This week I’ve been working in Kempston, Bedfordshire and have been leaving home a bit earlier in the morning to avoid getting caught up in rush-hour traffic. The upshot of this is that I’ve been getting to work with plenty of time to spare, so decided to make use of my time by finding somewhere to run.
A quick look on Google maps led me to Stewartby Lake, which is approximately 2.5 miles around, with the option of adding a loop of the adjacent country park for another 2.5.
I managed to get out there three times this week and it’s a nice little route. I could go on and on about the tranquil natural beauty of my surroundings or the way the early morning sun turned the glistening lake into a pool of radiant something-or-other. The word “dappled” would probably feature heavily. But to be honest I was just glad of the change of scenery and the chance to get out and run before the day got too warm. That and the fact that I was less likely to be mugged by the wildlife than I was back home – trust me, you haven’t known fear until you’ve seen a duck with a flick-knife.
This was my first attempt at morning running and unfortunately I didn’t have time to do the full 5 miles, so just stuck to the lake. The fact that I was completely knackered after just doing the first bit had nothing to do with my decision to cut things short, and I’d like to see you prove otherwise (Grrr).
One of the nice things about this route is that there are a few options to it. The lake is circled by a grit cycle track, but in most places there are some slightly more trailey (real word) paths running parallel to it that offer a bit more variety of terrain (in other words it’s bumpy). Whichever route you take doesn’t really make much difference to the mileage, but it breaks things up and keeps them interesting.
I have to say though, one of the downfalls of the route is the amount of benches along the way. As I’ve already mentioned, early morning runs were a new experience for me and as such were a bit harder than usual. In my tired sweaty state those benches might as well have been covered in chocolate and have five pound notes pinned to them. I managed to resist the urge to stop and have a nice sit down, only to then run up to the top of a small hill and be greeted by the sight of two benches expertly carved from logs into the shape of fish and woodland creatures. These things must have taken ages to make, and their sole purpose was for people to rest their weary behinds on. The craftsman who laboured long and hard over these carvings wanted me to stop and sit on them. In fact, not doing so would be a bit of a slap in the face. Not sitting down would be the equivalent of crapping on the bonnet of his brand new car and sleeping with his wife.
But still I resisted. Don’t ask me how, but I did. So if anyone reading this has ever carved a fish-bench at Stewartby Lake then I’m truly very sorry. It looked very comfy and I liked what you did with the gills, but if I’d stopped for a rest I’d probably still be there now.
2.71 miles (4.36km) 33:54
2.53 miles (4.08km) 25:26 – That’s a pace of 10:02 mins/mile. Getting close to that elusive 10:00!
2.55 miles (4.11km) 26:51