How To Plan A Cred Run

If you're anything like me the first thing you'll be doing when you get out of quarantine is devising a strategy to make up for several weeks of precious lost cred time. Forget seeing your family, they can wait and this is more important. One of the best ways to get a quick and fast injection of +1s onto your count is with a good, ol' fashioned cred run! As I write this I'm all too aware that this weekend past should've been a cred run for me, which brings a slight tear to my eye but I'm holding it together (just) and instead pouring that energy into putting together this cred run planning guide for you all.

Because, much like trip planning, planning a cred run is a fine art and there are a few specific rules one must follow in order for the cred run to be successful. For those who may be wondering, a cred run isn't like your average day out to a theme park - the sole aim of the day is to cram in as many coasters as possible and plays out more like a Top Gear challenge than a relaxing park day with mates. It's very, very different. So given our current circumstances I thought I'd let you all in on the secret ingredients and steps required to pull off the perfect cred run! For the purposes of this article I'm basing my examples in the UK but it is possible to do cred runs in other countries too, you can simply just apply the same techniques.

In order to be successful you need to set yourself realistic geographical boundaries as to where your cred run will take you, and I've found the best way to do this is head to Coast2Coaster and identify which cred clusters will prove most fruitful for you. It's very easy to pick a random starting point and dart all over the place in pursuit of Big Apple coasters but the thing about that is that when you're done you'll have a random string of places ticked off which makes future cred run planning tricky as you don't want to retread old ground. It's much easier and methodical to chunk the creds up into clusters and tick them off as you go. Off the top of my head, some clusters in the UK look like this:

Devon & Cornwall
South Coast
South West England/South Wales
Essex Coast
East Anglia
M1 South
Lincolnshire Coast
Liverpool & NorthWales

Obviously this does leave a few strays here and there but generally speaking those locations cover off most places. So pick which one you want to tackle and use Coast2Coaster to identify your cut off point - for example if you were to tackle East Anglia it's very easy to look at the location of Rainbow Park and think ooh, we're quite close to Fantasy Island there, but then you start infringing on the Lincolnshire coast cluster and things start to get messy, so just use your best judgement.

Ah, praise be unto the credule. The credule is a schedule of creds and will be your guiding force to ensure the cred run is going as planned as again, it is very easy to stray from the plan and get side-tracked by other amusements offered in the locations you'll be visiting, but those are for another day! I actually find cred runs are a great way of identifying places I'd like to come back to on a warm sunny day knowing there will be plenty for me to enjoy having popped in for ten minutes or so which is quite fab.

Remember, the aim of the cred run is to pick up as many +1s as humanly possible, so we need to keep our time in each location as brief as we can. It literally is a case of park, go in, pay, ride the cred, fuck off. It's ridiculous but hilarious too, especially when you're running high speed towards a Wacky Worm, much to the confusion/concern of any bystanding parents. I usually allow 15 mins per cred - obviously it usually takes a lot less time than that but it's good to be realistic and to allow extra time for faff like parking, toilet breaks, buying tokens, etc.

It's also good to keep check on the credule after every cred stop to ensure you're keeping to your timings - obviously smaller parks might not have as long operating hours as bigger theme parks will so it's good to know that you'll be arriving with time to ride and won't spite yourself out of anything - or if it is looking likely that spite might occur you can edit your credule accordingly to make sure you prioritise the 'must do' creds and leave the others for another time which can perhaps be tagged on to another cluster in the future. Again, just use common sense and plan as things pan out.

Like I mentioned, these smaller parks tend to be a bit more precarious than the bigger theme parks and can operate a little more wildly. By this I mean they may not actually operate to the schedule they advertise, the coaster that's advertised as being there might be off on a travelling fair circuit, etc etc. So once you have your credule listed I would recommend giving the parks a call just to make sure everything is in order - more than once I've turned up somewhere for a +1 only to find the place closed or the cred not actually there so best to call to confirm to save yourself the hassle, especially if it's a long journey for you!

Another benefit of calling ahead is that if you're shameless enough to explain what you're doing (eg I'm a pathetic cred whore and I'm desperately in search of +1s) some parks are kind enough to let you come in and ride for free. Believe it or not, you're probably not the first coaster enthusiast they've seen and you certainly won't be the last so it's always worth an ask- although I would suggest buying something from their gift shop and giving them lots of promotion on social media if they are kind enough to permit you free or discounted entry - what goes around comes around!

And finally in this section is something that always irks me, but double check the parks you're intending to visit don't require you to have a child with you to gain entry. There are a few chains in the UK that ask you to have a child with the group to enter the park although depending on who you get on the phone some are willing to make exceptions for coaster enthusiasts who just want to come in, ride the coasters and bugger off so again, definitely worth triple checking just to be sure. To flag, here are the parks in the UK to the best of my knowledge that require a child to enter:

Old MacDonald's Farm
Twinlakes Park
Wheelgate Park
Adventure Wonderland
Gulliver's Milton Keynes
Gulliver's Warrington
Gulliver's Matlock Bath

The reality of the cred run is that you will be spending the majority of your day in the car driving from place to place (I do NOT recommend doing a cred run using public transport as you'll be relying a lot on timekeeping and PT can't always be the most reliable!) Point number one to remember here is that you should be picking a car that is comfortable for the size of your group - eg if there are five of you it's probably best to go with the biggest car you can find as cramming you all together in the back of a three door Corsa isn't going to be the best fun.

Next is snacks - instead of wasting precious minutes stopping at a restaurant somewhere to get food for lunch it's better to just pack a picnic. The best way I find is for everybody to bring their own selection fo drinks and snacks to keep you going throughout the trip. Although again, you'll be spending most of the day in the car together so try to avoid smelly foods (looking at YOU Ryan Nixon!)

Finally - the playlist. If you have somebody in the car you trust to DJ then by all means stick to that but as with the snacks we all have our own individual preferences and tastes so I've found it's best to just start a queue in Spotify and pass it round the car to make sure everybody gets a turn. And obviously loud, cheesy songs you can all scream along to are a MUST.

Probably the most essential part of planning a cred run is choosing a team to tag along with you who can handle such a high octane, high stress environment and packed schedule. There's no point picking people who are going to get pissed off that you're literally running in and out of parks they'd rather spend more time hanging out in - if so then cred running really isn't for them and you should maybe think about visiting somewhere else with them another time. You need a team who are going to work together with you, get as much enjoyment out of the madness of bolting from one place to another desperately trying to stick to the credule and generally having a ridiculous time doing it. Get the team right and it'll be one of the most hilarious days out you'll have, I guarantee it.

The sad thing about writing this whilst in confinement is I now have as big an urge as ever to get out there and go ride some creds - I'd give anything to be hurtling down some motorway, on the way to some godforsaken park in the arse-end of nowhere to ride a kiddie cred with my pals whilst screeching along to Let It Go. *Sigh* the day will come, but until then all we can do is plan and continue to count down the days til it's safe to get back out there!

Talk later xoxo,