The one with the mayday mayday mayday! One of the great things about parkrun tourism is visiting places you would never normally visit and finding out a bit about their history and Roundshaw Downs is no exception. This is the fourth parkrun I’ve visited recently that has an aviation background, its location, an old airfield, the Croydon Aerodrome. This is the place where the famous ‘Mayday Mayday Mayday’ distress call first originated amongst other things, look it up its quite fascinating. Fortunately my parkrun experience caused no distress or at least I’d like to think not, well, at least no animals or children were harmed!
So travel, it’s a 67 mile trip from base camp to Roundshaw Downs to complete week 13 of the #parkruncornetto mission, just two more parkruns until that particular insanity is complete! I had a few different choices available for this particular R, Richmond Park, Riddlesdown, Roundshaw Downs and Rickmansworth were all on the table. These are in distance order from Havant and all ones I’d not visited yet. I don’t think there are any other R’s within easy striking distance that I’ve not been to. I’ve already done Rushmoor, Reigate Priory and Reading and there are no repeat visits on this 15 parkrun mission. With promise of cake, having found out it is fellow tourist Tim Gray’s 250th at Roundshaw Downs, the decision was made! I’d met Tim before at Clair parkrun, the C to complete Cornetto.
I programmed in postcode CR0 4RR into the magic box of wrong turns and eventually managed to find the free parking at Costco, having passed this throwback to it’s origins pictured above, it’s quite weird, there are two lovely looking hotels in the middle of this industrial estate. The start is a short bimble away from the car park, it’s easy enough to find. The course at Roundshaw Downs is all trail but the surface is currently firm enough underfoot to run it in road shoes. It’s an anti-clockwise two lapper with an awesome kilometre long downhill finish! It’s an amazing open space and a really lovely course, sadly there’s a lot of litter near the start of the course that the council don’t seem to want to deal with. I hate littering and fly tipping and just don’t understand humans some times, it’s so sad, but don’t let that detract from the parkrun, it’s nothing a regular litter pick wouldn’t sort out.
There was a great turnout today with a whopping 214 runners in attendance, this is 50-60 more than usual looking at the past few events. It was their 419th run so it’s a well established parkrun with some very friendly regulars. It’s a warm and welcoming atmosphere and 13 runners experienced that for the first time this morning, welcome to the parkrun family. On top of the newbies there were 6 tourists visiting from Havant, Riddlesdown and Banstead Woods. More importantly, and this is a figure that’s blown me away, there were 61 PB’s today, which is immense, looks like some people had their Weetabix this morning! Well done!
It’s a quick course for sure, even with the deceptive little climb it has, I came very close to an all time parkrun PB without realising I was so close. I was just 9 seconds off and I could have definitely pushed harder as I really wasn’t trying for a PB. I guess that long downhill finish straight really does help. Once I’d done my two laps and powered down the finish straight it was off for barcode scanning which is done under the trees a short way from the finish. They have a small table set up there which was laden with some delicious chocolate brownies and cake, it wouldn’t be a 250th without cake though would it!
It’s always heartwarming to see a community come together and this morning was no exception. There was a wonderful turnout for Tim’s 250th, just check out the group shot below, this is what parkrun is all about for me. Coming together and celebrating each other’s successes and encouraging and supporting each other, fantastic! Well done again Tim, I look forward to bumping into you again on my travels.
After the last runners had been processed then a nice number of the runners head down to the local McDonald’s where the results are duly processed, coffees are consumed, as are mcflurries and other miscellaneous items from the breakfast menu. It’s a nice apres-parkrun atmosphere with people buzzing when their results magically beep and appear on their phones. Love it!
Roundshaw Downs parkrun really has a nice community feel to it as well as a cracking course. I’d like to thank everyone there for being so friendly and welcoming, even the RD who was a Southampton supporter of all things, they get everywhere!!
The #parkruncornetto mission gets one step ever closer to completion with just an A and a P to go! Today’s was special, “Peanut Butter Love” Cornetto, yeah baby, that’s what I’m talking about!