The relatively rare lesser spotted inaugural parkrun has been on my radar for sometime but it has always just seemed to be out of my grasp. It was with great anticipation that I spotted the inaugural Upton Court parkrun was due to take place this week near Slough and it was easily in range for us to attend.
A straightforward drive along the M4 led us to the free car park located within the park itself and we were quickly joined by other parkrun runners looking for the start. If you are driving to Upton Court then it’s worth noting that the rugby club car park, which is free to use, is much closer to the start & finish area while the free park car park gives you the opportunity for a 5 minute warm-up jog to the start area. We arrived in a mist of fine rain and it would probably have been better to go for the rugby club parking on this particularly miserable day.
We jogged on the tarmac path and followed it through to the rugby club area where the majority of runners were now chatting. On the way we ran past someone wearing a parkrun 100 club jacket and I recognised the face but could not place the name. It wasn’t until I checked the results later in the day that I realised that it was the now bearded parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt.
So what are you likely to find at an inaugural parkrun?
- A healthy amount of parkrun tourists wearing 10, 50, and 100 club tees.
- A smidgin of 250 club tees.
- A group of pumped up volunteers all proud of their new event.
- parkrun podcast presenter Danny Norman.
We lined up at the start for the run briefing where we said hello to a lady wearing a 50 club tee who then recognised me from my blog. It was parkrun über tourist, and emergency parkrun podcast presenter, abradypus. I have been a reader of her blog through my participation in Janathon & Juneathon 2012 and it was nice to put a name to a face and say hello. If you are interested in all things parkrun, or just enjoy reading running blogs, then I recommend that you check out her blog.
The course consists of 2 anti-clockwise laps around the park, with the first lap taking in an additional 400m segment, with most of the route on grass but there is some tarmac parts as well. The UK had experienced a deluge of rain through the week and there were some decidedly boggy sections to navigate through. I had brought along my ‘hybrid’ trail shoes, which proved to be an inspired choice as we slogged our way through the muddy sections.
The Son was not coping well with the light rain, muddy ground, and cold weather so we were taking things easy this week. My grandfather would have been muttering ‘fair weather sailors’ under his breath if we had been watching our run today. The Son did put in a final sprint as we approached the finish funnel and abradypus gave us both a welcome cheer as we passed.
We quickly made our way to the inviting warmth of the rugby clubhouse where we treated ourselves to a bacon bap each and a nice drink. We were not able to stay for long as Mrs Dan was scheduled to take The Son into London for a book signing with adventurer, explorer and Deadly 60 presenter Steve Backshall. We quickly said our goodbyes and made our way home.
If you do get a chance to attend an inaugural parkrun then I recommend that you make the effort to go along, especially if it is a new local event. parkrun thrives because of the people that volunteer each week and organically grows through word of mouth so if you do make it to an inaugural event then make sure to tell your friends.
Running Dan parkrun result:
- parkrun time: 0:30:09
- Garmin time: 0:30:08
- Gun position: 73 / 92
- Gender position: 57 / 65
- Age category: SM35-39
- Age grade: 44.94 %
The Son parkrun result:
- parkrun time: 0:30:08
- Garmin time: not taken
- Gun position: 72 / 92
- Gender position: 56 / 65
- Age category: JM14
- Age grade: 50.77 %