Happy Leap Day!
We finally got in our first proper parkrun tourism of 2020 today with an adventure down the Ayrshire coast to Girvan Prom which has been on our radar for a few months now. It was nice to pick another new to us location for the human’s parkrun number 123. He really needs to get over his numbers obsession though.
The weather forecast looked variable but we decided to take a leap of faith and hit the road early knowing that in the unlikely event of a call-off we could always divert to Troon, Eglinton or Ayr. It turns out that the weather gods were well and truly in our favour with blue skies and sunshine making an unexpected appearance on the start line.
With its exposure to the Atlantic, Girvan Prom, like most other Scottish parkruns, has lost a couple of weeks to the weather this year already and the weather has also hit its numbers too on some weeks when they have gone ahead with a hardy 9 finishers at their last event. There’s something really special about being part of a small event. There’s definitely more of a community and family feel.
There is no truth at all in the rumour that Jim picked this one today just because he thought he could bag a top 10 place!
We got up super early and set off just after 7:30 to start the 60 mile drive past Prestwick, Ayr, Maybole and Turnberry. We arrived in plenty of time and we got a nice wander on the beach before the start.
The human almost ruined our day out by dropping his car keys on the beach and only realising a few minutes later. What a tube. Fortunately we were able to retrace our steps and found them about 20m away. That could have been a bit of a disaster.
Girvan is a beautiful spot and it’s easy to see why it was a popular holiday destination back in the day. The beach offers fabulous views of Arran and the Ailsa Craig, an uninhabited island formed from the volcanic plug of an extinct volcano.
This week’s Crumble factoid – Ailsa Craig‘s granite is harvested for use in making curling stones. Does that mean it shrinks a bit every year? How many curling stones before it disappears completely?
We were warmly greeted by Moira, Kerry-Liam and every single volunteer we met. On a chilly breezy day there was so much warmth on show. What a fantastic team. I even got a mention in the pre-run briefing too.
It’s a cracking two lap course along the water front and around Stair Park, mainly on paths but with a cheeky little grass section thrown in there too and with an unlimited supply of clean fresh air.
We started out trying to hang on to Kerry-Liam for the first 500m but he was out of sight pretty quickly. The first 1k was along the prom into the wind and it certainly blew away the cobwebs. Much of the next 1k was on the grass, a nice change but certainly a little bit more energy sapping, before we headed back with the wind behind us to the start area to turn back and repeat.
We managed a pretty consistent pace today targeting around 25 minutes though kilometre 4 was a bit tough featuring both the grass and the headwind but we managed to pull it back towards the end to finish in a respective enough 24:51. We finished in 6th place out of 22 today, dad’s highest ever finish. I’m sure he’ll be going on about it for weeks. Make sure he tells you there were only 22 finishers though.
First finisher, speed demon and top Aberdeen fan Kerry-Liam was on scanning duties today. He finished over 5 minutes ahead of the next person so he almost had enough time to go home for a shower before starting his scanning duties.
There was home baking on offer too today. Dad got a nice bit of caramel shortbread and tablet which he devoured though I was told it wasn’t suitable for dogs. That’s ruff. Not to worry though, we stopped for a croissant in Prestwick on the way home.
According to legend, females are allowed to propose on 29 February so the big question today was would I find puppy love. Sadly it wasn’t to be. Maybe I should go look in a hopeless place. Apparently it can sometimes be found there. There were plenty of dogs on the beach and promenade but I didn’t find the one. It’s another 28 years until the next 29 February parkrun. Without being morbid I don’t think I’ll see 2048 unless I live to over 120 in your human years so that ship has probably sailed. At least I have my human servant I guess.
All in all a wonderful morning adventure. We loved our trip to Girvan Prom. A nice drive, a great team and a fantastic route. It’s well worth a visit. I think we will return in the summer. And yes driving 3 hours for a 5k run does make a lot of sense!
Crumble out x