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!


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 28/08/18

This bank holiday weekend Netley Abbey welcomed 253 runners and 38 first timers to Royal Victoria Country Park. The heatwave may have gone, but luckily, so did the rainfall from the Friday evening, making the route dry for most of the route.​

A whopping 54 runners recorded a personal best excluding first timers, meaning 92 runners were eligible to ring the PB/First Timer bell at the end. Congratulations go out to Sarah Furniss who hit the 100 milestone this morning. We also had a further 2 unofficial milestones, with Rosie Mackay reaching her 150th parkrun and Melanie Ford reaching her 200th. Congratulations to all!​

With lots going on in the area; Pride festival in Southampton, Victorious festival in Portsmouth and Southampton vs Leicester at St. Mary's, there's much to look forward to and with a parkrun under the belt, it's a great start to the weekend for everyone today.​

A huge thanks to the volunteers who came out in the rain and made parkrun possible this week; Isaac ANDREWS, Aurelio BELLO, Vicki BRUNINK, Heather BUDDEN, Michael BUTCHER, Steve CARR, Mark CUNNINGHAM, Hazel CURTIS, Kyle CUTHBERTSON, John DUCKWORTH, Jon FARRINGTON, Lyn FROUD, Nicholas HAWKINS, Jonathan Edward HAWKINS, David Hugh HAWKINS, Michael HEAD, Sandra HOOK, Peter INGASON, Beth INGASON, Ruth JOHNSON, Chris LEWIS, Claire LOCKYER, John MCKENZIE, Pauline NICHOLSON, Eddie OLIVER, Kenny OLORO, Henry PENFOLD, Tracy PUTTOCK, Anna SMITH-JAMES, Gordon SYMONS, Susan WILTON​

Always remember:  no volunteers, no parkrun. If you haven't yet emailed in to help out please consider doing so – the team can always use another pair of hands and it really is enjoyable for an hour or so.​

This week's first finishers were Steven Furness with a time of 18:23 and Amanda Fisher with a time of 22:15. Robert Thompson hit the highest age grading at 81.09%. Tim Rolfe wins the most aesthetically pleasing time with 22:33​.

Thank You​



Run Report – 04/08/18

This morning we set off for our first visit to Netley Abbey - a short trip along the M27 to a parkrun course we had planned to visit for sometime which promised much: sea views, a country park, woodland and heritage architecture and all on a sunny day.

Approaching the country park, we could see the streams of brightly clad runners and walkers making their way towards the assembly point in front of the imposing Victorian chapel.  We were warmly welcomed by today's run director Claire Browne, and pointed in the direction of James Dunlop who delivered the first timer's briefing. James described the course and noted that marshal Gordon Symon's was celebrating a special birthday. Gordon was also marshalling for the 260th time.  A remarkable achievement indeed. Congratulations and happy birthday!

First timer's briefing completed, we gathered near the start line. "3..2..1.." and we were off!  The course lived up to its promise, and I really enjoyed the different landscapes and landmarks along the way. The path up to the wood with a gentle incline (less gentle third time around), the coolness of the wooded area, the nice slope downwards, the view of the chapel, the grassy paths, Florence Nightingale corner, the view of the sea, and repeat twice more.  I struggled a bit today. Heat and a couple of over enthusiastic gym classes to blame I suspect, but the views and support of the marshals and fellow parkrunners more than made up it!

202 of us ran or walked today.  First man home was first timer Paul Keating with a time of 18.01. First female finisher, was Southampton AC member, Anna Rebecca Walklate who returned home in 21:21.  Top age graded scorer was Frances Lord with an age graded time of 80.74. Amazing!

37 people recorded a new personal best - well done to you all, particularly given the heat of today.  Netley Abbey also welcomed 17 first timers of which 5 took part in their very first parkrun.  Alistair Garmendia celebrated his 50th parkrun. Congratulations to you too!

Post parkrun, we joined a number of fellow parkrunners for tea and cake at the cafe, enjoying the sun and wondering why we'd not visited this gem of a parkrun before. One thing's for sure though, we'll be back for more, and not in the too distant future.


Run Report 21/01/17 by David Hawkins

The 21st January 2017 saw my 250th parkrun and my 216th at Netley. Thank you to all those who shared my day - great fun. A special thanks to those who undertook some parkrun tourism to support me. It was great to celebrate landmark runs with my running buddies - Tracey Corker (100) Gerry Robson (100) and Pete Costley (200) - the latter two normally run at Southampton, so thanks for sharing guys.

Despite the novelty, I dont necessarily recommend wearing 3 balloons, especially if its windy. I had visions of a late January day being bleak and blustery - starting my run at Netley and finishing in Fawley. Fortunately, we were clear and calm. There must be a market for 250 balloons somewhere?

You may be surprised to hear that I didnt get parkrun when I first started. I didnt see the point, running round in circles each week and to what ends? I started at Lakeside in Eastleigh and ran 3 in 2010 and stopped because I got bored and then ran one, not sure why, in Nov 2011. Then, with Olympic excitement building, I decided to turn over a new leaf and commit to losing weight and getting a bit fitter. Start date - 1st January 2012. 264 weeks later, 246 parkruns and 750 miles on, I am stilling running around in circles trying to understand why I do it. In that time, I lost nearly 5 stone (put some back on though - love my biscuits), lobbed minutes off my time, became a qualified coach and enjoy being part of various local events, large and small. But, most importantly, I have made numerous friends. None of this would have happened without that first step at Lakeside.

So, if you are new to parkrun and are beginning to wobble, keep persevering, it is worth it in the end. If its any consolation, the running, the reason for joining parkrun, becomes secondary and it is the chance to meet up with friends that drives your attendance, and oh yes, to beat the person who was in front of you last week.

Happy running.



Run Report 21/01/17 by Karen Andrews

324 runners braved the sub zero temperatures this morning for Netley Abbey's 263rd parkrun. This probably equated to 648 gloves, at least 900 layers, and a handful of very chilly, but ever cheerful marshals!

This morning saw significant milestones for some Netley Abbey regulars. Obviously the most important element of such occasions is post run treats, and they didn't disappoint! Rebekah Collins and Jonathon Brothers celebrated turning 50 (in parkrun terms) today, while Gerry Robson and Tracey Corker earned their 100 Tshirt today. Eclipsing them all, however, was David Hawkins who, with the assistance/ hindrance of celebratory balloons, completed his 250th parkrun today.

Joining him and boosting today's numbers were lots of his running friends, many of whom were visiting from Southampton parkrun. 250 is a massive achievement, and is well deserved for a man who volunteers nearly every week with set up and close down, constantly encourages others and is always a friendly face at parkrun. David's parkrun journey has seen him run Netley 216 times, and taken him as far north as Glasgow. David's first parkrun was at neighbouring Eastleigh on 15/5/2010, and he was at Royal Victoria Country Park for the very first Netley Abbey parkrun.

Well done to all those who have reached a milestone this week, and the many who already wear their milestone Tshirts with pride.

Also worth a mention today are those with another very important milestone: their first parkrun. Well done to the 24 first timers today and welcome to the parkrun family!


Run Report 17/12/16 by Josh Buckle

The Netley Abbey Parkrun today was a huge success as 195 runners from all walks of life and clubs such as the Hedge End Running Club and the Southampton running clubs took part in the event in the wake for the Christmas holidays.

People came to spectate the runners and the runners wore festive jumpers and shirt's today in addition to one of the volunteers was playing Christmas music on this occasion who is one of the regular volunteers as the energetic runners crossed the finish line.

In addition, there was festive food like brownies and traditional cakes for everyone to grab a bite at by also one of the volunteers, in addition to the many people went to the café afterwards located in the park to gain energy from the run.

Everybody enjoyed themselves today seeing in the happy faces of people and accomplishing their set goals completing them using their watches.

The volunteer group and the Parkrun wants to wish you a very happy Christmas and a happy new year from the whole Netley Abbey Parkrun team and will be looking forward for seeing you next week.'


Run Report 10/12/16 by David Hawkins

I always have mixed feelings about missing a parkrun. I feel guilty. Today was one on those days, but I did have a good excuse. Over the last year, or so, I have struggled with a developing cataract, that has made life very lop sided and has made running more challenging than it should be. Perception of distance has become difficult. I can only describe a cataract as looking through a window with a blob of vaseline smeared across it - everything is blurry. Anyway, today was op day. So come 9.00 am whilst you were having your pre brief, I was being prepared for surgery. I know where I would rather have been!

What did I miss? Nothing out of my left eye, but my right tells me the ever popular Mr Unknown was first (DFYB) in an unknown time, so I guess technically Tim Doran was the first park runner who conformed to the rules to cross the line. Well Done Tim. Karen Andrews was first lady with Tracey Corker topping Age Rated - well done both. Beyond that, there were some notable landmarks. Whilst it is always good to see and welcome first timers and visitors to Netley, today I will applaud the regulars.

So, congratulations to Jessica Collins (JW11-14) on reaching 50 parkruns. At the other end of the spectrum, my old mate Rob Thompson (VM50-54) chose Netley for his 100th - well done Rob, along side Beth Nice (JW15-17) - great running. Weighing in with 150 parkruns, Isaac Andrews (JM15-17) has now committed three years of early starts (and volunteering) to parkrun - fabulous, but this week Isaac is pipped by Bethan Davis on 200 (JW50-54) - superb. Sorry I wasnt there to celebrate with you and I bet I missed cake.

These achievements confirm what parkrun is all about - inclusivity. With two over 50's and three under 18's achieving landmarks this week, where else would you find an event that will allow men, women and children to run together and against one another, in the same place, at the same time, on the same course, where equal support is offered and given? I cant think of anywhere else.

Next week, I hope to be back with HD vision and looking at the world in glorious technicolour.

Happy Running

Cyclops Hawkins.


Run Report 26/11/16 by Karen Andrews

Netley parkrun number 253 saw 201 runners descend on Royal Victoria Country Park for the weekly 5k run.

Today Netley welcomed five parkrun first timers, and a few tourists visiting our parkrun for the first time. Welcome to all!

PBs were the reward waiting at the finish line for 16 of this mornings runners - nice work!
This morning saw six new members of the 50 club, who will be wearing their nice red t-shirts in the near future. Well done to Tony Easterby, Hannah Collins, William Gill, Steven Brown, Celia Brabazon and Simon Avery for reaching that milestone.

Our most experienced parkrunner this morning was John Tussler, who has notched up 259 parkruns. John did his 175th Netley parkrun this morning.

This morning it's super-duper event director Geoff Collins' turn to let our parkrunners get to know him a bit better. So Geoff, pom poms at the ready for a spot of cheerleading...!

"Give me a P P is for participating in a weekly parkrun.
"Give me an A?" A is for all the wonderful directors and volunteers.
"Give me an R?" R is for running a weekly friendly 5k event.
"Give me a K?" K is for Karen Andrews' great run reports. (Why, thank you Geoff!)
"Give me an R?" R is for recognising first timers and improvements.
"Give me a U?" U is for Unbelievable dedication of everyone involved.
"Give me an N?" N is for never give up.

And on that note, we will see you all next week! Don't forget your barcode!

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