Living in Brighton and Hove, I’m very lucky to have four parkruns in my town, each with its own unique atmosphere, route type and various quirks.
Having completed three of the four over the last few years, this weekend I had agreed to join a friend for what promised to be the toughest of the four – Bevendean Down… but you do have to go up before you can go down!
The only reason that I had never completed the Bevendean parkrun was that it isn’t within easily walking distance. However, the promise to meet up there with a friend was good motivation to get myself up and out a little bit earlier than usual.
I had to get the 8:00 train from Hove and then change at Brighton for the 8:14 to Moulsecoomb and then walk for about 0.7 miles to get to the start line. It should have been easy enough, but not knowing the streets around that part of town, I managed to get myself a little bit lost.
I took a wrong turn down a trail that I thought would lead to the start line, but ended up leading me to load of brambles. Fortunately when I turned back into the street I spotted someone who looked like he was heading somewhere for a run and decided to follow him.
Within a few minutes, I found the parkrunners waiting in the field and went to join them with about 5-10 minutes to spare.
The route itself is two laps of a field, with a long slow uphill section, followed by a nice downhill. Knowing that I would be very slow and would probably have to walk a fair bit, I went to the back for the start.
The first part of the run was nice and flat, but with soft ground underfoot and a slight camber, I found it took a bit of getting used to. As we started the first climb, I knew that despite my already slow pace I was going to struggle, so I suggested to my friend that she run on ahead and I would walk some of the uphill.
I didn’t mind being at the back and it was nice to chat to the tail runner during my walk breaks – which were many and long!
When it came to the downhill though, I made sure than I ran and enjoyed being able to pick up the pace a bit. It was weird running downhill on grass as the ground was soft but pretty even for the most part, unlike trails where you have to watch out for stones and bits of tree.
The second lap was much the same as the first, but with a bit more walking. However, I did make the effort to try to pick up the pace a bit more on the run to the finish.
My official finish time was 39:10, which I was very pleased with. Plus, I achieved my highest position ever coming in 26th place overall… ok, so there were only 27 runners and the tail runner always finishes last, but it’s a statistic that made me smile!
After the run, most of the runners and volunteers went for breakfast at The Bevy, a community owned and run pub just down the road. The food was amazing and everyone was very friendly (we all got a free bag of spinach for some reason!), although next time I will remember to take my muddy shoes off at the door!
(I found an article about the Bevy, which explains what it is all about much better than I can, so click here of you want to read a truly inspiring story!)
As parkruns go, this is definitely my favourite. Even though the route is much more challenging than any of the others, the fact that there are fewer runners makes it feel much more welcoming and everyone was very friendly.
I’ll definitely be going back for more, although I doubt I could handle the hill every week!
Did you get a run in this weekend? Please share your thoughts and comments below.