Back to the Beginning
Nothing in parkrun world has excited me more than Knowsley parkrun in Whiston. I’ve been obsessively scanning their results and social media since it started last December. What’s so special about this small town in Merseyside and why would I travel all that way just for a 5k? Well, the second question is a no-brainer but as for the first, I was born just a mile from the park, in Whiston Hospital (also the birthplace of Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard) where my dad was working at the time but I have no recollection of the place as my parents left when I was almost three. Whatever tenuous link to Scouseness (Scousehood?) or even Britishness I had was severed when we moved abroad and I’ve never had a reason to return, until now.
I had planned to do the inaugural run in December but the logistics of getting there were putting me off. I’ve grown tired of the effort required to get to these far flung parkruns! Then I realized my birthday fell on a Saturday this year and my dad was planning on visiting me around that time so the prospect of a birthday-birthplace-parkrun trip with him sounded extra special.
Tom did the run in March and I immediately grilled him for all the info before making plans for my own trip. Taking place in Stadt Moers Country Park, it’s a two lap, circular route on a mix of tarmac, grass and trail with a fair few undulations. Looking at the course map on the website, I was afraid this was going to be another one of the many boring parkrun courses I’ve done that go round and round a featureless field. But after running the course, I was quite pleasantly surprised. The variety of surfaces and undulating twists and turns make it interesting and it has a small but friendly community.
They only average fifty runners but that’s not surprising given the proximity to two parkruns in Liverpool and others in Merseyside. Looking at previous weeks’ results, I thought I might have a chance of being the first finisher but a pretty serious looking first-timer turned up and ran it in 18 mins. That didn’t matter though as I could barely manage a half decent run and was fourth. Regardless of my poor performance, this was a very special parkrun pilgrimage!
If you’re in the area, give it a shot. Unfortunately, there are no toilet facilities or café in the park. The regulars go to a pub nearby. I can also recommend Croxteth Hall parkrun in Liverpool, my favourite one of all.