Big Finish

Now before you get excited, this post is not about muscular Sven from Helsinki.

Amazingly, I DID wake up at 03:30, breakfasted, threw together a few provisions and was in the car heading for Sutton Park by 04:04hrs.

Instead of parking in a side street, as planned, I was able to drive into the park and leave the car in Banners Gate car park.

I donned wooly hat, gloves and buff around my neck then set off in a clockwise direction following the route from last week.

I have an app on my watch called Dynamic Watch or DW. Although my Garmin watch does not have actual maps, DW can draw a track which can be followed.

There are various zoom levels along with the more usual distance, pace, time data fields.

I still had the track on my watch that I used for my one lap of the park last week, so I followed that.

I was doing alright but did go off course around mile three. I knew that I was on the wrong path but I was going in roughly the right direction so just pressed on.

Coming up to four miles, I went wrong again but strangely my Garmin showed that I was on the correct path. It was only when I turned right off the road onto a very indistinct track that I started to think that something was amiss. When I sank to my knees in gloopy smelly mud I was pretty sure that that I was not on the right track!

I extricated myself from the bog and re-traced my steps to the road then continued along it until I realised that I was heading towards Town Gate and therefore back on track.

Following the roads within the park I was soon at Boldmere car park from where I cut cross country to Longmore Pool and back to the car.

My Garmin showed that I’d covered 7.5 miles.

I stopped long enough to eat a sandwich, top up my water bottle and change the batteries in my head torch.

Refreshed, I set off again, re-tracing my steps to do an anti-clockwise loop, hopefully without going off piste.

Approaching Town Gate, I noticed a few vans that weren’t there half an hour earlier. Getting closer I noticed a big plastic box with ‘Caution Runners’ signs and rolls of hazard tape. One of the vans had ‘Race Timing’ emblazoned on the side. Checking later, I discovered that this was in preparation for the Birmingham 10k Winter Warmer Run (LINK).

After Town Gate, I followed the road towards Blackroot Pool. When my watch showed a left turn, I took it and followed tracks around the western side of the pool – I’d already seen the east side – the side with the mud !

As the sun rose, I turned off the head torch and carried on towards the car. My watch showed that I’d be a tad short so I took an excursion around Longmore.

By the time I’d returned to the car, I’d covered 17.2 miles and it was a quarter to parkrun.

I dropped my bag and other un-necessaries, grabbed something to eat and made my way to the parkrun start. As the runners limbered up with stretches and bounces, I munched my way through my fruit loaf.

Parkrun, itself, was pretty uneventful recording a time of 39:07 – slower than last week.

However, when I received my ‘official’ text from parkrun, I had beaten last week’s time by two seconds.

Although, I’d walked seventeen miles prior to parkrun, I still managed an average pace of 12:26 minutes per mile. Not back for walking.


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