Ho Ho Ho-rray for Christmas Day! And, just as important, time to head down to the parkrun I’ve been saving up all year. Winchester – which was my first ever parkrun, and the one closest to my parents.
The course does three laps round the leisure centre grounds, and is completely flat with the odd hairpin bend taking you on bridges over the river and back on yourself round a line of trees. It’s mostly on grass, which can get very squelchy at this time of year. It’s not too bad at the moment, but last year got so waterlogged that they had to change to a 6-lap tarmac course through the winter months.
I finished in just short of 26 minutes, which is a fair bit faster than in previous weeks. (I think that knowing the course makes a big difference.) Even better, I beat my brother for the first time ever. (He has admittedly been on crutches for the last six weeks, and didn’t expect to be able to run at all.) See results.
There was a Secret Santa at the end of the run. After being instructed by my mum to ‘look carefully at the presents you’re putting in and make sure you don’t take the same ones out again’, we left the run one woolly hat, lego elephant and tub of marshmallows richer.
Thanks very much to the volunteers, to run director Tim for your shout out in the run brief, and to all at Winchester parkrun for your generous donations on the JustGiving page.
I’m doing a different parkrun each week of the year to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK. Please head over to my JustGiving page if you’re able to help out.
‘Character building’. That’s what they told me at the start – that the course was character building. And they weren’t wrong.
It was a very rainy day. The rainiest parkrunday of the year so far. I huddled in the car for as long as I could, heading out at the last possible moment to join a small and slightly bedraggled-looking group of hardy parkrunners and even-hardier volunteers (thank you!).
Huddled in the car
The course is tough because it’s entirely on grass (which is a bit squelchy at this time of year), and includes a big ‘slope’ that you have to run up three times. Once you’ve got over the rain squelch slope factor, it’s a nice simple course, and the slope breaks it up so it’s easy to keep track of where you are.
Braving the rain
My results email tells me I was the second female finisher, one better than the spectacular 3rd at Barry. However, with a time of 27.30, and a field of only 22 runners, I think it was more a case of ‘turn up in bad-enough conditions and you’ll get a good result’ (see results).
We were celebrating run director Lesley’s 50th parkrun, which meant our efforts were rewarded with some very tasty homemade treats at the end 🙂
Overall – small, friendly parkrun, simple course, on the hilly side, recommended but not in the rain!
I’m running a different parkrun each week of the year to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK. Please head over to my JustGiving page if you’re able to help out.
Now I don’t like to pick favourites or anything…
…But Eastleigh is my favourite.
My favourite because it’s super friendly and encouraging. There are about a million volunteers with important jobs like ‘pompoms’, ‘final lap bell’ and ‘sweetie distributor’. Which really do make a big difference! And the runners are really supportive and chatty as well.
The course winds in a wish-bone shape round 3 laps of a disused golf course. It’s undulating and run entirely on grass, which is a bit on the uneven side and gets very sludgy over winter. (At the start of the year I think they were recommending football boots…)
I ran round with my friend Beth, who was on her first parkrun. We did a run-walk-run job of it, and finished in just under 40 minutes. Beth had imagined that the parkrun was a group of about 10 very serious lycra-clad men, and was surprised to find that over 200 people turned out to run ‘in Eastleigh?! While I’m normally asleep?!’.
Photo credits: Lily Coull (Thanks!)
My mum, dad and brother, who live in nearby Winchester and Southampton were also there. My parents both got personal bests, and my brother got a personal worst, having turned up a bit late and missed the start (see results).
Many thanks to the volunteers. And congratulations to Beth. I’ll be recommending Eastleigh to everyone I meet!
At the finish
I’m running a different parkrun each week of the year to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK. Please head over to my JustGiving page if you’re able to help out 🙂