Me and my beautiful wife spent three nights camping near Keswick as my wife was doing the Lakesman Half. I was there in a supporting role, but it did mean that I was free for a parkrun on the Saturday while Helen tried to take it easy. I haven’t managed to find any official photos from the parkrun, but I took this one below a few weeks ago when we did the Lakesman bike route (read about it here).
Helen gave me a lift to the start and waved good-bye as I intended to run back to the campsite, knowing that it would be mostly downhill. Whinlatter parkrun is rumoured to be the toughest and hilliest parkrun in the UK. Lancaster, our ‘home’ parkrun isn’t by an stretch of the imagination a flat course, so how bad could it be.
After a very friendly run briefing and a short walk to the start we were off, and immediately downhill. It didn’t last long before we went up, and up…
I had started slow and even though I was slower here I was overtaking a few people. With the fast guys having disappeared into the distance I had no idea what my position was, so I concentrated on the next person, slowly reeling them in. Towards the end of the run there is a narrow path which loops back onto the course, and as expected, it was steep. Thankfully the last section to the finish line was all downhill, and as I was handed my token I was amazed to see that I was 8th, although my time was 24:34. Two weeks early I had run Morecambe Prom parkrun 4 minutes quicker! Definitely the toughest and hilliest parkrun I’ve ever done, made hillier with the finish being at a much higher elevation than the start.
I didn’t hang around at the finish line long, just long enough to have my barcode scanned, before running back to the start to find the right footpath back to the campsite. I really didn’t want to have to run down the road as it would be longer and there isn’t a footpath. Amazingly I found the right footpath and followed it all the way to Thornthwaite, which was only a mile from the campsite.
Whinlatter Forest parkrun was one of the friendliest I’ve done, and one of the most unique. However, with over 600 parkruns in the UK, it’s probably one that I won’t do again, especially as I’ve not done Keswick parkrun yet.