Blue Runnings

Race Reviews, GPX files and more from North-East England

parkrun – Durham

For information on this parkrun course, see the official parkrun page below:

http://www.parkrun.org.uk/durham/

This is a single-lap parkrun – not a huge number of those about! It’s quite out and back loopy, and covers a mix of terrains – we ran on gravel paths at the start, the outside of the rugby fields (stay outside the paint marks!) and onto the riverside path for a long stretch up to the bridge and back along the other side to the finish at the pavillion.

Durham had pacers for the event I went to, and I got the impression this was a moderately regular occurrence. I was trying to beat the 30min pacer, and while I’d left him a comfortable distance behind after the first mile, he was right behind me just before I came across the bridge – but the pace variance was me not him! He was bob-on for the 30 min marker 🙂

There’s plenty of parking at the sports centre near the start, as well as toilets and a track if you fancy a warm-up lap, but the finish is literally about 0.75 mile from the start. I’d pushed myself to get round in the time I wanted and was ready for a rest when I’d finished but when walking it felt like a loooong way back to the car. It is a pretty little woodland walk, and I did see a weasel, which was cool, but factor it in for your times if you’re in a rush to get home afterwards!

My GPS map for this route:

Durham

You can download the GPX route file for this course from my Dropbox account by following the link below:

GPX file for Durham parkrun

Course first completed 23-06-2018

Advertisements
Leave a comment »

parkrun – Pennington Flash

For information on this parkrun course, see the official parkrun page below:

http://www.parkrun.org.uk/penningtonflash/

This parkrun involves three laps of a small part of the grounds at Pennington Flash. There’s one hilly bit – not too long – and the rest definitely counts as ‘undulating’ to flat; not the flattest I’ve done but a long stretch from hilly. It’s worth noting that there is a reasonable walk from the carpark – allow 5-10 mins, and there is a parking charge at the main carpark (it’s a good size though – you should find a space fine). There is a free carpark at the entrance to the park, but it’s 1 mile walk/run from there to the start line, so factor this in if you’re planning on taking that option. Toilets available at the carpark and a lovely spot for birdwatching after your run!

30821794_2042586912623193_8143611890015744067_o

My GPS map for this route:

Pennington Flash

You can download the GPX route file for this course from my Dropbox account by following the link below:

GPX file for Pennington Flash parkrun

Course completed 21-04-2018

Leave a comment »

parkrun – Sedgefield

For information on this parkrun course, see the official parkrun page below:

http://www.parkrun.org.uk/sedgefield/

This parkrun in Sedgefield involves 2 laps of Hardwick Park; it’s mostly flat and runs around a lake but has one small hill about 2/3’s of the way round – fine on the first lap, a bit of a stickler on the second I found! There was plenty to see on the way round – a mix of wildlife and more manmade things of interest so it’s an easy one to just kick back and enjoy if you’re not going for a time 🙂

There’s plenty of parking – normally a charge but if you put your spare barcode in the windscreen it’s FREE until 11am, which gives you plenty of time to pop to the loos (also open before the start) and go the coffee shop for a breakfast bap or a wide selection of yummy cakes!

My GPS map for this route:

Sedgefield

You can download the GPX route file for this course from my Dropbox account by following the link below:

GPX file for Sedgefield parkrun

Course completed 14-04-2018

Leave a comment »

parkrun – Woodbank

For information on this parkrun course, see the official parkrun page below:

http://www.parkrun.org.uk/woodbank/

This parkrun in Stockport covers ground in two parks – Woodbank and Vernon, and starts at the top of a hill…you can see where this is going?! There’s a tough little uphill kick at the end of the Vernon Park loop (which you do twice) as you can see on the elevation profile below!

There’s limited parking near the start-line – maybe 20 cars? – so get there early if you’re planning on using it, or there’s a bigger public carpark nearby. Average number of runners is 120 per week, so no fear of being on your own in a small group of elite runners! The whole route takes place on tarmac, except for one small section of cobbles as you crest the top of the hill coming out of Vernon Park.

 

My GPS map for this route:

Woodbank

You can download the GPX route file for this course from my Dropbox account by following the link below:

GPX file for Woodbank parkrun

Course completed 31-03-2018

Leave a comment »

parkrun – Gibside

For information on this parkrun course, see the official parkrun page below:

http://www.parkrun.org.uk/gibside/

This is a tough little course – which was evident from the smaller number of runners who braved it despite it being a clear and sunny morning (though that may also have been the summer holidays coming into play). It’s a tough little course with some long and serious hills and an elevation of 311ft according to my GPS watch. There’s flatter stretches at the top of each hill, but you don’t get to go down much until the very end where you come right back down and then along the long flat of The Avenue back to the finish. You leave by the Walled Garden, head out on a loop at the top of the estate, and finish on a there-and-back part way up the hill to the highest point on Gibside’s grounds before spinning round and heading back to the Walled Garden again for the finish.

You can view a map of the estate (which is worth a visit even just for a walk round and a teacake) by clicking the link below.

Gibside Estate Map from National Trust

Runner’s View video tour of Gibside parkrun, taken 29-07-17 with a head-mounted (and therefore somewhat bouncy-recording!) Apeman camera.

Local facilities:

  • Café (takes cash or card)
  • Toilets

My GPS map for this route:

Gibside.png

You can download the GPX route file for this course from my Dropbox account by following the link below:

GPX file for Gibside parkrun

Leave a comment »

parkrun – Preston: Cuerden Valley

For information on this parkrun course, see the official parkrun page below:

http://www.parkrun.org.uk/cuerdenvalley/

This route involves 2 laps of 2 loops around Cuerden Valley Park – and several hills! The one to the finish is rather mean!!!

Runner’s View video tour of Cuerden Valley parkrun, taken 15-04-17 with a head-mounted (and therefore somewhat bouncy-recording!) Apeman camera.

My GPS map for this route:

Cuerden Valley

You can download the GPX file for this course from my Dropbox folder here:

Cuerden Vally parkrun GPX file

Leave a comment »

parkrun – Consett: Blackhill

For information on this parkrun course, see the official parkrun page below:

http://www.parkrun.org.uk/blackhill/

This route involves 3 laps around Blackhill Park – you’ll get the biggest hill out of the way at the start to really open your lungs up or completely wipe out your legs depending on how you feel about starting your run with a monster climb! There’s several hills of mixed length and gradient on this course, but a lovely long downhill for a strong finish. It’s generally thought of as one of the toughest in the area, but it’s excellent for training your legs up ready for cross-country or for a pb on a flat course!

GPS map:

Blackhill

You can download the GPX file for thise courses from my Dropbox folder here:

GPX file Blackhill

Leave a comment »

parkrun – Prudhoe: Riverside

For information on this parkrun course, see the official parkrun page below:

http://www.parkrun.org.uk/prudhoeriverside/

This route involves 2 laps around a local feature known as the Spetchells – fortunately it goes round them rather than over them as there’s some serious climbing involved to get to the top! There’s a bit of an incline round the back of this one, but nothing serious and it’s generally considered a flat course and good for setting a parkrun pb on.

GPS map:

Prudhoe

You can download the GPX file for thise courses from my Dropbox folder here:

GPX File Prudhoe Riverside

Leave a comment »

parkrun – Chester-Le-Street: Riverside

For information on this parkrun course, see the official parkrun page below:

http://www.parkrun.org.uk/riverside/

This route involves 2 laps of 2 large loops and one smaller one around Riverside Park – and is a blessedly flat route with a very high runner attendance (over 300 is not unusual!).

Due to its close proximity to the river (hence the name!), this parkrun has two courses – a winter and summer one. The summer one crosses the fields – making it inaccessible in the winter due to mud. The winter course is marginally longer – so if you’re looking for a pb, the summer course might be slightly better – but both are very flat and lend themselves well to people looking for a flatter Saturday morning: whatever the reason!

This course is also regularly checked for ice in the winter – and on particularly chilly mornings may be cancelled as you will go over on your bum on the corners! This doesn’t happen often though 🙂

GPS map for the summer route:

Riverside Summer

GPS map for the winter route:

Riverside Winter

You can download the GPX file for these courses from my Dropbox folder here:

GPX file summer route

GPX file winter route

 

Leave a comment »

Run 2 Remember Sunderland 2016

cropped-pr2r-long-logo

Run 2 Remember has rolled around again raising money for 4 major military personnel supporting charities. This was high on J’s list of favourite runs last year so it had to make the calendar this year – and they had a raffle and tombola! Who doesn’t love a race where you can win things without even running?

This is the second year we’ve run this one, and it’s setting a trend for sunshine, even if there was a bit of a shower on the way there. 🙂 We also had another friendly face we recognised (we didn’t know anyone except Hippie the photographer and his family last year) in the appearance of R at the start line! J was obviously getting into the zone right from the gathering at the starting banner, and as we started off she shot off looking for ‘space’ and I don’t think actually heard me when I attempted to start a conversation with her as we set off. Ironically after a few hundred yards when I’d just decided to set my own steady pace and leave her to it, I actually had all the space around me, while J 50 yards in front was still in a pack of people. There was the most enormous buzzard overhead on the starting half-mile and J (usually a birdwatcher) was completely oblivious to it.

R caught me up as we reached the bottom of the hill and prepared to set out along the field to the lake, and given how close behind me he finished (we’ll come to that later!) presumably stayed not far behind me for the rest of the race though I was blissfully unaware of this and pootling along in my own little world. I saw The Buzzard, many gulls, swans, ducks and heard something making an odd noise at the bottom end of the lake, though I didn’t see the owner of the little voice…

J was getting an increasing lead by this point – I was waving at her from the other side of the lake as she started her second lap ahead of me – and the irony of doing the same thing the year before when I was finishing my second lap and she was starting hers was not lost upon me! I caught a glimpse of a pink-sided ninja vest as I joined the straight along the field and she was reaching the end of it, and that was it until the finishing straight at the end of the hill! Last year, it was me that was ahead and I must confess to sneaking a walk in on the long hill back up to the finish line, while J (very indignant when she found this out) had kept a steady pace up and managed to make it up the whole thing. I don’t think I’m capable of ever being quite as stubborn as J when it comes to much, but I did decide to myself that I was going to get into the J-zone and repeat her steady all-the-way-round approach of last year and make it up the hill, still pootling along.

Read the rest of this entry »

Leave a comment »