Run Report for 14 Mar 2020

Well, Netley Abbey Parkrun, set in the Queen Victoria Country Park with Southampton Water as its backdrop, is a pretty spectacular setting, but that’s all I’m going to say about it. There’s plenty written about its facilities and its history and you can read previous Run Reports which will tell you all about that and more, as eloquently as any. So l thought something more topical might take your fancy.

How about rain and floods, and mud and cancellations? That’s pretty topical isn’t it? We’ve had all of those in abundance recently. You read down the list of cancellations and it says: flooded, waterlogged, swamped, boats only, flooded, flooded, swamped - sound familiar? Well it made me chuckle when I got down to the Eden Project, which was cancelled due to the Cornish Pasty World Championships!

Like me, I expect you check diligently the night before to see which of the few remaining local Parkruns are still on, then, as happened to me recently, you turn up at one of only three remaining to find it was just in the process of cancelling because of the overnight freezing weather, making the course available only to those who had brought ice skates. So ‘the word’ gets out that ‘so-and-so’ Parkrun is still on and you can just make it, and you do, along with a thousand other people where only twelve normally attend and you have to park your car on top of someone else’s. But am I complaining? Most certainly not; the volunteers are just amazing in setting all of this up for us and I’m just eternally grateful that week after week they are putting themselves out for us to take part in possibly the most significant mental and physical health revolution in our lifetime, entirely free of charge. They don’t like cancellations any more than the runners!

Coronavirus; that’s fairly topical too, I’d say. Don’t be too surprised if we see one or two of those locally on the list of reasons for cancellations in the not-too-distant future, before there are more cancellations than events. It’s quite possible, of course, that we may just have run our last Parkrun for a while, what with so many sporting events and other mass gatherings already having been cancelled or postponed, as the government is now saying that a ban will most probably come into effect from next weekend – it just remains to be decided what number constitutes a ‘mass’. But left to Parkrun HQ, they are urging individual venues not to make the decision as it only increases the pressure on neighbouring Parkruns, so they will make a unilateral decision, if one is called,, for before it is enforced. I also heard rumblings that they’re considering people in the ‘old codgers’ bracket being compulsorily self-isolating, which would mean a halt to my Parkrun travels on a Saturday morning for a while! Ah well, there’s always I-Spy.

And talking of travelling, there’s a lot of us like to do that, including me. I’m up to 30 different venues now, which puts me firmly onto the lower rungs of the exclusive and most prestigious ‘Tourist’ status society, along with 15 to 20,000 others, and with Paul Fielding at the top on 485. And just to verify, that’s 4-8-5!

Then there’s the alphabet chasers – yup, I do that too, so thank you Itchen Valley Country Parkrun, you’ve saved me a trip to Ifield Mill Pond!
But as I go round I find quite some interesting challenges people set themselves; a few weeks ago I met someone at Eastleigh who had just completed his ‘Compass Challenge’, following on from a run at Southampton. I’ve no idea where he did his North and West, but I expect there are plenty, with 711 Parkruns and counting, now on the calendar.

Also recently someone told me they were attempting to run on every date of the year, and the 29th February was an especially great joy to him because he won’t get the chance again for I-forget-how-many-years he said!

Then just last week a delightful young lady told me she was doing all the Pontys. Well good luck with Pontypridd – she may have quite a wait for that one if this weather keeps going as it is!

But back to Netley Abbey. No Run Report narrative can be complete without acknowledging the efforts and accomplishments of the runners, among whom I am notably, and sadly, absent:

In what appears a titanic family battle at the very front, Max pipped Wayne Andrews by just one second.
Among the notable achievements and landmark runs there were no less than 13 First-Timers, of whom 12 were ‘First-ever’ Timers. On the subject of PBs, there were no less than 32 today out of a field of 247.
Congratulations for their 50 goes to James Munn who will be able to wear his red shirt in a couple of weeks; Matt hill hit 200, but sorry Matt, no shirt for that one. However, top of the tree was Matthew Wateridge on 413, so, well done to all of those, and to Tracey Corker who topped out the Age Grades with 78.25%.

Finally, I must say thank you to all the volunteers who make this event possible. To those of you who haven’t yet considered volunteering or are holding back because you want to run, there are many roles you can undertake without losing the opportunity and, even if it is only one time in ten, it is a great help and is always very much appreciated. There is always good instruction from friendly people, the tasks are simple but essential, and you get the fulfilment of putting a little something back for what you have just taken away. Why not give it a try!


International Women’s Day parkrun

Our research shows us that, across the world, women are less likely than men to take part in parkrun. Despite the fact that females make 54% of registrations, they are less likely than men to take part in parkrun and to continue participating. IWD parkrun is a fantastic opportunity to encourage more women and girls to participate in parkrun events all over the world.


New Years Day 2020 parkrun

There are only two days of the year where we allow extra parkrun UK events to take place - Christmas Day and New Years Day.

This year New Years Day falls on a Wednesday so, following on from the precedent set in previous years, we will be putting on an additional run starting at 0900.


Christmas Day 2019 parkrun

There are only two days of the year where we allow extra parkrun UK events to take place - Christmas Day and New Years Day.

This year Christmas Day falls on a Wednesday so, following on from the precedent set in previous years, we will be putting on an additional run starting at 0900.


Run Report for Saturday 13th April 2019

Netley Abbey Parkrun #382 - A tourist runner's view

Guest report from Andrew Allen

Last week a group of tourist park runners were fortunate enough to visit the Royal Victoria Country Park for the 382nd Netley Abbey Parkrun. By complete coincidence for me it was also my 382nd parkrun. It is a beautiful park on the banks of Southampton Water with great views of the waterfront and shipping on passage to and from the docks. The site itself is historic being the home to the former Royal Victoria military Hospital which closed in the 1960’s and was demolished following a fire; however a significant part of the huge building still standing is the prominent chapel.

We had wanted to do Netley Abbey parkrun last October and planned to arrive by yacht and dinghy; however our original date unfortunately coincided with Storm Harry so we abandoned it until the Spring. Our runners home runs are Bushy Park, Maidenhead, Reading and Netley. The rest of the team were Stuart Thompson on 351 runs, David Hollinshead on 186 runs, Juli Wood on 113 runs, Nick Baggott on 88 runs and Sarah Greenhalgh on 16 runs.


The run itself comprised three laps of a figure of eight loop with a small ascent. Conditions were perfect with blue sky, sun and a gentle breeze.

There were 317 runners in total and a warm welcome was given to the 11 first timers doing their first ever parkrun - Samuel Middleton, Adam Nagy, Andrew Sharp, George Phillip, Matt Lovell, Victoria Palfrey, Amy Street, Katie-Mae Lush, Tim Lush, Gregory Hill and Kathryn Lea. In addition 31 Tourist runners were running this parkrun for the first time. There were 52 new PB’s including Archie Smoker in the junior category completing his 10th parkrun.

Congratulations are in order for Melanie Captain on her 100th run and Rachel Sutch and Mike Sharp on their 150th runs.

First home in a very respectable 18:05 was Alun Hanford and the first female in 19th place was Tracey Corker in 21:06 who also achieved the highest age grading of the day at 79.46%. Tracey has many first female positions to her name and she is the second most frequent to finish first at Netley.

After our run we used our dinghy to get back to the yachts and following breakfast on board enjoyed a brisk sail over to Cowes. And the best bit came later with a very special Parkrun cake baked by Juli Wood.

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Our thanks to the Netley Parkrun team and the 31 Volunteers who gave us a warm welcome and great experience. Rob AINSLIE, Wayne ANDREWS, Isaac ANDREWS, Paul BEATSON, Emily CORKER, Kayla DALLIMORE, Shaun DAVEY, David DOLING, Matthew GROUT, Michael HEAD, Melvyn HOLLOWAY, Sandra HOOK, Peter INGASON, Sheryl JAMES, Gordon LONG, John MCKENZIE, Alice O'BRIEN, Gabby O'BRIEN, Eddie OLIVER, Mark POTTLE, Jessica PRIOR, Tracy PUTTOCK, Mike SHARPE, Glen STREET, Gordon SYMONS, Andy THORNE, Jane WALKLATE, Steve WALKLATE, Karen WATSON, Helen WELLS, Alana Jayne WILLIAMS

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Netley and recommend this parkrun: we hope to come again.


Run Report – January 12 2019

This weeks run report is from James White.

I last visited Netley Abbey 5 years ago for the 100th event. In the time since I last visited I have gotten married, had two kids and run 216 more parkruns at another 97 different venues!!

Despite the time that has lapsed, I remember the day clearly. It was bitterly cold, there was a freezing cold wind coming off the water and there were a number of large, unavoidable puddles as you headed up into the woods. The start of the course was run the other way, dropping down to the waterside at the start, before heading up into the woods, but other than that it felt very familiar. What was also familiar was the warm welcome that visitors were given, we were all made to feel like part of the family and were cheered on the whole way by the superb volunteers!

Unlike my first visit, this time I was pushing my 2 year old, Elsie, in the running buggy. We arrived early and met the core team before attending the run brief...well we hoped to attend the run brief but Elsie ran off to see a big ship going past! We caught the end and fortunately fellow tourists Kerry and Dave talked me through the course.

As I had Stubbington 10km in the morning I had decided to take it easy so lined up with the running buggy at the back of the pack. It was lovely conditions for running and everyone seemed in good spirits. I started chatting to a local runner (sorry I didn't catch his name) and we stayed together for most of the run. I was nice to be made so welcome and be able to talk about running and parkrunning.

It wasn't long before we were heading up the hill the final time, once more round the woods and back to the waterside and in to the finish. After getting scanned we headed to the play park where Elsie had a good run around, before going to the excellent café. It was a shame that we couldn't have stuck around for longer, but we thoroughly enjoyed our time. We will definitely not leave it another 5 years before visiting again!

Thank you to everyone who made today's run possible, especially the wonderful core team and volunteers.


Run Report for November 24

Today saw my second visit to the picturesque setting of Netley Abbey parkrun. The last time had been in the August of 2016 when I was four away from my 50th milestone run and it was only my ninth different event. I’d chosen today’s venue in the hope that I could record my fourth consecutive parkrun PB, more about that later.

Anyway, my journey over there was bathed in glorious sunshine, and on entering the Royal Victoria Country Park, dappled light danced through the avenues of trees on my way to the car park.
Just in case you think I’ve lost my marbles, that was my first visit, today couldn’t have been more of a contrast if it had tried.

I’ve chosen to give my Thesaurus a dusting and flood the description of today’s parkrun with a deluge of adjectives… squishy, squelchy, slimy, sloppy, squashy, sodden, saturated and soggy—absolutely great fun; you really can’t beat a wet and wild parkrun!

I arrived with little time to spare; it’s always deceiving just how much further it is from junction 8 of the A27 down to the park. I managed a warm-up and realised there were an abundance of puddles, so it was good to know Doctor Foster wasn’t taking part today (apparently he was running at Gloucester and has since reported that he has no intentions of going back there).

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the history of Royal Victoria Country Park, here are some incredible facts about it.

The whole area spans 200 acres of mature woodland, grassy parkland and also has a small shingle beach which overlooks Southampton Water. The site, acquired by Hampshire County Council in 1969, was opened as a park to the public in 1970. Prior to that, it had been home to the Royal Victoria Hospital from 1863 until 1966; a large military hospital in Netley. Queen Victoria suggested it be built and construction started in 1856, though its design caused controversy, especially from Florence Nightingale.

It became the 28th US General Hospital, in the midst of the invasion of mainland Europe in the Second World War, and was often visited by Queen Victoria during that time. At the time of completion, it was the world’s longest building and, unsurprisingly, the world’s largest hospital, yet in 1966, everything except for the chapel and the former YMCA building, was demolished. The chapel itself has a 150ft (46m) viewing tower, providing 360° views over the park and across to Southampton Water to Hythe.

So there you have it, a brief bit of history about this incredible park… moments ago, I mentioned 360 and it just happened to be Netley Abbey’s 360th event today, so what better way to carry on with today’s run report?

Today saw 183 parkrunners take part in today’s run, of which there were nine first timers, three of those were running their first ever parkrun, so well done and welcome to the parkrun family (it doesn’t always rain, I promise).

15 runners managed a PB at this course. Only one person was celebrating a milestone run today, and that was Lewis RANGER, so well done on your 50th!

One of the first timers to the course, James LEWIS, managed to finish first in 18:43, so a huge well done to him. Other notable times, just because some numbers look good, are Alistair GARMENDIA in 23:00, Tim FORD 23:32, Mike TAYLOR 25:00, Marc HARDER 25:25 and Steve SLADE 29:00. Runners representing 16 different clubs is the final statistic of today.

There is a café within the grounds that sells yummy cakes, delicious lunches, tasty snacks and a wide range of hot and cold drinks, plus there are plenty of activities for children, including a Story Trail, a play area and a miniature steam railway; it’s a great park, whether it be for a fun day out with your family, walking your dog or visiting for a parkrun.

Finally, I did manage my fourth consecutive parkrun PB, knocking 1m:36s off my previous time, finishing in 23:40, so I was and still am, a very wet, happy bunny.

Finally, a huge thanks to every single marshal who stood in the rain and the cold giving motivation to everyone running.


New Years Day 2019 parkrun

There are only two days of the year where we allow extra parkrun UK events to take place - Christmas Day and New Years Day.

This year New Years Day falls on a Tuesday so, following on from the precedent set in previous years, we will be putting on an additional run starting at 0900.


Christmas Day 2018 parkrun

There are only two days of the year where we allow extra parkrun UK events to take place - Christmas Day and New Years Day.

This year Christmas Day falls on a Tuesday so, following on from the precedent set in previous years, we will be putting on an additional run starting at 0900.


Netley Abbey, our Number One!

Hi Netley Abbey parkrunners!

Saturday was my first venture to Netley Abbey, and my friends' too – thank you for having us! Individually, we're locals at Havant, Southsea and Southampton in fact, so when we mentioned a get together we thought, 'Why not parkrun?!' and be tourists to boot! A round trip of 64 miles, and it absolutely warranted the journey. The decision was unanimous...Netley Abbey is our favourite parkrun! The setting is beautiful (and the weather was stunning), the route is flat (always a bonus), there were gorgeous dogs a plenty(!) and everyone is incredibly friendly! We're on a mission to get our A-Z of parkruns, and if any of you are tourists too, I'd highly recommend the half an hour drive from Netley to Queen Elizabeth Country Park to get your tricky Q, our now second favourite! It's a beautiful course, within the South Downs National Park (though its gradient does rank highly at sub 400 feet!)

For July and August, I set myself the challenge of running every day to reach 200 miles to raise money for the rescue charity, Labrador Lifeline Trust, after my Labrador, Spike, passed away this summer. I've acquired a few injuries along the way, so with it being 1st September and my first official 'day off', I was keen to sign myself up to volunteer! I'd like to say a huge thank you to David Doling. After the race began, I felt a little daunted about the new role and not knowing anyone, but this gentleman completely put me at ease, clearly a volunteering pro, and it was an absolute pleasure doing finish tokens with him. Thank you, David.

Being at the finish line is the best seat in the house. It was incredibly humbling to watch each and every one of you cross the line, the parents and children, the PB bell ringers, the sprint finishers, the lone rangers and the supportive running buddies!

Congratulations to Carlo VAN LEEUWEN, Steven FURNISS and Isaac ANDREWS our top 3 gentlemen, and to Marie DRONIOU-BORDRY, Anna Rebecca WALKLATE and Anna SMITH-JAMES our top 3 ladies.

Thank you also to Run Director Chris Lewis. It was lovely to meet you, thanks for your help. And Netley parkrunners, I look forward to my next visit, hopefully as a runner soon, as I can't wait to get on that route!

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