Today, New Year’s Day, was the one, annual, chance to do a ‘double’ – that is, two parkruns on the same day. Eastleigh was hosting theirs at 10:30, two hours later than Winchester and, being only about 8 miles and 15 minutes between the two I was going to get a half-decent break between runs.
Eastleigh isn’t exactly the flattest of courses, in fact at 130 feet elevation it is 327th out of almost 700 UK Parkrun locations, so I was going to need a decent break and, let’s face it, I need it more than most!
Certainly I needed it more than at least one Winchester stalwart who not only finished 17th after celebrating into the early hours, but then ran from Winchester to Eastleigh where he took part in the parkrun here too and finished 15th. How on earth does that work? So Matt, incredibly well done, and to anyone else who did the same – it makes me tired just thinking about it!
There was a good turnout; exactly 300 to be precise, not including the occupants of pushchairs and a variety of well-behaved dogs, and there were good contingencies from many of the local parkruns, plus representatives from as many as 52 different clubs. There was a huge show of hands when the Run Director enquired at the briefing how many of us were from Winchester going for ‘the double’, and a pretty decent cheer to go with it! The RD had deemed, in his infinite wisdom, to change the course using parts of the old, original course due to conditions underfoot and I must say it was very good indeed and certainly better than I was expecting. It was ideal running weather, and although still a little soft in places, it was considerably better than in previous weeks when the wet and muddy conditions were quite challenging. But such is the growth and popularity of parkrun that local events were enjoying record numbers today, especially Southampton with the biggest turnout of all in the UK at 1331, little Lee-on-the-Solent the 5th biggest with 987 and Bournemouth, 7th, with 967!
However, there were other notable achievements and landmark runs on this first day of the year – and what a way to start it. No less than 61 First-Timers, of whom 6 were ‘First-ever’ Timers, and for the remaining 55 it was their first time at Eastleigh. Congratulations for their 50s go to Gavin Lacey and Aviva Stein, and for 100 there was Greg Hockham. Several runners were hovering around the 200 and 250 marks but, top of the tree, was Sarah Aldridge on 543! Well done to all of those, and to Rob Bentley who topped out the Age Grades with 78.52%, and to Tom Bray who stormed to the finish 33 seconds ahead of the field. And on the subject of PBs, there were 20 today.
I travel about quite a bit for parkruns and the constant for me wherever I’ve been has been the efficient organisation, the relaxed atmosphere, and the friendliness and helpfulness of the volunteers and runners alike, and Eastleigh is no exception. I really did enjoy a chat with a most delightful runner on the course, a very young lady called Jodie, which made the run seem to go so much quicker. The marshals were a great bunch too, with their encouragement and enthusiasm, and they really give you a lift. And so I could not let this opportunity pass without a sincere thank you to all of the 37 volunteers who made this event possible, and especially to the core team and to those who turn up week in, week out, just to volunteer without the chance or perhaps the ability to run, for the benefit of runners like myself. We really are most grateful for all of that, and on this occasion also to the ladies who opened up the coffee shop just for our benefit. So if you are thinking of having a go, this is definitely one to start with! There are plenty of roles you can choose from if you want to run as well, both before the event and after, so you needn’t miss out. It really is fun, the instructions are simple and you’ll be back for more!
This week 300 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 61 were first timers and 20 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 50 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 37 volunteers:
Karen BOLTON • Sonia RUSHBY • David CLOTHIER • Mark POCOCK • Amanda SAYERS • Katie GODDARD • Yvonne GRANDON • Brian DRAYTON • Mark ANDERSON • Nickie BOWEN • Mark PARKIN • Naomi WATSON • Steven WATSON • Jenny LEE • Derek QUIRK • Brett LYONS • Samantha DUNN • Michael LEE • Liz ARNOLD • Rachel MACLEAN • Kerry FOLGER • Jak PRETTY • Rita DRAYTON • Matthew GROUT • Philip 'big Phil' MORGAN • James HOLMAN • Susan BUNYAN • Jamie BROADEY • Eileen DIXON • Tim PADLEY • Alan DRAYTON • Tracey CONSTANT • Dennis SPENCER • Cheryl BOOKER • Amanda SILVANUS • Margaret BEST • Colin LOWE
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 12,439 participants have completed 96,350 parkruns covering a total distance of 481,750 km, including 15,630 new Personal Bests. A total of 1,252 individuals have volunteered 13,388 times.