The one through the skate park. It’s another glorious day on the south coast of England. This morning I’ve made the 45 mile journey from Waterlooville to Lymington to participate in event #3 at Lymington Woodside parkrun. I’ve left it a couple of weeks before making the trip so as to be appropriate..
Lymington Woodside is obviously still very new, this being only the 3rd event, but it doesn’t really show. I arrived early to the sight of a dedicated unit of hi-viz clad volunteers getting everything prepared and ready. All the volunteers were very friendly and welcoming and happy to have a little chat before it started getting busier. I had a quick chat with another tourist in an Apricot top, Tim DAWSON, from Black Park, my sisters home run, apparently his wife works with her. It’s a small world! Speaking of small worlds I then bump into James WHITE who I bumped into at Winchester parkrun a couple of weeks back, another avid tourist.
I had a bit of time to explore and the location really is ideal, you’ve got free parking on site, there’s a cafe mid refurbishment that should be opening soon that will be absolutely perfect for the all important post parkrun social, cake and coffee. There’s a cool children’s play area, a skate park that we run through twice and some very well kept gardens to wander. There’s a bit of something for everyone, you could quite happily bring the whole family down for a picnic and take full advantage of this stunning location.
As 9am approached the dribs and drabs of runners arriving from various directions turned into a small crowd gathered outside the cafe and the Run Director got proceedings underway. There was a quick brief for all the first timers to give them the low down on how parkrun works. The main brief was informative, welcoming the newbies, the tourists, thanking the marshals and checking for milestones and so forth, going through the numbers of people there participating was a nice touch. The next part was going through some facts and figures about parkrun itself, who doesn’t love a good statistic of a morning accompanied with a quick pop quiz about parkrun’s beginnings. I love that sort of stuff but it’s also great for the first timers as often many don’t know the extent of the parkrun family, it’s a nice rounded intro into it all.
Onto the course itself. It’s a mixture of grass, tarmac and gravel paths and is gently undulating, I wore my Scott trail shoes today but normal road shoes would be much better suited whilst it’s dry. The centre of the park is a cricket pitch with a couple of old Oak trees in it. We run a short loop around the boundary on the first lap, it’s a gentle uphill from the start that goes round the oaks, down and back past the start and through a grassy walkway and up a gentle slope onto tarmac paths, through the gardens past the play area and back into the main field. I know, I know, this sounds really complicated but honestly it isn’t! This course map may help you visualise it, but it may not lol!
The course then takes you through the skate park, I was sorting of expecting some of the kids in there to cheer but they seemed very underwhelmed by the runners coming past them, just old people running innit! Out of the skate park, around the periphery and out through a gravel path into the next field. It’s then round the outside of that, back into the main field then right and almost immediately out of the field, back through the grassy area and round the outside again, then there’s a twist at the end, instead of coming out the second field straight into the finish you hang a left and run the opposite way around the boundary from where you started enabling you to finish on a downhill, speeeed, power!!!
The course sounds a bit complicated but is very well laid out, sign posted and marshaled. It is so much easier than I’ve made it sound. You’d be hard pushed to go wrong on it so put that fear out of your head. I think they’ve been very creative with the use of the space they have and it works well in my opinion. It’s a sunny day today and there are lots of exposed areas, but the shaded areas are all that bit more appreciated when you get to them. This is one I’ll be revisiting at some point in the future, maybe couple it up with a weekends break in the New Forest with the family.
On to the numbers, there were 103 people running this morning. There were a couple of bar code scanners out to gather the details from the sweaty out of breath runners and a separate table to take down any manual numbers if required, something that I’ve not seen elsewhere till today, another nice touch. The first male finisher, Phil RADFORD completed the course in a blistering 16:44 which on a day like today is amazing and a course record. The first lady, Fiona CARSON, completed the course in a very respectable 22:05, the course record being 19:34 set by Valeria SESTO.
Congratulations on completing your 39th parkrun and your 1st at Lymington Woodside parkrun today. You finished in 29th place and were the 22nd male out of a field of 103 parkrunners and you came 5th in your age category VM40-44. Well done on your first run. We have set this as your PB.
Some extra pictures.