Bramhall Hall is a 14th century Tudor manor house in Bramhall, near Stockport Greater Manchester. The house and its 70 acres of landscaped parkland with lakes, woodland, and gardens are the setting for what is an exemplar park run. I arrived early to get maximum warm up and stretches done and to prepare for a performance that was to shape some of my thinking to defer my Great North Run place. After a short jog through the park to the start I realised how beautiful it was. From the Tudor mansion house on part of the route to the Lakeland track and woodland climbs. This was looking good! With ten minutes to go I saw this was certainly a big event. It looked like there were around 400 people in attendance and they even had their own running club the Bramhall runners. More importantly this was a huge family event with one ten year old completing his 50th park run. Then they announced we would be lucky to catch him as he does it in 20 minutes!
Facing the start we set off up the first hill towards the mansion house. I was nailing the hill no problem but recognised I was going way too fast so held it back to 7 minute miles. The route looped past the house and around the lake. Dodging the duck droppings we headed into some woodland. The gently undulating and slightly muddy track had a few tricky climbs but I was still going strong. Looping back to the lake there was a huge crowd of well wishers to cheer us on as I crossed over the stone bridge and passed the house for the second lap. I started to pick off a few slower runners something I hadn’t done for a while and battled my way forward through lap two of the woods. With the finish in sight I started to slow as the last hill hit me like a train! Still it was down hill to the end and I didn’t have much left in the tank. It wouldn’t be a sprint finish but a finish it was as I passed the line in 23.20. A couple of minutes away from my PB and an average of around 7.45 minute miles. Still, it was a step in the right direction. Walking back to the car I was approached by an elderly lady who asked “Good time?” my reply was “Not too bad!” North run training was back on track!