parkrunday: Town Moor #511

A nice post-GNR slow plod after a long and busy week!

Sadly, Town Moor parkrun couldn’t do the traditional GNR t-shirt group photo today for COVID security reasons, but there were lots of photos both official and unofficial so I’ll have a hunt online for those later. It was great to see everyone in their smart burgundy t-shirts (it may be my favourite Great North Weekend t-shirt yet – and I’ve got seven of them now!).

I’m still not quite used to the post-hiatus route on the Moor and it does mess with my mind a bit when doing sections that used to constitute different points along the course. For instance, the opening stretch of path from the old course is now past the halfway point on the new course… but when I’m running that bit there’s a part of my mind that still thinks ‘oh no, we’ve only just started!’.

In terms of parkrun I have very definitely settled into a pattern where it takes two ploddy miles for my legs to de-stiffen and so it’s only in the last mile that I can build up a bit of speed. This is not a problem at the moment as my focus is the marathon, but after London I really need to work on my stiff calves so that I can run parkrun properly again.

Love that burgundy shade!

I was intending to do Leazes parkrun next week but Geth is worried about it being full of students due to Freshers’ Week so I will have to have a rethink…

parkrunday: Jesmond Dene #30

It’s the Great North Run tomorrow so I opted to volunteer at parkrun in order to save my energy. It was a busy one at Jesmond Dene, as expected, as (a) the GNR is setting up on the Town Moor for the special COVID course, meaning that Town Moor parkrun was off today; (b) there are thousands of running tourists in town for the aforementioned GNR, many of whom would be looking for a pre-GNR parkrun; and (c) lots of those tourists would be naturally drawn to Jesmond Dene as it provides a rare opportunity to collect a parkrun beginning with J (yes, alphabet-hunting is a thing in the parkrun universe).

It seemed like it all went okay though! The core team were very well prepared and marshalling at the lap split point was really fun. A few people got confused but everyone ended up on the right path for the lap they were doing at the time!

Geth was marshalling too (also saving energy) and so this morning’s run took the form of a nice slow jog to the volunteer meeting point.

parkrun volunteering

I was also pleased that the weather was nice today, unlike the previous two occasions I’ve volunteered at Jesmond Dene since the restart!

Back to Town Moor next week, hopefully sporting a brand new GNR finisher T-shirt…

parkrunday: Town Moor #509

Geth and I were back on the Town Moor this morning for another flat (well, certainly flat compared to Jesmond Dene) parkrun. Geth was able to take advantage of said flatness to run his fastest time this year! I, on the other hand, still had Thursday’s 18-miler in my legs, and so plodded round in my slowest time this year not counting last week’s tailwalking. It took two miles just to shake the stiffness out of my legs! I think that’s just going to be the way it is until after the marathon…

It was a gorgeous sunny morning (probably because I wasn’t jinxing the weather by going to Jesmond Dene) but not too warm, so perfect running conditions. I hope we’ll get a few more mornings like that in the autumn, post-marathon, so that I can take advantage of them.

I also wrote the parkrun run report for the first time today. This was a volunteer role I’d wanted to do for a while so I’m glad I had the chance to give it a go!

parkrun selfie
Weekly parkrun selfie! I was pleased to see there were some competent photos being taken by a volunteer as well, although I am almost certainly going to look slow in them 🙂

No parkrun for us next week as we are attending a special occasion. I’ll be doing a ‘notparkrun’ very early in the morning instead!

parkrunday: Jesmond Dene #27

I was excited about today’s parkrun because, for the very first time, I was volunteering as tailwalker (the back marker who walks behind the last participant and makes sure everyone gets through the finish before the parkrun gets packed away). It was fun, although the weather was not exactly ideal for being out on the course for nearly an hour!

Pre-parkrun. We were only about 45% soaked at this point.

It was an absolutely sodden morning and it just kept getting heavier! This was the second wet parkrunday since the restart and both times I was volunteering at Jesmond Dene… hope this doesn’t become a trend! I’m marshalling there again in three weeks’ time so I will keep you informed.

Back to regular running next week, plus another attempt at a new-to-me volunteer role 🙂

parkrunday: Girvan Prom #84

It was so exciting to be in Scotland for the Scottish parkrun restart this morning! Girvan Prom had been on my bucket list for a long time (I love seaside parkruns) and it did not disappoint, despite the cold wind and tough grassy section. I’m still pretty slow at the moment due to various issues around marathon training, but I still managed my fastest time since the English restart a few weeks ago, so I’m very happy!

They also gave out free tablet at the end to celebrate 😍

parkrunners with tablet!
Two very happy parkrunners with their complimentary tablet! Photo (c) John Cooke 2021.

The first of many parkruns to tick off in this area of Scotland, I hope! Planning on visiting a lot in the future…

parkrunday: Town Moor #506

Back running again this week. It’s amazing how, on only week three of the return, parkrun has started to feel ‘normal’ again.

Town Moor parkrun
No photographer at parkrun today so I took a slightly dodgy and unflattering selfie as we were leaving instead. Part of my mission to collect a photo from every parkrunday going forward!

Next week we will be visiting a parkrun we have not done before, which is very exciting. Still deciding which one though!

parkrunday: Jesmond Dene #24

I haven’t forgotten about all my parallel universe games, I promise! I’m just moving them to a different day of the week on the blog, as Saturdays are now ‘parkrundays’ again and so I’m spending the afternoons playing with stats and spreadsheets rather than playing with game code.

Today was the second parkrunday back in England after the hiatus. I had made sure to get my volunteering slot booked at Jesmond Dene, which I now consider to be one of my twin home parkruns alongside Town Moor.

parkrun volunteering
At my marshal point (before the rain started). I like the colour of the new pink hi-viz vests that are now standard for parkrun volunteers, but I’m not really a fan in practical terms – they’re nowhere near as visible as the old yellow versions.

I love the surroundings of Jesmond Dene – it’s a beautiful place. However, it’s a very tough and hilly course, so in some ways I prefer volunteering there to running it! (I will run it again soon though.) Geth ran the course this morning and has decided to make it his monthly hill training session when I’m doing my monthly volunteering stint!

It is really lovely having parkrun back in England. It has felt so easy to slip back into it – like it’s never been away – but I know I will never take it for granted again, like so many other things. I’m crossing everything that Scotland and Wales will follow soon (there are so many I want to do in Scotland!).

Back on the Moor next week…

Flying Saturday post

It was AMAZING to be back at parkrun today, flying in a different way (at least for the last 800 metres – the preceding 4.2k was a bit of a plod). Having a slow Saturday now. More games from the parallel universe next week!

Town Moor parkrun
The best thing about races and parkruns is the incentive to speed up a bit towards the end. Photo by Mark Slade for Town Moor parkrun.

Occasional normality

It’s been another busy week at work and I’m really glad it’s the weekend. Geth and I are going to parkrun tomorrow morning! It’s finally back in England for the first time since that strange weekend in March 2020, and I’m very excited to return. Our home parkrun has a new name (formerly Newcastle, now Town Moor due to several other parkruns now existing in Newcastle) and a new course and a mostly-new core team running it, so it’s a bit of a new era all round. It feels very strange that we can finally parkrun again after so many false starts, but it feels like the right time. I hope Scotland and Wales aren’t too far behind.

Other than that I’m going to be chilling out with videogames this weekend, both creating and playing. I have returned to Final Fantasy I this week so I’ll be spending some time with that! I’ve also still got a lot of ParserComp entries to get through before the voting deadline next weekend, and I’m really excited to get some coding done as well.

The weather is still hot and not conducive to long runs. I’ve moved my long run day to Thursday, both because of events happening later in the training programme (to be precise, due to COVID-induced race lag, the rescheduled GNR falls precisely three weeks before the rescheduled-rescheduled London Marathon, and in a marathon training programme you’re supposed to do your 22-miler three weeks before marathon day, and I’m not doing an extra nine miles before or after the GNR! …so I’ll do it on the Thursday and have a gentle plod round the dodgily-rerouted ‘GNR’ three days later, no racing it) and because mental health wise I need FULL WEEKENDS at the moment that are not completely taken up with running, so it’s best to squeeze the long run in on a weekday instead. My last two long runs have ended up being cut short due to heatwave collapse, so next week I’m going to grit my teeth and attempt an out-and-back in the hope that, by the time I’m struggling, I’ll already be ‘on my way home’ and so it’ll be mentally easier.

Lots of groups and classes from pre-pandemic life now inviting me back, but as I’ve always said, these things will need to happen very gradually for me as I don’t want to jump straight back into Constantly Doing Stuff. Ignoring the FOMO and doing my own thing for a while longer.

Weeping willow
My favourite tree in the garden. It looks great in the summer.

This week’s earworm playlists:


Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Yuna’s Theme’
Crowded House – ‘Weather With You’
Don Henley – ‘Boys Of Summer’
Duran Duran – ‘Give It All Up’


Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Cosmo Canyon’


Paul Weller – ‘You Do Something To Me’


Calvin Harris – ‘Summer’

And a bonus track Geth was humming that day:

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘To Zanarkand’


Therion – ‘Summer Night City’
Duran Duran – ‘To The Shore’


Boston – ‘More Than A Feeling’
Levellers – ‘The Fear’
Duran Duran – ‘Shadows On Your Side’


Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Airship Theme’
John Waite – ‘Missing You’
Manami Kiyota – ‘Satorl Marsh (Night)’

parkrun tourism: Inverness

With the – tentative! – news that parkrun events may be starting up again in England by the end of October, I thought I’d better finish off my pre-hiatus tourism reviews!

Geth and I were in Inverness on the first weekend of March for the Inverness Half Marathon. It was our second year running the race, and last year the Saturday was a bit hectic (we got the train up on the Saturday and due to rail issues didn’t arrive in Inverness until very late at night). This year, I wanted a much more relaxed Saturday before the race, so we spent a couple of days driving up (staying in Edinburgh en route) and arrived in Inverness on the Friday night, in time to attend Inverness parkrun for a shakeout on the Saturday morning.

I’d been worriedly following the Inverness parkrun social media pages for the previous few weeks, as the bad winter weather had meant that they’d been cancelling every week. Inverness has two different courses – the primary course in Bught Park and the backup course in Whin Park – and thankfully the weather leading up to the half marathon weekend stayed dry enough that they were able to use the Whin Park course. We were on for Geth’s 100th parkrun!

Inverness parkrun
Post-run selfie with that poor collapsed pop-up sign! I think Inverness maybe need to order a new one from HQ…

The Whin Park course is three and a half laps of a pleasant park with a nice lake. There was a section that was a bit difficult and muddy due to recent flooding, but other than that it was fairly secure underfoot. Geth and I jogged round together at a fairly leisurely pace, saving our legs for the following day, and it was a really nice run.

Post-run and post-return-to-hotel-for-showers, we headed into town for cake. There’s got to be cake on a milestone parkrun day!

parkrun milestone cake
Milestone cake! Geth managed to squeeze in his 100th parkrun before lockdown started – he’s been on 100 ever since!

I don’t know when I’ll be back in Inverness, but I’d be happy to do this parkrun again!