The joy of guide running…it’s as easy as 3-2-1

Basingstoke parkrun #647, 23rd October 2021, Run Report by Richard Pickard

Last week was Matt Pillinger’s 37th run report. This is my first one and much like parkrun it’s just as enjoyable as running (well almost, it did take me longer to write this than to run parkrun!).

I think one of the great things about parkrun is its variety. It doesn’t matter whether you are at the front, in the middle, walking or volunteering; there are so many ways to get involved, Visually Impaired (VI) guide running is one of them.

In 2015 a few of us got together and worked out how we could support the local VI community a little further. As a result, we set to work in creating the Basingstoke Guide Runners.
Our team help guide a couple of our VI runners around the course each week. It’s hard to miss us! We usually wear luminous running tops and are frequently talking to our runners, helping with some directions and above all trying to prevent any comedic falls or incidents (of which they have been a few!)

Much like parkrun we all have our different approaches to guiding. I tend to talk frequently (perhaps a bit too much) and describe where we are on the course, what’s coming up and any change in terrain. The difficult moments are in the first lap, when understandably the course is very busy with other runners, and when we change surface from grass to path, and especially over any tree roots.

Our fellow parkrunners are always brilliant and give words of encouragement and allow a little extra space. I’ve always found counting down when you are approaching a corner, or change in surface, works well, e.g. “corner coming up...we’ll be turning right in 3-2-1". Over time it becomes easier to guide, and you and the VI runner gain ever more confidence. It’s amazing to see how much we all get as group from doing this. It’s given our VI runners the confidence to run at other events, including the Great South Run, Bristol 10k and Basingstoke half marathon.
Our two regular VI runners have now completed over 300 parkruns between them, mostly at Basingstoke, which is incredible.

Basingstoke parkrun #647 20211023

If you’re interested in becoming a guide (it counts towards volunteering), or know of any visually impaired runners/ joggers/ walkers who might like to come along please do reach out to the team, via, or speak to one of the guides before or after parkrun. We’re always looking for support.And you don't need to be a fast runner - one of our regular VI participants walks the course.

You can shadow one of the guiding running team and in due course consider doing one of the England Athletics courses, which provide additional information, accreditation, and DBS clearance.

A big thank you to Kerry Monaghan too for being today’s VI guide runner.

Basingstoke parkrun #647 20211023

This week 446 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 41 were first timers and 50 recorded new Personal Bests. There were 15 first time parkrunners. Representatives of 40 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 44 volunteers:

Darren ROLFE • Mark WHITELAW • Jenny FROUD • Caroline PARTNER • Avi GOVIND • Peter CHIVERTON • Nicola LAWRENCE • Kerry MONAGHAN • Andrew LINEHAN-HILL • Phil HALE • John MANNION • Michele LINEHAN-HILL • Tony MOORE • Richard PICKARD • Brian WORTH • Darren PRATT • Tilbikram SAMBAHANGPHE • Jane HOPE • Ryan PARTNER • Rich EBURNE • Ben HASTINGS • Mark NORRIS • Robin HOPE • Samuel VAUGHAN • Mariusz BENNETT • Shreya SINGH • Denise HOPE • Louise BOWLES • Craig GILBERT • Jonathan MAIN • Laura LINEHAN-HILL • Davina LUTHRA • Ambrose SCOTT-MONCRIEFF • Ruth FROGGATT • Louise MCCARTHY • Ivy EBURNE • Richard MOORE • David DUNFORD • Dave OXLADE • Anthony LANE • Michael PARKER • Peter EVANS • Alex CONBOY • Dave EDWARDS
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Basingstoke parkrun Results Page.

Congratulations to all the volunteers, without which parkrun couldn’t take place. Also great to see the volunteering contingent from Hooks Runners (my running club!) who are busy working on completing their ABC course in November.

50 people achieved a PB and congratulations to the following for reaching various official and unofficial milestones:

Jon Powell for completing 200 parkruns,
Sarah Gambrill for completing 100 parkruns,
Dave Turner for completing 50 parkruns,
Jack Gibson (Junior) for completing 50 parkruns and for having the best balloon on course! Well done.

Today’s first finishers were as follows:

Jessica Brackenbury (first timer at Basingstoke!) 22:14
Rebecca Reid 22:34
Ruth Hayward 23:30

David Fry (first timer!) 17:59
Edward Buckley (new PB!) 18:10
Nick Onslow (new PB!) 18:34

Age Grades:
Andrew Le Roux 78.72%
Nick Onslow 77.56%
John McElroy 76.97%

The female course record is held by Sophie MORRIS who recorded a time of 16:56 on 29th November 2008 (event number 21).
The male course record is held by Dave RAGAN who recorded a time of 15:29 on 29th July 2017 (event number 491).
The Age Grade course record is held by Margaret MOODY who recorded 94.06% (21:53) on 21st March 2015 (event number 364).

Basingstoke parkrun started on 5th July 2008. Since then 16,960 participants have completed 199,703 parkruns covering a total distance of 998,515 km, including 28,601 new Personal Bests. A total of 1,355 individuals have volunteered 15,064 times.

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