Organisers celebrate 200th parkrun event
I’ve always fancied taking a trip abroad which would combine a marathon or half..Dublin, Amsterdam, Tokyo anybody?
And it’s always been a dream to head to Seville for a run – the one which happens around New Year (if it’s still going that is).
But with half term upon us, there will be no exotic overseas breaks for me to escape the grey and easterly chill that is our weather right now.
Nope, in fact I’m staying home this half-term, as I have done for since well…well since my kids have been born, and certainly since I have been married.
In fact, my first foray into the growing phenomenon of so-called parkrun tourism was somewhere a little less exotic… Mulbarton.
Parkrun tourism is on the rise apparently, and from what I can tell there seem to be two forms:
1. International: where you head abroad with your trainers packed and drop in on the nearest parkrun
2. Domestic: that’s where you try other parkruns either near where you live or indeed in other parts of the country..
With that in mind when I spotted a shout-out from the organisers of Mulbarton Parkrun to come along and join in the celebrations for their 200th parkrun, I thought I’d give it a try.
Just last year organisers were wondering if the event would continue after being told that they could no longer hold their weekly event on the village common.
That seems a shame as it looks a great setting for a run, but these things happen, I guess.
But fast forward to 2017 and the team of volunteers were welcoming 180 runners to Saturday’s event which marked the celebration of the 200th Mulbarton Parkrun.
Not surprisingly they wanted to celebrate and not only were there cakes on offer and balloons, but the organisers also took it as an opportunity to thank some of the volunteers who had helped keep it going.
According to them what saved the parkrun was an offer from Mulbarton Parish Council to let them use the sports fields at the nearby Mulbarton Sports and Social Club.
Now around 80 runners a week regularly take part in the five-lap circuit, while it’s best ever attendance was Christmas Day 2016 when 117 runners decided to go for a festive run.
Until this week that is, when the numbers were swelled by runners from further afield including from Bungay Black Dog running club, Norfolk Gazelles, and others lending their support from other park runners, to name but a few
For me it wasn’t a course for setting any PBs and in any case my sister, who was my running buddy for the day hadn’t been running in a while so was keen to take it easy. And that suited me fine, I’d not been out all week after nearly wrecking my back while gardening would you believe.
So I was quite happy for a gentle jog and a bit of run/walk at the back of the field.
The course itself is flat and winds around two connected fields, though be warned it can get a bit muddy and slippery underfoot at this time of year.
Having said that, when you’re done you can enjoy a cup of tea or a bacon roll in Blakeys Bus Cafe – an old double decker cum café which proved popular with many of the runners.
And while I probably wouldn’t be sending any postcards home to wish you were here, it certainly whetted the appetite to try and venture further afield in future.
Ingredients of a good parkrun
Friendly volunteers (though I’ve never been to a parkrun where they are not)
A nearby café – needed for the post run caffeine/chocolate fix
Ease of access/parking – what’s the point if you can’t get there
Someone to go with – I don’t go a bundle on the loneliness of the long-distance runner mythos, and let’s face it sharing the experience is probably the best bit
Norfolk parkruns I’d like to try
Sheringham – goes through Sheringham Park apparently
Blickling – across the grounds of the famous hall
Holkham – but could I ever get up in time to get there…?
- Are you a parkrun tourist?
Tell us what runs you would recommend and why – whether in Norfolk or beyond.