by Caspar Donnison
parkrun has grown to become the biggest running movement in the world, successfully delivering its core principles of being free and welcoming to everyone. And perhaps the most important thing that parkrun has achieved is invigorating communities: helping us provide in our local parks the opportunity for people to come and meet in a shared experience of exercise.
We celebrated Southampton parkrun's 6th birthday this week. Looking around as hundreds of people gathered in the shade at the start line - the children, students, adults, pushchairs and dogs - and the chatter of the first conversations of the weekend, it reflected just how strong and valued a community our parkrun has become.
On the start line local student Elena CERDÁN was in a good mood: "There's good weather today, people are happy, and it's a great atmosphere. And of course PBs ahead!" she grinned. I'm pleased to report that Elena did go on to run a PB!
Our parkrun director Rob welcomed everyone, and gave special thanks on this 6th anniversary to those who do so much for our parkrun: the local council, the marshals arriving early each week to set up the course, and specifically to Sue, Gareth, and Barbara who have volunteered hundreds of times between them!
"Bring your friends, neighbours, colleagues - even if you don't like them! It's bragging rights on a Monday!" said Rob.
And so with the newcomers briefed on the course, pace-setters ready, and stopwatches primed, our parkrunners set off running, walking, and jogging into the Common! In six years we have grown to become the one of the biggest parkrun events in the UK. We are one of just four UK events that tops 1000 runners and we are fortunate to have such a large green space in our city that can accommodate this many parkrunners each week!
First over the line this week was Luke ROBERTS, in a cool 17:07, barely breaking a sweat it seemed. Local student Liam BARRY-CARROL came through in 2nd (17:55), feeling "amazing" to place so highly, and first timer Andrew PROCTOR dipped under 18 minutes (17:59) for 3rd place. Serena O'CONNOR was the first female parkrunner home, in an impressive new PB of 19:10. Natalya SMITH (JW 11-14) ran 21:01 for 2nd female home which is mightily impressive at that age, with Bernadette VERSEY just a few seconds behind in 3rd (21:13).
Mother and daughter Sharon and Katie were both first timers this week and really enjoyed the atmosphere: "We're definitely coming back next week" said Sharon. "But next time with your parkrun barcode?" I asked. She smiled in agreement. Our Tail Runners Jill CHOUDHURY and Beth FARROW (ensuring that no parkrunner comes 'last') brought a merry group home to the usual cheers from other parkrunners and volunteers.
Reflecting on the impact of the last six years of Southampton parkrun event director John cited the Christmas Day parkrun as one example, having increased from 92 runners in 2012 to nearly 600 in 2017, extending the parkrun community to offer company to those spending Christmas Day on their own. John encourages newcomers to "Come on down, meet new people, volunteer at first if you like, and then run the time after."
So, thank you to all of the volunteers from the past six years, from Event Directors through to marshalls, token sorters and pace-setters for making Southampton parkrun what it is. Here's to another great year!
This week 685 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 31 were first timers and 82 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 39 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 69 volunteers:
Gareth JONES • Rob KELLY • Kim Diane KELLY • Robert BENHAM • John GRANT • Jonathan James NORTHCOTT • Mike MILLS • Mike NEWMAN • Luis Adrian ROSAS WIEDFELDT • Eddie BULPITT • David KEATES • Vicky PRATT • David SINGERMAN • Sean EWINGS • Caspar DONNISON • Mary NIXON • Catherine CROCKER • Sue WILSON • Taylor COOPER • Nic WOOLLARD • Sergio LOPEZ DE BUSTOS • Ian HART • Peter ROE • Paul TONGS • Robert AGAR • Kim BATTEN • Sarah GOODWIN • Karen PIGGOTT • Jill CHOUDHURY • Beth FARROW • Joseph DIAPER • Hannah DIAPER • Ian HOWARD • Kali BANDA • Dan SLAYFORD • Heather WRIGHT • Lisa SMITH • Ollie WOODS • Linda WEBBER • Ronin SMITH • Julian RATHKE • Samuel RICHARDS • Barbara COGMAN • Neil WILSON • Phil BLAKE • Dominic WILLIAMS • Julian WALLER • Jo ROLFE • Claire CANNON • Glenn MEDCALF • Lee WALTERS • Louisa REA • Amy FOWLER • Lois ELLIOTT • Hannah LAWLESS • Nick MALBON • David PETERS • Alexander JOHNSTON • David POMFREY • Joanne CRAIG • Melodie WALTER • Richard KNELLER • Fiona DONOVAN • Martin INGOE • Michael DODD • Gemma WAUGHMAN • Wenhao WANG • Brigitte CARROLL • Ben CROUCH
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the
Southampton parkrun Results Page.
The female record is held by Lorna RUSSELL who recorded a time of 16:40 on 18th May 2013 (event number 46).
The male record is held by Mahamed MAHAMED who recorded a time of 14:56 on 17th September 2016 (event number 221).
The Age Grade course record is held by Zakariya MAHAMED who recorded 91.21% (15:33) on 26th September 2015 (event number 171).
Southampton parkrun started on 7th July 2012. Since then 18,967 participants have completed 179,733 parkruns covering a total distance of 898,665 km, including 31,637 new Personal Bests.