Prom parkrun presents new challenges

Maybe it’s the thrashing sound of the waves, but you can’t beat a prom parkrun.

Attached to the joy of a traditional English seaside scene, promenade runs have become an increasing presence on the parkrun roster. It just shows how vibrantly the movement has snowballed. There doesn’t always have to be a park involved.

I’ve clocked up a few different prom parkruns, across the southeast and southwest of the UK. And they come with some real plus points.

They have the winning backdrop of ever-changing seascapes. Plus, they offer a fitness challenge of a different kind.

The pier at Teignmouth pictured after a Prom parkrun

The pier at Teignmouth Promenade ?

A Prom parkrun can provide the strength builder of running against the wind, and/or being battered by the rain. Thankfully sometimes they can be gloriously sunny as you imagine yourself a member of the Baywatch cast.

There’s also the fact you’re generally faster on a prom due to the lack of elevation. Perfect for speed sessions. Add to this, there’s more space so less jostling, and you can see the advantages for your average runner.

In my case, they’ve also led to some unwelcome attention. More on that below.

To a degree, with a park, runners are more protected from the elements due to large trees and surrounding structures. However, it’s open season on a prom.

My overall promenade PB (from 2015) came on a calm day of the like I’ve not felt since. Well that’s my excuse for being slower for three years! That this occurred during winter in December was all the more fortuitous.

(Nasty) surprise on a Prom parkrun

Picture the scene. My birthday has fallen on a Saturday. So how about a nice Prom parkrun to start the day? Therefore I decide to take part in the Hove Prom parkrun.

It’s a sunny December morning and the promenade is full of fresh-faced runners lining up for their pre-Christmas jog. I set off and all is going well until around half a mile into the run.

That’s when it hits me. Full in the chops.

For the next couple of hundred yards I’m wiping my face and chin, wondering what it was to hit me and thinking it might be mud off a fellow runners’ shoe. But then realisation strikes and I know (and smell) it’s seagull crap! There’s a couple of the blighters still circling above like they’re hunting for more victims.

Seagulls can patrol a Prom parkrun

Be wary of an aerial bombardment

We’re in Brighton after all. At this point, I’m thankful nothing actually went in my mouth. And I’m glad of the gloves I’m wearing that act as a wet wipe for the remaining 2.5 miles with bird poo attached to me.

I couldn’t help but smile – not an open-mouthed one you’ll understand. Everyone’s heard that being dumped on by a seagull (or probably any bird) is supposed to be good luck. So as it was my birthday I opted to test this theory and buy a lottery ticket. And it’s true – I won!

Ok, so my prize was a free entry for the next lottery draw but a win is a win. 🙂

Aside from this potential peril, there’s nothing stopping the enjoyment of a parkrun along the prom. If you’re tired of plodding the parks, why not give one a go?

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