As is probably common with many parkrunners, when looking to head away anywhere, one of the first things I look at is if there is a new parkrun I can try out. Therefore as soon as my family booked a trip to Scarborough, I was in the lookout.

Now I had assumed given its size, Scarborough would have its own event. But alas no. Maybe it is the seasonal nature of the town that makes it hard to organise, I don’t know, but there is none in the town. Therefore I was going to need to head a little further afield.

It looked like a toss up between Sewerby parkrun in Bridlington or heading west to Dalby Forest parkrun. (Reading around it does look like one is due to start much closer to Scarborough imminently but details on the inaugural are obviously hard to come by). In terms of time/distance there was little to choose from so the decision came down to which looked like the nicer run to explore. With some stunning shots of the forest on Facebook, Dalby Forest was a winner (it also has the added advantage of being a new letter on the alphabet challenge for me!)

Saturday morning came and I headed out towards the forest with my sister and her fiancĂ©. I hadn’t maybe given quite enough time, forgetting that whilst the mileage was lower, a lot of the roads are slower around here. As such, we did miss the first timers briefing but thankfully arrived in time for the start.

I didn’t know what to really expect with the run in terms of terrain etc. I had read before that Olympic Mountain Bike Champion, Tom Pidcock, sometimes rode the trails so I thought it could be quite hilly. What was unique for me though was the fact that it was a single lap. I have down a few out and backs and many multi lap courses, but never a single lap course. The advantage of this is you get to explore more. The disadvantage? You never know what to expect round the next corner.

The run started with a nice downhill section. I was a little further back than perhaps I should have been so was trying to pick my way through gaps until the field started to thin out a bit more. The path was pretty straight for about 1km through the trees before you pop out into a small open section. Quickly looping round that, you then drop back into the trees.

The paths were nice and wide and the conditions under foot really quite good (although I can imagine in the winter it would be very wet and muddy). The thing was that from around 1.5km through to the halfway point we seemed to still be heading downhill so I was starting to dread the returning uphill. 2km went by in a much slower split. However, I knew that wasn’t true so it was clear to me that GPS must be struggling with the high tree cover. It did mean that the rest of the run was done effectively ‘naked’ as I was just running with little idea of truly how far I had gone.

At around 2.5km there was a short turnaround point before heading down a much narrower, windy trail. This would have been hard in the winter, but very quickly we were back on paths. Indeed from that point on was pretty much all on gravel paths along the valley floor. I’m not a huge fan of gravel so I tended to stay on the grass edge instead.

The whole way along the valley all I could think was that there had to be a big hill somewhere. After half the run seemingly downhill and now seemingly flat it had to be somewhere. As it is, looking at the profile post run, there were a couple of short, sharp hills that recovered much of the height. Then the valley was sloping slightly.

This didn’t stop the finish being on a climb but it was less bad than I had been expecting and I was pleasantly surprised to cross the line under 21mins again. In fact, since parkrun returned, my times have been very consistent with only a visit to The Pasture parkrun being outside a 3s window. It was then time to head back to Scarborough and spend the rest of the day on the beach.

Dalby Forest parkrun really was a stunning location to run in. I think I did hit it at its best conditions and I really enjoyed it.

By Mike

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