Conkers ~ #92 ~ venue 23
On my third trip to Thunder Run I finally got to take in the local parkrun on the Saturday morning, which will give you some indication of how seriously I was taking the upcoming 24 hour race!
In previous years the influx of TR24 runners has seen a crowd of over 500, but I can only guess that all the Thunder Runners have ticked off this particular parkrun as a sociable 339 took to the course. Being a leisurely run with the afternoon’s exertions in mind I think I must have chatted to at least 300 of them!
The course is a “lollipop” with a steady climb on hard-packed trails through the woods. Bursting out in to the open we followed a reclaimed canal teeming with fish and birds before dropping quickly back to the woods and a steady downhill to the finish.
We didn’t hang around after as we had to get back to Catton Park and await the team, but the Conkers volunteers seemed as wonderfully welcoming as I’ve come to expect from parkrun and the cafe was very tempting! Definitely worth a visit if you’re nearby.
Richmond ~ #93 ~ venue 24
I’ve wanted to run Richmond for a long time. I’ve seen many photos of the deer, the trails and the trees of Richmond, it looked a wonderful place to explore and a parkrun is as good a way as any to see some of the sights. Knowing I had a day in London coming, plans were made…
Unfortunately, following an infection from insect bites at Thunder Run, I really wasn’t supposed to run, but I couldn’t miss the opportunity to visit Richmond while I was in town.
I was met by the brilliant Andrew Brown, a fellow cow cowl wearer, who was looking after first-timers and tourists. He was even more welcoming than most and gave me loads of information about the park and their parkrun. Every venue should have an Andrew!
I took to the course for a run/walk, quite content to be at the back and just take in the views. I’d heard much about the downs and ups, but the course is actually quite comfortable with a gentle roadside climb to begin, then a rolling descent to wide open grassland. I’d been hoping to get a sight of the majestic deer that roam freely in the park, which I did, but at quite a distance! I did see the Ride London police cavalcade rolling out though which was impressive. There is a climb towards the end of the route but it’s short and managable, and there was lots of support hanging around at the finish which was lovely.
Sadly I couldn’t do the course justice, but I still loved my Richmond experience. Again I didn’t stop for the cafe but the folks were lovely, so much so I could be tempted to head back one day…when I’ve ticked off all the other options in Central London!