On our recent mega adventure to the US, we were fortunate enough to visit not one but two parkruns. We initially thought we were only going to get one parkrun in as there aren’t yet many in the US and there are only so many Saturdays. Imagine how excited we were when we heard that Clermont Waterfront parkrun in Florida were holding an event on New Year’s Day! Clermont is a bit under an hour’s drive from Orlando so we plugged it into the GPS and headed off.
This parkrun is on the shores of Lake Minneola, a picturesque area on the edge of Clermont. We found it very easily, parked up and used the facilities (very clean and tidy) before moving across the road to the gathering spot. While we were definitely looking forward to partaking of another parkrun, running in general wasn’t that appealing on this particular morning – the weather was very ordinary. As well as being cold, it was threatening to rain – Florida had been having an unusually cold spell and most of the state was suffering.
Luckily, the reception was warm. As expected, there were many visitors, including some fellow Victorians who were also running at Disney. Briefing done, we moved onto the path for the start and we were off.
The course follows a path along one edge of the lake and, on a day when you could actually see things, would be very scenic. As we headed out, the drizzly rain began and the low cloud continued so we couldn’t see too much. The course is clearly in a well maintained area – good path and toilets on the way if needed. Being out and back, it’s very easy to follow and the turn around point was easy to spot (complete with a marshal ducking in and out of his car to avoid the appalling weather!).
I’d been looking forward to the return journey to get away from the rain blowing in my face but it seemed to change direction after the halfway point, like a painting whose eyes follow you around the room. And, thanks to me nursing my injured leg, I was walking this one so it felt like it took much longer than normal. Eventually I was back, crossing the bridge and within sight of the finish line. A very eager volunteer was cheering everyone in with the same enthusiasm for the first as the last finisher so I finished with a smile.
Afterwards, we chatted to the local policeman who had dropped in then made our way to breakfast where we experienced the wonderful hospitality and friendliness of the Clermont crew – moving tables so everyone could breakfast together and chatting the morning away while it continued to rain outside.
I’m so glad we were able to include this one in our trip – my husband was fortunate enough to go and run it again while we were running Disney and he confirmed that, with blue skies and better weather, it was even cheerier. However what makes parkrun is the people and the Clermont Waterfront crew are very welcoming and friendly and it has such a happy, community vibe, whatever the weather.