I don’t have the best record at actually writing blog posts lately. My last 2 parkrun tourism posts are part-finished drafts (one of which I’m still hoping to finish, the other I’m hoping to re-visit soon), and the many ups and downs my running has taken over the last few months have been left undescribed. Minehead parkrun, though, I’m determined to write up now. If for no other reason than we didn’t write it up last time.
When planning our weekend of running, the idea of combining me doing a parkrun and Ben getting an interesting long run from the same location seemed a winner. Minehead was therefore an obvious choice. As the weekend approach, the weather saw our local Longrun Meadow advertised as a splash run for diehards only, and I began to worry about stormy winds.
Minehead parkrun is based on the prom at, you guessed it, Minehead. This was actually my second visit, as we went in the summer of 2016 not long after it had started. The event was plagued with teething issues, which we decided made a write up unfair, so I was keen to see how things were doing now.
The run is entirely based on the tarmac prom, and the route differs slightly to my first visit. Starting at the clock tower you head West (which due to the coast shape is also North in places) for about a third of a mile. The turn around point is a small path loop, so feels very natural. You then run back past the start and on for another quarter mile, before turning round a cone on a wide path. Back to the start, the route then repeats in full and then finishes with just the first out and back. So 2 full laps and 1 half laps up and down the prom.
Sounds simple doesn’t it? Particularly on nice easy tarmac. Well, half of it was pretty easy. It was just the small matter of an Easterly wind. You know, on the coast. Running East into an East wind is not the easiest thing. What makes it even better is when there is sand on the path ready to be blown in your face. From speaking to one of the local runners, part of the reason for the course alteration was to reduce the distance running by the sand, so I am at least thankful for that!
This was a bit of a strange run for me personally. My last run had been 3 weeks previously at Burnham, when I’d gone all out to aim for (and manage to beat!) a target time. With no training in between and tough conditions it was never going to be perfect. But I’m really pleased to have averaged 10 minute miles. And the advantage of returning somewhere that I last visited 2 months pregnant is that I got my first course PB since New Year’s Day 2016.
I’ll be honest, I was surprised how much I enjoyed this run. The course is much improved for the small tweak, and though for me it will never match the scenery of Seaton it is definitely a more accessible prom event. The pre-run briefing was spot on, particularly in the conditions. And the volunteers were absolute legends, particularly the marshal at the turn around point who was somehow still smiling and cheering in the wind. Minehead parkrun has definitely made the leap to my recommend list.