Basingstoke parkrun #527, 24th March 2018, Run Report by Avi Govind
Apart from the first couple, my run reports have been about specific topics. We’ve had my experiences of being a tail-walker, parkrun’s 13th birthday and various others. But there’s no overarching subject in this report - rather this is a lot of miscellaneous information in one place.
That said, there are a number of words in the report that can be used to make new phrases and sayings when put before or after the word "mile" - see how many you can find!
First off, the run itself
Saturday's run saw a total of 479 runners, joggers and walkers taking to a drizzly and cold War Memorial Park course.
We had quite a lot of people reaching milestones, namely:
- 10 runs (juniors under 11): Amia Sidhu and Chloe Townley
- 50 runs: Shiromal Fernando and Owen Brooker
- 100 runs: Graham Cook, Melanie Ellis, Andy Stent and Chris Clifton
- 300 runs (unofficial milestone): Ian Stokes and Michelle Maddocks
Well done to all of them in reaching their milestones, and also congratulations to the 62 people who got new personal bests yesterday! Of those, Sunthian Wyatt had done the most runs at Basingstoke, with her 84th yesterday.
Joining in the quest for PBs from next week will be the 20 first-timers who took part this week - welcome to the parkrun family, and remember well over half our participants have done fewer than 50 runs.
Our first-finishers this week were Darrel May and Cath Wheeler - Cath also got the highest age-graded result alongside Tony Watkins. Our final finisher was volunteer and Duke of Edinburgh Award participant Izzy Ruth who, along with 39 other volunteers including Run Director Mark Norris, generously gave up time to allow the event to go ahead.
Next up, my own experience
My experience of the run was largely positive. I say largely because I saw a slightly heated exchange between two runners, one lapping the other, where each thought the other should have done more to allow space. It was difficult for me to tell whether any of them had a point as I didn’t see what had happened to cause the discussion.
As this took place on one of the wider parts of the course, it is worth reminding everyone that we should always be aware of what it happening around us while taking part in parkrun, and also that we should be courteous to all other parkrunners or park users.
Part of the reason that I didn’t see what was happening was because I was on track to post my fastest time at Basingstoke since April last year. I didn’t think that was likely at the start as I was just behind two dogs for much of the first 500m - in fact someone described the start on social media as a ‘dog slalom run’!
But I needn’t have worried as that meant I didn’t start too quickly and I did just under a four-minute kilometre. I got through two kilometres in under eight minutes, and I managed to largely maintain the pace for the rest of the run thanks in no small part to trying to keep up with Andy Goddard, who ran just ahead of me, and also the beneficial effects of a speed training session during the week - I was very happy with my time!
Focus on volunteering: Event Director
As some of you will know, and as Mark Norris mentioned in last week’s run report, I am the Event Director for Basingstoke parkrun. That means I have ultimate responsibility for the event and everything around it, although on the day of an event this responsibility is delegated to the Run Director - so I am allowed to do other parkruns in this country or beyond!
Much of the extra work I do is behind the scenes, for example liaising with parkrun HQ on developments at events such as new sponsors, defibrillators and changes in volunteer roles, the change from Tail Runner to Tail Walker, say. I also keep in contact with Basingstoke council to ensure that we are using the park safely and responsibly, and that we are aware of other events taking place that mean we need to use the alternative course at Crabtree.
(On that note - look out soon for details of our Crabtree visits for 2018. We know that for some of you the Crabtree course isn’t a dream, so we will give as much advance notice as possible so you can plan alternatives should you wish!)
Additionally, I am the assessor for our Duke of Edinburgh award participants and have to deal with all the miscellaneous messages and questions we receive - there is no end to the different types of questions I have seen!
I am lucky to have the other six people in the core team to help me with some of these activities as well as others that I would otherwise have to do. They provide a good sounding board for ideas and we consult on decisions such as when to change to / from the winter course to avoid making a right royal mess of the grass. I am also happy that we occasionally get together and go for food (typically a curry!) at which we discuss and agree things we want to change or improve upon.
I am always keen to hear feedback or suggestions, so if you have any ideas about how we can make Basingstoke parkrun better, then please let me know.
Meet the parkrunner: Matt Pillinger
The final topic in this report is a role-reversal. Matt Pillinger is normally the person who includes "Meet the parkrunner" interviews in his run reports, but the tables have been turned on him so he goes from interviewer to subject this week!
Tell us a bit about your running history
Like so many people I used to run at school, gave up in my mid – teen years and took it up again a bit later in life. My first race for a long time was the Reading half marathon in 2008. I didn’t train enough or have any idea what a half marathon was like and I certainly found it hard work. Since then, I’ve gone a bit crazy and now do up to 20 races a year.
How did you find out about parkrun?
A friend at work told me about parkrun, he’d done his first parkrun (Eastleigh) the previous week, I signed up and made my debut the following Saturday.
When and how did you start parkrunning?
6 August 2011. Although I didn’t really know much about parkrun, I turned up at 8:20, expecting it to be fairly busy (typically for a ‘pay-race’ people arrive around 1 hour before it starts), but I was the only one there – until 8:50 when 200 people arrived.
Interviewee and interviewer
Apart from Basingstoke which is your favourite parkrun venue?
In a nod to Paul Sinton-Hewitt, parkrun is so much more than a run in the park. The biggest element for me is the social side, so I would say a venue where I am likely to see my (non Basingstoke) friends, which would probably mean Southampton or Bournemouth. Winchester is special to me as the place where I did my first sub 20:00 parkrun too.
Is there any parkrun course that you are not a fan of?
No – all parkruns are unique, which is what makes them such fun. If you want to know which courses are tougher & hence harder to get a numerically fast time on, Alice Holt (hilly), Cranleigh (swampy) and Homewood (rough ground) are probably the toughest I’ve run so far.
Which course do you want to visit to reach your 20th venue?
No idea, it will probably be fairly local and one some friends are at – several of my tourisms have been because it’s a friends milestone run and they are doing cake afterwards!
How often do you normally train and what sessions do you do outside of parkrun?
My club, OS Runners, do a lunchtime coached session each week which I attend, on top of that I will usually run 2-3 other lunchtimes (6-11k usually) and do a long run on a Sunday, the length of which depends what I am training for, but can be up to 20 miles.
You’ve been putting the miles in recently training for London marathon, what’s it like taking part in a race like that?
Any marathon is amazing - the feeling of crossing the finish line having trained so hard and put your body through so much is incredible (it’s a cross of pleasure, relief and pain). The London marathon is another level though – Its an iconic race which I think most runners would love to accomplish and the crowds are so loud and supportive across the whole course.
Which is more satisfying, a training run, parkrun or racing?
A bit of all 3 in balance is best for me, without training, you wouldn’t be able to race your full potential, without parkrun you wouldn’t have the social interaction of running each weekend, without racing, you wouldn’t have medals!
What is your running highlight so far?
This could go on a bit;
Thunderrun 2016 (a 24 hour team event) was amazing, my team came fourth in our category (mixed 5’s) out of 90 odd teams and we all ran the final 50 yards together on our last lap. I’ve run thunderrun in mixed 5’s 3 times now and am going back in a pair this year (with a friend from OS Runners).
London Marathon 2017 – Having failed to achieve a sub 3:30 marathon previously the relief at having done so was complete and all encompassing, particularly having been so clear about my 1 and only goal for that event. I sat with Claire Esslemont on the train on the way home - which was fortunate as having been sat down for 50 minutes I found it quite hard to stand up when we pulled into Basingstoke.
New Forest Marathon 2017 – I was running with 2 friends as an unofficial pacer/general helper. We finished in 3:48 and ran a negative split which I think smashed all of our expectations.
What are your future running goals?
I am doing an unofficial pacer/helper role in 2 marathons this year, Great Welsh in a few weeks and then New Forest in September, so hoping all goes well and my friends achieve their goals.
8 of us from Basingstoke parkrun are doing Endure24 in a team in June – no aspirations to win, but I’m hoping we all have a great time and meet our personal goals.
Time wise, don’t we all just want to be a bit faster? Although I’m not sure that is a route to happiness, I’d love to go sub 40:00 for 10k someday.
Where do you like to run and have you run anywhere particularly memorable?
Variety is the spice of life. There are lots of nice running routes around where I work (Southampton) and also around Basingstoke, so it would be hard to pick a favourite. Particularly memorable – apart from London marathon, I seem to get into the racing groove for the Great South Run and have run, what I consider to be, some of my best performances there.
Do you have any running experiences you’d care to forget?
Too many to list, in particular I tend to struggle in the heat. You shouldn’t forget your bad experiences though, learn from them instead.
Matt on route to a half-marathon PB at Basingstoke
What is your favourite sport to take part in, apart from running?
Cycling – one of the superb core team, Frankie, has been injured lately, we’ve been doing some cycling together and have entered a Sportive in the New Forest in July.
With all your running and cycling, do you have time for any other hobbies?
Err, not really. I dabble with swimming, but my main other activity is sleeping, although I do like to bake & eat cakes too.
Due to your analytical and graphical run reports that contain the odd parkrun metric you are often referred to as ‘Matt the Stat’ is this related to your work?
Yes, I am an accountant so spend a lot of time with spreadsheets. Accountancy is probably my natural calling and I certainly love a good bit of data analysis.
You have astounded people by running with no shirt on, even in sub zero temperatures, can you commit to keeping your shirt on next week?
Generally the lower the temperature the more likely I am to run topless, just for fun, but if I get a special request to run topless I will of course consider it. Special requests to keep my top on are less likely to be entertained!
In the middle of parkrun - top on!
For those of you who would like to listen to audio of my short interview with Matt after the run, during which he answers some "quick-fire" questions including ones on his running idol and person he most likes to beat, please visit:
It looks like the week ahead will be quite wet, so it may be a parkrun that favours nautical types and we will still be on the winter course. Next Saturday is the day before Easter, though, so make sure you do come along as we have some Easter treats in store!