After a bit of indecision during the course of the week around where our travels would take us, we decided to venture to Scotland’s newest parkrun today to celebrate my first parkrun as a 3 year old. That’s apparently 28 in your human years so I think that means I’m entering my running prime. It’s just a shame he’s now fast approaching the V50 category so slowing down at the same rate I’m speeding up!
The whole topic of inaugural events generates a lot of strong views and dogma. For some the etiquette seems to be to leave the locals to run at the first event, let the core team get a few weeks under their belt and then welcome the tourists. Then there’s a whole posse of parkrun tourists who collect inaugural events. Some of that latter group also then actively discourage other inaugural event runners saying it’s bad form to attend them….Confused? Such a doggy dilemma.
The human bagged his first inaugural a few months back at Drumpellier so it’s only fair that he should let me in on the game. And Dumbarton is pretty local for us anyway and this was now our NENDY. Decision made! There would be something pretty cool about being the first ever dog to finish Levengrove parkrun wouldn’t there? Could Crumble go down in history? After setting no targets last week it was time to set a big one this weekend.
Levengrove it was then. We got into the car around 8:20 and started the drive out through Faifley and Bowling towards Dumbarton. I was very confused for while. I thought we were going running dad not bowling…For a moment I was also worried he was dumping me at Scottish SPCA cat and dog home in Milton for my “aggressive” behaviour at the end of last week’s event but I was relieved when we kept going past it. Phew. Best behaviour this week.
Gavin was there with Eilidh, with similar thoughts no doubt of being the first ever Levengrove buggy finisher. He was one of a healthy Garscube turnout with Jez, Barb, Suzy, Paul and birthday girl Mary all here as well as honorary team-mates Kirsty and Paddy, fresh from a brilliant marathon PB last weekend. We also met a good few parkrun tourists including Mhairi and the famous Davie Morton. We also saw Zander, Alison and the doggies who beat me at Drumchapel earlier in the year so I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy run.
Levengrove Park is a stunning setting. It has recently been restored and landscaped, has a new purpose-built cafe and offers fabulous views over the Rivers Leven and Clyde and towards Dumbarton Rock as well as that great mecca of lower league football, Dumbarton FC’s stadium.
After a few weeks without Crumble factoids I thought I had better throw in a couple this week. Levengrove Park first opened in 1885. The park has recently received a £2.8m Heritage Lottery Grant to restore it hence its sprucing up. A fantastic investment.
This has to be one of my favourite parkruns. A nice three lap route with a mix of gentle and steeper undulations making it a good wee workout. In some ways the course reminds me a bit of Springburn. Some of the hills certainly had a bit of a bite but all very runnable and fair. The park is steeped in history with its features including St Serf’s Church, Kilmahew Fountain, an old bandstand, the riverside war memorial and some beautiful gardens. And with views of two rivers it’s hard to beat.
We got there super early to do a wee recce, get some pics on the “beach” and chat up some of the local dogs. In spite of a bleak forecast the rain held off too and the conditions were perfect.
After the briefing and getting my head around the course (the route sounds more complicated that it really is) we were ready for action. A nice gentle uphill start before a long downhill towards the Clyde along beautiful wide tree-lined paths, just perfect for dogs. We were cheered on by so many fabulous friendly volunteers including a few doggy marshals.
We started out quite fast to make sure there was a clear lead (no pun intended) over the next placed dog. So far so good after one lap. Onto the second lap and we were going well, tracking for another sub 25 minute run. We both wearied a little on the last lap, maybe distracted by thoughts of our imminent cafe trip, but still managed a good finish in 24:22 making this my second fastest ever parkrun and I was very comfortably home and dry as the first ever four-legged finisher at Levengrove. That felt totally pawesome.
The core team and marshals were fantastic. So friendly, so welcoming and so grateful for our support too. There was a lovely atmosphere all round and David and Anna set them tone perfectly at the start. The finish line Celebrations were a bonus and it was a nice touch that in the cafe they went round everyone thanking them for coming along, making sure we had a good time, encouraging us to return and asking for feedback. Another lovely marshal came round and shared some doggy treats with me.
Today was so well organised it was easy to forget it was an inaugural event. So slick and seamless.
Since it was a special occasion dad took me to the cafe with Barb and Suzy though dogs had to stay outside so it was rather chilly (for him not me). I ordered and then wolfed down a bacon roll in around 18 seconds, possibly another Crumble PB. I also got a bit of Mary’s birthday cake. As a special surprise Barb gave me a box of gravy bones for my Christmas. Apparently though I’ve to share them with my sister Maizie.
So a great day out and I was pretty sad to be leaving Levengrove. I’m pretty sure that this will feature heavily on my 2020 parkun schedule. I would very strongly recommend this one.
Weather permitting it’s back to Queen’s Park next week. I hope Charlie’s there and it sounds like Cordelia and maybe Barb will be there too. It will be my last parkrun before Christmas as Jim and his pals are volunteering at Drumchapel on 21 December so maybe we’ll have a wee party. Wonder if Santa Paws will be there. Can’t wait.
Crumble out x