Hello everyone. It’s Crumble here again.
Harold Wilson once said that a week was a long time in politics. Don’t think even he could have envisaged just how much normal day to day living could change in the space of this last week nor how much flip-flopping we might see from our current day leaders over the week around the best course of action.
We’ve seen rugby, football, marathons, party conferences and concerts fall like dominoes over the last few days. parkrun has already been cancelled in over a dozen countries and a few bigger UK events didn’t happen today for a variety of reasons. It feels like there’s an air of inevitability that we might see a period of hibernation for our much-loved parkrun so we decided to grab a chance for some parkrun tourism whilst we could.
After smashing my PB at Strathclyde last weekend we decided to pick somewhere where we knew the PB wasn’t going to be threatened given every reference we had ever seen described this week’s destination as “undulating” or “challenging”. Somewhere new to us. A nice drive. A parkland setting. An Abbey. A palace. A trip across a river. It had to be Dunfermline. My first return to the motherland. The Kingdom of Fife aka the Queendom of Crumble.
Whilst the roots of this here Australian labradoodle are down under I’m actually a Fife lass. I was born in Cupar just 30 miles from Dunfermline. This was my first return to Fife since the humans came to collect me a few years back. He’s very lucky that I decided to pick him.
Formerly the capital of Scotland, Dunfermline has a very rich history and Dunfermline Abbey is home to the remains of Robert the Bruce. With his entrails reportedly buried in Levengrove Park in Dumbarton he now touches two of Scotland’s parkruns.
We got up sharp and hit the road about 7:45. As usual Jim left much earlier than he really needed to and we arrived in plenty time. As is quite often the case on our tourism adventures, we listened to the Free Weekly Timed podcast on the drive, the weekly parkrun podcast from Vassos Alexander and Helen Williams. Well worth a listen.
We went over the Kincardine Bridge and took the cross country route past Devilla Forest, Culross and Crossford to Dunfermline. Home to the Alhambra, East End Park and Big Country and the late great Stuart Adamson, Dunfermline is the biggest town in Fife.
The run is set in the beautiful Pittencrieff Park which was purchased in 1902 by the town’s most famous philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and given to the people of Dunfermline in a ceremony the following year. I’m spoiling you with local factoids today.
We did a nice little explore and warm-up round the park to get a feel for the place. We found the Abbey, some stunning gardens, the glass house and an old colliery locomotive. We then stumbled on some pretty peacocks. Dad didn’t trust me and put me back on my lead. I wouldn’t have caused any bother. Honest. Look at my innocent wee doodle face. Importantly after last week’s mid run poo pit stop I got “the business” done early.
We then headed over towards the start area for the briefing. An absolute running legend called Fred did our brief. 75 years old and effortlessly tackles the hills week in week out whilst offering endless encouragement to others all the way round. We had the pleasure of running close to him for most of the third lap. Today’s RD Joy then did the welcome and set us off. Never has an RD been so aptly named. Upbeat, calm and delivering her welcome in a perfect tone.
This was their event 220 and Jim’s 125th at his 30th different venue. Half way to his next big parkrun milestone. At our current rate that’s probably a 2023/24 goal. Assuming we all get back to normal fairly soon.
There was a surprisingly good turnout of 159 today and everyone was in a positive upbeat mood at the start. There was a very big four-legged turnout today, some with fast humans to give them an unfair advantage whilst I was burdened by Jim. I noised up a friendly cockapoo before the start. She looked very like my sister Maizie so that’s why I got a bit excited. Oops. Sorry. I won’t do it again.
After a slow bunched start (mainly because a lot of the humans were trying to avoid the puddle) we eventually got going. It’s a very interesting and challenging course. It features a few twists and turns and one long downhill and one long uphill. All tackled three times. Compared to the likes of Drumchapel and Queen’s Park it’s deceptively tough and the climb doesn’t look as hard as it actually is. We were completely drained by the third lap. The sign made us smile though.
We completed today’s run almost dead on 25 minutes. Well 25:04. Given our slow start I’m counting that as pretty much a sub-25. 25 minutes is my standard target so we’re pretty pleased with hitting that on one of Scotland’s toughest parkruns.
This was a fabulous parkrun and we loved it. The park itself is stunning and well maintained and the views were spectacular, with Dunfermline Abbey and the Art Deco Glen Pavilion at close quarters and the Forth and its bridges visible further out though a photo doesn’t really do them justice. It’s definitely well worth a visit. We also lucked out with the weather.
The core team and volunteers were in great form today with added cheer courtesy of their newly purchased clappers and bells. At the end of a pretty grim week their enthusiasm, energy and good humour was just the tonic we all needed. Many thanks and well done.
Let’s hope we’re back parkrunning again very soon.
As a wee treat we stopped at Stephen’s the bakers on the way home. What a bonus. A sausage roll. My first ever. Amazing. And I was also secretly relieved that he wasn’t dumping me back in Cupar. He must still love me after all.
He now seems in a strangely upbeat mood. He’s just completed his hat-trick of postponed marathons with Brighton and Edinburgh joining Barcelona in the last 24 hours but I guess he knows that’s just first world problems. It’s only a run. There will be other runs.
Meantime take care, stay well and look out for each other.
Crumble out x