I’d been meaning to visit Leamington parkrun for a while now – being one of my best friend’s home parkrun. Tying it in with the athletics in Birmingham, I left home at 7.30am. So so sleepy I considered turning back home…
I didn’t know too much about Leamington parkrun, I had heard someone mention a hill once before but didn’t think too much of it. Anyone who’s done Leamington knows that it is something to think about!
The car parking was fairly easy to find – I don’t really know when I ended up but I saw signs for Newbold Comyn car park and followed them. There were works going on to the path leading into the park so it felt really busy with temporary traffic lights. Parking was no trouble though and from the car park I followed other runners to the start.
I met up with my friend and we stood around and very vaguely listened to the first timers briefing. There was a course map up so I had looked at this beforehand and overheard a regular saying that it was a small lap then one longer lap.The race director took over for their briefing, where they gave out bibs for people to wear on a milestone run or a birthday – I’d never seen these before and thought they were a great idea! Someone then took over from the council (I think) and disussed a consultation they were having on future uses of Newbold Comyn. I loved that they were asking parkrunners who likely use the park on a regular basis.
Chatting away we made our way to the start area, right behind the briefing area. We were chatting so much we didn’t realise we were starting until we saw people moving in front of us.
I had a plan in mind – steady, steady, steady – as I was running 18 miles the next day as part of my Berlin marathon training. We started off, what felt like fairly slow due to the people though we were across a field so it was east to overtake if necessary. The smaller loop went by without too much of a problem. Under trees I didn’t really know where I was going! Next thing we saw the 200m sign – though we’d only been running for about 5 minutes! That meant it was time for the larger loop around the edge of the golf course. No hills, my luck was in.
Oh I was wrong, around the corner THE HILL. It was short but so steep. Plenty of people walking up it. I knew my friend wouldn’t let me walk up so I slowed down to try and make it to the top. My thighs were burning! But I made it – probably the only 45 seconds of the parkrun that we didn’t speak on.
Once my breath was back we carried on chatting and enjoyed the downhill mile and a half to the end. A super flat ending over grass and we both finished in 29.28, considering the hill and that we barely stopped speaking I was really happy with!
The best parkrun finish ever – there were snacks, water and orange squash! Even a volunteer-cafe which I thought was a great idea. Everyone donates tea, coffee, runs the cafe.
An addition that made Leamington parkrun different from the others I’ve been to was that they had a visitors book for tourists to sign. I totally missed out on signing this carried away with, you guessed it, catching-up!
I had a great time at Leamington parkrun – I enjoyed the course being a loop, my legs felt good, I chatted all the way around and didn’t feel like I was dying at the end!