Sutton Park – West Mids Training Session, 1/5/11

Ed: On a sunny if a little windy day there were three of us at Sutton Park, one of the largest parks in an urban setting. My last visit here was some 10 years ago and from the maps it was difficult to work out a training route that we would follow. It was a case of see where the routes take us and hopefully there will be signs/maps to bring us back to the start at the Visitor’s Centre.

After a recent DIY injury I was in no mood for a faster session or interval training which also suited both Sharron (left) and Cathy.

Back in the late 1990s, the route of the Royal Sutton Fun Run over 8.5 miles took runners into the park and the early hill we encountered reminded me. Even towards lunch-time it was fairly quite which made it feel rural. We started on the park roads but after a mile or so we were onto tracks in the wilderness. Eventually we did come to somewhere on the western perimeter and decided to go in a northerly direction. Basically we were into the forest on a narrow track and soon there was a golf course on our right with the perimeter road on our left. It was some considerable time before we left the golf course behind, found the Streetly entrance and a route back into the park. Now the problem was visitors in their cars so we eventually found a route back onto an open country space.

We used the wind as an indicator of the direction we needed to take which at this stage was basically in our faces. We saw a swarm of bees at one point but they did not come in our direction. All of a sudden we found ourselves back at the Visitor’s Centre and the session had lasted about 1 hour 25 minutes. That was not the end of it for me as I intended to visit vegans in Kingstanding who are involved in the Birmingham group which gave me the opportunity to walk back across the park in a more southerly direction for another 4 miles or so. Before leaving I visited the local athletics track from the outside, the home of Sutton Coldfield AC. There is an entry fee of £3 and an entry code is required if we were permitted to use it.

Looking forward to more visits to the park in the future.