So my first stint as RD in Southwater, proved to be eventful, but more of that later. I love being up early, before the majority of the world are awake and setting up the course in Southwater Country Park was really special. As I was walking round to the sound of the dawn chorus, I was treated to the site of the 5 strong family of swans stretching their wings. BEAUTIFUL! It is such a privilege to be able to witness the natural world waking from its sleep.
On returning to the café and the meeting point, the finish area had been all set up beautifully by one of our lovely volunteers, Nara, and Phil, who was the volunteer Coordinator today, was ready and waiting for our cohort of Hi-Vis heroes who were going to facilitate your run for you. Phil also kindly stepped in to deliver the Run Briefing, as I was still struggling with my voice, to ensure that you could all hear it, before finally taking part himself this week.
By 8:45am it became clear that numbers were going to be high again as we heard about parking struggles. Unfortunately, the overflow car park in Stakers Lane was locked and sadly, will be for the foreseeable future. However, please note that there is a large car park for Dinosaur Island, which is on Mill Straight and we strongly recommend that you park here, or on the road leading to Lennox Wood Business Park. Both have paths leading down to the Country Park that are no further than 5 minutes’ walk from the café. Therefore, please plan your journeys and car share, walk, jog, or cycle if at all possible.
The weather was perfect, but as we made our way up to the start, there was some confusion as to where the ‘starting tree’ was, but we got there eventually and I finally had the pleasure of setting you on your way. I walked back with the timekeepers and Tailwalker and was really surprised to see our front runner return to the Downs Link, just as we had reached the end. We were obviously walking very slowly…….or was it that he was really fast?
There has been a lot of feedback on our post and Krystal’s family clearly would agree that we want everyone to continue to strive to achieve your own Personal Bests (PB), whilst remaining mindful of all other parkrunners and members of the public. We could all learn a lot from their values and strength. We are all equal and have as much right as each other, to feel comfortable and confident whilst partaking in parkrun, whether your PB is 15 minutes or 65 minutes. We know that 99% of our parkrunners are supportive and encouraging of others, even our faster runners, including our parkrun record holder and we thank you all for continuing in this vein.
When we thought numbers were high, we still couldn’t have imagined how high……a new Southwater record of 467!! 32 of you ran with us for the first time today, 18 of whom took part in their very first parkrun. Congratulations, welcome and we look forward to seeing you again. Amazingly, 46 of you recorded PBs, including Krystal, and we hope you all continue to strive to be the best that you can!
THANK YOU also to our wonderful band of Hi-Vis heroes, who allow us all to enjoy a weekly fix of parkrun fun!
Claire and team