Chalkwell Beach parkrun

Posted on: 14 Mar 2020

So, how are we all?  I’m okay. The old Coronavirus hasn’t got to me yet!  As for the broken arm - well it’s coming along. I went to the fracture clinic last week and they x-rayed it and said, “Yes, it’s healing nicely”  I asked when I would regain full use of my right arm and they said “Well, it will be several …” Days? Weeks? “No, months” they said. That was a bit depressing, however my right arm has enough movement so that I can do most things, including starting to run again.  I have resumed running, well jogging, every other day. I have to run on a smooth firm surface i.e. pavement as I can’t risk falling over again. As I can run a few miles without stopping, I can tentatively resume my parkrun career again. I needed a course that was smooth and flat and thus I headed off to the third running of Chalkwell Beach parkrun.

Chalkwell Beach is in Westcliff on Sea which is the western district of Southend on Sea.  I was last here two years ago for Southend parkrun which is actually in Shoeburyness, the eastern side of Southend.  I gave you the history of Southend last time I was here so instead I shall give you ten fascinating facts about Southend today.

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Southend pier is, at one and a third miles long, the longest pleasure pier in the world.  It is so long, it offers a railway to get from one end to the other.

Jamie (Oliver) and Jimmie’s Friday Night Feast is filmed on Southend pier.  Sadly their café is only a film set and is closed for the rest of the year.

Southend has its own airport.  With the demise of Flybe and the lack of people travelling because of Coronavirus, it is experiencing a bit of a lull at the moment.

Southend is one of the largest towns in the UK with a population of around 160,000

Southend’s football team is known as “the Shrimpers”.  Currently they are struggling near the bottom of League One.

Southend is one of the first places in the world to come under air attack.  In 1915 a Zeppelin came over and dropped a load of bombs.

During the Second World War, Southend was largely taken over by the military and was technically known as HMS Westcliff.  You can still see the remains of fortifications and gun emplacements on the shoreline.

Southend has its own annual film festival based at The Old Waterworks Arts Centre.  It’s not quite Cannes but it’s popular locally.

Southend has several nice parks including Chalkwell Park.  The parkrun doesn’t take place there however - it takes place on the seafront.

In 2009 an open water swimming club, the "Chalkwell Redcaps" was established and has quickly grown to be one of the UK's largest open water swimming groups.

The course at Chalkwell Beach is a straightforward out and back along the promenade.  You run for 2.5 kilometres in the direction of the pier then turn round and run back to your starting point.  It’s a nice flat, smooth course suitable for fast running (though I wouldn’t be going very fast today) It was rather a chilly damp morning.  The tide was out and so, instead of waves lapping at the shore, we had a vista of a large expanse of mud flats. Despite this there was a large and enthusiastic turnout of runners for Chalkwell parkrun #3.  I stood near the back of the field and set off at a fairly gentle pace. I seemed to be moving reasonably well and moved up through the field, reaching the turnaround point in just under 13 minutes. I managed to maintain my pace reasonably well on the return journey and crossed the line in 25:46 and 118th place.  I was happy enough with that. It was six minutes faster than I managed at Bushy two weeks ago and rather faster than I had been expecting on so little training. The official photos from this run have already appeared so here are one of the start and one of me somewhere mid run.

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My statistics for today - that was parkrun venue number 217.   I was sixth in my age group and 67th overall on age graded scores.

I shall be aiming to improve my times in the coming weeks but, in the light of current events, I would not be at all surprised if parkrun was suspended for several weeks.  Let’s hope not.

I shall finish off with a video of Chalkwell.  This is what it looks like on a nice bright summer’s day.


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