This weekend I’m over in Dublin, and that inevitably means a race report is around the corner.  In the meantime, let’s look back on a run from this summer…

Ah, this takes me back.  It would have to, it was the end of June when I made my parkrun debut in London.  And it only took me 131 runs!

I was down for the weekend for music purposes, but twisted the arm of my mate Steve – who was a good sport about the whole thing – into humouring me with a morning 5k.  This was his second ever parkrun.  This is a normal thing to ask people to do, right?

The pilgrimage to the home of it all, Bushy park, will just need to wait until April 2019, as we instead took the easy option.  Highbury Fields is the closest run to the central stations and just a couple of stops (or one, depending on how you get there) on the underground.  I forget which line, London is a big ball of tangled string to me.

We got out of the station and were immediately disorientated, but thankfully fellow tourists were about and four of us made the short distance from station to the finish area together.

It was ruddy warm, even at 8.45am.

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Route description
Five and a bit laps of the park in an anti-clockwise direction.  Yes, FIVE.

Course profile
Slight uphill from the start, and a down around Highbury Crescent.

Underfoot
Tarmac all the way.

Shoes
Road shoes.

Difficulty
3/6.  Entirely due to going uphill six times and trying to remember which lap you’re on!

We started at the bottom of the slope, facing up towards the finish line.  Each kilometre was just over a full lap, so the watch beeped a little further up the hill each time round.

A congested start – it was a record attendance of 424 as it turned out, in part no doubt due to nearby Finsbury parkrun’s cancellation due to the gig I was going to later – was made a little easier by the very wide path on this section of the course.  It was a slow get away, but could have been much worse!

Sweeping left through the slight S-bend at the top of the park, then enjoy the downhill.  Again, the path widens here, you just need to watch out for bollards, raised surfaced to keep the soil in for the trees, and fellow runners.

The novelty of a five-lap course did mean I was passing the slower runners by the third lap, and things were becoming tricky to keep track of.  Am I lapping this person, or passing them?

And then it happened.  Towards the end of the fourth lap, I got passed by the leader.  And then by the guy in second.  Noooo!!

I finished the fifth lap and final bit up into the finish at something like a sprint, coming in on 21:00 exactly in 49th place.

Steve finished not long behind, comfortably achieving his aim of not being lapped by me!

I was surprised by just how nice the park was; I imagine it was flooded with people and barbecues later in the day.  The run wasn’t anything like as monotonous as I’d feared and wouldn’t rule out a return visit, though there’s plenty others to explore on future visits.

Still worth popping by.

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