I was genuinely disappointed when I found out that the leap year had scuppered my chances of a birthday parkrun. And writing this up now I realise it could have been my 22nd parkrun of the year, on the 22nd May (on my 22nd and a bit’th birthday).
So planning for the 21st May parkrun, it was some consolation that I would be able to go along to my first inaugural parkrun – Ellenbrook Fields, which was starting up in Hatfield.
Inaugural tourism became a big thing a few years back, with groups of particularly enthusiastic parkrunners travelling the country to attend the latest run. It’s since been discouraged, as having a large number of people can overwhelm the volunteer team, and many parkruns ask that tourists hold off for the first few weeks to allow them more of a gentle start. My luck was in with Ellenbrook Fields though, as the Run Director was encouraging ‘all and sundry’ to come along.
Ellenbrook Fields is a more-or-less flat, more-or-less single loop through big open fields with lots of buttercups. It’s a great trail course, which I think will be even more fun in the winter when squelchy with mud and seasonal ‘water features’. In the summer though, it’s a pretty quick course, with only a little bit of bother from the wind. Be warned though, the finishing stretch is deceptively long – a full half-mile along the old aerodrome runway – with a handbrake turn right at the end.
The event had a really good atmosphere and there was lots of enthusiasm for the new run. It was great to meet some fellow parkrun tourists, who are now easily identified through their bright yellow ‘cow cowls’. Everyone stayed on to watch those behind them come through, and by the end a big crowd had formed to cheer on the last runner.
I finished up in 27.19 (see results) and really enjoyed the morning, both for the run itself (which is a good one!), and the inaugural parkrun experience.
As for my birthday, I had a great day out at the zoo with Lovely Dave. The birthday parkrun can wait til 2021!
I’m running a different parkrun each week through 2016 to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK. If you’d like to help out with sponsorship, please head over to my JustGiving page.