Heaton parkrun

I’ve visited Manchester a few times now, and I’m always struck by the buzz and friendliness of the place. ┬áJemima has been working on the Fagins Twist show with Avant Garde dance, and I pored over the calendar of performance dates to decide which one to attend.

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The Lowry Theatre in Salford was calling to me, especially as I had a long standing invitation to visit Heaton Park for one of Manchester’s largest parkruns.

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Heaton Park is on the Northern edge of the city, and I’d booked into the Heaton Park Premier Inn. I’d flown in early on Friday evening, and been most impressed by the metrolink tram system. A day ticket was a fiver, and there were stops near everywhere I wanted to go. The trams were clean and frequent, with free wifi and plenty of seats available.

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I went to the theatre first to catch Jem after the show, and deliver the essential bags of Tayto Cheese and onion.

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Even though it suggest that Harbour City is the stop for the theatre, actually Media City is closer. AND it’s got the Blue Peter garden beside it!

I made the rookie error of getting off at Heaton Park tramstop. While that would be fine for going to the parkrun, it was a bit of a hike to get to the hotel, and after walking round in circles for a while I ended up taking a taxi.


Saturday dawned a bit damp and dreich, but we parkrunners don’t let a little bit of rain put us off, oh no! I’d arranged to meet S at the famous lions in front of the old house, and I admired to wonderful vista over the city from that point.

The start and finish point is just in front of the house, and there’s a very efficient funneling system in place, with scanning and admin type stuff happening in a gazebo by the side.

Immediately after the start, there’s a sharp left turn past the orangery, and with so many people, this can get a little bottle-necked.

After that, the paths are all lovely and wide, with no surface issues. There’s a little loop past a boating lake and a cafe with people enjoying their morning bacon butties, and a long slog uphill past the 4km mark.

This is tantalizingly close to the end point which is visible to the right, but a final winding section behind the house has to be completed, before it opens out into a straight flat finish.

There were 524 runners this morning, and that was a low attendance. Good range of young and old, speedy and not so speedy, some dogs and buggies, including these 2 lovelies.

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Being a big run, pacers are a regular feature. I usually aim for sub-30 when visiting a new parkrun without my canine companion, and decided I would keep the 29 minute pacer in my sights.

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Full credit given to him, I came in bang on 29:00, with thanks also to S coaching me to a sprint finish. I was also pleased that I was 3rd in my age category, which is not bad for a big event.

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Strangely Appropriate Song on Shuffle:
I was listening to the recent Eurovision soundtrack, and was given a boost by Belgium’s “What’s The Pressure”, with its inspirational “get the best of me” lyrics.

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Dancing Bit:
Fagin’s Twist is an astonishingly brilliant and breathtaking performance – do try to catch it if it’s in your area.

Avant Garde website

The set was very clever, on wheels and with many little doors and openings. And the dancers are jaw-droppingly physically amazing. My old school chum Ruth came along with me, and it was her first experience of contemporary dance. It’s a very accessible piece, with some narrative, a clear story-line and readily identifiable characters. I will definitely be going to see it again during its 2 weeks in London in October, and no doubt I can pick up another of the capital’s parkruns while I’m there.

List of all the parkruns I’ve completed.