My first outing with my new cow cowl…Lowestoft

29th June


Just a quick mention about last week-I  visited my home course and clocked up my 54th run there and my 81st park run.I had read on Facebook that the author of the Stay frosty podcast was planning to visit so I hastily listened to a couple of episodes in case I should spot her in the crowd.I didn’t see her and haven’t caught up with all  the podcasts yet so don’t know if she did visit after all.It was nice to see some regulars there though-Deborah,Morag and Dini.I came away with inspiration for future events.


Its official!I am now a fully fledged Park run tourist!Yay! Haha.The idea to visit Lowestoft came about because the weather forecast for the weekend in London, predicted sunshine and temperatures could  reach low 30s  so  we thought  it would be nice to go to the coast for the day.We haven’t been to Lowestoft before and it ticked ‘L’ and ‘West'(although it is actually in the  East)  and it has a uphill section so it seemed ideal. And it was.


We left at 5.45 to drive there and arrived at 8.20.When we arrived ,I could see some volunteers and the run director by the pier.He asked us where we were visiting from as he likes to make a list.He directed us to the start line which was about 300 metres back along the prom next to the pavilion.First timers brief and then we lined up.

The course is 2 and a bit laps on tarmac.It starts on the lower  promenade with the beach on your left.You pass the pier and  continue until you  pass some beach huts on your right before going up again  via a winding narrow slope.There was a marshal here asking you to walk on the left and run on the right.I was surprised that most people were walking,even the speedy runners.I managed to get up there without walking on both laps,which I was pleased about,  although I did feel a bit lightheaded the second time round.I had been running with a lady from Kesgrave who left me behind at this point.Perhaps it wasn’t my best idea to start running uphill on the hottest day of the year. There was another marshal at the top of the slope.You now have the beach on your right as you go back along the upper prom  towards the pier again.You turn left in the gardens opposite and complete a circuit here before turning left onto the prom and right to start  your  second lap from this point.You finish back in the gardens.


There was 2 large carparks and street parking available.There were toilets  by the pavillion usually 20p.There was a café by the pier.I forgot to ask if there was somewhere to leave your belongings,I daresay you could ask someone to look after them at the finish line before you make your way down to the start.There was a volunteer taking photos at this event.

I loved this course and had a nice day on the beach and walking to Ness point.We  plan to come back soon. I shall postpone  any more plans  for  hill training  until the autumn though.

Wearing my cow cowl as a sweatband


Last parkruns of the decade

31st December

Ran at Beckton on the last couple of parkruns of the year and volunteered as tail walker here on Christmas Day.I gained my Parkrun challenges gold obsessive badge on the 28th.

Reflecting on the year,I completed my challenge set at the beginning of the year to visit 20 new courses and an international one.

It’s been fun!

Valentines revisited

14th December

I have fond memories of visiting this park as a teenager with my family and then years later me and Bill would cycle round.Fast forward another 15 years and I would find myself running 5k here in the name of park run.My first park run here was in August last year,so it was due another visit.

It was a cold one.The course is flat,2 anticlockwise laps on tarmac.You go straight,then left to follow the path within the park.You pass a lake,tennis courts and cross a narrow bridge on the way round.After the second lap,go left and back to the start/finish funnel.

I was going at a steady pace until just under 1k when I was struggling to get my breath.I realised I had left my asthma pump in the car so I hadn’t had a puff before I started.I walked while I decided what to do.I was halfway round so walked to the start of the second lap and see how I was at that point.Thankfully,my breathing was easier by then and I felt able to continue walking the second lap to the finish.

It was just one of those days …I shall have to come back for that PB.

Barking revisited

30th November

It was the last park run of 2018 when I first visited Barking park and recall enjoying my time here and meant to return to run again and have a wander,but as you ,well me anyway,do,never got round to it.It is my 7th different course,the ‘serious’ beginning of what would be my park run challenge for 2019-to complete 20 different events and earn my cow cowell.

Beautiful wintry morning

Today was a proper winter’s morning.Last time I cycled here-this was during a short phase of me cycling to park run-today it was a 20 minute drive and parking on Longbridge road for £1.50 an hour or £4.50 for 2 hours.I was informed by the run director that there is a free car park further along Longbridge road,which is useful to know for next time.

Everyone was meeting by the finish funnel.There are toilets just beyond this area and you could leave your stuff on a tarpaulin nearby.There was mention of a cafe too(one for next time)

The course is 2 laps on smooth wide tarmac paths.You head straight and then a tight left alongside the lake on your right.Round to your left and left again then straight so the lake is now on your left.Right and left again then straight then left again back to the start.Turn right for your second lap.To finish,you head straight instead of turning right at this point.

Heading for the end of the lap/finish

Another favourite of mine.I prefer the smaller events-there were just 100 runners today,a few tourists among us.My phone battery died before I took many pics.But I did get a new PB-31.59 (previously 33.36 ),my fastest time this year and another bingo number!

Lon-doing Part 22/56 at Hilly Fields

23rd November

I woke up this morning and decided to visit my NENDY,Hilly Fields.I’ve heard good things about it and it’s been a while since i’ve visited a London course for the first time so i was looking forward to discovering somewhere new.

Grey but not too cold this morning.1/2 drive so that was good.When i arrived at Adelaide Avenue,i could  immediately see why it was called Hilly Fields.No signpost needed.Parking available on Adelaide Avenue.Another area of London I’m not familiar with.

There was a tarmac path going up the hill.Great views at the top.The run director and volunteers were there by the finish funnel.You could leave your belongings on the railings of the children’s playground nearby.First timers brief and then onto the start for lots of announcements before the start just beyond the playground.

This is the winter course.It is 3 laps which starts on a downhill tarmac path.The path here was cracked in places and I felt anxious in case I should turn my ankle again so ran on the grass .You turn right onto a flat muddy section (but you could run on the pavement instead)Then it is right again and uphill where there is a marshal on the corner playing music loudly and dancing.On my first lap she yelled”Come on,get up that hill” which made me laugh.The hill in question wasn’t too steep and I did get up it no problem.Then it was ahead and towards the playground again where you take a sharp left.Right and up the grassy BIG HILL.It was effing hard and I walked part of it each time.Then left for your next lap.On your final lap you go right for the finish funnel.

Great crowd here and the best flapjacks I’ve ever eaten(I’ve never tried them made with condensed milk-I shall try this out soon)-I ate 3 pieces and had to leave before I scoffed the lot.

Despite it being the most challenging course I’ve been to so far,I have to say I really liked it and plan to visit again soon and get up that hill without walking each time.

My new NENDY is Grovelands.

Beckton for my 100th run

9th November

Foggy and cold morning for my 100th run.Usual course,hard going but nothing could stop me from grinning today.No PB for me today but Bill got one -26.57 so he was happy with that.

The crowd here made it such a memorable morning.Coffee and cakes and catching up afterwards .

I got my email congratulating me on my 100th,I keep looking at the 100 black T-shirt on my results page.I am chuffed to bits!

Did I tell you that it’s my 100th run today?…

E is for Eden Project

DSC_2610.JPG2nd November

I had made arrangements to visit the Eden Project to coincide with my 100th Park run,which would have been this week.Then me twisting my ankle last week messed up those plans.Such is life.I’m just pleased that there wasn’t serious injury-I got  round the Trick or treat 5k at Leyton Jubilee park on Thursday,which was good fun,without any issues.I’m still on track for my gold obsessive badge at the end of the year too.

when your medal matches your top


The weather on Saturday morning was horrendous-high winds and pouring rain.You meet by the ‘banana’ car park,(the car parks are named after different fruits)There was a marshal directing you.You meet nearby where there are toilets.You could leave coats only in the large bags provided and collect at the finish.I soon got chatting to one of the volunteers who asked me if I was one of “those mad alphabet chasing tourists”

I had to laugh,and admit, that I am,though I don’t take it too seriously…Then i bumped into Paul from Rickmansworth,who i met a few months ago at Jersey Farm.Small world!Most of the runners appeared to be tourists- several courses in the area have been cancelled due to the weather.IMG_1789.JPG

The course is 2 3/4 laps on tarmac.You start on the road by the car park and straight ahead then down the zigzag path with the biomes to your left.Then straight ahead,going up  and round to the left. Continue on past the biomes and turn left to go up the  zigzag path which will bring you back on the level for your next lap. On your third lap you go straight on for the finish funnel by the entrance to the biomes.IMG_1791IMG_1796IMG_1798IMG_1804IMG_1816IMG_1815

The marshals were brilliant to stay out in this weather and one guy kept us all updated with England’s progress(or not) in the rugby.Everyone was so friendly here.

No PB’s here-those uphill zigzags 3 times were brutal!Scenic and varied-my favourite kind of course.This is one of my favourite courses.There was a very nice café  too.

Soggy parkrun tourist

So all being well,i shall visit Beckton this weekend for my 100th.


Hackney Marshes …Part 4

26th October

Today was  my 99th run.In anticipation of being unlikely to find an icecream van selling 99’s over the Marshes,i bought icecream and everything to mark the occasion at home instead ,and watch  the second half of the rugby world cup semi final,with England winning(of course)!so a double celebration if you like.Then onto the Eden Project next week for my 100 milestone.

A lovely mild autumn morning.Steady pace and i was enjoying my run.Then  on the 2nd km, i twisted my left ankle on the edge of the path where the tarmac meets the soft ground.The pain brought tears to my eyes and i sat down on the nearby logs.Lovely helpful runners and volunteers  sat with me and accompanied me back.I felt so disappointed that i couldn’t finish the course.

I had my icecream for breakfast anyway to soothe my disappointment(and my foot).At least England won so they are now in the final next week.

I’ve iced and rested my foot and it feels much better this morning.So hopefully with lots of rest this week,i will be okay for next week for my 99th run at the Eden project even if i have to walk the course.I shall have to see how  it goes.


First time volunteering at Wanstead flats

19th October

Since returning from holiday,i’ve been unwell with a cold and feeling breathless so was thinking whether to go to park run this week.But I need to go every week until the end of the year if  i’m to achieve my gold obsessive badge so not going wasn’t really an option,at least not just for a cold.Then I got an email appealing  for a tail walker at  my home course-Wanstead flats.I  haven’t volunteered yet,this seemed to be a perfect opportunity to try out volunteering in a role that I feel comfortable in and also gain a run credit.

Lovely autumn morning.I arrived for 8.30.Mike the run director explained that I would also be closing the event down-collecting the neon signs as I completed the second lap.Usual parkrun stuff,no milestones this week and then it was time to go.

It was muddy out there today…Got chatting with a couple of ladies on my first lap…got lapped by the faster runners…a clumsy sprint finish for me whilst carrying a bag of neon signs…

I really enjoyed my first time volunteering and hope to try out some different roles in the future!


U is for Uditore…my first international parkrun

12th October

A city break in Palermo,Sicily,took us to Uditore park,handy for getting a ‘U’ towards the alphabet badge.Have visited Italy a couple of times in my previous life-before park run haha,but first time in Sicily.

3 and 1/2 stones heavier-a couple of weeks later I was told I was borderline Type 2 diabetic…cue lifestyle changes that would lead me to parkrun that autumn.I’ve come full circle.

Uditore park is situated on a large crossroad junction which also serves a tramline.Italian driving and no subways made getting across this road to the park quite scary-there are pedestrian crossings but unlike in the UK where you are obliged to stop for someone waiting to cross,here you have to walk confidently onto the crossing and take a leap of faith and hope that the traffic stops.Or else I wouldn’t be here to write the blog.

It was 25c and sunny this morning.The park is small,with a café and a portable toilet. We met Pippo,a local,wearing the 100 milestone vest,who directed us to the meeting area under the trees .We met the run director who spoke excellent English and told us about his family in Enfield and Windsor. Everyone was very friendly and Bill was my translator.During the run brief ,we had a personal mention,along with a couple from Wales.

It is a flat,4 and a bit lap course,on a dusty path around the perimeter of the park.The route was clearly signposted.The start/finish was just beyond the meeting area .You then go ahead before a left turn past the children’s playground.Then ahead and turn right following the path and signs  ahead and under some trees ,veering left,then right again,past a narrow section-single file here(but not enough runners for it to be a problem),ahead and right at the junction.Then ahead and left  towards the start again for your next lap.

There was a small group today-just 33 runners.I finished in 35 minutes exactly,position 26 and 2nd in my age group.The humidity made for a tiring,sweaty run.We stayed for a while after.One of the volunteers had bought bottles of water for everyone,there was also a café nearby.

Walthamstow revisited…

5th October

Walthamstow was the second event I visited,in August last year.Unlike most of the events I visit,i know the area quite well.I recall it was a very warm morning last time I was here and that I found it hardgoing and thinking that I didn’t want to return.Thinking about my recent visit  back to Mile End and how it was more challenging than I had remembered it,lead  to thoughts of whether Walthamstow could be the other way around-and be easier than I remembered.It is cooler now after all.

Nice autumn morning.Large,free carpark in front of the Peter May sports centre and near to the start/finish.Toilets and changing rooms inside the centre.I didn’t see lockers near the reception,you could leave your belongings by the tree just outside though.

The course is 3 and a bit laps of the perimeter of the playing fields.The start is next to the sports centre.It starts on flat ground that gradually goes uphill as you go round.Then downhill and over a hump onto another football pitch.Ahead  towards the sports centre again for your next lap.You cut across to the finish funnel near the railings.

My memory hadn’t deceived me this time and it was as hard as I remembered.But!I GOT A NEW PB-33.36.My last time here was 36.03.I’ll take that!

The volunteers here were brilliant,their enthusiasm spurred me on to the finish when I felt like stopping.There was a great atmosphere here,it reminded me of Beckton,it had the same community spirit.It was a one of the smaller events,like Beckton,that  I’ve been to-132 runners today.I do like the smaller events and shall have to research others to visit.