Me and my beautiful wife had planned on meeting friends at Witton parkrun near Blackburn, but they had to cancel last minute. Not wanting to run Lancaster parkrun, knowing just how much mud there is at the bottom end of the park, we opted for Haigh Woodland parkrun. This is the closest parkrun to where I work, and Helen had been to the park last year with friends and had really liked it, as well as having a go on the miniature railway.
Unfortunately Helen didn’t sleep too good and was feeling very much under the weather. Being the amazing woman that she is, she still wanted me and Nelly to have a good parkrun, so off we went towards Haigh Woodland, which is situated almost half way between Bolton and Wigan, and equidistant between the M6 and the M61.
My wife tells me that my need to arrive everywhere incredibly early in endearing, although me and Nelly were only there 15 minutes before the start. This did allow time for Nelly to have a poo and for our bligatory pre-parkrun selfie.
There was a pre-run briefing for anyone new to Haigh Woodland (or completely new to parkrun), which was well attended. Cuerden Valley, Pennington Flash and Ormskirk parkruns were all cancelled due to the weather, which might have swelled the ranks.
As it was the 29th February, the run was going in the opposite direction, which probably didn’t make too much of a difference, except that we were told to keep left for the out and back sections. As it was in the other direction we should have been told to keep right. We survived.
Lining up at the start there was also the most amount of dogs at a parkrun that I’ve ever seen. The start was also very narrow, much like at Fountains Abbey, but with mud. Did I mention that I had wanted to avoid the mud at Lancaster? Haigh Woodland had so much mud that you couldn’t avoid it. In the early stages people tried to dither around it, causing everyone to slow down, while Nelly was in full on bonkers mode, wanting to race towards the front. Not today Nelly, I’m taking it easy.
At the start I had overheard a man chatting about the previous weeks Canalathon, so during the run I had a quick chat with him, as I had done the 50km event last year Read about it here). He’d done an early season 20 mile version, but the weather had been so atrocious the organisers had offered discounts to the future 50km or 50mile events. Cannonball Events put on Canalathon, as well as a load of other great races from 5km to Ultras.
The Haigh Woodland parkrun route gradually made its way down, across the miniature railway lines, through some mud and then through more mud. Gradually there was a bit more space so me and Nelly could start to overtake a few people, and a couple of dogs. Nelly was still full of energy for the uphill return, pulling me along nicely, with the usual good humoured comments of ‘can I borrow her’ or ‘that’s cheating’.
A couple of hundred meters to go and we saw another dog, so putting in a sprint, something that I very rarely do at parkrun, we whizzed past the dog and owner, who was wearing a canicross top, and into the finish funnel.
We finished in 59th out of 277 finishers in a time of 25:38, an almost identical time to last weeks parkun at Preston (read about it here), but 40 places higher.
A great little parkrun and one that I would love to do in the summer (on dry paths). The only negative today was having to wait ten minutes to get out of the carpark as the barrier wasn’t working for the car in front. Small things that aren’t that important.
Today was also my 25th different parkun.
Did you parkrun today?
If you did, how many different parkruns have you done?