I am not one for Parkrun tourism, or for traveling 90 mins to run 5k, but Saturday I did both. Woolacombe Dunes has just opened for Parkrun business and is on week 4 and with the new job meaning Saturday working it was time to utilise this last free Saturday and make the most of it.
The original plan was to incorporate the run in a family day out but like so many plans involving the madams, this did not pan out, this coupled with hubby not taking his gloves, literally meant drive up, run, drive back!
The road to the coast is to a Roman Road as I am to Paula Radcliffe and as I am not the greatest of passengers I arrived feeling a little green around the gills. We stopped at the beach so I could use the facilities but sadly these were barricaded up for the winter! We continued up the hill working on the theory that there might be a loo in the car park, on checking with a volunteer it appears not. Now there was no way I can run without first having a comfort break and that is after usually travelling 20 mins, after 90 mins it would be disastrous, dam those kids with big heads. A bush was suggested and off I went in search, harder than you would think!
Woolacombe is one of our pre Devon living days favourite places, something to do with the massive beach!
Beautiful and simply the best place to be with three young Madams, however my love for this place was about to be tested.
The run started well, down hill on a concrete if somewhat rocky road before sharply veering right on to a dirt track, still going in the right direction (downwards) (found myself wondering if we would have to climb this bit later, we did) then it was a left turn on to a track on the dunes. Ever tried running on dunes? Well my advice would be don’t, you can live a fulfilled life without this experience so don’t add this to a bucket list. Half a mile on this before we hit the beach. Phew, that will be easier now I thought.
I love to be proved wrong (no I don’t really but anyway) oh and I was wrong, some of the sand was compact and great, but a majority of it was slightly soft (well under my post Christmas tonnage it was) so all the time you are going backwards working hard to propel yourself forwards. If I was to try running up hill in treacle I would imagine that it would feel just like this, but more sticky and messy obviously. I must admit at this moment though a lump formed in my throat, like I needed that, but presented with the scene above, I thought this is just like being in Chariots of Fire (cue the slow mo part) if I could have hummed a few notes I would have but instead swallowed the lump and suppressed the tears and tried to live in the moment for the WHOLE MILE.
Next obstacle on the 5k run was the Sand Dune mountain! Like whose bright idea was this?
Please note the quality of the photo brought about by the need of a defibrillator at this point. Not sure how I got up there but I did and was very grateful for the levelling out of the course but not so much for there being more sand dune running followed by an up hill finish! Seriously thought someone is trying to kill me off here, now I know I am not at my fittest at the moment but that was one of my slowest Parkrun’s EVER, I am hoping that others find it tough also.
Personally I can’t wait to go back, despite all the moaning I loved it, the challenge on the best beach in the South West, the scenery, truly one to do for the experience rather than the PB. But next time I will get that PB, not that, that is going to be too hard though!