Time to bite the bullet and tackle the London parkruns in a galaxy far, far away. Every now and then I glance at the list and pretend that Orpington, Greenwich, Bromley, and Riddlesdown don’t actually exist. This week we forced ourselves to face the music and we headed over to Croydon for Roundshaw Downs parkrun.
I better get the bad bits off my chest nice and early. I don’t have a good history with Croydon. I associate it with damp, grey, and miserable weather coupled with damp, grey, and miserable buildings. I remember visiting Croydon a few times when I was but a young lad and then there were a couple of visits with Mrs Dan to queue early in the morning as part of her application for UK residence. None of those visits were particularly nice to be honest.
Of course it had to be a damp, grey, and miserable day for our visit to Roundshaw Downs. Why wouldn’t it? The drive was uneventful although we tend to find that the online route planners get their travel times spot on for the journeys across London. It’s not like bombing it down the motorway to somewhere line Banbury parkrun where you make up lots of time on the way. It gets even worse on the journey home thanks to the increase in Saturday morning drivers.
We arrived just before 9am and were able to easily find free parking on the road near to the start. It looked like most of the regulars made use of the plentiful free parking outside the nearby Costco store. The rain was drizzling down, it was cold, and neither of us fancied warming up. The old “the first mile is the warm-up” mantra never seemed so apt.
The runners were led to the start area for the run briefing, thankfully kept short as we all sheltered in a huddle to keep warm, before being set off for our two anti-clockwise laps of the former international airport. The course is all trail / grass and it’s one of those courses that feels net uphill even though it can’t be because it’s a couple of loops. The up parts are short stretches interspersed with a few flats bits while the down bit is one stretch down to the finish area.
So in summary: we went on a grey rainy day, only just arrived before the start, slogged our way round the mud and the puddles, battled against the wind, felt like we were running uphill even though we weren’t. Sounds lovely doesn’t it?
Thankfully this is parkrun. Even if it’s a bad day, you know that the event team are going to be wonderful, that the runners will be watching out for each other and offering cheerful advice, and that you’ll get your time and position for your free 5km run later that day.