Another Essex parkrun was always my plan for today. I'd originally decided to go elsewhere when I noticed that Great Notley was having a 200th milestone event today.
Mr RIU offered to drive me there and we headed out at 7.45. The journey took around 35 minutes although we were in no hurry and travelling quite slowly,
As always, I was pleased to see some parkrun volunteers and signage and found my way from the car park to the toilets very easily.
Heading from there down to the start I had my first taster of just how muddy the course was going to be. There were lots of puddles.
I'd already read about the course and knew there was a hill. It hadn't sounded too bad but I was already not relishing the prospect of running up a wet, grassy slope.
I bumped into a couple of people I knew and we had a group photo taken at the 'Great Notley 200' sign that had been put up to mark the occasion. That was a nice touch! I'd like to see one of these at Maldon as I know how people like to get pictures of themselves at different locations. There was parkrun related 'commentary' on the back of each of the letters too.
Some people had turned up in fancy dress and our first timer briefing was delivered by a clown. That's a first too. There were a handful of other tourists and a similar number of parkrun newbies and we all looked equally excited about the many references to the muddy state of the course.. Then it was time for the run director to run through the usual health and safety reminders and more reminders about ht muddy course. Then we were off.
I knew that I was going to be slower than my usual pace as I am quite fearful of falling when the ground is wet. For a while I kept behind the 34 minute pacer who was running with a junior dressed as a minion. I was quite comfortable at that pace as we travelled along muddy and wet and then sandy and wet paths. Then we reached the hill. They continued at the same pace but after 2 or 3 step/slides I decided to walk. I dutifully followed the instruction to touch the bird sculpture at the top before descending and testing the ground at the summit, decided to walk down too.
By the time I reached the bottom of the other side of the hill the 34 and 36 minute pacers were gone. I resumed my usual slow and steady pace towards the finish thinking that I had to climb the hill one more time before the end.
I was very happy when I realised that the route didn't include the hill again and, before i knew it, I slipped and slided my way into the finish funnel.
Mr RIU had returned to the car while I was gone so there was no opportunity for a finish photo (probably as well) although I did take a photo of my bare feet as we travelled home; my shoes and socks stashed in a doggy poo bag which I always carry and never cease to be amazed at when they come in useful.
I will definitely run at Great Notley again as I really enjoyed the course and the mud.
Avocado, poached egg, bacon and toast for breakfast. I really enjoyed that too.