No Spitting, No High Fives

Sixteen months since being suspended because of COVID, parkrun in England restarted this Saturday. A work colleague told me that he would be doing Sutton Park’s parkrun this week and I agreed to meet him there.

My training plan called fro twenty two miles this Saturday as as parkrun is only three miles (3.1 or 5km) I needed to tack a few more miles onto that.

I decided to walk to Sutton Park, by the somewhat scenic route; do parkrun then walk home straight down the A452, Chester Road.

I left home just before six and made my way to the Birmingham Fazeley canal at The Tyburn House.

I was only to walk about half a mile on the canal but on that short stretch I did pass a canal-side garden bedecked with all manner of garden ornaments and a bus stop.

The bus stop sign bore the words Midland Red. At one time Midland Red was one of the largest English bus companies running services from Gloucester to Derbyshire and from Northampton to the Welsh border. The company split into six new companies in 1981.

From the canal, I made my way to Pype Hayes Park and the small waterway known as Plants Brook. This stream runs from Sutton Park to join the River Tame near Castle Vale – a total length of around six to eight miles !

I followed the stream upstream alongside Pype Hayes golf course before crossing Penns Lane.

The street name signs are often ‘vandalised’ so that PENNS resembles something else! Another road that suffer the same fate is Dogpool Lane in Stirchley, Birmingham.

Hehe.... Good old Birmingham | Birmingham, Birmingham england, Birmingham uk

From Penns Lane, the path, still following Plants Brook, skirts another golf club – Walmley – they like their golf in these parts.

The next road to be crossed was Wylde Green Road and then I was in Newhall Valley Country Park through which I walked to it’s northern end at the foot of Reddicap Hill.

I was now walking on the streets of Royal Sutton Coldfield as I made my way to Sutton Park via a deserted Gracechurch shopping centre.

Passing a pretty wild flower bed, full of poppies, I was soon at Sutton Park’s Town Gate.

I was a little ahead of time so devised a circuitous route to get me to Banners Gate and the start of the parkrun.

Eleven and a half miles or two and three-quarter hours after leaving home, I arrived at the start of the eighty third Sutton Park Parkrun.

Around two hundred runners / joggers / walkers milled around at the start as the pre-event talk was given.

Special thanks were given to Peter Heafield, who had been the main photographer at Sutton registering over one hundred volunteer credits to his name.

Peter was alway ready to chat and we had numerous conversations before many parkruns.

His photographs captured the atmosphere of parkrun and his daughters have now taken over the mantle behind the lens.

After the memorial, Peter was remembered with a long round of applause. Thank you Peter.

The pre-event briefing concluded with the advise “No spitting and no high fives!” Fair enough.

The race director took a selfie with the assembled crowd before giving a short countdown and we were off.

I started at the back with only the tail walkers behind me. This was part of my long SLOW distance walk so I would be taking it easy.

The first mile over the scarily named Bridge of Death to the equally ludicrously named Hill of Doom was fairly uneventful but I did manage to pass a few walkers and even a few runners.

My first mile was covered in 13:26 so I was hardly taking it that easy.

The next mile, up the Hill of Doom to the Jubilee stone, down the hill and back up was clocked at 13:11.

The third mile, which was on the whole slightly downhill was covered in 12:28 as I accelerated to the finish.

I completed my 46th parkrun in 40:40 according to my watch and the official time was given as 40:39, finishing in 180th position at an average pace of 13:00 minutes per mile.

After having my token and barcode scanned, I saved that walk before resetting my watch for the walk home.

With fourteen and a half miles under my belt, the return journey would only be about seven miles or so. The most direct route, along the A452, was taken and nearly two hours later I was home.

TOTALS for 2021
TODAY’S MILEAGE   22 miles
ANNUAL MILEAGE   1044 miles
#WALK 1000 REMAINING   -44 miles
ROUTE 66 REMAINING   1234 miles

I hadn’t felt 100% on the walk out and when I did eventually get home I had to have a bit of a lie down. Sunday, I had a rare lie-in but still felt very tired so much so that I fell asleep sitting in the chair that evening.