Fountains Abbey Parkrun

It’s Saturday 13th June 2020 at 3pm and it has been a very busy day so far. Up early to take Nelly, our silly pointer, for a 40 minute walk to the park, stopping off at the local free little library to drop off three books and pick one up. Gentle 25 mile bike ride with the beautiful Mrs B, who made sourdough blueberry pancakes upon our return and I’ve just baked a banana loaf. We’ve been keeping busy on Saturdays and if I’m honest, I’ve not missed parkruns half as much as I thought I would.

However, seeing as Saturday used to be parkrun day, I decided to blog about one of the best parkruns that we’ve ever done. Set in the the National Trust property of Fountains Abbey near Ripon, the run does almost two complete laps of the famous ruins. It was so good that we went back a second time a few months later.

Both times we made a weekend of it, staying at the Woodhouse Farm campsite. Very friendly, plenty of space, lots of grass for kids to run around in, perfect for families, although it was too busy for us to order food on our first night so we found a funny little pub a few miles away. Food wasn’t too bad and they let Nelly in. The second time, we stayed in a basic camping pod as it was in the middle of October and the  last weekend of the year that the campsite was open. Both times we went for a long walk in the afternoon with Nelly catching a rabbit one time and me and Helen having a play on a rope swing in a secluded wood. You don’t stop playing because you get old, you get old because you stopped playing.

Anyway, this blog was supposed to be about Fountains Abbey parkrun. The first time we were there I volunteered to run with Nelly, so I lined up at the back. The start is very narrow and there was no way the two of us could overtake many people for at least most of the first lap. The second time Helen lined up at the back with Nelly while I pushed my way to the front. I remember running behind a man with his very young son for most of the run, only overtaking them in the last km. Looking at the results and at the time he was in the JM10 age group. That young lad will be an amazing runner when he’s older. For me, the difference between starting at the front and the back was over two minutes.

As always the volunteers and other runners were all very friendly. Well, all except for one woman who barged in front of Helen as she crossed the finish line. I could possibly understand this if you were almost at the front, and my wife is an amazing runner, finishing 2nd woman overall at one parkrun and winning her age group many times, but on this day Helen was running with Nelly and as I mentioned, started at the back, so neither of us understood why this woman needed to push in front in such a rude manner. I have to say though, that is the only occasion in nearly 100 parkruns that we have witnessed such buffoonery.

Fountains Abbey parkrun is definitely the most picturesque parkrun that we’ve done, and we would recommend you should go there at least once in you’re in the area.

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