Spent a long weekend on the east coast which gave me the opportunity to drop in at the Holkham event. A big thank you to the organisers and fellow parkrunner’s I met on the day.
The setting couldn’t be more picturesque. The start/ finish sits between the Hall and lake, and the course is run on hard-core and tarmac paths. The Hall was constructed in the eighteenth century for the Earl of Leicester and still remains in the family today. This is a beautiful and impressive estate which is clearly very ambitious in its management and restoration projects. In all, the estate covers 25,000 acres.
The race was in danger of delay due to geese and gosling crossing our path, a short distance in front of the start line. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case and 130-plus runners got underway. The first half of the course is run on paths made up of a mixture of loose stone and dirt with regular stamina-zapping inclines: more than once I wondered what I’d let myself in for.
At around halfway, I turned onto a narrow tarmac road which we stayed on to the finish. There was only one more testing hill to negotiate on this stretch which leads up to the obelisk. Overall, this is quite a fast course. The first half is a little challenging, but after that, it is very fast to the finish – the one hill aside. My 9 year old niece knocked over a minute off her pb.
Now I’m familiar with the course, it would be great to go back and run it again some time. I did find the finish sprung up on me a little bit. You come off a bend and the finish is probably 300 metres ahead. I felt I had a little left in the tank but still recorded my fastest time this year (24.51). I would suggest anyone running this course, for the first time, to just go for it as soon as you pass the obelisk. You really are closer to the finish than you realise.
I’m back at my local course this week. I ran an interval session in my lunchbreak today which went really well, despite the heat. After a weekend away, I’m also back on my diet. I don’t think my short break did too much damage to my waistline.