On the run: frozen fingers at Clumber Park parkrun

Runners, joggers and walkers congrgate for the start of the 237th Clumber Park parkrun. Picture: CAR

Runners, joggers and walkers congrgate for the start of the 237th Clumber Park parkrun. Picture: CARL MARSTON - Credit: Archant

Athletics correspondent Carl Marston is travelling around the region (and beyond!), running in different parkruns. Here he heads to Clumber Park

The entrance to Clumber Park, the home of the weekly Clumber Park parkrun in Nottinghamshire. Pictur

The entrance to Clumber Park, the home of the weekly Clumber Park parkrun in Nottinghamshire. Picture: CARL MARSTON - Credit: Archant

Clumber Park is a popular stop-off point, in a journey up to Yorkshire or beyond, especially for dog owners wanting to exercise their pets, and caravan owners wishing to break up their trip for a cup of tea.

It is also an ideal spot to take part in a parkrun, one of 501 parkruns in the UK (the 501st was established last Saturday with the first Llanerchaeron parkrun, near Aberaeron in Wales).

I was on my way up to Cumbria, to report on Colchester United FC’s League Two match at distant Carlisle, always a mouth-watering fixture.

Clumber Park is about 130 miles from my house, and about 161 miles south of Carlisle United’s Brunton Park, and therefore an excellent location to blow away the cobwebs with the customary 5K Saturday morning challenge.

The beautiful setting for last Saturday's Clumber Park parkrun, with runners in the background. Pict

The beautiful setting for last Saturday's Clumber Park parkrun, with runners in the background. Picture: CARL MARSTON - Credit: Archant


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The Run-down

The Clumber Park parkrun, as befitting such a splendid setting, is a cracking event.

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Clumber Park is a National Trust-owned country park, close to Worksop, in Nottinghamshire.

Runners negotiate a wooded section through Clumber Park last Saturday. Picture: CARL MARSTON

Runners negotiate a wooded section through Clumber Park last Saturday. Picture: CARL MARSTON - Credit: Archant

On the run: finding serenity at Grovelands parkrun

The approach to the parkrun headquarters, near Burrows Café, is along Limetree Avenue, the longest double avenue of lime trees of its kind in Europe. It stretches for more than two miles!

One lady and her dog: As at so many parkruns up and down the country, dogs are a permanent feature o

One lady and her dog: As at so many parkruns up and down the country, dogs are a permanent feature of the Clumber Park parkrun. Picture: CARL MARSTON - Credit: Archant

There is a quaint cricket pitch nearby, complete with a thatched roof pavilion, and a vast lake, Clumber Lake, covering 87 acres.

First staged on June 29, 2013, when a field of 107 toed the start-line, last Saturday was the 237th event, held in bitterly cold conditions.

The course was over two laps, starting through woodland and featuring a downhill stretch to the lake shore path, before a short climb back to the start-finish area.

Runners near the finish of last Saturday's Clumber Park parkrun. There were 358 finishers last weeke

Runners near the finish of last Saturday's Clumber Park parkrun. There were 358 finishers last weekend. - Credit: Archant

Last Saturday’s results

Teenager William Aitkin led home a field of 358 hardy souls in 18mins 03secs, a personal best.

In fact the top three all recorded PBs, with Daniel Bullock completing his 109th parkrun in 18:40 and Wayne Lowe, of Sutton-in-Ashfield Harriers, clocking up his 130th parkrun in 19:18.

The entrance to Clumber Park, the home of the weekly Clumber Park parkrun in Nottinghamshire. Pictur

The entrance to Clumber Park, the home of the weekly Clumber Park parkrun in Nottinghamshire. Picture: CARL MARSTON - Credit: Archant

- On the run: three middle-aged men bound for Kettering parkrun

Amber Scott, in the 15-17 year-old age group, was fourth overall and the first female in an impressive 19:40.

As an aside, her twin sister Mollie Scott zoomed past me on the uphill finish as the second female finisher. Both run for Mansfield Harriers.

Records

Amanda Crook, of Southport Waterloo AC, is the faster of the 24 females to have run under 20 minutes at Clumber Park (18:15).

John Beattie, a member of Newham & Essex Beagles, has the course record of 15:04, set in October, 2016. Beattie is a familiar face on Suffolk roads, having finished fourth at the Twilight 5K in Ipswich last August (14:33).

Carl’s experience

This was the furthest north I had travelled for a parkrun, and it ended up being the coldest – it was just above freezing, numbing fingers and toes, not that I’m one to complain, despite being a ‘soft southerner.’

I started at a conservative pace, conscious that two hours driving along the A14 and up the A1 was not the ideal preparation, and also a recipe for tweaking a hamstring.

- On the run: spotlight on Colchester Castle parkrun

Well, I didn’t pull anything, finished in just three seconds under 21 minutes, and made it to Carlisle three hours later, in plenty of time to consume three meat pies in the press lounge before kick-off.

parkruns can do wonders for your appetite.

Other parkruns

– As I was up in Cumbria last weekend, I thought I’d mention a serious contender for the ‘toughest’ parkrun in England.

The Millom parkrun, in the south of the county, has been in the spotlight recently because, based on the average finishing time of each participant (35:39), it has been labelled the toughest parkrun in the country. That’s due to all the mud on its five-lap course, rather than any hills.

The so-called ‘easiest’ parkrun, the Hackney Marshes event in East London, has the lowest mean time of just 25:57.

I have never taken part in the Millom parkrun, but I have complete the Hackney Marshes event – and I think I’ll keep it that way!

– I’m on the road again this weekend, bound for Crewe to report on another Colchester United game.

Ironically, tomorrow will also feature the first-ever Crewe parkrun.

But I won’t be taking part, because I calculate that I would have to leave home at 5am to make the start-line, and on finishing it, would have more than five hours to wait for the football to start.

Even I’m not that keen.

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