parkrun #35: Mandavit

52 parkruns goes international!

Dave and I spent the week visiting his family in Spain, and drove back through France. In my most organised parkrun planning yet, I booked us into a hotel on the outskirts of Bordeaux which was just off the motorway and an easy walk from the parkrun de Mandavit.

parkrun is relatively new to France, having launched in January this year. As such, the numbers are still low, and there were 16 of us turn up on the day. At least half were enthusiastic British tourists like me, who didn’t want to miss out on parkrun whilst they were away.

Mandavit is a really fun course. Twisty twisty through woodlands, in which it’s very easy to get lost. The volunteer team had gone to great lengths to mark out the course with yellow arrows and bits of tape hanging from the trees, but it was still a challenge…

Susan, who posted the picture below on Facebook, said she reckoned it was 50:50 who stayed on the course and who got lost. If anything I think that might be a bit optimistic! Dave and a couple of others accidentally took a short cut across the meadow, realised they’d gone wrong, and ran off in a random direction and back to make up for it.


The tourist crowd

I had to stop a couple of times to check I was going the right way, using some elementary French such as ‘Est-ce que vous êtes en le parkrun?’. I got most of the way round the two laps and was feeling really pleased with myself as I was out ahead and set to come in as the first female finisher. However, at this point, I decided to follow some orange arrows which were painted on to the trees (and had nothing to do with the parkrun). Which meant quite a significant long-cut and a time of over 34 minutes. Dave meanwhile got a super-speedy 21 minutes (see results).

The whole thing had a really good atmosphere. There was free tea and coffee at the end, and it was great to meet such parkrun enthusiasts – dedicated parkrun tourists, and the parkrun pioneers bringing parkrun to France.

Many thanks to the volunteers for organising the event. Un grand merci aux bénévoles!

I’m running a different parkrun each week of the year to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK. Please head over to my JustGiving page if you’d like to help out 🙂






parkrun #16: Lincoln

This weekend I headed up to Lincoln to see my friend Miriam, and joined her for a very successful parkrun.

Lincoln is a flat 3-lap course, run entirely on tarmac. It’s partly round a small lake, partly through woodland, and partly round a field with a bandstand (which is where everyone meets at the start). There’s a narrow section towards the end of each lap, which can make it a bit difficult (but not impossible) to overtake.

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Pre-run: at the bandstand

We decided to run round separately. Miriam had done two practice parkruns back in January to prepare, but spent much of our journey there coming up with excuses for why she wouldn’t be able to run very quickly (and definitely wouldn’t finish in under 30 minutes).

I was much revived from last week, and finished in what I reckoned must be around 27 minutes. Once I’d gone through the finish funnel, I decided to try and find Miriam to join her for the last part of the run. I turned around ready to head back up the course, but saw she was actually pretty close behind and already on the final field section. This was excellent news as it meant that (a) she was surely going to get a PB, and (b) I didn’t have to run very much further.

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Post run: bit soggy, but clearly much happier than pre-run

After the run we headed to over the indoor bowls club for an in incredibly cheap and popular post-parkrun breakfast. We helped with some finish token sorting to get things ready for next week’s run. And felt quite self-satisfied about it too. 5k run and good deed done all before 11am on a Saturday.

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Finish token sorting 0:)

The rest of the day in Lincoln included (importantly) a trip to Ladbrokes for some unsuccessful betting on the Grand National, and (less importantly) a free Starbucks, very cheap lunch on a river barge and trip to a bargain warehouse.

Our results emails revealed that I got round the course in a solid 26.32, and Miriam had run more than 2 minutes quicker than her previous PB, finishing in 28.04. (See results)

Many thanks to the volunteers at Lincoln. It felt like a super-friendly event, with announcements on birthdays and milestone runs, a competition on which tourist had travelled furthest (not me), and an invitation to join a ‘parkrun cheering station’ at next week’s Lincoln 10k.

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Thanks to the volunteers 🙂

Next week I’ll be in nearby Newark, joined by my friend Emma and Tod the dog. And hopefully also Miriam…

I’m raising money for Alzheimer’s Research UK over the course of the 52 runs. Please check out my JustGiving page if you’re able to help.