On the run: Cor blimey! sampling the delights of the Corby parkrun
PUBLISHED: 16:40 23 February 2018
Athletics correspondent Carl Marston is travelling around the region (and beyond!), running in different parkruns. This time he heads to Corby
Before last Saturday, I had never been to Corby and knew very little about it, with the exception of the town’s historic strong links with the steel industry, and the presence of Corby Town FC in the Northern Premier League.
Oh, and I realised it had a parkrun.
Hence my first-ever visit to this corner of the East Midlands.
The West Glebe Recreation Ground, in Corby, the venue for this long-established parkrun, is 73 miles from my house and 189 miles away from Gresty Road, the home of Crewe Alexandra FC and my ultimate destination.
In other words, the perfect stop-off place to run my 50th parkrun – nothing remarkable about that, considering that some have rattled up more than 400 and a select few have passed the 500-landmark.
Corby is on the up, after many decades of decline.
By the time of the First World War, Corby had been dubbed the ‘largest village’ in the country due to the large population growth which accompanied the production of the first steel during the 1930s.
Steel works dominated the town until the industry was gradually phased out in the region during the 1970s and 1980s.
But the town has been regenerated in more recent years.
There’s been a new railway station built, an impressive international swimming pool constructed, and the Corby Cube (housing council offices, theatres and a library) was opened in 2010, but most importantly of all, of course, a parkrun was established in the autumn of 2013.
A field of 126 congregated for the inaugural Corby parkrun, on September 21, 2013, since when 227 such 5K events have taken place over a two-and-a-half-lap course at West Glebe Recreation Ground.
I was one of a total of 116 who braved the cold conditions last Saturday, tackling a varied route which included some good cross country, a mixture of grass, hard paths and a stretch of woodland.
Last Saturday’s results
Most of the parkruns I have taken part in, over these last few months, have included an impressive number of young athletes (I would never call them whippersnappers!) at the head of the field.
It is not unusual for talented juniors from the 11-14 age-group to sprint home in front, or for track & field and cross country specialists from the 15-17 year-old section to romp home in first place, leaving their more ‘experienced’ runners trailing in their wake.
Well, for once that was not the case at Corby.
First home last weekend was Nigel Rackham, an over-55 veteran from Metros RC who, like me, was sampling the delights of the Corby parkrun for the first time. He clocked 18mins 01secs.
Dean Marshall, another from the 55-59 year-old age group, finished his 83rd parkrun in fourth slot, and Peter Gray, from the local club Corby AC, was eighth in 21:14, a highly respectable time for an over-60 veteran.
It was a similar pattern for the leading ladies – Wellingborough AC’s Kelly Wedge (40-44) was first home in 24:20, followed by over-45 veteran Tracy Southwell and Jane Walker (65-69) in third.
Chris Busaileh, from the famous Herne Hill Harriers club (founded in 1889), holds the course best with his 16:09 clocking from April, 2014.
Jason Pascoe, of the delightfully named ‘Active Dog Cornwall,’ was just two seconds slower with his effort of 16:11 in August, 2015.
For the ladies, just three have gone under 20 minutes, headed by Belgrave Harriers’ Sophie Harris (17:26 on Christmas Day, 2017).
Pardon the pun, but I was determined to have a ‘steely’ run (whatever that means) at Corby, a former home of many steel works where the football team are still nicknamed ‘The Steelmen’ and play their home games at Steel Park.
And I suppose I did. My time of 20:55 was two seconds quicker than my previous weekend’s effort at Clumber Park, though tempered by the fact that Corby’s course was slightly ‘easier’ and the weather was not so wintry.
Ironically, my final destination of Crewe was one of his three places to host its first parkrun last weekend (the others were Great Denham and Bedworth).
I noted that 395 runners rolled up to Queens Park, Crewe, which was just two miles from where I watched Colchester United slither to 1-0 defeat at Gresty Road, the home of Crewe Alexandra.
Alas, there was nothing ‘steely’ about that performance.