I’m up north for the weekend, so I’m a parkrun tourist today. My first north-eastern parkrun was at Silksworth, which finishes with a hill. I didn’t like that, so the next time, I went to Riverside parkrun in Chester-le-Street, which is a flat course, part of which is alongside the River Wear and a horde of swans; lovely. It’s three laps, which can be tiresome, and the car park costs 80p. A third parkrun cropped up at Herrington Country Park without me noticing, so I thought I’d give it a go this weekend, despite the hills. Plus, I was promised a good view of Penshaw Monument.
It was really friendly, even more so than the Riverside one.
This lovely family took me under their collective wing. On the way back to the car park, one of their two little girls made me a little ‘knitted grass’ thing (a blade of grass with a knot in it). The three kids were full of beans before, during and after the run. They all finished ahead of me.
During the run, I chatted to this woman for a while, but she was going too slowly for me, so I sped up until I caught up to a woman pushing her grandson in a three-wheeler pushchair. She was doing a pace that was maybe a little bit fast for me, but we got chatting and I stayed with her till right before the end.
She asked me at one point if she was slowing me down – I told her it was quite the opposite: she was keeping me going. If it hadn’t been for her, I might have slowed to a standstill going up the banks.
I finished in a better time than I’ve been finishing my usual flat parkrun in, much to my delighted surprise.
The lady whose daughter was to knit me the blade of grass offered to take a photo of me with the Herrington Country parkrun sign. I asked if we could get Penshaw Monument in the background; she said yes, and we walked up the steps of the amphitheatre, where this parkrun finishes. I think we both expected to be able to see Penshaw Monument, but there were trees blocking the view, so we had to walk quite a way to get to it. It was worth it, though.