Sunday, 14 June 2015

Salisbury parkrun: The Map Guide

Salisbury parkrun isn't the easiest course to navigate. Visitors and bloggers alike have rightly described it as having many twists and turns. There's a lead biker, a tail runner, loads of marshals and more arrows than most marathon courses, but there's still always at least one who manages to go the wrong way.

If you've run our course and are still confused or are planning a journey to our shiny, new parkrun, look no further. Follow this guide and you should make it around Salisbury parkrun without navigational disaster. Just remember to run three laps!

1. The start: If you want to start in a semi-lunge position with a finger over the button of your watch, go to the front. If you want to socialise and natter, start nearer the back. It's bad etiquette to stand in everyone's way playing with your watch and trying to load satellites so if this is you, go to the side.

2. Lizzie's Corner: Prepare to be cheered wholeheartedly on the first of our big hairpin bends. If you're really lucky, Lizzie herself will be marshaling but any of our lovely marshals will give you the boost you need!
Warning: don't try to cut the corner or Lizzie will give you her teacher voice.

3. Competitors View: This is your first good opportunity to check out who is in front of you on the other side of the water, and if it's possible to catch them. Avoid eye contact in case they throw a smug grin your way. Make your way across the grass and take the right turn over the bridge.

4. The BMX Cheering Squad: Once you've dodged the weeping willow and looked back over the water to smugly grin at wave to your fellow parkrunners, you'll pass the skate park on your left. The BMX-riding youth of Salisbury are a supportive bunch, I even heard one of them offer a struggling parkrun a bite of his sandwich. Their words of encouragement will definitely make you smile.
Note: we must try to recruit some of them as lead bikers and marshals.

5. Slippery Corner: Like any parkrun, the Salisbury course has had a rigorous and thorough risk assessment, but nobody could have foreseen the mystery of the Slippery Corner. Maybe it's a lack of sunlight in this part of the course, maybe it's an uneven camber or maybe it's a strange curse, but as you turn left off the path onto the grassy corner, it is much harder to maintain traction than you expect. Many a parkrunner has fallen at this bend (okay, we count three so far but still, be careful).

6. The Toilet Chicane: Duck under the low branches, hang a right and breathe a sigh of relief. That cup of tea you gulped down before coming to parkrun wasn't very sensible, was it? Don't worry, here at Salisbury parkrun we have an emergency toilet stop en route. If you don't need the loo, you make the sharp left to complete the chicane. If you're still feeling bouncy and energetic I also recommend the little jump over the corner of the flower bed just for fun.

7. The Home Straight: The path turns a left corner and you're onto the long tarmac stretch. There's no more grass to sap the energy from your legs, not on this lap, anyway. Enjoy!

8: Cheaters Corner: It is so very tempting to whizz through this tiny shortcut and avoid the big hairpin bend, especially on lap number three. Just three cones stand in your way... you'd only be cheating yourself of course. Plus, Andy has been seen lingering in that area with his camera so cheat at your own risk.

9. The Finish Turn: You spot a huge fluorescent yellow finish sign with a left arrow. "YES!", you think, "I've made it!". Nope, sorry, run around again. Repeat steps 2 - 9. On your third sighting of the finish turn, you've earned your right to take it. Feel the surge of power in your legs as you spot the finish funnel up ahead.

10: The Finish Funnel: Hurrah, you've done it! As you pass the timers, do your best to look super cheerful in case there's a photographer. You'll regret that finishing shot of you pushing stop on your watch. Now, this bit is important:
10.1: Stay in your finishing order as you walk down the funnel, do not deviate or attempt to escape the funnel.
10.2: Collect your token.
10.3: Take your barcode and the token to the scanners.
10.4: Feel free to hang around, have a chat, cheer people on, stick your name down for volunteering etc
10.5 Join us in the Cathedral Refectory for coffee and delicious pastries.

Happy parkrunning!

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