parkrun: Panshanger #1

Panshanger parkrun #1 11.10.14 DSC06743
Final pull into the finish! (photo thanks to Tri Sport Epping)

Saturday saw us heading off to our sixth inaugural parkrun. There’s recently been quite a bit of chatter on social media about inaugural attendances, whether the influx of parkrun tourists is a good or bad thing (do they add support to the parkrun team or mean overwhelming numbers?), but as Panshanger parkrun is only 25 minutes drive for us (about the same as our home parkrun Wimpole Estate), I felt that we were justified in going.

As we were arriving at our destination it was good to see some signage directing us to the road where they wanted us to park. there is only a small car park near the start & so the local team want to make sure that this remains available for other users of Panshanger Park. The parking road is only a short walk away though so it really isn’t an inconvenience.
It’s worth noting at this point though that there are no toilets on site, so if you are driving a fair distance to visit then plan ahead and stop at a services en route (or be prepared to make use of the plentiful trees!).

The Boyf & I went for a bit of a wander before the start which gave us the opportunity to assess the up-hilledness of the initial route, we also had a chance to check out the finish area as well. The finish is situated below the car park/start and requires a brief up-hill push before turning right towards the finish funnel.  The course itself is a one lapper over a mix of surfaces including gravel track, grass, road and a bit of swamp…if you are visiting in the Winter then trail shoes will be a must! this weekend it seemed to be OK for road shoes but I was glad of my trails, not least because they were great for a spot of puddle splashing with Nicola Tarrant!

I was taking it easy on the run round, not sure how my legs would be after Wimpole Half last weekend, and just as I was thinking about picking up the pace about half way round I got flagged down by a relative running newbie who was suffering from stitch (apparently I look like I know what I am doing). Thankfully a trick I read about in a magazine somewhere seems to work and after getting her to run along and touch her toes every few strides she was soon stitch free and we were able to run along together chatting about getting into running, parkrun and how jobs & commuting can get in the way of keeping fit. She’d done the trial run the week before, so was ready for the finish hill, but I could sense she was starting to flag a bit. For once I managed to keep Park-Race Kat (read abradypus’s blog) in check, and stuck with her up the hill (thanks to the Boyf & @n0rm for the encouragement), before grabbing her hand to pull her in as we turned the corner & picked up the pace for the final dash to the finish.

It was a really enjoyable run & a great course with lots to see (good views, lakes, a river and sheep & cows). The Boyf and I really enjoyed Panshanger parkrun and as it is so close we are going to head back for event #2 next week. With a bit of luck the start will be a bit less congested and I can give my legs a bit more of a push & take some time off for a PB.
It was great to see fellow tourists, n0rm, The Tarrants & Rosemary Egbe but even more exciting was finding out that the event introduced 98 new people to parkrun!

If you are looking for a parkrun with good transport links (Hertford North station is under a mile away), within easy reach of London then Panshanger is well worth a visit for some off road fun!

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