The one at the alternative location. The latest parkrun tourism adventure saw us visiting a parkrun at the opposite end of the British Isles, Inverness. It is roughly 610 miles from my home parkrun, Havant, and is the most northerly parkrun I’ve visited so far. It is also one of two parkruns in the UK that begins with an I, the other being Ipswich. This leaves me with just four letters to collect to complete all the available letters in the alphabet. So what was the purpose of such a long trip? Well, the main purpose of the journey was to run the Loch Ness marathon, but I’d be lying if the chance of bagging an I didn’t seal the deal when choosing a marathon for September.
Inverness parkrun is usually held at Bught park but due to the marathon race village being set up there the location had shifted slightly down the road to nearby Whin Park. Scottish parkruns start slightly later than the rest of the UK kicking off at 9:30 rather than the usual 9:00, however this morning the start was even later as they were thoughtfully ensuring that anyone arriving at the usual location had time to get to the alternative start. There were a lot of tourists visiting and the first timers brief reflected that, there were Apricot shirts from all over and a few cow cowls dotted around here and there.
The alternative route is a 5 lap route around a pond and down along the riverbank, past some hippos and a pink elephant, around the miniature railway and back around the play park. It had a real mixture of terrain with muddy puddles to splash through, grass, tarmac and a bit of trail, so very varied and a lovely little leg stretcher the day before the marathon.
There was a very jovial atmosphere and the RD and volunteer team were very welcoming and patient with lots of lost looking tourists. It looked like they also had a very full roster too with volunteers everywhere, something that’s fairly common the day before a large local event. There were in fact 258 runners this time around, a course record!
5 laps sounds a bit onerous, but the reality of it was that it went by in no time at all. I saw something new on every lap and particularly enjoyed a section where the trees were overhanging into the rushing water of the river, what a lovely sound that made.
I think most people were taking it pretty steady, soaking it up and having a bit of a laugh. Once the five laps had been completed there was some lovely cake by the scanners for global consumption.
It was a bright and sunny start to the day, slightly chilly but it’s the end of September in Scotland so not a great surprise!
Once the parkrun was done we skipped the usual post race coffee and chat as had to hear back to Bught park to collect race numbers for the following days Loch Ness marathon. It was great to tick off an I and visit Inverness parkrun. I had a lot of fun at this one, definitely want to tick off a few more Scottish parkruns as the scenery is superb in the highlands and the atmosphere jovial.
Thanks to all the volunteers and core team for dealing with us lost tourists, it was a fun morning.