On the run: reliving the Cambridge parkrun
- Credit: Andy Abbott
Athletics writer Carl Marston is travelling around the region (and beyond), running in different parkruns. Here he recalls a trip to Cambridge
There’s a little unexpected treat promised for this week – two new additions to this parkrun Series, inside just five days.
How come, I hear you ask?
It is only possible to complete one parkrun per week, due to the fact that they virtually all take place at the same time of 9am every Saturday morning.
But for one week only – other than the traditional double-header on New Year’s Day when it is often possible to run two different parkruns, due to staggered start times – I will feature two events.
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Two reasons – firstly, there are a few parkruns from my dim-and-distant past that I have yet to recount, in addition to my most recent experience at Oak Hill (to be revealed in Friday’s regular column).
And secondly, and perhaps most crucially, the wet weather last weekend meant that the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier Cricket League was completely wiped out, which has created space for a parkrun bonus!
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Every cloud .....
I have bitter-sweet memories of my short trip to Cambridge to take part in the Cambridge parkrun, at Milton Country Park.
There was a reasonably modest finishing time, but almost a wardrobe malfunction, as soon to be revealed!
First held back on January 30, 2010, when 71 runners, joggers and walkers took part in the inaugural Cambridge parkrun, this weekly event now regularly attracts fields in excess of 400 or even 500.
In fact, at event No. 408, on January 27 of this year, a record 647 completed the event, all enjoying what is a potentially fast course featuring one short lap and then two longer laps around the northern section of the park.
An amazing 125 runners have clocked sub 17-minute times, proving how fast the course is, on good gravel paths and on flat terrain, with just a few twists and turns for good measure.
Graham Rush (well named!) has the course record of 14:48, set on August 5, 2017, while Susie Hignett posted the quickest time by a female of 16:28 in June, 2010.
Five members of West Suffolk AC are in the top 25 ladies – Charlotte Murphy (17:37), Holly Archer (17:38), Justine Anthony (17:58), Sophie Tooley (18:18) and Laura Murphy (18:30).
For the men ,West Suffolk’s Seb Anthony is 37th fastest with 16:11, and Saint Edmund Pacers’ Tom Kingsnorth is 40th with 16:20
I ran the Cambridge parkrun just over a year ago, on March 18, 2017 – and it still looms large in the memory.
The truth is – I had trouble with my trusty blue shorts, from the warm-up through to the finish.
They used to be a snug fit, but the elastic had loosened in past weeks, and at Cambridge that Spring weekend it chose to give up the ghost.
It was an interesting challenge, trying to cover the 5K as quickly as possible without my shorts ending up around my ankles.
My running style was curious, to stay the least, and I was relieved to reach the finish-line with my modesty in tact. It yielded a rare sub 20-minute time as well, so perhaps I should run with ill-fitting shorts more often?