It was another big weekend for parkrun in Scotland with the addition of two new events. Oriam and Ury Riverside parkruns are the new arrivals and both had successful launches on Saturday (2 November).
Oriam is the new Edinburgh run at Heriot Watt University's Riccarton campus on the south-east side of the city close to the City Bypass. There was a palpable air of excitement as run director Ben Waite briefed over 300 runners and walkers in the enclosed area in front of the Oriam Centre, before sending them off on the out and back course.
A little bit of patience was required in the early stages, as it is at many parkruns, as participants settled into position on the tight woodland paths. The first kilometre was through fairly dense woodlands before the course became more open with views out to the Lothian countryside.
There's a nice ambience as you run amid the trees on reasonably firm but uneven paths; a carpet of damp autumn leaves in places meant you had to be cautious as you picked your steps. The route is undulating with a couple of climbs that required extra effort and downhills that needed care.
The support of marshals along the route was up to parkrun's usual high standard and an enthuastic team of 26 volunteers meant a smooth and welcoming inaugural. The team provided advice on parking when you drove on to the campus, a friendly and informative briefing, post-run procedures that meant times were recorded quickly and good chat afterwards at Oriam Café & Bistro.
Oriam parkrun isn't going to be an event where you're aiming for a PB but it will be providing a testing 5k that some runners can build into their weekly programme as a quality session. The sense of enclosure, the out and back nature of the course and the relatively narrow paths are also certain to mean an ultra-friendly event with lots of encouragement around the route for runners and walkers of all abilities.
A big contingent from Harmeny AC, an encouraging 30+ first-timers and a number of tourists swelled the ranks for Oriam's first run as Pitreavie's Evan Ross (18:18) and Carnethy Hill Runner Elizabeth Leason (20:06) set the marks with the fastest times. Elizabeth's club mate and author of 'The Mountains Are Calling' Jonny Muir also checked out the course and would have felt at home with the rises and dips.
Kirkcaldy Wizard Mary Western (83.47%) recorded the highest age grade score.
Davie Black, the man behind the parkrun Friends Scotland Facebook group, completed his 505th parkrun and is now looking forward to a big meet-up of parkrun Friends Scotland contributors at Loch Leven parkrun on 16 November. Davie told runABC Scotland: "We'll be celebrating a year of the group which now has nearly 2,500 members. With support from a dedicated band of Scottish parkrunners we've been able to create a resource that many have found useful."
Davie continued: "We've shared lots of information and advice and had a bit of fun along the way. The parkrun community is a bit special and is characterised by its generosity and positive spirit. I think our parkrun Friends Scotland group reflects that."
Meanwhile in Aberdeenshire, where despite wet and soggy weather, there was a turnout of 196 for the first Ury Riverside parkrun in Inverurie. 16 volunteers made it all possible.
Scottish parkruns 53 and 54 have well and truly arrived.