parkrun, trail running

Soham Village College parkrun and the Ely Runners Christmas 18 miler.

After a heavy October, I have kicked back a bit:  I have ran way fewer miles in November, and yet carried on eating at the same rate.  I have kicked back too much, I have gained a few pounds (not a major problem) and have definitely lost some fitness.  My fault!  I have some serious training to do in early 2020.

I have just two things to report: the new Soham Village College parkrun, and the Ely Runners annual Christmas 18 miler (oh, and maybe a little review of the year).

 

Soham Village College parkrun.

parkrun, is, as we all know, is a global phenomenon, and thanks to two fanatics, it has come to another part of our little corner of the world.  Andrew Scarlett and Jon Price discussed Soham Village College parkrun ages ago, it has been a real slow burn in its planning, and with the help of a core team of Run Directors (of which I am one) and volunteers, a trial event took place on the 16th November 2019.  We are now at event number 4.

Some of the Soham Village College parkrun volunteers. It only works because of people like this.

I have enjoyed working on the social media and promotion for this parkrun, and with the help of Neighbourhood Cares Soham, we managed to reach out to the local community.  It is really early days, but so far, we have had enough volunteers to cover all of the roles needed to allow parkrun to happen each week, and we have had a respectable turnout of people to walk/ jog/ run the events.

Two of our superb, regular volunteers.

Soham Village College parkrun is an interesting one, with some twists and turns, and time spent on the concrete of the College grounds as well as on gently undulating fields. It may not be a PB course, but it is a fun and varied one, which will certainly help with anyone’s 5K times.  Come along and see what you think!  It’s brilliant!

 

The Ely Runners 2019 Christmas 18 miler. 

This is one of the BEST events in the club calendar!  Members can choose to run from Woodditton to Ely (cross country), which is just over 18 miles, or a couple of shorter options. All distances are demanding, mainly due to mud, the undulating terrain and the fact that it really is a bit of a technical run.

Ely Runners gathering at Woodditton. December 15th 2019.

This year I ran the best part of the route with running buddy, Emily.  We covered the trail though woodland from Woodditton (ups and downs, tree roots, mud) and along the amazing Devil’s Dyke, which gives stunning views of the surrounding countryside, and requires you to run along a very high path lined in clumps either side with Hawthorn; Blackthorn; Wild Rose bushes; thistles and general all-round prickly stuff!  It’s great!  The wind made the run a little more demanding, but not as much as the mud and puddles as the terrain turned more ‘Fenland-like’.  We met up with Charlotte, who wore the BEST festive costume (see if you can guess who she is from the pic above)!  Sadly, as we got to the second food and drink station, Emily decided to cut her run short as she was not feeling so great.  We tried some sublime Rolo Vodka and Sloe Gin, provided by the amazing Claire, and then we carried on.  For the rest of the run, we stuck with Martin (who I ran the Kings Forest Ultra with) and Allistair, another amazing Ely Runner.

Me and the brilliant Emily!

I found that the Sloe Gin and the Rolo Vodka led to a slightly elated feeling as I took in the views and enjoyed the banter with my fellow runners; however, the drinks did repeat on me a fair bit!  Speaking of banter, there was a lot of it and I’m not sure it should be documented here: needless to say at times it was controversial (it often is when Charlotte is around)!

It should go on record though, that after Emily had ran off to find undergrowth and bushes, behind which she could ‘spend a penny’, she ended up with loads of those burs (hooked seeds) in her underwear: upon rejoining the trail she looked somewhat flushed and loudly announced ‘I’ve got seeds in my under-crackers!’  Emily, it would have been wrong of me not to record this for posterity.

At the first food/ drink station with Charlotte, Kyle and a ‘donkey’.

Once we got to Ely (and that last slog with the Cathedral in sight is tough), it was time for a shower and slap up roast lunch, organised by the Ely Runners Social Secretary and superb running buddy, Lauren Thomas.  All in all a brilliant event!

 

2019

It’s been a crazy year for me, with many highlights and personal achievements: 26 races (including my first duathlon); getting very close to my 100th parkrun; delivering my first one-to-one coaching sessions; delivering my first track session; completing 6 ultra marathons (and getting my Positive Steps Grand Slam tankard); winning the Ely Sporting Hero Award (The Ely Hero Awards) as well as the England Athletics Regional Volunteer Award (inclusion category); supporting people with a learning disability and/ or autism to enjoy parkrun.  Hard work like this doesn’t happen in a vacuum: it requires support and understanding from loved ones, great running buddies and an amazing club.  I have loved 2019!

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No more now until Peddars Way in January 2020!  Merry Christmas!

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