Thursday 1 January 2015

New Year's Day 2015 parkrun Double (Dartford parkrun 23 and Shorne Woods parkrun 94)

The day started off with the usual Saturday morning routine of getting up at 6.55am and heading over to Dartford Central Park to get the Dartford parkrun course set up in time for the runners that would shortly be making their way towards the venue for our 23rd event. However, the day was not Saturday.

This was New Year's Day. A day where it is traditional for neighbouring venues to work together in order to enable runners to 'do a double' if they want to. In previous years I had always found myself in and around the Croydon area where the double run has been traditionally followed by a freedom run and a spot of lunch with the team at Riddlesdown parkrun.

the start line for event 23 [photo: alan smith]

For this year there was no place I could really be except for Dartford parkrun - the last few months have really changed my parkrunning focus again (and saved me a lot of touring petrol money) and I'm loving being part of the running community in my very own backyard.

9am: Dartford parkrun 23

So Dartford parkrun was set for a 9am start time and with the course set up and volunteers in place, the clock hit 9am and the 127 runners made the best possible start to the new year by getting out there and running 5 kilometres.

approx 4.5km point [photo: brian page]

I ran at my usual effort level and got around in a decent time. The grass and trail section has become a little more challenging, but the advantage of knowing the course so well is that I can generally pick my way along that section fairly well.

My usual post-run volunteering role of barcode scanning with my partner in zapping crime, Tessa, had been switched to 'post-event close down' and I was paired with event 22's run director, Adam, and between us we ensured the signage retrieval was in safe hands.

me and adam back at hq with the signage [photo: dani]

I had my barcode scanned [results] and waited for Adam before heading off in search of the tail runner, Brian, so we could clear away the course as he passed. Once done, we headed back to run hq where some of the volunteers were still in position awaiting the final finishers.

Last finishers in, kit away, we all bundled into the back of Terry's Magic Bus which he had kindly been given permission to use by his church in order to transport a bunch of us over to our second venue of the day.

terry's magic bus [photo: dani]

10.30am: Shorne Woods parkrun 94

Upon arrival at the woods, we parked on a road opposite the main entrance and walked the rest of the way. It's a good job we did because the car park was full to the rafters with parked cars. After a brief queue at the gents, I headed over to the start area where I was greeted by the sight of 361 parkrunners all eagerly waiting to get started - most of these had, I imagine, already run at Dartford or Maidstone beforehand and were completing their double.

The course that was being used was the 'b' course, which is the same one that was used when I ran here last. The main difference is that one of the pot-holed, bumpy paths from my last visit had been given a makeover and is now a loose gravelly-type surface with no mud and puddles, which was a bonus.

at shorne woods [photo: brian page]

361 is a lot of runners for this course to accommodate and about 1.5 laps into the 3-and-a-bit lap run, I caught up with the first of the tail runners. This was followed by a very large group of walkers heading in the opposite direction - I think we all managed to co-exist without upsetting one another.

Then when I was on my last lap I caught up with the bulk of the field of runners and was weaving, ducking, diving and taking to the muddy grass verges in order to filter through.

splashy fun in the mud [photo: richey estcourt]

I finished the run and had my barcode scanned [results] very efficiently by one of the volunteers - I then spent the next 20-30 minutes chatting to various people about various running related things (no change there then). Then the time had come to jump back into the Terry's Magic Bus and head back to Dartford. It was a fantastic morning and a huge thanks must go to everyone that dragged themselves out of bed to make this all happen!

Links to my previous New Year's Day parkrun doubles:

2012 - Roundshaw and Riddlesdown
2013 - Riddlesdown and Roundshaw
2014 - Lloyd, Banstead, and a freedom run at Riddlesdown

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