After many months of no parkrun at all due to Covid, finally international parkrun tourism is possible again. My first post-pandemic overseas event was to join my daughter at her new home parkrun; in Byxbee Park parkrun in Palo Alto, California.
Byxbee Park is a waterfront park on the shores of San Francisco Bay. Palo Alto is around 30 miles south of San Francisco, or 20 miles south of San Francisco airport – an easy drive down Route 101. It is a condition of holding the event in the park that parkrunners don’t use the main car park. However, there is plenty of free parking in Embarcadero Road, a short (10 minute walk from the start). A car park marshal is on hand to direct and assist.
There are toilets located right next to the start, plus drinking water. There is a cafe for post run drinks and snacks across the road at the Baylands Golf Club.
The run takes place on The Adobe Creek Trail along the shore of San Francisco Bay. The route consists of two out and back loops. Once the run has started, the entire start/finish line setup is moved back a couple of hundred metres, which is a little disorientating when you return to the start and it’s moved further along the trail.
The course follows a trail made of crushed oyster shells and, according to my Strava, had an elevation of zero, so pretty much as smooth and flat as it gets. As the route consists of two out and back loops, there are three 360 degree turns to negotiate.
In the US, parkrun is mostly an ex-pat affair, so it’s super friendly and very welcoming to visitors from out of town/overseas. It’s also a pleasant route to run, along the side of the bay with its abundant bird life on one side and a hill covered with an architectural structure made of telegraph poles on the other side. At one point, we were joined on the trail by a hare – so I really did feel like the tortoise! My first visit coincided with Byxbee parkrun’s 50th event, so as an added bonus, there was cake.