Saturday, 16 May 2015

Parkrun Tourism: Tilgate Park

Staying away from home on a Friday night? What's the first thing a parkrunner does when planning their trip? Check out any local Parkrun to their accommodation and then see how they can squeeze it into the weekend!

I have not really considered this when getting ready to stay at my Mum's house until she sent me a message suggesting after staying over on Friday night that we could go to Tilgate Park in Crawley so I could do Parkrun there as it was a really rather lovely park.

She was not wrong, the park was beautiful and a popular Parkrun by the looks of their webpage regularly enticing over 400 runners. 

We arrived and saw the floods of lycra-clad participants heading from the car park towards the start of the course. The numbers swelling as 9 am drew closer. Mum found a good spot by the lake to watch the running and I waited at the start point as we thanked volunteers and celebrated the multiple event awards of 50's and 100's. 

It was a sunny and warm morning - not really done justice by the picture. The first lap of the course was gently undulating around the lake and then headed upwards for a lap of the park with some not so gentle undulations. Passing through wooded areas it was clear to see why this was a popular Parkrun, despite the course being tougher than I am used to it was a far more enticing environment to run in. 

At almost 2 miles into the run we returned to the edge of the lake to run another lap where I saw Mum and gave her a wave as she cheered and took pictures. Onward I went, very hot by now but still keeping pace with the same runners I had fallen into pace with early on during the run. A runner with his dog, let the giddy Spaniel off the lead to jump in the lake to cool down... I think this is possibly the only time I have ever wanted a wet dog to shake the water off himself near me (to cool down) but alas he did not! 

Round the final bend and the very keen marshals were shouting words of encouragement at the runners who were starting their final lap or in the final 200m sprint for the finish. I pushed as hard as I could for the last 100m although to look at the video my mum recorded you may be forgiven for thinking I was having a leisurely jog. I crossed the line in 26:42 which was pretty pleasing - and not too far off last weeks time especially considering the hilly course.

Tilgate Parkrun, I hope to be back in the future! A lovely park and very friendly marshals.

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