Two years ago I put out a simple poll on twitter. I was heading up to my inlaws and I wondered where I should next visit on the parkrun tourism trail.

Huddersfield parkrun won by a narrow amount but as it was things changed and I didn’t make it. Subsequent trips up to Yorkshire saw more failed attempts to make it to this parkrun. Be it plans that ruled out parkrun that weekend for me, Huddersfield itself being cancelled which saw me make it to 3rd place Barnsley parkrun or revisiting Rothwell parkrun to run with family. Then Covid hit and I wondered if I would ever make it.

However, after a week away on holiday, this year we were stopping overnight at my inlaws on the way home and a Saturday tourism trip was on the hands. It was finally time to get to Huddersfield!

The run is held in Greenhead Park and despite the fact that my wife had gone to the adjacent Greenhead College when younger, and I have spent a lot of time in Huddersfield over the years, I hadn’t actually been to this part of town.

Parking was on one of the surrounding roads although I think if I had been much later arriving, this could have proven harder. It was then a short walk to the start area outside the park in the cafe. Compared to what I am used to, Huddersfield parkrun is a much larger event with only a New Years Day event at Pocket coming close to the 528 who ran this week, putting it in the top 10 attended events for the week It meant that there was a real atmosphere as the start approached and after a quick first timers briefing and overall run briefing, it was time to go.

One thing I do like about parkrun tourism is the “adventure” of a new course. You have no idea which parts of the course are fast/slow so you just go. After a brief downhill stretch it was a quick left hand turn to loop back round and complete a small loop. Going back uphill for a flat dweller like myself was already harder!

After passing the start again we were off on the big loop for two laps of the park. You really get to see all corners of the park with a winding and undulating trip around the paths. I particularly liked coming back over the course and seeing everyone else cross beneath you. I wasn’t really sure how I was travelling though. It felt quite fast but my km were ticking off quite slowly. However, I did suspect that my watch was measuring a little short. With the knowledge on the 2nd lap I started to push through but by 4km I was blowing. It was therefore really good to come round the final corner into the downhill finish with a good time on my watch. I crossed the line with 4.78km measured but more importantly an official time of 20:56 which is actually a new official parkrun PB! Not what I was expecting.

It may have taken two years but I was very pleased to finally make it to Huddersfield parkrun. It was my 41st parkrun overall so getting close to that milestone t-shirt. It was also the 12th different location, and after last weekend, parkrun tourism quickly becoming normal again. I do have a couple of other potential tourist visits earmarked for this year, let’s just see if I can get there sooner than 2yrs!

By Mike

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