parkrun tourism: Yeovil Montacute

This post originally appeared on Ben’s old blog, Running From the Physio.

A couple of weeks ago, I headed out for a little more parkrun tourism. It came hot on the heels of a visit to Killerton, and was the last week in a five-week absence from my home parkrun (rest, illness, Killerton, rest, Yeovil). I was quite tempted to just head to my home run after so long away, but this bit of tourism had been planned for a while, so I stuck with the plan.

Location:
This is technically the next closest parkrun to me after Longrun Meadow, although the differing quality of the roads means that it takes more or less the same time to do the 22 mile drive to Yeovil Montacute as it does to drive 28 miles to Killerton. Like Killerton, the Yeovil Montacute run is located in the grounds of a National Trust property. Unlike Killerton, the route goes right past the house, with the east façade (pictured) providing a gorgeous backdrop to the run. Admittedly, despite the size and glamour of the building, my attention was elsewhere while running!

The stunning Montacute House (credit: Mike SearleCC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Terrain:

Again, this varied completely from either of Longrun Meadow or Killerton. The route was entirely run on grass, and undulated throughout. The course was reasonably dry when I ran it, but I suspect that some of the ditches that I dropped down into would get quite tasty in the winter months. In fact, the ditch jumps, which Sarah (@mia79gbr) raved about so much in her blog post back in April, were the main reason I wanted to do this course so much. What I did forget reading in her post was that there was a “massive hill in the last kilometre”. This did catch me a little by surprise. It shouldn’t have done, but it did. Underfoot, the course is most similar to a cross-country course: my trail shoes performed admirably, but a set of XC spikes would probably be the most effective. Once it gets a bit wetter, this isn’t a course I’d recommend attempting in normal road shoes, I suspect you’d slip all over the place!
Course:
The route takes in one “little lap” and one “big lap”. At the end of the first lap, the little one, you are running directly towards the house, the finish and all the cheering supporters. This provides a similar boost to the traditional lap set-up at Longrun Meadow, although I didn’t see a similar boost in pace! The big lap then completes an entire circuit of the grounds.
Summarising, I really enjoyed the run. I ran a slower time than I’ve achieved at either Killerton or Longrun, although my pacing was pretty awful, so that will have played a part. It is less well-attended than either of those as well, which did make the latter part of the race a little uncompetitive: it was pretty clear that I would finish 17th, no higher and no lower, for the last mile of the run. That said, as with every parkrun I’ve attended, the support was great from all the volunteers and spectators, and I would love to go back when it’s a little bit wetter! Additionally, I’m really glad to have three such completely different courses as my three nearest parkrun events.

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