One of my Christmas presents from my lovely wife was tickets to see a play in Manchester at the Lowry. The play was based on a Neil Gaiman book, which Helen knows I’m a big fan of. The book in question was The ocean at the end of the lane, one of his books which I haven’t read. With there being a train strike we decided to stay the night in Manchester.
We arrived at Salford Quays in the afternoon and immediately walked over to the Lowry to see the paintings by the man of the same name. It is a really good exhibition and we both enjoyed it. It is also free to enter, so if you’re ever in the area you should pop in.
We were staying in an apartment rather than a hotel, which was a bit of a faff with security and sending proof of who we were. They’d obviously had issues in the past. The apartment was not much large than our bedroom, but it had a kitchen area so we didn’t have the added expense of eating out.
The whole area was quite busy as Manchester United were playing at home to Everton, with the stadium just across the ship canal. The red team beat the blue team 3 goals to 1. The play, on the other hand, was simply stunning. Inventive, scary and spell binding. Once again, if you have chance to see it you should.
We then returned to the apartment and had a cup of tea. We know how to live it up. We’re also both doing dry January.
The next morning we drove south from the Quays to Longford Park where Stretford parkrun is located. The webpage warns visitors that the car park isn’t very big and that you’re not allowed to park on the adjacent roads. Fortunately, due to my proclivity for arriving everywhere far too early, there were still a few parking spaces available. Obligatory car selfie below.
The start and finish are located on a running track with two full laps of the park. The area around the park looked very posh and the park itself was also very nice, with a couple of large playgrounds for children.
There was a lot of people as we lined up at the start. Helen headed towards the back while I looked for a spot towards the middle. I didn’t want to go too fast in case my niggly injury flared up again. The rain also started just as we were about to set off, and not a light drizzle, this was a proper Manchester down pour. As such, there were a couple of places on the course where it was almost impossible for your feet not to be fully submerged.
The start involved one full lap of the track and then a short out and back section, where I could see how fast and determined the front runners were. It wasn’t until I’d ran a mile that I could run at the pace I wanted to as it was so busy. As I said, this was planned.
Two laps later the route returned to the track for half a lap. A number of runners sprinted past me as I neared the finish line. Again I wasn’t too worried. In the rain the barcode scanners were having some issues, but as soon as I handed over my finishers token I went off in search of Helen to cheer her on. She was in the zone and didn’t see me. I should have shouted louder.
We were both happy with our finishing times and positions as we grabbed a coffee from a mobile van, which wasn’t very good, and headed home to pick up Nelly from the kennels where she’d spent the night.
There must have been something on in the area, as there were almost 600 finishers, 150 more than the average. Anyway, we had a brilliant night away, watched an amazing play and completed another tourist parkrun.