The Life of a Tourist
The days of a lie-in on a Saturday are a distant memory. You know you’ve become a true parkrun tourist addict when your Saturday morning alarm clock is set earlier than your alarm clock for getting up for work in the week – though let’s be honest, it’s far easier to get up for a parkrun than it is for the daily grind! This week, it was Alice Holt to obtain an A for the Alphabet challenge (complete one parkrun starting with every letter of the alphabet).
A 5am alarm clock, throw on the running gear, a quick breakfast, run for the bus and before you know it you’re on the 06:53 train from Waterloo darting its way to the middle of Hampshire, a mere 75km journey this week. We’re due to arrive in Bentley, a small Hampshire village, at 08:02, but there is still a 3km walk to get to the start as well so the schedule is another tight one, but we’ve been here many times before!
Eventually pulling into Bentley Station at 08:08 means we’re already a little behind so the key at this point is to take the correct turn out of the station. What looks like a road on Google Maps, turns out to be a path over the train tracks itself. Thankfully, a reassuring sign on the other side of the tracks points us on our way.
We follow some trails and the “Yellow road” and, finally, relief, as we arrive at the starting point with 15 mins to spare. Overall, it’s a good 35 minute walk from the train but is certainly possible to visit Alice Holt by train.
The crowd is building and the conversations are already following. Regulars busy catching up with each other for perhaps the first time this year, uber-tourists in their distinctive cowls introducing themselves to each other and swapping tales of their madcap parkrun adventures and the amazing volunteers busily preparing for the event ahead.
In total, there are an aesthetically pleasing 333 runners this week, ably supported by the 27 volunteers. A fair sized chunk of us head over to the first timers run briefing. There are a very impressive 22 runners completing their first ever parkrun today (welcome to you all) and another 29 First Timers at Alice Holt. There are a few groans when we’re warned about Dragon Hill (so named as it drags on for ages) but we’re all keen to get started if only to keep the chilly morning at bay.
On to the Run Briefing and there are some impressive Milestones this week. I can’t remember them all but two really stood out. Ben DAKIN running his 200th parkrun today. Hugely impressive given he’s in the JM11-14 category, he must’ve been born running!
Huge congratulations to Alice Holt regulars Ian CARLEY and Cyra PARKES who recently visited Zandvlei parkrun in South Africa for their Z and got engaged. The power of parkrun knows no bounds! Very many congratulations to you both!
On to the run itself. Alice Holt consists of a shorter first loop, followed by a longer loop. It’s a tough course with an elevation of 277ft. The surroundings are stunning, but it’s hard to enjoy the forest at its finest with all the hills to contend with.
Not only that, the hills seem to get harder as the run progresses. This course really does require you to leave something in reserve for the final stages. Also in the closing stages are a few figures appearing randomly in the forest. The Gruffalo, Gruffalo’s Child, Stick Man, Owl and Rat were all spotted whilst gasping for breath.
Fortunately though there are some flat sections too and a few opportunities to take photos on the way around. I’m not sure I’d want to wander to far of course on this run, you could easily get lost in these trees whilst whistling “Robin Hood, Robin Hood”.
Finishing the run is always the goal, and it feels great to complete this one, especially after completing a few flatter courses recently. As always, the fantastic and supportive volunteers really do help you get to the finish!
The Life of a Tourist means you get to see some great parts of the country you would never otherwise visit. I’m certainly glad we visited Alice Holt today and hope one day to return here and explore the area again. Until the next time, keep on running!
Some statistics from this week:
This week 333 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 51 were first timers and an incredible 91 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 34 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 27 volunteers:
Andrew CALDWELL • Andy CLEGG • Ben O'CONNOR • Carmen MCTERNAN • Cheryl SACKS • Cyra PARKES • Douglas BLYTH • Folusho OLUSANYA • Gary JAMES • Geoff BROWN • Harvey WICKHAM • Helen WALTERS • Hugo WERNHAM • Isabel JAMES • Jess WYATT • Jo JAMES • Kate MARSHALL • Katie SNELSON • Kerry SCOTT • Libby MALLETT • Lisa BLAYDEN • Mary HEARN • Michael CROFT • Robert CLARK • Rupert HOLLOM • Sam WICKHAM • Stephen LAVERY
This week's results can be found at latest results
Robert Clark & Folusho Olusanya
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Your Core Team:- Craig - Andy - Geoff - Kathy - Sarah - Mark - Dan - Lisa - Rupert - Charlie - Paula
In the Diary
parkrunner Discount Did you know if you show your athlete barcode in the Alice Holt cafe you can get a 10% discount? Why not stay after your run and have a chat with your fellow parkrunners or volunteers!
Groovy wristbands/plastic barcodes Are you a frequent parkrunner, or does your barcode regularly fail to scan or you're having problems with your printer? If so, you should consider getting some wristbands or barcodes. Make our scanners lives easier and be the envy of all of your parkrunner chums!