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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

Top seven quirky or curious names for parkruns

PUBLISHED: 08:49 04 September 2019 | UPDATED: 08:52 04 September 2019

Runners limber up, or relax, before the start of last Saturday's Sloughbottom parkrun, in Norwich. Picture: CARL MARSTON

Runners limber up, or relax, before the start of last Saturday's Sloughbottom parkrun, in Norwich. Picture: CARL MARSTON

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Athletics correspondent Carl Marston is travelling around the region (and beyond) running in different parkruns. Here he lists seven events with curious names after a visit to Sloughbottom parkrun

Sloughbottom Park, the home of the Sloughbottom parkrunSloughbottom Park, the home of the Sloughbottom parkrun

What's in a name? Well, this quote from Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet,' implying that the name does not matter as much as the subject, can apply to many things in life - including parkrun.

Many of the 'younger' parkrun names these days are wonderfully curious, and often bewildering to a runner not from that particular locality.

Personally, I'm comfortable with the likes of the Lincoln parkrun, Chelmsford parkrun, South Manchester parkrun - you know where you stand and, more importantly, you know where to go.

Others are not so clear-cut. Where, for instance, is the 'Fire Service College' parkrun? What direction do I point my car in, to attend the 'Rising Sun' parkrun? Where is the Thomas Mills parkrun? (OK, we Suffolk inhabitants do at least know the latter location!)

Runners feel the pain as they approach the finish to last weekend's Sloughbottom parkrun. Picture: CARL MARSTONRunners feel the pain as they approach the finish to last weekend's Sloughbottom parkrun. Picture: CARL MARSTON

I mention this, because last weekend I took part in the Sloughbottom parkrun, surely one of the most superbly named of all the current total of 651 parkruns in the UK.

The event is named after the venue, Sloughbottom Park, but you have to have good local knowledge, or some sleuthing skills, to work out that it is just off the Drayton Road, in Norwich.

In celebration of the delightful Sloughbottom parkrun, I have put forward a top seven of quirky, curious, parkrun names.

Runners set off at the start of the seventh staging of theThomas Mills parkrun, at Framlingham. Picture: THOMAS MILLS PARKRUN FACEBOOKRunners set off at the start of the seventh staging of theThomas Mills parkrun, at Framlingham. Picture: THOMAS MILLS PARKRUN FACEBOOK

1 Sloughbottom

One of seven parkruns within a 12-mile radius, in and around Norwich, I had wanted to take part in this Sloughbottom event from the moment that it came into being, which was only four months ago. The name has a sluggish air, a Merrie Olde England tinge to it, perhaps popular with slower runners, though its actually just named after Sloughbottom Park, opened in 1929 and boasting a fine BMX course for good measure. For the record, Sloughbottom will always hold a special place in my heart - it's where I ran my first sub 20-minute parkrun (only last weekend) for more than a year!

2 Pocket

A good sign: Pocket parkrun is in this direction. Picture: CARL MARSTONA good sign: Pocket parkrun is in this direction. Picture: CARL MARSTON

Another fantastic little title, the Pocket parkrun in St Neots is named after Barford Road Pocket Park. And it is a gem of a course, featuring stretches through meadows and along the banks of the River Ouse. Pardon the pun, but I pocketed a useful time at Pocket in the summer of 2018.

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3 Fire Service College

Runners in the shade make their way along the Pocket parkrun route, close to the River Great Ouse. Picture: CARL MARSTONRunners in the shade make their way along the Pocket parkrun route, close to the River Great Ouse. Picture: CARL MARSTON

Personally, I would prefer the name - Moreton-in-Marsh parkrun - to evoke the full beauty of the Cotswolds. Instead, this Gloucestershire event takes its name from the venue, Fire Service College, a place where training for firefighters at all levels is on offer. Naturally, parkrunners of 'all levels' have been welcome every Saturday since last December.

4 Tetbury Goods Shed

The Cotswolds again. Far more appealing than would have been the simple Tetbury parkrun, this is a two-lapper in Preston Park which in part follows the dismantled Tetbury branch line. I like the sound of this one. It was only established in May of this year. Last Saturday was event No. 16. It's on my radar.

5 Thomas Mills

This needs no introduction to Suffolk residents, but can leave non-locals non-plussed. I would have liked a more commonplace Framlingham parkrun title - you know where you are then - but it's named after Thomas Mills High School (run HQ), which in turn is named after early 18th century Baptist philanthropist Thomas Mills, who stipulated within his will that money from his estate be used to "further the education of the children in Framlingham." No mention of parkrun though!

6 Rising Sun

This sounds wonderfully appetising, as dawn breaks on a Saturday morning. Based at Benton, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, at the Rising Sun Country Park, its scenic appeal is slightly tarnished by the phrase on the official website - 'Runners can park for free in the overflow part of the ASDA Supermarket car park'.

7 Fell Foot

As good as its sounds, in Fell Foot Park with superb views of Lake Windermere. The sort of parkrun venue where you can hang around for the whole day.

So that's seven, but I could have mentioned 17, or 27. parkrun names are a good talking point.

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