home any more.

The cafe at Leavesden is really nice but we all had to head home so just went back to the car after taking the photos and scanning.

When the VR stats came through my name was on several of the categories-

Finished Top 20 for Gender: 13th at Leavesden Country parkrun – Maria W, Fastest Female Times: (I was number 3)- 00:29:57 Maria W Leavesden Country parkrun, Most Herts Finishes -11 (along with several others- the top person has 24 this year), Most Herts locations visited in 2024- I am on 6 which is now joint top of the table! I think this is the one I am most likely to do well at as I could potentially visit them all (although maybe would choose not to revisit a couple…). So it was worth me visiting there just to see my name in lights!

On Sunday I was off to Norton Common junior parkrun (Letchworth), as Branka was celebrating her v250! What a fantastic achievement! It was also their first birthday (which is why we had party hats on). The park is so pretty! I’d been for a little wander around as I sometimes park there when going to Letchworth, but the junior parkrun route is so lovely with all the tall trees. It has a wilder feel than the more manicured parks that other junior parkruns are in. Anyway, I was barcode scanning which was good as I was then at the start/finish area for the event.

Congratulations! Very much looking forward to seeing the green shirt in real life!

It was even more of a celebration as another RD was also celebrating his v250! All the things! Finally the High Sheriff has been making her way around all the Herts parkruns, and she was visiting. I think this is the third time I’ve seen her now- she was at St Albans, Letchworth and now Norton Common juniors.

Of course, if I am in Letchworth I am going to head to Vutie Beets for breakfast after. I opted for a crookie this time (croissant + cookie) and tea, and then bought some buns to take home and share with Andy later. Because the weather was so good (at long last) we had a long walk in Panshanger in the afternoon before watching the football in the evening.

Panshanger park/ breakfast/ on my walk/ the birthday decorations at NC.

How do you choose which parkrun to visit? I know I am in a great situation with so many within a short distance. I am still going for my single-ton at Panshanger so that is still on the cards for when I have a busy weekend too.