Sunday, 8 June 2014

A weekend full of first's and an amazing weekend at that. Part 1 Watergrove parkrun Rochdale

This weekend despite the varied weather was truly awesome and full of first attempts, first visits and first experiences and after all of it, I've been left feeling humbled and smiling from ear to ear......

The view down the hills from Watergrove reservoir

The weekend started with a worrying look at the weather to judge when not if the rain was going to effect us this Saturday. I was heading over to the inaugural Watergrove parkrun at Rochdale, whilst SJ and Dexter were staying at Huddersfield parkrun as they were heading off to the Brahman horse trials straight after. Which ever parkrun we were at it was going to be a wet one, but just how wet was the question.

I set off early to Rochdale to at least get there before the rain started, I jumped in the car and it was lovely and sunny even a little warm. As I got close to Rochdale I could feel the temperature dropping and as I pulled into the car park at Watergrove parkrun the clouds were building very quickly. I met up with Simon Edwards and Tony Pinnington at the start who had also made the trip over the Pennines to try out this new parkrun. After a chat with the guys Barbara the Event Director gave a speech and run brief and when warning people about not having their barcodes she was echo by an enormous rumble of thunder which would have scared anyone into bringing their barcodes. She then sent the field of 89 runners to the start ready for the countdown to the first Watergrove parkrun, and as we crossed the cattle grid you could help but notice that about 75% of the runners had a parkrun T-Shirt on either a 50 or 100 tee. Just as we set off the rain started and apparently it did the same at Huddersfield too, but as your running it doesn't worry you at all unless like me your wearing your glasses. 

The run was brilliant nevertheless and the course was beautiful even in the rain just imagine what it would be like in blue skies. You run round the reservoir until there is a cobbled road leading up on to the moors where the path splits off in 2 directions like a Y. You take the left route and head downhill until you reach 2 bridges of which you take the left hand one as the other is for the return journey on this out and back section. Once over the first bridge it's up a small incline and onto a path that leads to a gate with a wet but still smiley marshal and this is where you double back and over the second bridge. You're about half way now and starting to get into a flow but then you are faced by what I would like to christen the Mischievous hill you ran down about a Km ago. It's not until you run back up it that you realise how steep it was when you ran down it, but with a deep breath and a dig you can make it without too much pain. Then as you reach the top you now take the other part of the Y route and again this is uphill, not as steep as the last hill but it certainly tests you legs. You hit a cone and then double back again but this time your on the final stretch home and it's all downhill to the reservoir and a fast flat finish. You do have to be a little cautious as you run down the cobbled road to the reservoir because the rain had made them a little slippery but not too much that it was dangerous it just made you think. After the flat finish I crossed the line and picked up token 28 which I was happy about, and in a time of 24.44. The time was about 2 or 3 mins off my regular times but it seemed that was the case all round there was no one under 20 mins which is unusual. I guess the weather was a helping factor but I think the course is just a tough one and will be a challenge to anyone.

As always we hung about to talk about our runs, as did lots of others but after a loud rumble of thunder the heavens open with a burst of rain twice as heavy as before which sent lots of finishers running for their cars. This sadly put and end to the Watergrove inaugural a little earlier than they had hoped, but with such a stunning parkrun and lovely volunteers I'm sure they will have lots of returning runners and I'm sure I will be one of them at some point. 

That was my first inaugural run and it certainly has something a little special to it and there is no wonder that there is a growing group of parkrun tourist that will travel all over the country to them.

When we all arrived home I was told about the rain at Huddersfield and the amazing turnout of 570 runners even in the rain and with 2 inaugurals nearby, it just show how people feel about parkruns that they will turn up whatever the weather or time of year. SJ told me that Dexter ran well but complained a little but when I say complained, his complaint was, "mummy will you please turn off the rain now". Love my amazing family.

Keep running everyone.

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