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A break from tradition as I left the safety blanket of running the Serpentine New Year’s Day 10k as part of the Eagles club championship series and instead met Other Dan for an early morning drive through London to deepest darkest Croydon. We’re slowly working our way to Lon-done (running every parkrun within the M25) and our ‘to do map’ doesn’t have many pins left (8 before today for me) but they’re all dotted on the diagonal opposite side of town. We’ve been avoiding these buggers for a while because, while they are generally easy to get to, the traffic on the way home is a pain and Mrs Dan gives me “The Look” when I am late back (for some reason she looks at our Lon-done crusade as an act of madness).

New Year’s Day gives the opportunity to complete that rare feat, the parkrun double. It was with heavy heart that saw me tucked up in bed before midnight and out of the door to drive through London spotting casualties not enjoying the morning after the night before. In fact we only saw one man having a morning nightmare. We sat at a red light watching the guy staggering backwards, forwards, and side-to-side by a small section of fencing while he clung to small bag of beers like his life depended on it. Sir, we salute your dedication to getting so drunk that you’re probably still wandering through London in a daze.

We had made the effort to check out the Lloyd parkrun course description and read blog posts by copy7t and abradypus, which is a rare occurrence for us. We tend to take the Captain Kirk shoot from the hip approach and hope for the best. What did we learn? It was going to be muddy and hilly undulating. Great. Just what we wanted for part one of our parkrun double.

The start, finish, and car park are all next to Lloyd Park Pavilion, which is close to Lloyd Park tram stop. No problem securing a parking space and we changed into our trail shoes before joining the new runners briefing (where all the new runners seemed to be visitors also taking the opportunity to rack up a double). The Run Director then gave a spirited welcome to everyone before setting us off for two anti-clockwise laps of the park.

Other Dan did the gentlemanly thing of slowing down his pace to run with me. I like to refer to this as laughing at my ability to keep up any reasonable form of running fitness. The first lap was notable for slipping & sliding over the first undulations before struggling up the muddy hill. Spikes would have been a better choice for this course. We also made several wrong attempts to guess what the strange medal baskets were that we spotted around the park (it turns out they are part of London’s only 18 hole disc gold course).

I had made the wild pre-run boast that this was a 26 minute course. The first lap was over 14 minutes so that was a bit dumb of me. The slope sliding was taking its toll on my calves to the extent that I had to walk the hill on the second lap as it felt like someone had set fire to the back of my legs. Thankfully the pain was short-lived and we ran in through the finish funnel with Other Dan taking the accolade of finishing before me for our first 2016 parkrun.

We didn’t have time to hang around but the event team had been kind to lay on food & drinks for the special occasion. It would have been rude not to have munched some home-made flapjacks and say thank you so that’s what we did before changing shoes and driving onto part two of our double day. Many thanks to the wonderful volunteers for staging the New Year’s Day event.