The one at the end of the year. That’s it, another year drawing to a close, what better way to spend it than at parkrun amongst friends. 2016 has been an interesting year with a lot of sadness, but we shouldn’t dwell on that and instead look to the positives. We saw our beloved parkrun record it’s three-millionth registration and 1.1 million different people completing a parkrun. All possible due to a small army, 142,000 strong, amazing people who gave their time to volunteer.
I ventured out in the fog this morning to head to the sea for a return visit to my PB course, Southsea. Southsea is a fast flat out and back along the promenade, when conditions are favourable it’s a PB hunting ground. It starts at Speakers Corner near the Pyramids and heads towards Eastney and back, there’s plenty of parking nearby. A PB was the last thing on my mind however as I was slightly worse for wear having drunk far too much the night before, not throwing up was my number one objective, my number two objective was to run the 5k without stopping. I joined 348 other parkrunners at Southsea to sign off 2016! There were lots of friends and familiar faces in attendance. Either my head had cleared or the fog had lifted as it was a glorious morning on the south coast. The sea was calm and the temperature on the rise, you’d never believe it was the end of December!
Out of the 349 runners in attendance there were 42 first timers and 56 shiney new PBs were earned! To score a good time at Southsea you really do need to position yourself well at the start, I didn’t do this today as I was clearly not at my best, I was more suited to sitting to one side rocking gently backwards and forwards, but I was here to run and run it I shall. The start is a little congested but it starts thinning out by the time you reach the pier. Even with the initial congestion I was going at a much better pace than expected, there was genuine shock when the first mile clicked by and before I knew it I was at the turn around point, “thank you marshal”, and on the return leg. I do find this course easy to find my pace and stick to it, ramping it up slightly back to the pier before that final push on to the finish line. Always keeping to the left and making sure that you mind out for other promenade users, it is a busy place in the morning on a day as nice as today.
Considering I started the morning grey in colour, sweating alchohol and on the verge of throwing up from the outset I was over the moon to cross the line in 25:50 and secure 152nd place, it’s a long way off my 23:21 PB at this course but probably more of an achievement! After barcode scanning I did have to take myself off to one side and sit down for a bit, I was pale as a sheet and feeling distinctly unwell. So unwell that the thought of a post run Cornetto was the last thing on my mind and my conversation skills were somewhat limited!
I collected my water and jacket from where I had stashed it and tried to rehydrate, slowly sipping at my water. I had been pursauded by my running friends to go and take part in another free event starting just down the road half an hour or so later, the Pebbledash, it’s a yearly 5k/10k up and down the pebble beach. In for a penny and all that! I’ve got a bit of colour back in my cheeks and I’m not feeling quite so pukey!
So that’s it, that’s my parkrun year done. Thanks 2016, it’s been a good year, 46 parkruns completed, 25 locations visited, 39 volunteer points gained, it’s been a busy old year. Lots of laughter, fun and friendship along the way! Can’t wait to see what 2017 brings, the New Year’s Day double isn’t a bad way to kick it off, Havant followed by QE! I certainly won’t be hanging like I was this morning!
Lastly from me is that I’d like to take the opportunity to thank you all for the support and feedback over the past year. Thank you all for reading and I hope you have a wonderful and prosperous new year.