It was a busy weekend of parkrun last week. As well as taking Rose to Newark junior parkrun, I finally got the opportunity to visit Clumber Park parkrun. This was to be my second parkrun of the year, my 19th venue and my 58th parkrun.
Clumber Park is a stunning National Trust country park near Worksop in Nottinghamshire. We’ve visited a couple of times for a picnic and Rose often visits with her childminder, but this was to be my first time finally getting to run. We drove over, intending to stay for coffee after and tourists should note that parking in the main car park is free for parkrunners, as long as you arrive before 9am and leave a barcode on display.
I had heard a lot about the course at Clumber Park and I was a little bit nervous about it. I’d been told it was a beautiful, but tough run and not one for fast times. It was also a busy parkrun with nearly 400 runners, including many dressed in scrubs to celebrate 70 years of the NHS. Following the pre-run briefing, I placed myself near the back and we were led to the start.
I didn’t realise the run had started until lots of people were suddenly running round me – oops. It was congested for the first kilometre, but opened up after that for a clearer run. The course is two laps, with the first part being largely flat, heading into woodland. The course then goes slightly downhill, great for picking up the pace before flattening out again, but don’t relax too much because then there’s a sharp climb up before the course flattens back to the start/finish. I was pleasantly surprised to not be lapped by the speedy front-runner, although it was a close-run thing – he ducked into the finishing funnel as I started my second lap.
The first lap was enjoyable and I gradually picked off a few people as I ran. Based on what people had been telling me, I was expecting a 34 minute time, but a quick glance at my watch told me I was on for about 32 minutes. I kept to a steady pace, stretching out a little bit on the downhill. By this time, I was playing cat and mouse with another woman and we had a friendly giggle about it. First I would be ahead, then she would stretch ahead, then I would pick her off again, just for her to pass me. I did take walk a few steps up the hill on the second lap, but quickly got back into a run again. Approaching the finish I heard a call of “Mummy!” and Rose ran out to join in, before being grabbed away by my husband.
Finishing funnel in sight, I kept to the same pace when I saw a flash of lycra out of the corner of my eye charging up behind me, pushing for a sprint finish.
Game on. I always love a race to the finish.
I stretched out to a sprint finish to keep him at bay. I tailed off just before the funnel as I didn’t want to collide with the buggy runner in front of me who had made the course look easy. I am in awe of buggy runners. I did turn to acknowledge the man behind me in a huffy puffy mess of sweat and he smiled. A quick glance at my watch revealed that I’d got round in 31:57, although the official time was 32:02 due to not paying attention at the start.
On the whole, I was pleased with my time as it’s the best run I’ve had for a long time and I felt comfortable. It’s nice to feel that progress is being made and I’m really hoping to be back under 30 minutes by the end of the summer.
Run done, it was time to grab a coffee in The Tea House. Top tip, they very kindly offer cheaper coffee for runners upstairs if you’re happy with filter.
I’m off to check out Rother Valley parkrun tomorrow to get me on the tourist board, but I’m looking forward to going back to Clumber Park parkrun soon.