At the start of the year I was having a chat with my wife. We agreed that this year, if we were away from home, I could use it as an excuse to try some parkrun tourism. Tourism is a sub-culture within parkrun and is basically doing events away from your home one. Running in new places is always something that excites me. Throw is a level of geekery with challenges and I am well on board!

I regularly go up to visit my in-laws in West Yorkshire so I’d started researching the parkruns in that area ready for our next trip. Wakefield, Huddersfield, Barnsley, which to choose! Then in January I saw the name Storthes Hall pop up in a Facebook group. It didn’t ring a bell but when I saw it was only 5 miles from the in-laws, I knew which one I was going to tick off.

I was all set and then, the cold weather came. All of a sudden we weren’t sure if we’d be coming up north anyway. And if we did, would the run still be on? Having spent the week glued to their Facebook page, I went to bed last night confident it would be going ahead, but not overly so. Then at 7:46am the post I was waiting for came through, event on!

After scraping ice off the car and a beautiful drive over the frozen hills, I rocked up at Storthes Hall. Car park marshals were on hand and then it was about a 10min walk to the starting area. I was one of the first there so was wondering if a lot of people had taken the opportunity to stay warm. However, I soon got chatting to the ED who was very excited as, with almost all other local parkruns falling foul of the weather, he was hoping for a bumper turn out. Especially as apparently if he got over 250 they would be able to claim another barcode scanner! (Looking at results was exactly 250 so not sure if that counts or not)

By start time there were plenty there so it was decided to combine the first timers briefing with the general briefing. Last time I had touristed at Roundhay Park, when it came to the question of were there any tourists, I’d been gazumped by someone from NZ. This time there was no doubting I’d travelled the furthest (a strange sense of pride!)

The run started and within the first 100m we’d probably already climbed more than I would usually back home. It was then into the woods for three laps. The course was very picturesque but brutal! A drag uphill which my flat running legs weren’t used to, then down through the narrow forest paths. Avoiding tree roots and the odd patches of icy ground. Although this was only event #3 here, I’d seen that it was never going to be a fast one. With the added complication of the conditions, I had no idea what time to aim for. Probably a good thing as the dense tree cover and windy course was always going to play havoc with GPS. It was actually quite liberating just running and ignoring the watch!

I crossed in 24.47 and a position of 45th neither of which was a disappointment given conditions and fact everyone else was local so probably more used to going uphill! It was then back to The Venue for a quick coffee to warm up and then back to the in-laws.

All in all it was a really pleasant parkrun. I would recommend trying out, just don’t expect a PB! I’m sure given closeness to wife’s parents I’ll be back at some point. Although maybe after a few more Yorkshire tourist visits!

A few random stats:

Have you done Storthes Hall parkrun? If so what did you think, leave a comment!

By Mike

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