Hills. We love them. Really we do. But when they appear unexpected they can be quite a bit harder to love.
That’s why parkrun UK has just pulled together a list of some of their most ‘undulating’ events, so that runners dropping into unfamiliar parkruns on their summer hols can be prepared for what lays ahead.
That there are many hilly parkruns in the UK shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who lives on these islands. But only one Scottish event – in Glasgow, no less – makes the cut as one of the UK’s most ‘undulating’ events.
Drumchapel parkrun is a three-lap course that winds its way around Garscadden Woods East, north-west of the city centre. The property is owned by Glasgow City Council and managed by Forestry Commission Scotland.
As described by parkrun UK, "the woods offer a secluded and nature-rich parkrun experience, with bluebells prominent in springtime," as well as a good view of the city.
Bluebells aside, the most famous feature of Drumchapel parkrun is referred to locally as simply ‘that hill’, a long, slow, gradual incline that seems to last for an eternity.
The run director of 'The Drum', Laura Gray, fields lots of (breathless) queries about a route perhaps too modestly described as ‘challenging’. She told parkrun: “When people ask, as they often do, who designed our course, I am forced to confess in a sheepish voice that it was me and another couple of sadists!”
Having recently celebrated its second birthday, Drumchapel parkrun attracts a steady following of a few dozen runners each week – presumably masochists and non-masochists alike.
And despite the hill, finish times at Drumchapel are more than respectable. Both male and female records are well under the coveted 20-minute mark and the average run time well under 30 minutes. It must be those bluebells!
Image courtesy parkrun UK