The one with the 500 club! This morning saw me travel 42 miles up the A3 to visit Frimley Lodge parkrun. I’d decided on this one earlier in the week due to it being the furthest away on page 1 of my tourist list and I’m leaving the closer ones for tired/hungover days.
Frimley Lodge is a long established parkrun and this morning they were holding event number 330. It is also the biggest one I’ve participated in to date with 475 parkrunners in attendance this morning. It was really easy to get to and as I’d got there early I had no problems with parking in the main car park, which was free (or at least I saw no signs of pay and display).
Wandering around before the start I came across things that I’d not seen before, for example, a permanent sign up at the start, various notice boards and other parkrun paraphernalia. It’s heartwarming to see that the local council are fully onboard with it. Check out the sign, I love this, and the tag line
Great Place * Great Community * Great Future
They’ve totally nailed it, well done Surrey Heath Borough Council, other places would do well to take a leaf out of your book.
As I’d got there early I wandered around for a bit taking it all in and chatting with various folk. There was a family of tourists from Chippenham that are also a part of the Bosh family, recognisable by a Bosh wristband so I had a quick chat with them. #BOSH!
I then bumped into a chap called Darren Wood, he is currently the only member of the 500 club in the world, he has run something like 560 parkruns! I had to have a quick chat with him so I stopped him and asked him questions that he’s probably heard a hundred times before (sorry!). Nice guy to chat with and amazing dedication to parkrun.
I then went to the opposite extreme and had a chat with a couple of guys who’d never run a parkrun before. This was nice to hear their stories and hopefully allay some of their fears and concerns before the off. I explained a few things to them and fielded a few questions they had before we were called over for the new runners brief. This brief was very friendly and informative and very encouraging for new runners.
The main runners brief was full of milestone announcements, I did like the fact that they called out some unofficial milestone announcements too, like people that had hit 150/200/etc.. Nice touch.
On to the course itself, it’s a two lap course that is all off road with a section that runs along the side the canal. It’s a lovely flat course, through woods and around playing fields, quite picturesque. I chose to run in my Hoka trail shoes but as it was dry underfoot road shoes would have been fine. Another nice touch was all exposed tree roots are painted yellow for visibility.
Having just had the results in I can indeed confirm that it’s a fast course as that’s my fastest ever parkrun to date, fastest 5k too!
Frimley Lodge parkrun results for event #330. Your time was 00:23:45.
Congratulations on completing your 30th parkrun and your 1st at Frimley Lodge parkrun today. You finished in 121st place and were the 104th male out of a field of 475 parkrunners and you came 15th in your age category VM40-44. Well done on your first run. We have set this as your PB.
That’s a full 26 seconds faster than my previous personal best so I’m over the moon with that! At the end of last year, before I’d started visiting other parkruns, my quickest times were around 27 minutes, I think experiencing other courses has helped me improve my times as well, I’m not stagnating on the same course. Each run is s fresh and new challenge.
I really loved my trip to Frimley Lodge this morning and would recommend it to anyone. It’s a really well organised affair with wonderfully supportive and friendly marshals and supporters. I can’t fault it, free parking, decent facilities on site, good new runners and main runners brief, with some nice touches I’d not seen before. Very nicely done Frimley Lodge, well played.