So, welcome to Summer (according to the Meteorologists at least!) & the sun shone while a gentle warm breeze blew! Still, recent rain had ensured that the course was not too hard underfoot so excellent running conditions - well, definitely so when compared to the first few weeks of the year when continuous rain led this event to have innumerable cancellations.
Among the runners this week who declared themselves as visitors was Fred Guy from Sunderland!
When I heard him say this, my interest was immediately sparked as my paternal grandfather was also from the North East. Talking with Fred I discovered that it was surprisingly his second Eastleigh parkrun, but the first was way back in 2013. Now, the suggestion that Fred was not a frequent parkrunner could not be further from the truth as he is actually one of the very best, having run 268 times and also heroically volunteered 47 times, these covering pretty well every function I, for one, can think of! This week he achieved a very respectable 169th in 30:38. He runs in my age group (60-64). My PB for this course is 30:29 but this was on 24th Feb this year when the ground was (very briefly!) frozen solid!
Anyway, Fred was down here because his daughter lives in Botley and, having made the 6hr journey down by train (fed up with driving!) our parkrun is the one most conveniently situated near a railway station (other potential visitors please take note of this bonus!).
One tangential fact that also now connects Eastleigh with Sunderland is that the (former) owner of Eastleigh Football Club, Stewart Donald, has sold up to take charge of Sunderland FC (the Black Cats). Fred was quick to point out that his team were definitely Newcastle’s Magpies!
My marshalling point this week was at the beginning of our (notorious?) hill up which I urged everyone with as much enthusiasm as I could muster. I have to say that the increasing temperature of the day caused many a sweaty brow, but the name of the game is “keeping that rhythm” going, isn’t it?
When all was done there was a tasty bonus awaiting all comers on the official table in the shape of crispy chocolate brownies in two flavours - Cherry & Almond & Maple & Raisin!!. For these delights we have to thank young Aeryn Hearst who had made them herself in celebration of completing her 60th parkrun today, coming 83rd in 26:53! (& still in JW10 category!!). A very big THANK YOU to Aeryn for this kind gesture and also to her father Aaron who is evidently her running inspiration!
I also met Jo Brooks (another visitor, based in Rickmanswoth, Herts) who told me she had just completed her “Compass Challenge” having been to “WESTmill”, “SOUTH Oxhey”, NORTHala Fields (near London) & now EASTleigh!! She came 188th in 31:42 today. Like Fred, she is a great parkrunner, having completed 253, with 23 diverse volunteers!
Finally, during my later walk around the park I heard 14 species of bird and saw a pair of Mistle Thrushes on the field near the Places Leisure Centre. As these are in serious decline in the UK that was the final bonus to finish a great day.
I will be back again marshalling next week
Martin F. Slater
This week 284 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 42 were first timers and 20 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 32 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 31 volunteers:
Angus COULL • Karen BOLTON • Pauline HERD • Paul KEMP • Deborah Gillian TYLER • George HAMS • Linda Mary WEBB • Amanda SAYERS • Luke David TAYLOR • Ray WEBB • Yvonne GRANDON • Brian DRAYTON • Christopher STOCKS • Nickie BOWEN • Jenny LEE • Helen REES • Fiona COULL • Harry KEMP • Michael LEE • Dee-Dee HOLMAN • Ioan ELLIOTT • Rita DRAYTON • Matilda HOLMAN • Martin Francis SLATER • James HOLMAN • Simon BETTERIDGE • Daniel REES • Susan BUNYAN • Kate DALE • Harry ROGERS • Sam FOSTER
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Eastleigh parkrun Results Page.
The male record is held by Tom ANDERSON who recorded a time of 15:18 on 19th November 2011 (event number 80).
The female record is held by Josie CZURA who recorded a time of 18:02 on 20th December 2014 (event number 235).
The Age Grade course record is held by Lucy ELLIOTT who recorded 89.23% (18:34) on 20th June 2015 (event number 262).
Eastleigh parkrun started on 8th May 2010. Since then 9,374 participants have completed 71,231 parkruns covering a total distance of 356,155 km, including 12,377 new Personal Bests.