Saturday, 27 October 2012

Curious Adventures

Curiosity killed the cat; hopefully it does not hold similar ramifications for the runner. My last two runs have been curiosity fuelled, with the latter of the two being more successful - depending on how one views success; if success can be attributed to 'getting lost' then perhaps the former was actually the more fruitful!

When I moved to the pleasant parish of Prestwich last June, I knew that the beauty of Heaton Park would offer a welcome change to my running routine from pounding the urban highways of Harpurhey. What I wasn't aware of at that time, was the wealth of running routes offered on the other side of the 'Village'.

For those of you that know nothing of the area, Prestwich is a town situated about 3 miles north of Manchester. The oldest part of the town, known as Prestwich Village, holds many delights such as an artisan cheese shop - nom, nom, nom, Marks and Spencers' food - nom, nom, nom and a several little independent tea rooms - nom, nom, nom. In comparison to this, the place in which I used to live, housed several kebab shops, a Lidl and a Maccy D's... Prestwich is no Didsbury but it is, for us, a super-normous step up in the world!

So, with all these delightful places to shop and eat, it was all the more important that I significantly increased my running and found some new routes to keep myself entertained. 4 months on and that is exactly what I've finally managed to do. On Thursday, I was due to meet my friend Lisa for brunch. Lisa is a feeder. Yep... a proper feeder. She's super-skinny (even though she only gave birth 2 months ago), doesn't seem to be overly tempted by every sweet treat that ever existed (I'm not envious, really I'm not), yet she bakes sweet treats until they're coming out of her ears, which she then FORCES us to eat. Lisa FORCED me to go to Slattery's with her... honestly... FORCED. And so, with my arm tightly twisted behind my back, fearing what would befall me if I dared try to duck out of the chocolate fest she had in store for us, I needed a plan... a cunning plan... I would go for a run.

The plan was to run 6 miles. I ran 7.25. Why? Because I got lost. Well, I say lost... I had my Iphone on me, so I was never really lost, but as I didn't have a clue precisely where I was for most of my run, I think that an accurate description of my predicament was: lost.

The plan was to run to Phillip's Park, which I discovered the existence of at last weeks' Apple Day (don't ask). However, when I emerged from the autumnal wilderness of the Clough, I stumbled upon a cycle track... in fact, several cycle tracks... actually... more cycle tracks than you could shake a stick at. Cycle tracks to a lake, cycle tracks to a field, cycle tracks to woods, cycle tracks alongside the Irwell, cycle tracks over the Irwell, cycle tracks under the Irwell... cycle tracks everywhere. I had stumbled upon a cyclist's haven... nay... a runner's heaven... my heaven! It was so much fun! I ran and ran and ran. Until I realised I had no idea where I was, that Lisa would be arriving any time soon and that I was potentially MILES from home. Thankfully, despite my twisting and turning down all the different paths, my natural sat-nav had somehow managed to keep me heading largely in the right direction; a quick check on my phone enabled me to plot a cursory route home.

Despite the 'change of plan', ultimately that day all went according to plan... a swift two mile walk to the chocolate, a two mile walk home again, and a 30 minute gym session that afternoon, not only served to foil Lisa's feeding - although she did try again later that night with a HUGE portion of fish and chips! - but proved that curiosity pays - in calories if nothing else!

Of course, I couldn't leave my new discovery there, with so much still uncharted. So, today, I laced up my trainers and trailed out again to the other side of town. Desiring a threshold run, rather than a slower paced one, I didn't stray quite so far this time, but my run did take me out down some lovely country roads and into the world of the dog walkers, covering 4.2 miles in total. An added lunchtime jaunt around the park, with my dog, has set me up nicely for a couple of glasses of wine on my night out with the girls this evening. Something tells me, it won't be curiosity that kills the runner, rather the wine and rich foods which the runner feels the need to 'run off''!

As for those of you that scrolled through my extensive ramblings and thought 'no chance mate'... here's a pictorial tour of my curious adventures:

Through Prestwich Clough

Past the lake

Via Thirteen Arches

Into Phillip's Park

A quick "Heya" to the weasel.

Back out in the sunshine over the fields.


  1. Hehe u cheeky mare!!!!

  2. Wow those pics are beautiful, what a great place to run you lucky girl...I have a friend like that too grrrrr ;-)


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