The one with the sermon on the mount! It’s a bright and sunny Saturday morning on the south coast this morning and by now you should know the drill, yes it’s parkrunday. As I’ve got to work and time is at a premium my destination has picked itself, yes it’s my #nenyd (nearest event not yet done), the picturesque Fareham parkrun.
Fareham parkrun is a lovely little out and back course starting at Cams Mill pub, running 2.5k down the Hampshire County Council Easy Access Trail to the turn around point and back again. You have Fareham creek on one side and Cams Hall Estate golf course on the other. Underfoot is mainly path and hard packed trail, road shoes are most certainly the order of the day whatever the weather. The sun was beating down during my visit which made the views across the creek even more appealing, and the shaded areas along the trail most welcome.
Arriving slightly early as usual it’s nice to see a hive of hi-vis activity going on, a nice buzz in the air as the wonderful volunteers prep for the arrival of the masses. In my opinion it’s always worth arriving at any parkrun early and having a chat with the volunteers, marshals and other runners. People are always happy to have a chat and Fareham was no exception, very friendly indeed. Cams Mill pub is the focal point of the event, people are instructed not to park there on the parkrun event page so I parked a little way down the road, free of charge, and jogged over, however I did see quite a few taking advantage of the car park. Cams Mill pub is a Fullers pub and is a recreation of the tidal mill that stood there 100 years ago. It’s “traditional features give the Mill an authentic ambience, and make it a special, historic place to indulge in delectable waterside dining”. It looks really nice so I’ll be heading back there with the family for a meal in the future.
The run brief took an interesting turn, the run director stood up on a raised bank, whipped off his jacket, donned a dog collar and metamorphosed into the reverend of run, the pastor of parkrun and belted out a punderful safety brief from his parkrun bible. The sermon on the mount delivered, it was biblical! Bemused first timers and tourists were welcomed, volunteers thanked, course described and a marriage happening later that day announced to give it context. There were many wedding related puns and jokes delivered in style by the reverend Dave. Along with the wedding announcement here was also a 40th birthday announced and celebrated. As a first timer at Fareham I got a real feeling of warmth and not just from the sun beating down, Fareham parkrun was a wonderful parkrun family feel to it, an all inclusive togetherness. I loved the additional fact that the very well marshalled course also had wedding decorations up at every turn, brilliant. Such a great atmosphere in the build up to 9am.
Whilst the start is quite narrow and there is a relatively thin path to contend with at the beginning of the course I didn’t have any issues with pinch points and the field spreads out quickly. It’s not a dead flat course, it is very gently undulating which is nice, it feels varied and the out and back nature of the course means that there is support from other runners, thank you Richard Hill and Gary McCawley and high-5’s a plenty, thank you Dean Spicer, it’s always nice to see friendly familiar faces on my travels. There were 141 runners with this being the 19th event held at Fareham, though you get the feeling it’s been running a lot longer than that. There were finish times ranging from 18.27 to 58.54 and you can tell that all runners of all abilities are welcomed with open arms. It’s a quick course, I think I could set my 5k PB here on a return visit.
I had a very consistent and fast run for me and finished in 23:51 in 28th position. I have to say I was quite surprised with this as I’d been up at 3:30 that morning throwing up, suffering with stomach cramps, possibly food poisoning or something. My partner was that concerned that she’d got up and driven to the 24/7 Asda chemists at 4am to pick up some meds! Clearly there were no long term effects from this!
The apres-parkrun atmosphere is fantastic, the pub lays on urns of tea and coffee as well as squash for those that want it, this is self service with a pot there to put in money for what you’ve taken. You’re more than welcome to use the facilities there too or get yourself a stronger drink should the mood so take you. I had time for a quick coffee before rushing off to work with Richard Hill, a local runner who I’d briefly met at The Emoji run and on a Wednesday night social run at QE. It was really nice to sit out on the pub patio in their very comfortable wicker chairs in the glorious sunshine and have a post run coffee and a chat. As I said before, it’s got a real family feel to it.
I will 100% be returning to Fareham parkrun and will attempt to drag the family along next time too. Oh and for those of you that are interested, the post run Cornetto was a toffee and vanilla number, delicious!
What a great start to a Saturday, thank you Fareham parkrun and all those involved, simply wonderful.