The one with the sea of green. This morning I had planned on going to do Clair parkrun and complete my little parkrun word challenge, having had to skip a parkrun last week to run the Malta marathon this was eagerly anticipated. However, an event popped up in my social media feed declaring that it was Havants 250th event this Saturday And that there would be a celebration with green theme to go with the 250 tops and as always plenty of cake!
What’s a parkrunner to do, it’s a celebration at my home event and I’ve not been there since the New Years Day double. Yet if I go run it it will screw up my own personal challenge as I’m not currently after an H. Decision made, I’ll skip my second week in a row, my 70th run can wait, I’ll put back my schedule by another week and go volunteer instead. This means my letters won’t get screwed up, I won’t miss out on the celebrations, I’ll give something back to the parkrun that started it all off for me and see some friends, it’s a winner all round. My personal goals can wait another week. One quick email later and I’m on the volunteer roster to marshal, it’s as easy as that to get involved, a quick email with my barcode number and I’m all signed up.
It feels a bit odd this morning, normally I’m out of bed by 6am on parkrunday and having a bit of breakfast, running through some last minute checks to ensure I’m ready to travel before creeping out the front door, jumping in the parkrun rocketship and heading off. As an example, if I’d gone to Clair parkrun I would have had a 54 mile drive, about an hour or so to get there (see map). This would mean I’d be on my way by about 7:15am at the latest as I hate being late and it’s always better to plan in some contingency. The joys of being a parkrun tourist. With Havant being just 4 miles away even if I leave at 8am I’ll be there by quarter past at the latest, so it’s a rare opportunity for a bit of a lie in, yet I’ll still be there early enough to lend a hand if required before marshalling, result all round.
In the end I stayed in bed till 8am, which is unheard of on parkrunday! I still made it to Havant parkrun by 8:25am without even having to rush. I found a beer bottle in the car park, the lovely Mary Short, who had made my effort at dressing in green a bit poor! There ended up being three matching beer bottles there, as well as many othe brilliant green themed costumes, brilliant! I do love the fact so many people get into the spirit of things at Havant parkrun, any excuse to dress up really!
It was busy today too, a sea of runners in green out to celebrate Havants 250th event. There were 366 parkrunners completing the course today, that’s a whopping 68 more than the previous record attendance at event 147 back on 4th April 2015! What an amazing turnout! There were a few milestone runners out there today, all women in fact, Julie STRUTT completing her 50th and Sarah BURR, Lucy COWLIN, Susan HARRIS and Kim AMEY all earning their 100 shirts. The last ever prizes were handed out today too, marking an end to the points table. Being a habitual tourist the removal of the points table doesn’t really affect me in anyway, but to some it was a real motivator, so it’s quite sad to see it go really. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, will replace it.
Once the prizes were dished out and the announcements were done it was time for everyone to line up and get ready to run. What an impressive turnout. As I was marshalling I made my way over to the crossroads and supplied the marshals there with a big foam high five hand and one of my ‘motivational’ signs just before the runners were released. Even at this point you could tell it was busier than usual as the lead runners had caught the tail runners before the end of the smaller top loop! Once they’d come through I ran down the back slope towards Havant thicket to get in to my actual marshal position.
I got there and ready before the first runners came through, but not by much of a margin! I made it my job to be as loud and vocal as possible for every last person that came through. Lots of clapping, cheering and encouragement, I also had an extra motivational sign with me too. I dished out high fives and got a few sweaty hugs and did my best to encourage every last person that passed me, on both laps! I received some lovely comments from quite a few runners this morning, which makes it even more worthwhile. Such good fun! Once the tail runner was through I collected up the signs and cones and headed back to the start with them to help pack up the finish funnel.
At the end it was the usual at Havant to head over to the cafe for coffee and cake, of which there was an abundance this week. The cake club and regular bakers had surpassed themselves. I hadn’t bought myself a Cornetto as I’d not run, there are rules you know, however I was awarded one by one of the regulars there! This was a lovely surprise and was greatly appreciated. It was strawberry #parkruncornetto
Next week I’m definitely doing Clair!