On the run: most easterly trip to Lowestoft parkrun
PUBLISHED: 10:00 14 August 2018
Athletics correspondent Carl Marston is travelling around the region (and beyond) running in different parkruns. This week he heads east to Lowestoft
This was my most easterly parkrun – and it will remain that way – so long as I stick to running in this country.
Lowestoft is well-renowned as being the most easterly settlement in the UK. Any further east and I would be treading water in the North Sea.
Actually, even though I stepped onto Lowestoft Promenade just a little after 8am, there were already some hardy souls enjoying a dip in the sea.
And the water looked inviting, even at breakfast-time, with the sun shining brightly across a wide, sandy beach.
Of course I had other priorities, most notably another 5K parkrun on yet another super-quick course.
First held on October 31, 2015, Saturday was the 145th staging of the Lowestoft parkrun.
A field of 199 tackled that first event, but its popularity has gradually increased over the years, and 300-plus fields have been the norm for the last couple of months.
The course is a cracker, a one-and-three-quarter lap 5K challenge along the Lowestoft Seafront, starting opposite the East Point Pavilion.
Beginning with a flat stretch along the promenade, towards and beyond Claremont Pier, runners progress in front of a line of brightly-coloured Beach Huts before clambering up a steep hill on to the upper promenade, and then turning northwards back towards the pier.
After a second shorter lap, the finish is in the gardens of the Royal Wellington Esplande, where runners complete a rectangular circuit to the funnel.
A post-run coffee, rather than a post-run swim, is more common.
Last Saturday’s results
Sam Stevens led home a big field of 306 in a time of 17mins 27secs. The Ipswich Harriers teenager, who has a swift PB of 17:05 for the Lowestoft course, finished just eight seconds ahead of runner-up Nick Roper. Over-45 veteran Roper, a member of Bungay Black Dog, posted 17:35, which was 11 seconds adrift of his PB for the event.
Another teenager, James Besford, arrived at the finish funnel just over a minute adrift in third spot, celebrating a PB (18:41).
Bungay BD’s Daniel Gardner, an over-45 veteran, was a mere one second behind in fourth, while parkrun stalwart Andy Green, of Team East Haddon, duly chalked up his 199th parkrun in 18:52. It was the over-50 veteran’s first visit to Lowestoft – he is more likely to be found at the his home event, the Northampton parkrun.
Steven Carruthers, of local club Waveney Valley AC, was another to enjoy a PB morning, thanks to a 19:01 clocking at his 82nd parkrun.
The first female finisher was Sophie Olejnik, another first-time visitor, in 21:17, with over-40 veteran Anne-Marie Falgate second in a PB of 23:20.
Lowestoft Road Runners’ Rebecca Lawler was third in 23:44.
Matt Jeffries, of Waveney Valley AC, a familiar face on Suffolk roads, set the course best of 15mins 57secs from his one and only appearance at the event in June, 2017.
Dominic Oliver, of City of Norwich AC, is number two on the list thanks to his 16:06 effort of October, 2016, just 10 seconds quicker than Ipswich JAFFA’s Robert Chenery managed with his 16:16, coincidently recorded at the same event as Jeffries.
Other Suffolk-based runners high up the Lowestoft rankings include Bungay BD’s Kieran McMorran (fourth with 16:27), the Lowestoft RR duo of Carl Prewer (sixth with 16:36) and Paul Lyon (10th in 17:03) plus Saturday’s winner, Sam Stevens (11th on list).
A total of 15 women have ducked under 20 minutes, although Gt Yarmouth & District AC’s Colleen Nicole Mukuya’s course best of 17:25 is nearly a minute quicker than anyone else.
Waveney Valley AC’s Samantha Lines (18:17) and Edinburgh AC’s Chloe Cox (18:34) are second and third on the list.
I had run at Lowestoft many, many years ago, including the old Lowestoft Carnival 10K in the summer of 1990, and the town’s half-marathon six years later.
This was my ninth of the nine Suffolk-based parkruns, although that total is soon to be swelled to 10 by the new Sizewell parkrun (inaugural event set for a fortnight’s time, on Saturday, August 25).
Encouraged by the near-perfect weather conditions, and a simple, flat route (albeit for one stiff climb on each of the two laps), I again clipped a few seconds off the 20-minute barrier.
Alas, I had forgotten my towel, otherwise a quick post-parkrun dip in the North Sea might have been on the agenda.
Maybe next time.