Pontefract parkrun, in West Yorkshire, takes place at Pontefract Racecourse. There’s no postcode provided on the course page, but the postcode for the Racecourse is WF8 4QD. It was very easy to find, with the entrance just off a roundabout. There is plenty of parking and it’s free during parkrun. Tanshelf Railway Station is also very nearby. The start line is next to the boating lake, only a couple of minutes’ walk from the car park. There are toilets located between the car park and the start line, but be warned that they are not open before 9.30am.
On the day we ran, it was extremely windy and they had swapped to the B course for the day, because the A course runs around the lake and under trees and there was a real risk of being blown into the water or hit by a falling branch. The A course is a lap of the lake, followed by a clockwise lap of the racecourse and finishing with a second lap of the lake. The B course isn’t a great deal different, but it avoids the lake completely and does a 2/3 anticlockwise lap of the racecourse, before heading back – so it’s a straightforward out-and-back. The B course runs alongside the race track, in a U shape. Most of the path is tarmac and fairly narrow, but there is plenty of grass at the sides to make use of. The B course operates a ‘keep to the left’ policy, as there will be oncoming parkrunners on the way round. Although there are no signposts or marshals along the B course, it’s not possible to get lost – just follow the track until you reach the turning point (this will be marshalled) and then follow it all the way back. The course is undulating, but it had the feeling of being fairly flat.
There didn’t seem to be a café or anywhere to get refreshments afterwards (this was presumably in the Grandstand and not open yet), so we joined the volunteer team for breakfast at Pontefract Squash and Leisure Club, a short drive away. Unfortunately, the weather made Pontefract parkrun seem a little gloomy on the day, but it was a nice, straightforward course and not too challenging.
Official Event Page: Pontefract parkrun
Hills: Ascent/Descent metres 39.9
Subjective PB potential: 7/10 – firm and undulating