Netley Abbey parkrun is cancelled on 11 April 2020: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

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!