It’s time for a holiday! Each year we go away with all my wife’s family to Northumberland. For years this holiday was synonymous with me trying to get back into running and then seeing this tail off again once I got home. Now it is a great excuse to get some mileage in among beautiful scenery.

Last year when we were heading away I’d done a handful of parkruns at Pocket and was already bitten by the bug (which I have to say is a lot less painful than the one that bit me taking kids to Junior parkrun last week and caused my leg to swell up!!). I’d had a look on the ever handy Tourist Tool but the closest to where we were staying was Druridge Bay but with Google maps putting it about a 45min drive away, it felt too far.

Then earlier in the year, at a similar time to finding out about Storthes Hall and Penistone starting up as ideal locations for me to visit, I heard about The Pastures parkrun in Alnwick. This was much closer to the holiday home so my Saturday morning was sorted!

Now unfortunately a close friend recently died unexpectedly so on the Friday we were at his funeral in South Wales. It was then an 8hr drive up the country before we arrived at our Northumberland holiday home at 11.30pm. I was determined to still run though so headed over with my two brother in laws who I’d last run with at Rothwell.

Looking at recent results we could see that The Pastures wasn’t usually the most crowded parkrun. However with the holidays now in play, we did wonder how many other tourists would be there. The marshalls were really friendly at the beginning, speaking with each pocket of tourists, saving a full briefing. Then at 8:57 the heavens opened! The course is across grassy fields so this just added to the conditions!

After the long drive yesterday and the conditions, I wasn’t quite sure how I’d do. However, rather than take the sensible option, I chose to hare off. After a 4min 1st km, normal pace was resumed and after 3 laps of the field with beautiful views of Alnwick Castle (used in the early Harry Potter films movie fans), I crossed the line in a pleasing 22:23.

At this point I realised they were having some issues with the scanners in the rain so I jumped on with the parkrun virtual volunteer app and started scanning. I really recommend downloading as you never know when you might be able to help out.

When my 2nd brother in law crossed the line, and with the field starting to thin out again, I exported the results, sent them to the run director and headed off for some dry clothes. The relief when the results came through that I hadn’t screwed up was immense!

Overall, despite the rain, this was a really enjoyable trip and I am sure we’ll be back again next year when we are back in Northumberland.

Some random facts:

  • 28th parkrun in total
  • 9th different parkrun run
  • Knocked ‘T’ off on Alphabet Challenge
  • 3rd time volunteering, 1st time doing barcode scanning

By Mike

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