It seems like a long time since I went to a new parkrun. By 'new' I mean 'new to me' because Woodhouse Moor parkrun has a very long history. It was the first parkrun outside London and used to be known simply as 'Leeds parkrun'. A quick glance at the map on the events page at the parkrun website illustrates why the name was changed about 4 or 5 years ago. When we found ourselves in Leeds this weekend for Husbando's work we had several choices - but Woodhouse Moor parkrun was only 1.5 miles from our hotel so we could run there and back easily.
After a very hot few days we woke up to an overcast morning, I hadn't parked anything 'sensible' like a hat to wear in the rain - so just crossed my fingers as we set off for the uphill run to Woodhouse Moor. We bumped into some parkrun tourists in the lift of our hotel - they kindly offered to share their taxi - but we'd fixed our minds on running there, so that's what we did.
Woodhouse Moor Park is right next to the University of Leeds, in fact the park used to be bigger, but apparently bits of the University were built on the old park. The bit that remains is still fairly big and I do always worry about bing able to find the start so, much to Husbando's chagrin we got there quite early.
The start was easy to find and a white board informed us that the new runners' briefing would take place at 8.50am, so we chatted with other runners while we waited. After this we moved to the start and the run director's briefing. It was an excellent briefing. The run director's love of parkrun and knowledge of the runners was evident - an informative parkrun with just enough 'in jokes' to make it clear that this was very much a community without making new runners feel excluded.
The course itself is 1 short and 2 long laps around the park. It is mainly on tarmac, apart from a very aptly named 'muddy corner'. We also ran past Queen Victoria's statue twice - over some slippery York paving stones - in fact due to the weird weather lots of the course was slippery underfoot. The course is fairly flat - there was an uphill section, but it wasn't terribly steep and most of the course felt downhill. I didn't have a great run because I seem to have developed ITB issues, so decided not to push it too hard. I was pleased to sneak in under 24 minutes.
The marshals on the course included lots of international students who appeared a tad bemused the first time we passed them but seemed to warm to the task on subsequent laps - clapping and cheering us on! Huge thanks to all of them and to all the local volunteers - especially the one who sorted out my non scanning finish token! Honestly, last week I scanned my supermarket loyalty card by mistake, this week my finish token wouldn't scan... I can't wait to see what happens next Saturday!
After the run we went for a quick coffee at 'Opposites' cafe, sadly we couldn't stay long as Husbando was here for work after all! As we left the cafe it started raining properly and we were somewhat soggy when we arrived back at our hotel. I loved my parkrun morning, but the wealth of choice of parkruns has made one significant change to my touristing. I used to approach a new venue at a very conservative pace, the thinking being that if I was in that area again I could then easily beat my time and get those lovely letters 'PB' next to my name. Now there are so many choices that I am spoilt for choice which means I really have to give each and every parkrun a good effort!