Just over 6 months after our visit to Pomphrey Hill we hit the road again, this time to try something new. Brand new. Our first spot of inaugural parkrun tourism, and a mere 15 miles away from our home event.
Burnham and Highbridge parkrun is, as the name suggests, in Burnham-on-Sea & Highbridge. It was pretty straight forward to locate, albeit having the use of a satnav, and there is a free car park right near the start/finish. As this was the first event we had no idea how many people to expect, but the car park filled up nicely, and we even found a few more friends from ‘home’.
After speeches from various officials, and the standard pre-race briefings, the group of runners all set off, seeming very chirpy for a Saturday morning. The course starts in a park (how novel!), winding its way round a lake and other pretty scenery. And a playpark, which is useful to note for future reference. The route then heads out onto the river path (more running near water) – which eventually becomes the esplanade (yet more running near water).
Partway along the walkway, lovely marshals directed us round a building and back the way we came. The turnaround point is at roughly the 2 mile mark, and so on return the course leaves the river path a little earlier to cut back into the park. The finish sneaks up on you somewhat, due to its position near a corner, but I was lucky enough to have friends warning me of this. (Ben: This was me and Iain, screaming madly “the finish is just around the corner, you can sprint from here!”) And a Garmin beeping for 3 miles always helps as well.
We’d been a little nervous beforehand about the out-and-back nature of the course, but I found it worked really well. Being near the middle of the pack I had the benefit of seeing runners going the opposite way both out and back, and it really added to the community feel of the event. Turning around a building also helped to ease the jerking feeling of doubling back. Another factor with the paths used is that the surface is excellent quality throughout. Not one to try if you love fields and tracks, but definitely one to chase PBs on.
It’s definitely a parkrun we’d like to head back to, and its proximity means it stands a good chance. There were 144 finishers on Saturday, and while we were by no means the only visitors the results show 58 people completed their first ever parkrun. And given their location I imagine that summer tourism will see many paying them a visit.