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Date of Visit
New years day parkrun!
Number of runners
I’d paid a visit here on my own in the summer
Clear skies though it was still a chilly. It was warm enough that I took my jacket off to run though as I’d overheated a bit the day before.
Straight forward by road. Stick “Conkers” in your mapping app and you won’t go wrong as it’s a big local tourist spot or use DE12 6BA as the post code. There are brown road signs for Conkers everywhere that are easy to follow.
The main bit to point out though is finding the briefing and the start if you’ve not been before. The start and the briefings are in two different places. There are two car parks, the briefing happens in one of them so you may need to walk across to the correct one.
Or just follow the runners!
Other than by car. No bus services nearby unfortunately and the nearest station is Burton on Trent which is over seven miles away.
There are bike racks though so you could potentially get a train to Burton and cycle there if that’s your thing.
Canalside cafe is in the same car park that the briefing happens and opens at 9am. It was closed for new years day though so wasn’t able to pay a visit. Toilets are available there too.
Both of the car parks are free to use and Conkers itself is a lovely family day out if you wanted to do that afterwards!
Briefings and Volunteers
Volunteers were amazingly friendly and I had nice chat with one of the scanners while I was waiting on Bryony to finish. He was on his 347th parkrun (!) and obviously I didn’t bother him when there was actual scanning to do 😅
Somone was celebrating their 350th parkrun so loads have people turned up in fancy dress to celebrate so our first time briefing was done by Elvis!
Start line and finish funnel
Start line is a short walk away from where the briefings happen and is on the start of the trial. It’s not the widest of paths though which makes for a rather large queue when it’s busy just to get over the start line. They are some really clear pacing signs in place to help keep the queue in some sort of order.
Finish funnel is just past the start line and you can tell they are used to getting a large number of people as the tunnel was really long and had more than one funnel manager!
Scanning happens in the car park where the briefings take place. There is a bit of space at the end of the funnel but when they have large numbers it could easily get a bit chaotic.
Out and back
Similarly to Monsal Trail on Christmas eve this parkrun takes in an old railway line that is now a trail. The difference with this one though is it’s not a 100% straight line out and back. There is a small twisty hill to actually get onto the trail, then a long straight bit before you’re sent up a hill, loop around the top and returned back to the trail to go back to where you came from. It’s a lovely place to run and I’d argue it’s more interesting to run than a regular out and back which is often just a straight line.
Road. There was some mud on the paths because of how the weather had been but it’s only really surface stuff as the paths are decent.
Short or Long? (based on our watches and checking out other Strava profiles)
On average probably about right. I had 3.09 on the watch though Bryony had 3.12. Everyone i checked that appeared on my Strava entry had it short, everyone on Bryony’s had it long! Another one where the trees will probably have an impact on GPS in parts.
Tourist event number:
9 (71.95% age grade)
Tourist event number:
289 (39.55% % age grade) 101 Female
How did it go?
Andy – Pretty happy overall. It always helps when you’ve run a course before as you know where the tough bits are and when you can push a bit harder. Ended up 30 seconds quicker than last time and I hadn’t quite given it the full effort (though it wasn’t far off)
Bryony – Huge! When there are so many people it has an impact on us back of the packers. It took me a full minute to get to the start line after they said go. That means it’s probably only a pb course for those who place further forward. The up and round the hill bit at the bottom of the trail meant for a less harsh out and back feel. It also had the biggest sense of community I’ve seen at parkrun in a long time which was lovely. Really liked the last 100m or so with the downhill stretch and under bridge bits where there were lots of people cheering you on to the end.
Return Visit Likely?
Yes. It’s another one of those that’s close enough to home that it’d certainly be an option if we wanted a change of scenery.
Pictures and that.