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Kings of Anglia Issue 9 Magazine Offer

On the run: a downpour at Mulbarton parkrun

PUBLISHED: 21:58 06 June 2018

The start of the 257th Mulbarton parkrun, held in heavy rain last Saturday. Picture: IAN EDWARDS PHOTOGRAPHY

The start of the 257th Mulbarton parkrun, held in heavy rain last Saturday. Picture: IAN EDWARDS PHOTOGRAPHY

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Athletics correspondent Carl Marston is travelling around the region (and beyond!), running in different parkruns. This week he heads to Mulbarton

Runners spash through the puddles at last Saturday's Mulbarton parkrun. Picture: IAN EDWARDS PHOTOGRAPHYRunners spash through the puddles at last Saturday's Mulbarton parkrun. Picture: IAN EDWARDS PHOTOGRAPHY

What a shock to the system!

Having spent the last week lounging on a small beach in Lanzarote, with occasional dips in a warm Atlantic Ocean and a daily five-mile run to and from the old harbour at Puerto Del Carmen, I returned refreshed and ready to tackle a parkrun.

I was looking forward to some hot conditions, and a chance to test the benefits of my warm-weather training from that seven-day stint in the Canary Islands, buoyed by spectating the Ironman Lanzarote on day one.

It was awe-inspiring to watch up to 1,800 athletes tackle the tough 2.4-mile ocean swim, 112-mile bike ride on the windswept island and a 26.2-mile marathon run up-and-down the promenade.

Gail Hardingham, right, celebrating her 250th parkrun, is in good spirits with her husband Kevin. Picture: IAN EDWARDS PHOTOGRAPHYGail Hardingham, right, celebrating her 250th parkrun, is in good spirits with her husband Kevin. Picture: IAN EDWARDS PHOTOGRAPHY

One day, perhaps, I will dip my toes into the world of triathlon.

But for the moment, I was content to return to the relative comforts of this parkrun Series, after a weekend off, for the regular Saturday morning 5K jaunt.

- On the run: fun in the sun at Great Dunmow parkrun

'On the Run' columnist Carl Marston, relishing the rain on The Common at Mulbarton. Picture: IAN EDWARDS PHOTOGRAPHY'On the Run' columnist Carl Marston, relishing the rain on The Common at Mulbarton. Picture: IAN EDWARDS PHOTOGRAPHY

Last weekend I chose Mulbarton, a quaint village five miles south of Norwich, to air my new sun-tan at the 257th staging of this popular event.

I had my sun-glasses at the ready, and the sun-cream. There was the whiff of a sub-20-minute time in the air, as I left the house.

I felt good and, up until 10 minutes before the start, I was all geared up for a scorching summer run, or at least a good trot around the village Common in lukewarm conditions.

Runners and dogs lapped up the wet conditions at the Mulbarton parkrun in Norfolk last weekend. Picture: IAN EDWARDS PHOTOGRAPHYRunners and dogs lapped up the wet conditions at the Mulbarton parkrun in Norfolk last weekend. Picture: IAN EDWARDS PHOTOGRAPHY

But then the heavens opened, and it started bucketing down!

The rain did not relent throughout the next half-hour, easily the wettest parkrun I have yet endured.

Of course the downpour stopped, as soon as I had returned to my car, but already those seven days in sun-kissed Lanzarote seemed a very, very long time ago.

This weekend, wherever I end up, I will pack the waterproofs, towel and perhaps even a pair of goggles, along with the sunglasses.

The run-down

The course is simple, but a delightful one, albeit for its habit of getting waterlogged.

Three and three-quarter laps of The Common, entirely on grass, and almost dead flat.

The web-site warns that the course can be ‘wet and slippery’ – well, it was bone-dry during my short warm-up, but by the end of the event it was strewn with puddles.

That added to the fun.

Last Saturday’s results

Alan Hume, of Norfolk Gazelles, led home a good field of 142 runners, joggers and walkers in 17mins 46secs.

A regular parkrunner in Scotland – many of his 267 events have been rattled up in Falkirk, Strathclyde, Glasgow and alike – he obviously relished the soggy conditions.

Wymondham AC’s Andrew Preston notched 18:42 in second, while Aidan Thorpe was third home in 18:44.

Junior Amberley Wright, in the 11-14 year-old age group, was the first female finisher. A member of Runners-next-the-Sea (based at Wells-next-the-Sea), she celebrated a personal best of 23:11 for the Mulbarton event.

But the biggest celebration (and cheer) of the day was reserved for Gail Hardingham. An over-60 veteran from Norfolk Gazelles, Hardingham clocked up her 250th parkrun, and coincidently her 150th at Mulbarton, in a very respectable 26:17.

Many of her Gazelles club-mates were in attendance to mark the occasion.

Records

City of Norwich AC teenager, Jack White, a 1,500m and 3,000m exponent on the track, holds the course best following his 15:44 effort at the 231st event, held last September.

Eleanor Matthews posted a swift 18:32 from the 18th event, in July of 2013. That remains the quickest by a female at Mulbarton.

Carl’s experience

Mulbarton had been on my radar for a while, but I chose it last Saturday to give me a fighting chance of dashing the 34 miles across to Ixworth to collect my dog from the kennels before they closed for visitors at 10.30am.

Oscar, the Italian Spinone, had been staying in these luxurious lodgings for a week, during our break in Lanzarote.

I made it, but only just.

All hopes of ‘ducking’ under 20 minutes at Mulbarton were thwarted by splashing through some puddles, while weighed down by a saturated running vest – runners will find anything to complain about, and any old excuse for a below-par run!

I was a handful of seconds over 20 minutes, but I did reach Oscar with five minutes to spare. He was oblivious to my efforts.

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