Flat urban streets provide the opportunity to run pretty fast, until you run into a busy road. And then you engage in a strangely frustrating game of jogging on the spot and waiting, or enacting a dangerous real-world form of Frogger by dancing through the intersecting traffic. Then there’s the smog, and the languid pedestrians. Cyclists snarl at you if you even think of stepping off the kerb. On the other hand, you can head to the countryside for fresh air. Sure, you’re not going to get your p.b. as you wheeze your way up a steep, rocky slope. But that is going to get you fit quickly and improve your agility. Plus the random lateral variations with how your foot lands is going to build strength in your lower legs.
I ventured out for an 11km run through three parks in West Yorkshire, and despite my split times being borderline shameful, it was a lot of fun. It hit me afterwards all over, unlike an urban run, but the views along the way gave me so much more than the concrete jungle ever could. The route I followed took me through three different parks in the West Yorkshire town of Bingley.
Really wasn’t joking about the pace… how slow was I??! 9:32 per kilometer by 4k.
And here’s why… a pretty brutal collection of hills. Strava credited me with over 300m of climbing on this route.
The Prince Of Wales Park
The park is over 150 years old and sits in the hills over-looking Bingley.
I started the run on Park Road. I headed straight up the hill until I reached the Prince Of Wales Park.
It was quite a hot September day. 24 degrees, which is unusually high for Yorkshire. This drinking font would come in handy.
I used to head to this park as a teenager. This hill used to wipe me out such that a break was necessary at the top. All part of the fun and games though! I continued up this canopied track till I reached the top of the park, then got my first taste of sprinting down-hill.
Leaving the park, I headed down towards the high street on my way to the St Ives estate.
St Ives Estate
The estate is over 500 acres in size and covers an area of land between Bingley and Harden.
The estate feels vast to run around and features quite a few impressive sights, including this natural lake.
More pain and more up-hill running! This canopied path is flanked by a rustic wall.
I wasn’t the only one making the best of the weather. The park also features golfing areas. Obviously, my route did not take me across the greens. Didn’t really fancy getting a golf ball in the face!
The St Ives estate path flows straight into Myrtle Park, with only a hilly road separating the two. No messing around with rural traffic this time.
I really did run into this field. It’s public land, so I encountered no angry farmers. The cow in the foreground did an excellent job of staring me down as I tentatively strode past.
Myrtle Park features lots of rolling countryside, as well as tricky steep rocky sections. Get ready for mud too!
Maybe the park keeper lives in this cottage. There’s a great little foot-bridge over the river. Fantastic views running past here.
A path takes you parallel to a row of allotments. Then its back over the River Aire to the front of the park.
The final part of the park features this band stand. Then I’m out of the park, and the run is done.
This 11.2km run took me over 1:22. Pretty slow, but an amazing workout. Yorkshire features plenty of diverse country sights with its parks, canal-paths and then there’s the Yorkshire Moors. Such a great part of the country for spending some time in on a sunny day!