by Mark Stileman
What makes parkrun fascinating is the infinite variety of reasons that everyone has for turning up and being part of it. To paraphrase the bloke at the start of Pretty Woman, "Everyone who comes to parkrun has a story. What's your story?"
As everyone gathered on Southampton Common, it was decidedly damp, with some persistent rain showers, but it was also unseasonably warm. I caught up with a few of the runners at the start. Ian HOWARD, who can belt out a speedy 17:30, didn't fancy doing a fast one today but wanted to encourage other runners, so was running as a 23-minute pacer. Ollie COSTAIN was a first-timer, having been dragged outside on a wet morning by Nina GREASBY, who was doing her ninth parkrun. She wants to get faster and is planning to do a half marathon. Steve NOTON was running his 168th parkrun with his dog Freddy. He runs for health and loves the friendship and atmosphere. So does Caroline, who starting running at Southampton a few weeks ago and is managing her recovery from a rib injury.
- Lorna Digweed - 150
- Alex Johnston - 100
- L Bracher - 50
- Sue McClean - 50
- Leon Roberts - 50
- Cecilia Rossiter - 50
- Gillian Tunney - 50
- Phoebe Ashton - 10
- Marci Sebesteny - 10
As the run started, the rain stopped and everyone started enjoying the warm autumn morning. I talked to a few of this week's volunteers. Andy Adams, a veteran of 170 parkruns, is doing his bit while resting with a piriformis injury. Gerry ROBSON is volunteering for the 53rd time, and is also injured - he's desperate to be back running again. Meanwhile, Sarah WEBB was here doing sign support. What, the yellow course signs, I asked? No, sign support (and specifically British Sign Language access) for deaf runners. Southampton has one regular deaf runner, and today there were two others visiting from London. This is a highly valued service, and Sarah is one of four signers on the Southampton rota. Peter Roe, who sets up the PA sound system, would have been running his 200th parkrun today, but he was on dad duty, and had to get away to help his son move house in Brighton.
Then the runners started coming in. First chap home was Ricardo in 17:19, who runs with an athletics club and does parkrun every month or so as part of his training. First lady was Emily TRUMPLEMANN, who matched her best time of 19 minutes precisely. She also runs here monthly, juggling runs with her family commitments - dad and her three young children were all supporting.
Among the other early finishers was James CLARKE, who was wearing the 21-minute pacing shirt, and clocked a time of 21:01 ... nice one, James. He's run 262 parkruns across 75 venues. Matthew HOLMES had a good run today - he's primarily here to improve his speed. Edward also ran well today. A friend introduced him to parkrun 2 years ago and he hasn't looked back. He'll be volunteering next Saturday before racing at the Great South Run on Sunday.
Hannah HIBBETT and Amelia MILLS were both running the Southampton course for the first time. Hannah is training for the Gosport half marathon, and Amelia has just moved from Greenwich. She found the Southampton course much more hilly! Chris MOORHOUSE started running last summer. He loves being part of a big social event and runs for pure enjoyment. Daryus CHANDRA has been running since January. He always enjoys it, and with a huge grin told me that since he started he has improved from 38 to 28 minutes. Karen GARNETT has been running on Southampton Common for 25 years and has now done 245 parkruns here. She loves the company and friendship and it's the perfect start to her weekend.
Rachel BAKER is a Vegan Runner, visiting Southampton from the Isle of Wight. She loves running because it makes her feel free. Denise BALL was doing her seventh parkrun; she started running because she wanted to get fitter and faster. Vicky started running 2 years ago for the company and encouragement - and she has lost 4 stone on the way.
Everyone I spoke to had a story. Bob FOWLER, a parkrun and running club regular, is managing an old hip injury. Emma GEDDES and Jackie JUDD were both here for the first time. They both loved it, and will be back. Kate ROWLEY was visiting from Glasgow. She's here for Stabcon South, a board game convention taking place this weekend at Jurys Inn. And finally, Milz was barcode scanning. She did her first ever run at Southampton 3 months ago, got bitten by the bug and promptly joined Lordshill Runners.
I was bowled over by the all the stories that everyone had to tell, and the enthusiasm with which everyone spoke to me about why they were here. Another Saturday, another parkrun, but every week a unique mix of diverse people, all with their own tales to tell. What's your story?
This week 748 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 65 were first timers and 74 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 44 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 72 volunteers:
Gareth JONES • Rob KELLY • Kim Diane KELLY • Marc HOLMES • Trevor Alan ELLERY • John GRANT • Gerry ROBSON • Mark STILEMAN • Sue SLEATH • Christopher Edward BROWN • Peter LEWIS • David KEATES • Gillam MCCLURE • Colin RICHARDS • Elaine June WINTER • Sue WILSON • Clare PRICE • Andrew ADAMS • James Richard Alexander CLARKE • Vicki Yvonne CLARKE • Nic WOOLLARD • Peter ROE • Paul TONGS • Kim BATTEN • Kay BUXTON • Paul Henry ARMSTRONG • Charles Edward ARNOLD • Karen PIGGOTT • Julie BRYSON • Ian HOWARD • Deborah NEWMAN • Martin SIMS • Kali BANDA • Zillah LEACH • Debbie LLOYD • Michael SIMMS • Phoebe SHELLY • David MILLS • Laura GRANGE • Hayley NEWMAN • Julian RATHKE • Samuel RICHARDS • Barbara COGMAN • Vicki STACEY • Neil WILSON • Sue STILEMAN • Phil BLAKE • Julian WALLER • Becky BALLARD • Chris HEY • Alice BAKER • Emily BROCKEN • Kathryn STEPHENSON • Frazer BAILEY • Sue HAIG • Lois ELLIOTT • Jane OLIVER • David PETERS • Alexander JOHNSTON • Marcus HEWITT • Joanne CRAIG • Finlay BAKER • Melodie WALTER • Sarah WEBB • Kerry SHAW • David BALL • Alistair MARSHALL • Carl HALL • Ben CROUCH • Sam SUS • Milz DECHNIK • Mathieu HOURSEAU
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the
Southampton parkrun Results Page.
The female record is held by Lorna RUSSELL who recorded a time of 16:40 on 18th May 2013 (event number 46).
The male record is held by Mahamed MAHAMED who recorded a time of 14:56 on 17th September 2016 (event number 221) and by Unknown ATHLETE who also recorded a time of 14:56 on 8th September 2018 (event number 323).
The Age Grade course record is held by Austin SOANE who recorded 91.55% (18:09) on 11th August 2018 (event number 319).
Southampton parkrun started on 7th July 2012. Since then 19,849 participants have completed 190,378 parkruns covering a total distance of 951,890 km, including 33,209 new Personal Bests.