The one with the amazing sunrise and boathouse on the lake. So you’re on holiday in Florida, maybe visiting Disney, but you don’t want to skip your routine Saturday parkrun, well your prayers have been answered in the form of Clermont Waterfront parkrun. They’ve been established a while, this morning being their 146th event and parkrunners are attracted from all over. It’s definitely worth making the effort to get up and pay them a visit, the welcome is warm like the weather, so very friendly.
Clermont Waterfront parkrun is run along the shoreline on the South Lake Trail, this is entirely on paths so road shoes are a must. If you’re not used to running in this sort of temperature and humidity (30 degrees/95% humidity) then light shorts and a thin top or running vest is a must this time of year! There’s a reason it starts at 7:30am and not at the more usual 9:00am start time we are used to in the UK, it’s down to that raging ball of fire in the sky! Even at 7:30am the old blast furnace is cranked right up making this 5k run very demanding, however, if you get there around 7am you are treated to a jaw dropping sunrise over the water, it’s simply stunning.
There aren’t many parkruns in the US as yet so I’m very fortunate that getting to Clermont Waterfront is straight forward enough from our Disney resort, the next closest one being Durham NC, a mere 637 miles away (9 hour drive!). There is plenty of free parking outside Clermont Boathouse, on the grass or in the streets nearby, which makes life easy for parkrun tourists like me! There are essential facilities on site too, like cool H2O from the drinking fountains and restrooms in the boathouse, what more could you want.
It’s almost an ‘out and back’ course along the scenic Lake Minneola shoreline. You head out towards Hiawatha reserve, hit the turnaround point and head back towards the boathouse. The views across the lake are fantastic as you cross the footbridge. You don’t finish just yet, that’s just a tease, you have to continue on past the start/finish heading in the opposite direction until you hit the next turnaround point for the final push back to the finish line you’ve just passed. It is a fast flat course with some amazing times being set in these conditions.
The finish funnel is an international affair with the flags of many nations on display, this is a really nice touch, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t happy to see them on my return leg. Whilst this morning wasn’t as hot as it has been of late and the sun was mostly behind the clouds it was seriously hard work. The lead runner, Luiz Prestes, finished the course in a blistering 17:37, in my opinion a superhuman effort in these conditions.
There were 108 finishers this morning ranging from all over, according to the register we all signed before starting there were UK tourists from Basildon, Clumbur, Grovelands, Luton Wardown, Tilgate, Bushy, Rushmoor, Guildford(Alice Holt 😇), Brighton, Wimbledon Jnr’s, Sidcup, Medway, Warrington to name just a few!
After the run you’ve got to join the guys for breakfast after at Cheesers Palace, coffee and scramblers highly recommended. It’s nice to sit and chat with the local runners and share parkrun stories. It’s a shame there aren’t more parkruns stateside as yet, but I’m sure they’ll get more as time goes on.
“If you book them, they will come” – Jim Morrison, Wayne’s World..
Finally, make sure you take cash with you so you can make a donation and pick up one of these awesome magnets!