Saturday, 17 December 2016

Saturday 17 December – Toulouse and Vierzon

Where’s Colin? He’s at the large, almost-deserted, Municipal Aire at Vierzon.

The main event of today was the Toulouse ParkRun, thus there was none of the usual procrastination over getting out of bed this morning, and it was only just getting light as we arrived back where we had parked to do our recce of the route on Thursday. As I said on Thursday, ParkRun hasn’t caught on in Toulouse, such that after 34 weeks of the event being run, the average number of participants is only 16. It turns out that many of those are not French. Of today’s field of just 8 runners, only I only noticed two with French accents.

The lack of participants made it more informal than any of the ParkRuns we’ve been to in the UK, with no briefing, and no marshalls bar one adult and a couple of young children who between them manned the stop watch, gave out finish tokens and scanned the same. The lovely route, however, was well marked out, so there was no danger of going astray. In my case, I didn’t need the arrow markers, as Robyn, the run director, just back from a 3-month lay-off, ran with me for the first four and a half kilometres. After the first mile (my watch is set to give me information at mile, not kilometre intervals, so excuse me for mixing my metric and imperial units), I knew I was on to achieve my fastest ParkRun to date (a history which goes back to June 2006, but with a rather significant layoff between early 2007 and October 2016!) and, thanks to having the distraction of someone to chat to, I barely noticed the speed of the first two and a half miles. The last half mile was rather more taxing, but that was all forgotten when I crossed the line over a minute and a half faster than I ever had before (27.36). If the field had been bigger I would have been proud of coming sixth, and second woman!

There is no convenient café next door to this venue for the runners to congregate, but croissants and flasks of coffee were produced and we did loiter a while, before the need to drive 1000km by the end of tomorrow called us away.

There’s nothing else to report from the day. We stopped for diesel, for a quick lunch at a viewpoint, and for an even quicker afternoon cup of tea, but otherwise we just drove.

Lunchtime view. As we pulled into the layby there was a vehicle and caravan already there. That it (the only vehicle we saw through the whole of our lunch break) was British was itself quite a coincidence, as British number plates have been few and far between on this trip. That it was the very same people that were pitched opposite us on the campsite last night (the only other people in our area of the campsite) was extraordinary.

Arriving in Vierzon at 1730, darkness was upon us, combined with a dense fog through which we had driven the last hour. That means that we have no idea what our surroundings are like. Alas, in spite of our policy to spend a little time (and, if possible, a little money) in every town which allows us to stay in a free Aire, even if the fog lifts by morning (unlikely), we’re going to break our rule on this occasion. We still have 500km to drive for our Chunnel crossing tomorrow, so we’ll be off at first light.


  1. How did I manage to miss this event on my recent visit to Toulouse?!
    Well done on your PB.

    1. I think you might just have been focussed on a different running event on that trip!