My wife grew up in Wolverhampton, and her mother still lives there. Occasionally our children will go over to hers for the day on a Saturday, both to allow my wife and I to work/study and also to allow the children and their grand parent to spend some time together.
Recently, while I’ve had a break from studying at least, I have been doing the morning drop offs in Wolverhampton. This has allowed me to participate in a bit of parkrun tourism on the way back home to Rugby, taking in destinations that would usually be a little bit too far to travel to for a 5k, particularly with my usual workload.
Since the end of my last studying stint, I have ran at Wolverhampton, Walsall Arboretum and, this past Saturday, Perry Hall parkruns. Perry Hall was my 18th parkrun at my 8th different location, which also includes two in Australia.
It was quite a nice one too. Three slightly different circular laps on a good path, although one small section was across some loose stones, which could pose a bit of a hazard if not taken carefully. In terms of my performance, I did surprisingly well given that I had raced a half marathon just 7 days previously. I wasn’t expecting a PB but I was intending to ‘race’ it. I can generally tell after the first kilometre how a 5k is going to go and here I felt tired, and my legs felt heavy. I managed to maintain pace though and finished in just over 22 minutes, a mere 10 seconds slower than my PB. Pleasantly surprised.
As for the other two, Walsall Arboretum was a tough one, mainly due to the narrow path. It’s quite easy to get bogged down at the beginning and you can’t go at your normal pace because you simply can’t get round people. I find the same at Coventry, although Coventry has a vast field on either side of the path that you can spill onto to overtake if necessary. This wasn’t the case at Walsall, with hedges and fencing preventing any off-course overtaking.
Wolverhampton was similar to Perry Hall in the sense that it started in the middle of a circle before completing three laps and returning to the centre. Wolverhampton felt quite easy, with most of the lap feeling like you were traveling downhill. There was a short section in the back corner bringing you back up but it certainly felt like the easiest 5k that I’ve done so far and hence my current PB. They did get my timing wrong though. I timed myself at 21:52, whereas the official results stated a 23:46. Quite a bit of a difference.
If you fancy a bit of parkrun tourism, there’s a website called Jegmar which has listed all of the UK parkruns in order of elevation gain, from 1 being the least amount of gain to 458 having the most. For reference, the flattest parkrun in the UK is Southsea with just 8ft of elevation. The hilliest is Lanhydrock with 453ft! My local one, Rugby, comes in at number 299, with Coventry at 295 and Daventry at 151.
The three above: Wolverhampton is number 197, Walsall 137 and Perry Hall 128.
Click here to see the full list.