As we finally emerge from the frost and mist of winter and look forward to some crisp spring mornings and summer sunshine, we bring you a personal review of Exmouth parkrun from runABC South reporter Alan Newman, who has unfinished business with this popular parkrun tourism target.
Situated on the east bank, literally at the mouth of River Exe and 11 miles southeast of Exeter, Exmouth is one of the oldest and most picturesque seaside towns in Devon. It is the gateway to the World Heritage Jurassic Coast and has two miles of sandy beach. It is the broad, flat promenade that provides the location for many runners' favourite Saturday morning activity.
Exmouth parkrun was born on 23 December 2017 when the record attendance of 710 was set. This was no shrinking violet with a 'soft launch'. The community took parkrun to their hearts from the outset and Exmouth has just reached its 60th event, with 433 enjoying great weather and the support of 30 volunteers last Saturday (23 February).
The latest first finishers were a relative newcomer to parkrun, Robert Ellis (15:57) and the experienced W55 master athlete Catherine Newman (21:07), who both represent the local Exmouth Harriers AAC in club competition.
Exmouth has averaged 330 runners since starting just over a year ago and the best times on the fast course are held by Katie Synge-Curtis (Charnwood/Royal Navy, 17:31) and Jake Smith (Cardiff, 14:21), while the age-graded best is a whopping 94.2% for 18:58 by Cath Newman.
Alan Newman (no relation to Cath) is the runABC South correspondent who is drawn back to this coastal jewel in the parkrun portfolio after testing an ankle injury on the perfectly smooth running surface in August last year. He reckons there is scope to improve his Exmouth debut (22:02) but if not it is still a wonderful place to visit and the volunteers have plenty of reasons for those smug faces – just take a look at the average sunshine hours there!
It is easy to locate the start and finish in summer as the Exmouth seafront features a 28-metre high observation Ferris wheel that marks the exact spot. So you can run flat out (and back) on the spectacular promenade and then enjoy a spectacular aerial view of the route and the fabulous scenery beyond.
Images courtesy Exmouth parkrun