I received a package on Friday which I eagerly ripped open to reveal my long awaited parkrun 50 T-shirt.
Obviously, I had to try it on and take the obligatory (if poor quality) selfie.
The following day, being a Saturday, meant that I could wear my trophy top to parkrun – but which one ?
The plan called for a total of twenty four miles so after deducting the 3.1 for parkrun meant that I needed to pick an event that was around ten miles away.
After poring over the charts, I decided to go to Edgbaston reservoir and take part in the parkrun there.
I got my stuff ready, including, the red shirt (obvs!) and my vest containing a couple of soft flasks and some snacks.
The sun was still to rise as I left the house and headed for the Birmingham & Fazeley canal behind the Tyburn House pub.
I followed the canal to Salford Junction beneath Spaghetti Junction and picked the way leading into Birmingham still on the Birmingham & Fazeley.
After a flat three miles, I hit the bottom lock of the Aston flight which comprised eleven locks with the final one in sight of Aston University.
From this junction, I ignored the branch to the left and continued along the Birmingham & Fazeley into the heart of the city.
After a short flatfish stretch, I hit lock thirteen of the Farmers Lock flight which ascended passing under the iconic BT tower to Brindley Place.
This point marks the start (or end) of the Birmingham & Fazeley where it joins the Birmingham New Mainline which runs left for a couple of hundred metres and right to Wolverhampton.
This junction also houses what is possibly the only roundabout on the canal network.
I took the Mainline past the Lego centre and out towards Winson Green. When I reached the soho loop, which as the name implies loops away and back from the main route to pass the back of the massive City Hospital and Winson Green prison, I was planning on leaving the navigation and head straight to the reservoir.
However, I was still a little shy of mileage and also a bit early so continued a little further before leaving the canal. As I left the canal, I was only a hundred metres or so from a number of places from my early childhood.
I was born in the aforementioned City Hospital (or Dudley Road Hospital as it was then known) and grew up in nearby Tudor Street. Soon after leaving the canal, I passed my old Junior and Infant school before crossing Dudley Road into Summerfield Park.
I walked through the park emerging at the far side before taking a path down to the reservoir. I entered the reservoir on the opposite side to the start of the parkrun so by the time I’d done half a lap, I had clocked up twelve and a quarter miles. It was also nearly half eight so was in time for the nine o’clock start of my fifty first parkrun.
As we approached the top of the hour, more runners appeared ready for the off. The race director gave the pre-event briefing and I’m sure that he said, “Welcome to the Edgbaston parkrun event number THREE !”.
The event started at nine as we trundled off clockwise around the reservoir for a couple of laps. Obviously, some of the faster runners lapped me to finish before I was even halfway.
I completed my two laps in a respectable 39:05 – I’m always happy with anything sub forty minutes. The official time given for Edgbaston Reservoir parkrun, event #3, was 39:07.
So this was a fairly new event which is probably why it hadn’t popped upon my radar before.
After a bit of a cool down and a Caramel Wafer, I made my way back to the canal to retrace my steps.
After walking beneath the BT tower, I glanced up at building and noticed some marking but couldn’t quite make out what they were, so crossed over the canal for a better view,
There, on the side of the building, was a massive mural. I’m not sure who the people depicted are or whether they’re just representative.
Pressing on I passed the uni and proceeded down the Aston flight.
As I was passing through Aston, I spotted something white up ahead but couldn’t quite make out what it was until I got closer and then recognised it as a Sinclair C5 (in the photo modelled by the designer himself, Sir Clive Sinclair).
I was taken somewhat aback and by the time I’d though, “I need to take a photo of that” the guy had passed me.
The rest of the journey was a bit of an anti-climax but by the time I got home, I had clocked up nearly twenty six and a half miles.