Work commitments meant that I knew I was going to be in the deepest, darkest south of England on a Friday. Now usually I’d just bite the bullet and head home that evening but, for a change, I decided to stop off somewhere on the way north for my weekly parkrun tourist fix.
Not knowing a great deal about park runs south of Hadrian’s Wall I sought opinions from the hive mind on the Facebook parkrun Tourists group and got a load of suggestions. From these I narrowed down the options to three, depending on how far north I made it before falling asleep.
In the end I made it to Keswick which was reputed to be fast, flat and an out and back. The rain was tipping down as storm whatever hit, so I did keep one eye on the cancellations list and saw a fair few events cancelled for safety reasons.
The course directions said that it was next to the leisure centre but to confuse the unwary there were no signs for a leisure centre anywhere. There were signs for a leisure pool… is a leisure pool and a leisure centre the same thing??
On arrival at the pool there was a brief period of “am I in the right place ?”. The rain was battering (and I do mean battering) down and there was not a soul about. Luckily there was a photo on the event Facebook page which showed an ornate (ex) railway station which looked awfully like the one I was parked beside. Fortunately then another couple of parkrunners showed up, closely followed by the run director.
The essence of the race briefing was condensed into two well chosen words… “It’s Wet”. Yep, that was it. The pre-run ceremonies were kept to a minimum As we had to leave the shelter of the railway platform to get to the start line no one wanted to hang around any more than was absolutely necessary.
3..2..1.. Go !!
The run route is indeed an out and back, and I was expecting it to be flat. Actually the description says it is flat… for Keswick. As it turned out we splashed for about the first K and a bit before a very noticeable incline came upon us. By this point most people had given up trying to avoid the puddles but the usual hydrophobes trying to keep their feet dry were having their work cut out.
It turned out that although the route was an old railway line the original tunnel was closed up so the trail goes up and over. The up bit makes its presence felt but coming down the other side was fun.. it’s a boardwalk and we love a good boardwalk.
The course then flattens out to the turning point, marked by a big fence where a bridge was swept away in the floods a few years ago. You can re-read the last few paragraphs backwards if you want to know want the return leg was like..
Apart from the fact going back up the boardwalk was a lot less fun than coming down it !!
Keswick parkrun was a really enjoyable experience. Apparently there are some nice views too. Alas as a glasses wearer in the pissing rain all I could see were drips and coloured blurs that I hoped were other parkrunners.
Still, even I can’t get lost on an out and back !!!