The Boy (Jack) and I are both big supporters of Parkrun and I often find myself promoting the free weekly timed 5k event to other people. Shamefully I am not the most regular attender but having recently moved to the south side I hope to make the Pollok event a staple part of my weekly routine. One of the reasons, aside from sleeping in, that I have not run as regularly as I would like is that I often finding myself away from the city at the weekend so over the last 12 months I have made a consicous effort to try and incorporate some parkruns from far flung locations (such as Greenock, Falkirk and Tollcross :)).
So it made sense that while planning my trip down south for a family wedding last weekend I should consult the parkrun website and see if there were any events nearby. It was a pleasant surprise to find that Buckingham parkrun was less than half a mile up the road. Setting the alarm early – 9am start in England as opposed to 9:30 in Scotland – I managed to persuade Stephen and Michael to join me. The .4 mile warm up would certainly help waken the legs but they convinced me we should travel by car. Making our way back towards the start line I couldn’t help think we’d have been quicker running from the hotel but we made it in good time and were welcomed by friendly marshals making their way out onto the course.
During the race briefing it was great to hear about the full volunteer roster for the forthcoming week and about local achievements including one young runner who had reached the landmark 50 parkrun club. We even got a shout out and round of applause for being the farthest travelled parkrun tourists of the week. So after receiving our acclaim we wandered over to the start line. One of the things that catches me out every time I attend parkrun is the abruptness of the start. No hanging about, no coloured start zones and waves just a simple 3,2,1 go. I always end up further back than I ought to but the great thing about these events is that they should not be treated as a race each week. Achieving a pb is great but running with like minded folk, seeing new places, volunteering so others can run and being part of a huge grassroots movement are much more important.
Buckingham is the self-proclaimed lollipop course with two laps of the lollipop sandwiched between an out and back up and down the lollipop stick! Friendly marshals guard junctions where newbies may venture off track and offer words of encouragement and praise. Highlights of the course include the quaint setting of Buckingham itself and the various sporting venues that line the course including a cricket field and the home of Buckingham Athletic Football ground. With slight undulations and a few twists and turns Buckingham offers an interesting course whilst still giving the potential for a pb. And pbs we all did get – 3 shiny new Bucking parkrun PBs 🙂
Route shown on my Strava profile – https://www.strava.com/activities/361084097
Whilst two minutes down on my overall parkrun / 5k pb I was pleased with my run and enjoyed watching the rest of the field coming in. There were some very strong juniors running (in fact sprinting) over the finish line. Both Stephen and Michael came in below their target times and we set off for breakfast happy in the knowledge we’d gotten to know the area a little better in unique style.
I’d certainly recommend consulting the parkrun website alongside trip advisor and lonely planet the next time you head off to pastures new.
As usual a big thanks to all the volunteers. Especially the (bearded) chap who made a point of welcoming us, pointing us in the right direction of the start line and then talking to us at the end of the race – he said we’d looked strong during the run, obviously as newcomers he’d confused us with some professional type runners who’d also been completing parkrun that morning.