York parkrun – Matt Cowan

York parkrun – Matt Cowan

Stag weekend in York, someone thought it would be a good idea to do a spot of parkrun tourism. What could go wrong?

York parkrun is quite unique in not only its setting but also for the fact that it’s huge by comparison to Preston and Cuerden Valley. Saturdays turn out saw 512 runners, including six from our stag party. The location was something that had caught my interest as the run is 1 ½ laps of the service track running inside the race course.

For anyone that is attending in the future, the choices for parking are fairly simple, either park at the car park just off the main road, or drive down the entrance road and park there. The car park is near the start, the entrance road is near the end, so it doesn’t make that much difference. Be mindful of the weather, due to the open nature of the course, a windy day would really hit harder than it would at Cuerden Valley (for example). There is a drink vendor at the finishing line if you want some refreshment. They also have a couple of buckets on the side of the path for runners to dump an unwanted top layer half way around.

Pre-run preparation was hampered for this parkrun. We’ve all got our habits, routines and superstitions before every run, but staying out way past my bed time and drinking the “wrong kind” of drinks are not high on many people’s pre-run check lists. The morning didn’t start well, as I’m sure would have been expected. But up I get, with my fragile brain singing a song of “This is a Bad Idea”, try to make myself look something close to someone who runs regularly.

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After a couple of wrong turns out of the hotel, a light jog was needed to ensure that we got to the race course on time. Faces were green. Balance was shaky. Numerous statements of regret were muttered. With our heads a little clearer, we got to the start before the run began, got a lovely hello from the race director then off we went.

The run was hard, but the course was not. A nice open flat track was in store, ripe for a good PB if you got near the front. However I wasn’t in much of a state for a PB. In all honestly, I was quite happy to have finished at all! What is nice to see is that the friendly atmosphere that a lot of us encounter at Preston or Cuerden Valley is here as well. It was great to know that no matter where in the country (and world for that matter), you can always find a welcoming environment at a parkrun.

After completing the run and getting my time I come to the realisation that running York parkrun with a hangover is just as hard as running Cuerden Valley parkrun sober.

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