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Millennium Country parkrun New Year’s Day 2024

Starting the year with a Parkrun. Of the various challenges and special events that parkrun offers, banging out 5km just hours after Big Ben has tolled is one I have enjoyed since I started. It was for that reason that I found myself at the parkrun with the longest name in the world to see in 2024: Millennium Country Parkrun, Forest of Marston Vale

I did my first New Year’s Day parkrun back in 2019 when my home event of Pocket parkrun attracted almost 3x it’s average turn out with over 500 starting the year with me. I remember still feeling quite delicate but made it round and felt so much better for it. The following year the crowd was still over 400, bolstered by people doing a NYD double, and I saw the year in with my son. Covid saw no New Year’s run in 2021 and also the announcement that you would no longer be able to do a double on New Year’s Day. This was something I had been hoping to try, even going so far to plan spending New Years at family in Leeds to be able to run between events, but alas not.

This obviously also meant that when it returned in 2022, the crowd at Pocket was a much more normal 150 runners. As we welcomed 2023 I was still run down with a bug but Pocket had decided against a New Year’s Day run and that was the case this year. However, with me wanting to start the year right, I needed to find a local run that was going ahead.

I have written several times how I haven’t really strayed from home when it comes to parkrun tourism near me, most of it coming when I am staying away. Therefore most options would be new for me. Millennium Country wasn’t my NENDY but once I saw that they had an event planned it quickly became my first choice. Although not technically the closest as the crow flies, it was probably the quickest to drive to and is a park I know well. During lockdowns, when you could exercise outside with one other person, my Dad and I would meet most weeks for a walk, as Millennium Country falls midway between us. That, coupled with the fact this parkrun follows me on X (Twitter) meant it had always been higher on my list of “to do” if I ever did tourist from home. It also had the benefit of adding a M to my alphabet. On the 5k app it showed I had one but as Monsal Trail was still called Bakewell parkrun when I did it, I have never counted it personally! Therefore, with the year still in its infancy, I headed over again.

Having paid for parking on arrival (I paid on app but be warned the queue was getting quite long) and listened in on the first timers briefing (Looking at the results there appear to have been six people doing thir first ever, a New Year’s resolution?), it was time to go. My prior knowledge of the park, coupled with what I had pre read about the course meant I knew it was a simple out and back. The route is as flat as a pancake but, there was going to be mud and puddles.

On this day there were five pace makers running with the fastest of these being 24mins. With my current fitness levels and the fact that I had done a 24:31 just 2 days earlier at Pocket, I thought if I could keep him in sight it would be a good start to the year. As it was, typically for me, by the time we hit the first turn at about 500m, I was already ahead and worrying I’d gone out too hard.

The course is effectively 3 sides of a square with the bottom missing. As we made our way along the top there was a bit of a head wind but I was feeling amazingly good considering the lack of sleep the night before. Having seen the warnings about mud and puddles I had packed a spare set of shoes for after so had no concerns about going straight through the puddles and getting wet feet. However, as we approached the turn around point I could feel my thigh starting to tighten up. Then at 3km the 24min pacer went past.

I was ready to ease right off but thankfully as we turned back along the top, the tail wind gave me a second wind myself so the target was to keep 24mins in sight. A couple of other runners did pass me but at the same time, I was pulling away from a couple of others as well. In the final stretch I could still see 24mins and in the end crossed the line in 24:08, a time well down on where I would like to be but given recent lack of training, a good marker to start 2024.

It was nice to finally try this course and I could see it being a great course to target a PB in the summer when it is drier. Overall there were just under 200 who started the year in the same way and I saw from Strava when I got home various others who had headed to other local parkruns. I still probably won’t tourist too much in my own backyard but this has made me a little more eager!

The post Millennium Country parkrun New Year’s Day 2024 first appeared on Mike Runs.

This post first appeared on Mike Runs, please read the originial post: here

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Millennium Country parkrun New Year’s Day 2024


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