Sunday, 22 September 2013

Andover Parkrun and the bonus Cake Garden

As much as I love being a tourist and visiting parkruns all over the country, there's nothing like a run at your "home parkrun". Andover is my local; it's a small, super friendly event with plenty of regulars. It's always nice to go and see familiar faces, chat to some Andover Tri folk and run a lovely two-lapper on the mixed terrain of Charlton Lakes.

I had the family down this weekend and had roped mum into volunteering in an official capacity rather than having her do her usual favourite job of being the loudest, most enthusiastic supporter (which, it must be said, she is very good at).

Completely accidental matching run-wear.
Great, sisterly minds..
The run director was fellow triathlete, Jason. He is usually the first to admit he is "more of a runner than a run director" but frankly I think he came up with the best run director quote I have ever heard. As the briefing finished and all the speedy runners crept up to the start line in anticipation, he said "Get forward, I know you like to make the most out of every inch". I was chuckling so much I nearly forgot to start running at all!

I came around the first lap just in time to see Debbie and Nicky turning up very late. Apparently there had been some sort of dog poo/lost in industrial estate drama (unrelated incidences, I believe). They ran anyway though, ignoring the fact that everyone else had a 12 minute head start. 

Andover parkrun doesn't really have a post-run coffee culture but fortunately, only a few minutes drive away, is a small but mighty bakery called Burbidges. Every time we run, we always have the compulsory short discussion on whether or not we should pop to the bakery for a spot of breakfast. The decision is obviously, a unanimous yes every single time. 

Burbidges has everything you would want from a quality bakery: delicious breakfast baps, doughnuts bigger than your head, a dizzying array of tray bakes, crunchy cheese straws and the best Danish pastries you will ever experience. If you manage to take your eyes off the food, you can even watch the bakery webcam on a big screen and see what the bakers are up to in the kitchen. What was especially exciting on this visit though, is that I spotted a very understated sign just outside with the magic words on it: CAKE GARDEN.

Tiny squeals of girly excitement spread as we peered down the side of the bakery. A lone, long picnic table was dressed up with a polka dot cover and adorned with a fruity retro ornament. Shortly after taking over the table and tucking into our post-running treats, we were greeted by Mr Burbidge himself, Steve. Mum started reminiscing with him about the old days when we used to do school trips to the bakery and soon he was offering us coffee and regaling us with stories of his travelling adventures.

Debbie couldn't bring herself to stop eating for the camera..
but the Danishes really are that good so we'll let her off
After a good chat it was Burbidges 1, Andover parkrun 0 in terms of calories in and calories out. Really though it's the lead up to winter now and we could all do with a little bit of baked goodness to keep us warm on these cool Autumnal mornings.

Bakery/parkrun coalition anyone?! All we need is a couple of extra tables!

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