Queen Elizabeth parkrun

The one where you never turn left. Queen Elizabeth parkrun is held in the picturesque Queen Elizabeth country park. In autumn it is an amazing place to explore, however, at Halloween there are parts of the park you don’t want to visit! In years long since past, the parkrun organisers had consulted with the park rangers before laying out the course and a route was decided upon. It is rumoured that gentle warnings were given about running this close to Hangers Way…

One particularly beautiful morning, not too dissimilar to this, close to Halloween, a runner continued talking through the run briefing. Uninformed and unaware he later strayed from the path, he turned left, if he’d listened he’d have known you never turn left. The crisp autumn leaves crunched underfoot as he veered off down an unused trail. As he rounded a turn, edging closer to Hangers Way, an eerie glow suddenly lit the path in front of him. The glow became stronger and centered on a rotting tree stump in front of him. It was on this stump a woman’s face appeared. She glowed with a eerie white light as her lips moved. “Tell them…,” she whispered. “Tell them I’m innocent.”

The frightened runner, unsure if he’d just had a ‘bad gel’ or was actually having a visit from the spirit world, turned tail and fled back the way he came. In no time he was back on the parkrun course, “Which way??” he called out to a fellow runner, “Always turn right!!” came the reply. If he’d have listened to the course description he would have known that all the turns are right-handers, on that day the event director had even said during the brief ‘if you turn LEFT….’ and everyone else joined in with ‘…you’ve LEFT the course’… Embarrassed and slightly scared he vowed never to talk through a run brief again and promised to always listen to and thank the marshals as he passed. Remember folks, always heed the marshals, they are there to look after you!

Fortunately, this Halloween, there were no such troubles. The 69 runners got round the course without incident, supernatural or otherwise. There were 13 first timers today, none of them unlucky. There were some great costumes on show, some folk really got into the ‘spirit’ of things! Tourists from Basingstoke, St Albans, Woodley and Walsall Arboretum to name a few, welcome along, we hope you enjoyed the hills! There were also a couple of milestones today, Rachel LEWIS and Godfrey RHIMES completing 100 runs each, well done guys, fantastic achievement.

The route was slightly different from normal, QE is two loops, one small, one big. Usually you get the small loop out the way first and then the big loop seems to take an eternity with that long drag along the boundary path to the finish funnel. Today the big loop was done first and the small loop at the end. Awesome! Jacob O’HARA clearly liked this finishing first and scoring a new PB in the process, well done Jacob. First female finisher was the young Freya HAMPSHIRE in the JW10 category, well done Freya.

So there we have it, another Halloween parkrun at Queen Elizabeth has passed without issue, but who was the face in the mysterious apparition, what was it she was innocent of? Maybe we will never find out, maybe it was just a ‘bad gel’…

So that’s the contents of my tourist run report for QE parkrun. It really is a wonderful place to run especially this time of year as the colours are amazing. This was my second time visiting this particular parkrun and I love it. Today I got there at 8am, in costume, accompanied by my ghostly friend Rachael. I’d volunteered to help with course set up as well as doing the run report. As a parkrun tourist visiting more and more places I’m seeing so much more than I did just running my home run, anything I can do to help as a tourist is the least I can do, voluntourism, it’s a thing! Speaking of things, I had to forgo my post parkrun socialising in the coffee shop as had to change costumes and get down into Portsmouth for the Oktoberfest 6k race quick smart. I did however manage to get in a sneaky 99 flake down at the seafront, not quite a #parkruncornetto but a worthy substitute!

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