Today’s run report has been written by Alison who visited Andover parkrun today - it’s a fantastic write up, thank you Alison, we hope to see you again soon!
So this morning I checked that Storm Ciara was still safely over the Atlantic before I set off across Salisbury Plain and up the A303 to visit Andover parkrun. I was very early. I have to rely on getting lost at least once (good think parkrun has marshals and cones!), and despite the simplest of routes I ended up touring the one way system through the industrial estate twice before spotting the sign for the leisure centre.
In a nearly empty car park (still very early) the first person I got talking to was the fabulous Cheryl Angell. A true parkrun angel as we got chatting and she gave me a very informative first timers briefing as we walked some of the course.
It wasn’t long before 428 of us were gathered in the middle of a muddy field and 25 brand new first timers to parkrun were welcomed. I am impressed with that. And what is just as impressive is the 18 parkrunners who were back this week for their 2nd parkrun. And many of them did a pb. Congratulations.
Before the 3,2,1, all 33 tourists were welcomed as well. A pretty mixed bunch of us had arrived from Leicester, Chelmsford, Lee-on-the-Solent, Eastleigh, Chipping Sodbury, Rushmoor, Darlington, Winchester, Bracknell, Newbury and then there was me, from Southwick Country Park parkrun near Trowbridge.
With blue skies and not too cold, we set off en masse across aforementioned very muddy field by the rugby pitches. By the time we arrived on the tarred path I was carrying extra weight on my muddy shoes and had a slightly rocky sensation as the mud settled unevenly in the treads. It seemed to level out eventually as we meandered along a lovely route by a lake and over two bridges. There were some very noisy Canada geese and some lovely wading birds and I completely forgot to look for the otters although if they had any sense they would have taken to the water rather than watch several hundred people sprinting, jogging or walking round their park. We passed two fishermen on one side of the lake though I suspect the fish had also taken cover.
For much of the route i followed along behind a lad celebrating his birthday by running as a sumo wrestler. He still beat me!
2 laps is a nice way to do 5k when you are a tourist. By the time you are on the second lap you know you must be over half way. Hilariously (I think) the second lap took us back across the muddy field to accumulate more mud on my shoes and I again had to adjust to the rather inconsistent levels!
On the second lap I noticed the couple cheering us on over their fence at the bottom of their garden. What lovely thing to do. That and all the fabulous 28 volunteers who kept us on track added up to a win win morning.
I managed to run the whole 5k and was very happy. I didn’t do a pb but 55 others did. Tremendous achievement. And I got to catch up with Cheryl at the end which meant we got to talk about trying to meet up at another parkrun next week. Parkrun friends are awesome and parkrun communities are especially special. It doesn’t matter how you do your 5k or whether you are supporting others to achieve theirs, Saturdays before parkrun were no where near as fun as they are now. Thank you to everyone at Andover parkrun this morning for being so welcoming and I hope everyone keeps safe during Storm Ciara and has a good week.
By Alison Bremner