On a weekend away in Norfolk, I thought I’d tie in a spot of Parkrun tourism. The closest Parkrun, a short 10-minute drive from where we were staying, was Holkham Parkrun.
Waking up at 8 I was half tempted to stay in bed but no, I’d committed in my head and at Parkrun 48 I’d already decided on the date of my 50th run which feels like it’s taken forever to reach! Up and ready I grabbed a bottle of water and headed over to Holkham.
Upon arrival I parked easily – a marshal was guiding people in to the car park, free for parkrunners. I followed the crowds towards the start area, walking past the beautiful Holkham Hall on the way. The start line was just around the corner from the hall, 5 minute walk or so, and another Parkrun tourist checked with one of the marshals on the walk.
Arriving super early it was cold whilst waiting to start but the next thing the run director rocks up in a golf buggy … a golf buggy!! We’re called around to the golf buggy, pairing up as a stage area for the run briefing. The first timers briefing took place alongside the run briefing – I’m assuming due to the high number of tourists. Visitors put there hands up and accounted for approx. 40% of runners!
All of the usual announcements, a 100th milestone and we lined up at the start.
We were off (sporting my new Hampton Court Palace Half t-shirt) the course took a turn to the right and we were on a track that took us out in to the countryside. We went on and on and on (well it felt like it anyway) until we came to a marshal point who directed us to the left. Continuing on a hardcore track there were surprisingly a few ups and downs – I thought Norfolk was flat! Half a mile or so later we met another marshal who directed us left – heading towards the start. Knowing we had a fair way (1.5 miles) left to go my legs started to feel heavy – a sign that another few days off was probably a wise decision. Back on the tarmac road at this point, the uphill battle began…
Seeing the Obelisk in the distance – on a hill) I plodded along. Getting closer a parkrunner looked behind to say hello. The hill was in front of me. Slap bang there it was. Shuffling my way up I have to admit my legs just wouldn’t work and I took a power walk 3/4 of the way up to the Obelisk where I ran the whole downhill stretch to the end. I didn’t feel great taking a fast walking break and continually felt guilty the rest of the day. Needs must right?
^^^ The first ‘still’ photo I’ve taken whilst running ^^^
Anyway the downhill to the end was pleasant and in my head, at least, I sped up at this point. Gladly I still make it under 30 minutes … just – 29.58. I think I was expecting the course to be much easier than it was without the hills. It was, however, the prettiest Parkrun I’ve taken part in!
Why is it that some weeks you can run a half marathon and other weeks 3 miles feels like you’re running a marathon?