Poole Park Parkrun

In a vain attempt to try and minimise the inevitable weight gain over Christmas – it’s so tough not to with mince pies, real ale and the enormous amounts of obligatory meat eating – I thought, at the suggestion of my good friend Dan, to have a go at the Poole Parkrun on Christmas eve. For those of you unfamiliar with Parkrun they run free 5km time trials throughout the country on Saturday mornings.

A couple of miles of warm up from my mum’s mountain top bungalow, well Upper Parkstone is quite  high, and I arrived at Poole Park feeling pretty unprepared for an early morning 5k blast. I haven’t done many 5k races this year, in fact from memory only one on the track over the summer, so I was expecting to find it a bit short, sharp and probably pretty ugly.

There were around 250 runners taking part and I would say that at least half were in fancy dress, which added to an already very pleasant atmosphere. By far the best costume, involved four people in the guise of one Santa and three reindeer complete with sled and reigns. Documentary evidence available here.

The course itself is very nice, out and around the lakes of Poole Park a couple of times, with a nice circular finish in front of the cricket pavilion. A fairly big pack led from the front at quite a rapid pace (I went through the first KM fairly far back in 3min 25 sec), but quickly settled down. I felt my time of 18min 38 sec and placing 13th was fairly indicative of my current level of fitness and the work that needs to be done in the new year, and thankfully only beaten by one fully clad Father Christmas!

What does everyone else think about the Parkrun format, and in particular if anyone has completed any other than Bushy Park (my local Parkrun) or Poole Park, what are the courses like? Does anyone tend to do them regularly and does it keep them motivated?  I do very much enjoy them, but looking at the results of this one, I have only done 8 in four years. Maybe I should make more effort to get out of bed early on a Saturday….

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