Stonehaven parkrun

Most readers will be aware of parkrun I suspect. For anyone that’s not, it’s a free weekly timed 5k – run fast, run slow, walk … your choice!

I came late to the parkrun party, my ‘home’ run in Aberdeen being well established by the time I started going. Stonehaven is a more recent addition to the parkrun family (albeit they’ve already celebrated their 1st birthday) and I have to say, I love it! It truly is a favourite of the  courses I’ve had the pleasure to run.

As with all parkrun events, it’s run by volunteers and a lovely, friendly bunch of people they are, rising early to set up and organise the event for others to enjoy – thank you!

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Numbers at Stonehaven are small. Why this is, I’m unsure. It could be the proximity of other runs (Montrose, Hazlehead, Aberdeen and Ellon all have parkrun events), or it could be that people are put off by ‘the slope’ as Event Director Annie described it today. It’s somewhere up here. It’s not long, it’s just short and a wee bit steep:

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Given that it’s a 5k run (or walk) you must keep in mind that the slope can’t be that big a part of it, particularly given that you do 3 loops of the course, and of course the absolute bonus of any slope? What goes up must come down!! And it does, a rather splendid 3 times!

So, back to the run report …

I headed out today with Alan and have to say I was less than impressed as the temperature dropped to 1C 😮 and the skies darkened over on our arrival in Mineralwell Park. Looking out either side of the car, the beach facing side showed lovely blue skies and a rising sun, while sadly the other direction (from which Alan advised the weather was coming) was somewhat driech and there appeared to be hail or sleety stuff falling from the sky. Thankfully this was very short-lived as Stonehaven have an agreement with the clouds that they’ll cease dropping their contents for an hour or so each week, honest!

So out of the car and around the park for a wee warm up. At this point we were joined by the lovely Diane, another Aberdeen parkrunner.

Before long it was time for the off but only after Annie had given the Briefing and an excellent Doric poem all about the coffee shops in Stonehaven as the usual cafe (Terry Anne’s) was closed. Her advice on giving the door a dunt proved useful later!

As usual, the racing snakes blasted off ahead of the field. On this course I prefer to ease into it a little more gently, knowing that the third asking of the slope requires a little something left in the tank! I gave this advice to Young Jordan, another visitor from Aberdeen, and was delighted to find that he managed to hold his form and finish ahead of me. Despite trying I couldn’t reel him in.

The course is run predominantly on grass and trail with only a little tarmac which can be avoided by running alongside the path of you prefer. Around the playing field to warm up, up the slope, continue up, spot the friendly marshal at the top (always a welcome sight), then belt back down and run round the park again, cheered on by the fabulous volunteers who await the finishers.

Repeat this pattern twice further, then on the third passing of the smiley marshal at the top of the hill you can storm back down, smug in the knowledge that unless disaster strikes you have done it! The best way to start a Saturday in my opinion.

Reaching the finish, a cheery wee gathering of fellow runners and volunteers await.

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Coffee for us was at Molly’s today. Thanks to Vicky and Kate (Stonehaven regulars), and Paul (Kirkcaldy), for keeping Alan and the company and chat.

If anyone would like to visit Stonehaven parkrun please come down next weekend where I’ll be volunteering as Timekeeper and there to cheer you on! Other weekends are also available so if you’ve not tried it please do – I’m sure you’ll love it too!

 

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