Three! Two! One! And we’re off! And I’m not talking about the long-awaited restart of parkrun. This countdown started over an hour earlier as someone in this household was more excited than a child on Christmas Day and wanted to set off from home a good 30 minutes earlier than was strictly necessary.
So yes, after 70 long weeks of absence, and a couple of false dawns, parkrun is finally back. A few minor adjustments to make it covid secure, but it’s still fun, it’s still free and it’s still forever. It’s still parkrun. Overall, the changes were seamlessly implemented and easy to follow.
The biggest change was the direction of the course; we ran it in reverse, starting just before the finish and ending just after the start. General opinion (based on a totally non-representative sample of almost three runners) was that we prefer the longer but less-steep uphill section but had no preference between the longer or shorter downhill options.
There was also a larger area for the run briefing, large enough to allow social distancing and where long grass has recently been mowed by the council. At the finish, the tokens were dropped into our hands rather than being taken, and we then dropped them into a bucket after scanning. There was a technological change too – all the timing and scanning was carried out on the parkrun volunteer app. This may not have been a noticeable difference at the time, but certainly showed in how quickly the results were processed and sent out.
239 runners took part today. A big welcome to the 27 making their first visit to Eastleigh, and an even bigger welcome to the additional 11 making their parkrun debut. Also congratulations to the 21 runners who achieved a PB.
The weather gods must have looked favourably on the restart of parkrun too, as the oppressive heat of the last week had given way to cooler and cloudier weather, which was much more pleasant for running, if a bit humid. The heavy rain overnight had even provided sufficient puddles to keep my feet happy (was I the only runner who deliberately ran through every puddle?)
Although I’ve run a notparkrun pretty much every Saturday during lockdown, nothing beats the exhilaration of having fellow runners to greet, pace and overtake/be overtaken by. And not forgetting the wonderful support and encouragement of the marshals, the posse of barscode canners (a new spoonerism I accidentally made up – well, it’s safer than funnel ducking) and other volunteers.
It’s definitely good to be back.
This week 239 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 38 were first timers and 21 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 32 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 41 volunteers:
John MACINNES • Wendy Margaret COUPER • Karen BOLTON • Pauline HERD • Claire DEACON • Paul KEMP • David BLACKMAN • Alison MEARS • Paul SIDAWAY • Linda Mary WEBB • Amanda SAYERS • Katie GODDARD • Sandy WRIGHT • Robert BRYAN • Ray WEBB • Yvonne GRANDON • Louise DRAYTON • Brian DRAYTON • Mark ANDERSON • Katie RAWLINSON • Jenny LEE • Jeff DEACON • Fiona COULL • Michael SELBY • Annie RYDER • Paul STUBBINGTON • Michael LEE • Elizabeth BROWN • Annie JONES • Leah TURNER • Kerry FOLGER • Kim FOLGER • Tyler ROBERTS-PENN • Neal PENN • Rowan COBB • Robert RYDER • Matthew DUCKERING • Philip 'big Phil' MORGAN • Karen CURTAIN • Susan BUNYAN • Tim PADLEY
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 Chris STEELE who recorded 91.78% (25:57) on 23rd November 2019 (event number 485).
Eastleigh parkrun started on 8th May 2010. Since then 12,625 participants have completed 97,729 parkruns covering a total distance of 488,645 km, including 15,697 new Personal Bests. A total of 1,262 individuals have volunteered 13,590 times.