The one with the distinct lack of turkeys! Christmas time is a time for family, a time for goodwill, a time for happiness, peace and love and so on. Sadly, for many, Christmas can be the exact opposite, a time of loneliness, heartbreak and pain. Whilst many families are brought together by Christmas it can just highlight isolation for others. So what has this got to do with parkrun? Well, whilst I was trotting up and down Southsea seafront surrounded by the smiling happy faces of other runners it occurred to me that this could be the only interaction with other folk for some on Christmas Day. I found this quite sobering but at the same time filled me with a sense of pride in the community that parkrun has built. I am thankful to be a part of it.
There is no obligation for the events team to put on a Christmas Day parkrun. You have to appreciate the fact that the volunteers have given up their time on Christmas Day so that others can run. I can’t thank the volunteers enough for doing so and made sure that I thanked every single one that I passed that morning. 14 amazing volunteers gave up a few valued hours of their Christmas morning to make it happen.
298 parkrunners made it down to Southsea seafront this Christmas Day, some participating for the very first time, others old hands with over 300 attendances under their belt. The participants came from far and wide, many visiting friends and family in the area. The 5k distance was completed in times ranging between a blistering 16:42 to a more leisurely 54:58, some were fresh as daisies others potentially feeling the effects of Christmas spirits. Personally I’d drank far too much over 18’s apple juice the night before and was nursing a bad back!
This was my 99th parkrun and my 4th visit to Southsea parkrun. Each time I’ve visited I’ve enjoyed it for a variety of reasons, today it really was about community. So welcoming, so inclusive and so much good cheer, there were costumes galore, love it!
So a big thank you to each and everyone at Southsea parkrun for making it happen on this special day, I don’t usually do this but a special thank you to Gail BANKS, Robert BILTON, Annette CHIPPERFIELD, Gemma CLARKE, Tony CONWAY, Grant DAY, Caroline ELDER, Rhian GOUGH, Kathryn HAMMOND, Susan LAMB, Katherine NEWELL, Carrie OWEN, Michael TAYLOR, Emma G TURNER, all the other participants and anyone else behind the scenes.
Merry Christmas everyone.