The one with the mansion house. Today’s parkrun adventure is a 67 mile trip from Havant to the stunning and picturesque Osterley parkrun to tick an O off my list and notch up my 25th different UK parkrun, a Quarter Cowell as it’s known in parkrun tourist circles. My sister decided to join me in a bit of tourism this morning making the trip over from her home run, the slightly closer Black Park. Osterley parkrun is hosted in the grounds of the National Trust’s Osterley Park and was established just over three years ago, today’s run being #174. Osterley Park is one of the last surviving country estates in London, its centre piece, a large Georgian Mansion House, is surrounded by gardens, park and farmland, lots of cows milling around. What an amazing place for a parkrun.
Getting there is easy enough by car and parking is free for parkrunners if you arrive before 9am, I displayed a barcode too just to make sure. As the saying goes “Don’t Forget Your Barcode” #dfybc! There are also warm toilets near the finish area which was handy after spending an hour and a half in the car getting there! It’s so nice to have facilities to hand when touring.
The course is a flat 3 lapper on a mixture of hard trail, grass and through a wooded patch with some roots to contend with, these are really well marked so easily avoidable. Unsurprisingly, what with it being Winter and in the UK, there were some rather large icy puddles to nancy around, jump over or splash through accompanied by smatterings of mud! I like this sort of course, I’ve really gone off flat tarmac courses, it’s nice to have a bit of variety. Light trail shoes were the order of the day, though my sister got away with road shoes.
Last weekend a impressive 17,099 people became parkrunners, what an amazing start to 2017 for parkrun. Osterley had 13 parkrun first timers last week, this week it had 12, and I have to say as a first time visitor it’s a great place to do your first parkrun. Numbers wise Osterley regularly attracts in the region of 150 runners so it’s a nice size, not too overwhelming and nice and friendly to boot. Personally, having visited a few now, I prefer parkruns of this size, the bigger events can be somewhat impersonal and overwhelming.
Approaching 9am the place started to fill up with runners, I think perhaps keeping warm in their cars till the last minute. We were led to the start line for the run brief. Some people may have been a bit excited as there was a lot of chatter during the brief, please respect the run brief guys especially when there could be important information about course conditions, ice for example today, also remembering those that haven’t been there before and don’t know the drill or the course. A little bit of courtesy costs nothing, five minutes quiet time isn’t going to ruin your day but could quite easily ruin some one else’s.
On a cold morning like this morning you really have to appreciate the volunteers, standing around in the cold so that we can run, thank you so so much. As a visitor from Havant I felt very welcomed, thank you to the first marshal for the shoutout. Today’s run attracted 124 runners, with 12 completely new to parkrun and 9 tourists visiting from Havant, Black Park, Bushy, Upton Court, Woodley and Bedfont Lakes to name a few. There was one milestone run today, Finlay MCBRIDE notching up a century today, congratulations, wear your hundred shirt with pride.
My sister and I enjoyed our visit to Osterley and can recommend a visit to any budding parkrun tourist. Free parking, toilets, cafe, scenic grounds, what more could you want? Thank you for being so friendly and welcoming. Next week it’s a T, so either Tooting Common or Tilgate, decisions decisions.
Oh and who could forget, this weeks #parkruncornetto was Strawberry, a popular selling item at this time of year!