by Gareth Jones
Two weeks ago Paul and Jenny BULLEN noted the near-coincidence of parkrunday with St Valentine's Day by writing a run report on the theme of love. This was highly appropriate, since it allowed them to finish with a paragraph describing how they had met at Southampton parkrun, fallen in love, married, and produced a future parkrunner, their daughter Eva. This is just one of many similarly happy stories for which parkrun can take credit.
You may have noticed that Friday was St David's Day (or Dydd Dewi Sant, as we say in Wales), so I decided to follow Paul and Jenny's lead and devote this report to matters Cymric. Should I celebrate the daffodils that have just come into flower, recommend a diet of leeks and laverbread, or relive the latest rugby victory over the Old Enemy? No, this is supposed to be a run report, so instead I'll tell you about a Welsh running legend, with the excuse that the story contains a potentially useful health warning.
Guto Nyth Brân was an 18th-century Welsh runner, who won so many prizes that he retired early through lack of opposition. When a new challenger arrived, he was persuaded to come out of retirement for a 1000 guinea prize. After lagging behind as the finish approached, he won with a powerful uphill sprint. Unfortunately, an over-enthusiastic supporter slapped him on the back rather too hard, and he dropped down dead. Nowadays Guto is commemorated with the Nos Galan (New Year's Eve) 5K race through the streets of Mountain Ash. There is always a mystery runner, a sporting personality whose identity is secret until the start; local parkrunner (and UK 400m record holder) Iwan THOMAS has been honoured in that way. When I ran Nos Galan in 1988 it was timed to finish at midnight, but more recently the dense and well-lubricated crowds have forced the organisers to start earlier. The moral of this story is that if you are going to end a 5K with sprint finish, make sure it's one like Southampton parkrun that has a defibrillator!
Taking a prominent part in today's run were an inflatable chicken, duck and unicorn, a sight not often seen on the Common. They were part of a large contingent from Vegan Runners, the UK's fastest-growing running club, supporting plant-based eating and a healthy life-style. I was too busy clearing up signs to sample the goodies they were cooking up near the finish, but the smell was delicious.
Let's offer congratulations to Charles LAWSON on joining the 10 Club today, to Luke BURNETT, Andrew COLLIER, Sue GOODALL, Stephen HAYSOM, Stephen LASH, Louise RICHARDSON, Andrew RUSSELL and Russell SHEATH on joining the 50 Club, to Adrian LYTHAM, Emily RAWLINGS, Colin RICHARDS and Jo ROLFE on completing their 150th parkruns, and to Ruihua HOU on completing his 200th. Let's also congratulate former English XC champion Louise DAMEN, on improving the VW35-39 course record she set two weeks ago to a fabulous 17:20.
While all this was going on, 285 runners were taking part in the Mountbatten School parkrun inaugural, at Romsey. It's a flat 3-lap course, almost entirely on grass, which can be rough in places, with a few tree roots to watch out for. If you get tired of the crowds on the Common, this is yet another attractive local alternative.
This week 1083 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 94 were first timers and 158 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 53 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 71 volunteers:
Gareth JONES • James GAVIN • Kim Diane KELLY • Roy S MCLOUGHLIN • Marc HOLMES • Jonathan James NORTHCOTT • Alison CROOKS • Bob FOWLER • Peat ALLAN • Jonathan STEPHENS • Peter LEWIS • Lynne ALLAN • Kate BUDD • Joel KNOTT • David KEATES • Elaine June WINTER • Lynne NEWSON • Jennifer MARSHALL • Timothy SLY • Jonathan MARSDEN • Paul NEWSON • Sue WILSON • Iain TINKLER • Caro GARRETT • James Richard Alexander CLARKE • Vicki Yvonne CLARKE • Eric ROGERS • Nic WOOLLARD • Linden MCKENZIE • Lee MASON • Kim BATTEN • Rob HEATHER • Bridie COFFEY • Samantha HOLLINS • Steven HAYES-ARTER • Martin SIMS • Kali BANDA • Michael SIMMS • Philip LLOYD • Spencer SIM • Barbara COGMAN • Louise FOX • Joseph FOX • Derek GIBBENS • Kevin STOW • Mark HANDFORD • Julian WALLER • Jo ROLFE • Emma STEPHENSON • Kathryn STEPHENSON • Frazer BAILEY • Jane OLIVER • Gemma BENNETT • Alexander JOHNSTON • Nicky PUGH • Julian SHEPPARD • Dave JUSON • Helen LOTERY • Hayley OBEE • Becky WARD • Liz MERCER • Alison CATT • David BALL • Cy COLEMAN • Mike ELDRIDGE • Milz DECHNIK • Megan FREEMAN • Mathieu HOURSEAU • Nicolas MOSKALA • Connor BLOOMFIELD • Jd NICHOLSON
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 21,422 participants have completed 209,400 parkruns covering a total distance of 1,047,000 km, including 35,688 new Personal Bests.