I got there really early, luckily the parkrun banner was out so I knew I was in the right place, I then spoke to some of the volunteers at the venue. I then had enough time to freedom parkrun which I took the photos during.
It was good to see the park was closed to unauthorised vehicles until after parkrun had finished.
Adidas even had a stand there with their latest trainers.
It's the first parkrun I remember that had a PA system for the pre-race briefing, other have had megaphone (or not so mega) or small enough just to speak to the runners.
I guess this is the Start line :-)
The course is simple, go post the two red phone boxes and litter bin...
Past the fountain on your right hand side...
Watch out for cycles and other park users....
Stay with the lake on your left handside and between the railway fence..
Stopping for extra exercise is optional.
Watch out for the the bollards on THE BIG INCLINE on the course :-)
Keep following the path around the lake.
Follow the path around the lake...
Past the boating club on the corner of the lake.
Then along the footpath..
Watch out for the dragon in the lake..
the eagle on the gate post...
And the swans.
If this is the end of lap 1 turn left and do the same loop again, if not turn right towards the finsh loop.
The finish loop is around the cricket patch.
All the way round the cricket boundary.
With the finishing "straight"..
Finally to the finish line.
They even had a sweeper vehicle :-)
From my run around the course it did seem really flat and fast course but I was taken it easy then stopping and taking photos. It was a bit on the cool side with a slight breeze which be headwind along the far side of the lake from the start.
I started about 1/3 from the front and started off at a fast pace which I hope I could maintain. As there was a lot of people at a similar pace I got in to a good rhythm, round the lake I took it slightly wider than most as the was some debris on the path next to the lake which I did not want to go for a swim on a cold day.
I went round the lake following the path and the 100 other runners that were ahead of me and the next thing I realised I had done over 3/4 of the distance already and was on the last section of the main loop. I picked up the pace a bit along towards were the start line was and then picked the pace up even more around the cricket pitch. This was further than I thought but there was no option of slowing down once I had kicked for the finish.
In the end I finished just over 23 minutes which was good pace for me, maybe it was not good idea as I had over 15 miles to run that day. From my GPS data I can see I went off fast then settled in to a pace before kicking for the end.
It was one of the more welcoming parkrun's that I have done with other 400 runners ranging from 15:20 for the winner to 45 minutes for the last person who completed the course, along with a lot of parkrun first timers as well.
The only problem I had was my parkrun barcodes did not like travelling across the county border and did not work so had to revert to the manual process.
I did not have time to stop and chat to the volunteers that much, as I off to the next race about 6 miles away which I had to register for on the day.
Based on the the winners time and how I felt the course was like, it was the flattest of the 22 different parkrun events I have done and I have done 5 different venues in East Anglia and Bushy Park. The only flatter course that I have heard about but not done is the alternative route at the Gorleston parkrun (norfolk) which is used when it is icy and they then run along the beach, as parkrun must go ahead.
However in ideal running conditions (training and weather) in addition to course flatness and running surface I think Poole would be the quickest.