#167 – The Smiling parkrun Experience!

On the second sunny Saturday in July, Portsmouth Lakeside parkrun had a summer feel to it. Not only was the weather hot, there were also several run/walkers in grass skirts and flowery tops which gave a Hawaiian feel to the event. Due to traffic congestion in the local area caused by emergency roadworks, combined with the fact there were lots of visitors coming to help celebrate some milestone runs, Charlie (RD) deliberately delayed the start to 09:05. This gave people an opportunity to continue chatting, do some warm ups etc, but it wasn’t a long enough delay to help some of the Denmead Striders recover from their ‘self induced headaches’ after the previous evenings social event!!! However, well done to them for turning up and somehow getting around the course!

Milestone celebratory shout outs must go to the following people who completed their 50th parkrun - Congratulations to
Dave Oliver, Matthew McLean, Danny Tracy, Vicki Tracy, and to Samantha Black who completed her 100th parkrun. Cakes were being given out to celebrate these achievements and I must say, they were delicious.

I could personally sum up Saturdays parkrun as an ‘it didn’t go as planned’ event. Whilst 397 people completed the course, at least 399 started it, My youngest daughter Abigail (10) had been looking forward to doing her 4th parkrun with me. I was secretly hoping we could beat her PB of 54 minutes. She excitedly ran from the car to the start line, then ran from the start to the first T-Junction, then that’s kind of where she wanted to stay (we often marshal at this point). Abi has Down Syndrome and does find the distance a challenge. Previous times have involved me running, walking, skipping, hopping and piggybacking her around the course. After a stop/start/run/walk/carry her upside down to make her giggle/run/walk/carry her etc, to the underpass and back to the T-Junction, it was quite clear that she had changed her mind and just didn’t want to go any further. Normally I would persevere and do anything and everything to get her across the finish line, but something inside me made me realise both her and my limitations and that’s when we stopped. But ....... that’s not where our involvement in parkrun ended that day. After watching her sister come back from the lake to the T-Junction, she decided to run back to the start and ‘help’ do the barcode scanning. With our second ever highest number of participants, it was very busy getting everyone through scanning. To those of you who were scanned by Abi, thank you for your patience. Initially I had felt despondent about not being able to run with her, and thank you to those of you who offered to have her so I could have continued, but actually knowing our physical limitations yesterday meant that she was able to do something that she enjoyed a little more and the smile on her face was one that I wouldn’t have seen if we’d continued running.

So, in short, it’s ok to start and not finish, it’s ok to never start but just to volunteer. Whatever you do, make sure it’s the right thing for you, do whatever puts that smile on your face and keep enjoying the parkrun experience.


Bring a friend or family member :D

Today I didn’t really feel like getting out of bed but the thought of parkrun instantly made me get up. We drove right past 2 other parkruns but we love Portsmouth Lakeside so why not?

The volunteers helping throughout the morning are so happy. Encouraging others even if you’re not a volunteer, is also very welcoming! Volunteers can vary from car park marshals; marshals around the course; token sorters and the time keepers! But my favourite are the barcode scanners because they give me my all important time!

Talking about time, it doesn’t matter what time you get: it’s about getting out of bed on a Saturday morning (for me that’s the hardest day to get up!) and getting some air into your lungs. If you decide you want to sprint it you can. If you want to take a nice and easy jog, no one’s stopping you. And if you just feel like you can’t take it, come for a walk because it’s always nice to take a stroll round the scenic route of Lakeside parkrun.

I ran today. I didn’t stop but that’s because someone kept me going. So if you can, take a friend or family member with you and enjoy spending time with them. Get them out of bed and you can show them what parkrun really is!!! A breath of fresh air at the start of your weekend is the best way. I hope you come next week- we are always happy to welcome you if you are new to Portsmouth Lakeside!

Imogen Belcher (12)


Portsmouth Lakeside parkrun #160

Almost 300 people decided to start their Bank Holiday weekend with a walk/run in the sun at Portsmouth Lakeside parkrun #160 this week.

Some sunny Saturday statistics for you all
This week we celebrated 2 milestone runs -
Julia Fleet’s 50th & Alex Saunder’s 50th
On the subject of milestone runs, 6 of you who ran on Saturday are close to completing your 100th run & 5 of you your 50th. There are 5 Saturdays in June, could we see you do it and then soon be wearing that all important parkrun milestone T-shirt?

* 24 volunteers gave up their time to allow ....
* 286 people to take part (173 males /113 females)
* 1,430km were covered (thats a bit further than running in a direct line from Portsmouth to Portugal!)
* 42 people achieved PB’s
* 34 1st time course runners came to Lakeside of which 15 were participating in their first ever parkrun. We hope you enjoyed it and would love to see you again soon.
* Runners from 28 different running clubs attended

It was lovely to see so many of you. Hope you come back, and perhaps we can collectively manage to run a little further down Europe next! Have a great week.

Run Report by Clare & Imogen Belcher


Volunteering is fun and you still get to run!

Portsmouth Lakeside parkrun #153

Yesterday saw me complete my 25th volunteer role at my home run at Portsmouth Lakeside. We got there nice and early to help with Pre-event Setup, which meant I could do a warm up run whilst doing a volunteer role and also get my weekly parkrun in afterwards.

Once we had completed our volunteer duties we jogged back to the start to find the runners arriving and lots of friendly faces to chat to.

The start area at Portsmouth Lakeside is arranged into finish times so the faster runners can get to the front whilst the dogs/kids/slower runners can start towards the back of the pack. Once in the start area the run brief is delivered - a plea for volunteers very much the focus this week - and with a 3,2,1 we are off.

The route takes you along a path to the tax office and return (see what I did there? Tax....return....I can only apologise) back towards the start before taking a left turn to take you behind the lake. There is a turnaround point at the end and you then run back to repeat the way you have come. There is an underpass just before the tax office which is a breeze the first time around and somehow becomes two mountains on the return leg! Otherwise the course is relatively flat with a mixture of path and hard packed trail underfoot. There are plenty of marshals along the route to cheer you on and help you navigate cyclists and fishermen.

Yesterday I was one of 27 volunteers at Portsmouth Lakeside. There are a multitude of roles to chose from including Pre-event Setup, Car Park Marshal, First Timers Briefing, Timekeeper, Barcode Scanning and Marshal. Oh and Run Report Writer of course.....a great way to get a volunteer credit by just describing your parkrun experience. A massive thank you to all of the volunteers who make parkrun possible. It couldn’t go ahead without them. If you want to volunteer you can message the Portsmouth Lakeside parkrun team via Facebook or sign up for the volunteer email.

So onto some results....
305 runners ran at Portsmouth lakeside yesterday of whom 29 were first timers at lakeside and 11 were completely new to parkrun - welcome to the madness.
46 recorded PBs yesterday, well done to you all!

The 27th of April will see Portsmouth Lakeside parkrun celebrate their 3rd Birthday with a Princess and Pirates fancy dress theme. Also the 4th May offers a Star Wars (May the 4th Be With You) fancy dress theme! Who doesn’t love a run in fancy dress?? Look forward to seeing you all again at Portsmouth Lakeside soon.

Run Report by Pauline Dorn


A PB doesn’t always have to be about speed!

Ive struggled with today’s report. I’m mindful of the fact that some of you may not be interested in PB’s, some of you may be disappointed that you didn’t manage to get one today, or maybe you did but secretly wanted a better time than the one you got. Before I start I just wanted to say well done to ALL of you for coming today. Whilst Event #151 was focused on giving people an opportunity to run with a pacer in an attempt to improve their previous course PB’s, for some of you, your PB this morning may have been the fact you put your trainers on and turned up, so thank you for your effort.

There was a slight chill in the air as everyone begun to find their place on the start line. Amongst them were 9 pacers wearing new pink bibs with the numbers ranging from 21-37 on them. After welcoming visitors from Australia, Dean C (Run Director), congratulated a couple who were spending part of their wedding anniversary doing parkrun with us all (sorry I can’t remember your names). There were no parkrun milestones to celebrate, so he went straight into the “Rules of parkrun” speech. Finding himself in competition with a barking dog on the front row of the start that was keen and eager to begin running/sprinting with his human it was time for Matilda to start the countdown …… 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, ………. And they were off ……..

320 people completed the 5k course, some sprinted, some ran at a gentle speed, some jogged, some walked, at one point someone was even seen to be skipping, buggies and wheelchairs were being pushed and several squeals of excitement were heard to be coming from within them. Today was a day of encouragement, “strangers” supported each other, giving each other a smile or a “well done” to a “don’t stop now, you are so close to the end”, to a (sweaty) hug at the finish line.

Here are this week’s statistics
Participants - 320 runners (M = 183, F = 137)
1st timers at Lakeside – 46, of which 19 were doing their 1st ever parkrun

PB’s - 72 ……… broken down as follows
-21 paced by Gary A – 6 (M=4, F=2)
-23 paced by Matthew M – 5 (M=5, F=0)
-25 paced by Lee G – 14 (M=11, F=3)
-27 paced by George Q – 5 (M=3, F=2)
-29 paced by Barry S – 11 (M=4, F=7)
-31 paced by Colin G – 8 (M=4, F=4)
-33 paced by Leanne H - 6 (M=2, F=4)
-35 paced by Clare B – 9 (M=2, F=7)
-37 paced by Anthony Q – 3 (M=0, F=3)
-45 self paced – 5 (M=1, F=4)

If you didn’t get the PB you were hoping for, there are many of us that I’m sure would be willing to run/walk with you individually one week to try and help you complete the course in the time you want – please don’t wait for the next official pacing event – just come and speak to the RD who can point you in the direction of someone who can help if it’s arranged in advance.

I just wanted to round up by sharing something personal. When I started running I quickly became fixated on each run having to be better/faster than the last. I’d been running for about 18 months when my daughters decided to join me at parkrun, but them having youth on their side meant that they were soon much faster than I was, and still to this day (26 runs later) I’ve still never finished faster than my 11 year old.

Each week I would leave parkrun disappointed, but then something changed ........ a stranger approached me a few weeks after she’d had a difficult run to tell me that the smile and clap I’d given her as I’d passed in the opposite direction was enough to get her to the finish. At that specific point in her run she’d had enough and was going to stop short and then never come back. All I did was smile, but it was enough to make a difference to her. That was the day I tried to stop focusing on ‘numbers’ and now I get far more enjoyment seeing and helping others achieve things they didn’t think they could.

We all have an important part to play within the parkrun ‘family’. We all have different qualities and abilities and the ones you have, well, you never actually know who you are encouraging and inspiring each time you come. Keep it up and thank you for being YOU, not the person you may think you should be, thanks for being YOU. Thank you also to our volunteers today, who without them parkrun would not have been able to happen.

Run Report by Clare Belcher

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