Like Louise (but a long way behind her magnificent efforts) I am a bit of a parkrun tourist and am also a bit of a sucker for an inaugural run. My efforts have been severely curtailed of late as I have to work every other Saturday so I was delighted (though I’m sure they weren’t!) when Cross Flatts parkrun in Leeds had to be cancelled the week before thus giving me a shot at an inaugural within sensible travelling distance – well I reckon 103 miles for a parkrun is eminently sensible!
Setting off from home just before 6 o’clock saw me arrive at Cross Flatts park to the south of Leeds at about 8.20, there is no car park but ample free parking is available in the side streets surrounding the park. A bit of a warm-up jog persuaded me that the “flat” bit in the title was most certainly not a description of the course! Around 70 of us lined up at the start and the run itself consisted of 1½ laps of a small loop at the start before embarking on two large laps round the perimeter of the park. The smaller loop is not too far off flat but the bigger loop most certainly isn’t!
Having said that, the first part of the bigger lap is a very pleasant downhill but of course every down must have an up and this was the return part of the big lap which even included a set of steps (though you could run up the grass bank at the side if you preferred). I was a little surprised to find myself holding last place by quite some distance until about half way round the 1st big lap when I started to pick a few runners off and given the fact that I rarely see hills I was pleased to finish in 32.53.
Wonderful friendly organisation and encouraging marshals (you would expect nothing less in Yorkshire) made this a most enjoyable parkrun as did the visit to “Sandwiches Galore” (about 300 yards away from the finish) for post run refreshments where the biggest mug of coffee I have ever seen cost a miserly 60p and a bacon bap (which they inexplicably called a sandwich) cost a mere £1.80!
A special thanks to Rebekah Morris and Laura Hodgkinson who I missed at the cafe but who stopped me on my way back to my car and who were both incredibly friendly as they thanked me profusely for coming whereas we all know, the thanks are really due to the amazing volunteers – blimey, it was a mutual appreciation society!
I’ll definitely do this one again – forgot to mention that it is all on tarmac – and it has proved to me that the other three parkruns in Leeds are also within my compass!