Race recap – Birkenhead ParkRun, UK and getting lost in the Wirral

I have been a bit quiet of late as i have been overseas on a trip to Macau, UK and Singapore. It was a real bootcamp travelling with an 18 month old but great fun to see friends and family. The one thing I did find a challenge was squeezing in time to run without literally dumping bub on my husband and running out the door! So I didn’t manage to run as much as I would have liked but did manage to run a couple of times a week and fit two races in including a ParkRun in the Wirral and then a Half Marathon in Birmingham.

The ParkRun I ran was in the Wirral, Merseyside and happened to be just down the road from where my friends were. I was quite excited as it was my second ever Park Run and it was great weather conditions – being English I find running in Queensland hard but running in the UK was great.

What are ParkRuns?

If you haven’t heard of ParkRun’s then to sum it up they are basically an initiative firstly set up in the UK and are free timed 5k races run by volunteers and supported by brands such as Adidas. Great idea when you don’t want to have to pay for race entries all the time but want to run races regularly.

Anyway my ParkRun in the Wirral ended up being a real adventure. 

The night before I printed off my bar code all ready for the run the next day, and  I laid all my kit out (see a previous post if you want ideas of what is needed for a race). I was very thankful I remembered my Nike gilet and long sleeved running top as it was very cold for me in the UK.

Race day
I woke up ready for the race, grabbed a banana and my friend dropped me off at Birkenhead Park. My husband lent me his phone to take with me as the batteries had run down on my phone and I’d forgotten to charge it and needed the gps to know how to get back to my friends after the run.

I turned up at the race and it seriously was cold and very foggy. I found out it was the 11th week of the ParkRun at this place so it was a new one. The people were very friendly and I chatted to a few of the people whilst I was waiting to start and it was great to see so many people turn up in the cold to run. The ParkRun process is so well organised it is a well oiled machine now it seems – wherever you go to run it. I like the fact that you can take your barcode with you to any race and it will be logged.

ParkRun Birkenhead Park
As you can see it was cold! A bit different to my usual runs but great conditions and route.

The Race

The race started and I was running well. It was so refreshing to run in the cold weather rather than the heat I have grown accustomed to in Queensland.

The route was a few laps of the park and very well organised and mapped out. I ran as strongly as I could considering I hadn’t done masses of training but I was starting to feel it as I came to the finish. The 5k race is always a tough one as whilst it is a shorter race you tend to push harder and go faster as it is a short distance.

I did a reasonable time of 25:28 and 6th in my age category which was ok. I was just happy to be out running and feeling good.

My adventure was not over just yet….I was lost 

My adventure it seemed wasn’t over. I switched my husband’s phone on and started google maps to get me a mile (1.5km) back to my friends house. I started running and glanced down and noticed that his batteries had gone completely! I didn’t know where I was and I was lost with no phone number to get back to my friends place!

I tried not to panic as I remembered my friend said whilst the area was nice there were a few surrounding areas that were not so and I didn’t want to look like I didn’t know where I was going. I spotted some girls who looked like they had just finished ParkRun and I asked them if they knew the road I needed to get to. One of them looked it up on her phone and said it was just up the road – gave me directions to run up a hill and off I trotted. I realise now there was an easier route but I was following their directions and was running blind!

Useless without GPS!

I seriously have no sense of direction and without my GPS on my phone realised I was useless. My watch unfortunately doesn’t have those capabilities in terms of showing an actual map.

Anyway, I ran up a giant hill for what seemed like ages and still had no idea if I was on the right track, so asked a few people the way to Oxton Village which was near where my friends were and they all said yes but somewhere along the way I went off the track. I looked around me as running and realised this area didn’t look that great and my friends place was only meant to be a mile away……I was lost.

I tried not to panic and casually asked a guy the directions to Oxton Village and he ummed and ahhhed and asked me if I want to use his phone but I said I didn’t have a number to call. He pointed me in a direction and I bolted as I didn’t feel that comfortable. I suddenly realised I felt quite vulnerable as I had no idea where I actually was, no phone, it was cold and I was tired. I’d put everything into the race and I’d spent what felt like a lifetime running around.

Finally back on the right track!

I ran for a while longer and finally saw signs to Oxton Village and the spring in my step came back. I reached the Village and then suddenly realised I still didn’t know where to go – so I wandered into a shop or two asking for directions and it was only when I went to a grocery store that a guy paying for his newspaper gave me directions.

I trotted down the hill and found my friends place and they were all looking very concerned. I realised I’d run over 12k when I was supposed to do 5k and I’d been out for ages as I’d had to stop and talk to people and wander around. My husband just rolled his eyes as if to say ‘nothing you do surprises me!’.

I sat down, had a well earned breakfast and then shower and I recounted my adventure to my friends and husband who had a good laugh! I’m now sharing it with you and think I will remember this ParkRun for a very long time!

For ParkRun Australia go to http://www.parkrun.com.au and for ParkRun UK go to http://www.parkrun.com

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2 thoughts on “Race recap – Birkenhead ParkRun, UK and getting lost in the Wirral

Add yours

    1. Lol yes of course I forgot about it being the model on which Central Park was based! Yes hand written phone numbers might have been good too 🙂 I had envisaged I’d be running all day trying to work my way back to you lol xx

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