run report from parkrun tourist Anita Watkins visiting us from Bognor
Saturday Morning Bognor Cake Club on Tour
Parkrunday on 25 July, as promised yesterday’s gloom has lifted and it is a bright sunny day. I’m off on an early train for a spot of parkrun tourism to Southsea. Unlike many other visitors to the area today I’m not in town for the Americas Cup. Today is Victory Morris’s day of dance and the side I dance with, Sompting Village Morris, are always loathe to turn down an invitation from Victory.
Over the years I’ve got used to stepping out in morris kit complete with bells and ribbons, and I almost forget it may strike some as being a bit odd. Since I was converted from being a committed non-runner to a parkrun enthusiast a bit over a year ago I’ve even got comfortable in lycra and hi-viz tops. But I have to admit it felt a bit weird wearing my tatty coat (rag jacket) over my running gear.
I arrived at Portsmouth and Southsea station in good time, and remembering from last year that it’s a bit of a trek to the toilets from your start line, I stayed on the 23 bus to the Canoe Lake and then walked the short distance back to the start point.
Volunteers and runners were starting to gather by now and I chatted to a few people as we warmed up, stretched and generally milled about waiting for the pre run briefing. I have to say what a friendly bunch of people you have at Southsea.
Before too long today’s run director called us to order and gave us a warm welcome and clear instructions. Though ‘go that way, run 2.5 km, go round the cone and come back’ sounded a lot easier than it always proves to be.
I’d sort of hoped that Sir Ben Ainslie would put in an appearance to cheer us on our way, but I’m guessing he was a bit busy on the day – maybe another time! We set off to the beeping of various Garmins, TomToms and mobile phone apps with me in my comfort zone towards the back of the pack. I found my pace eventually and settled in to enjoy the sunshine and the views over the Solent. I spent some of my early years in Southsea and as I passed the Canoe Lake I remembered going there on Sunday mornings with my Mum and Dad to watch the remote control boats (do they still do that?). Next landmark was the world famous statue of the Royal Marine yomping by the Royal Marines Museum (Eastney Barracks in my day).
I was really pleased to reach the turnaround point in a good deal less than half of my best parkrun time. Even allowing for the second 2.5 km being slower I was harbouring hopes of a 5 km PB. On the run back I enjoyed watching the open water swimmers, as well as the comings and goings of all the vessels on the Solent. From not far after the yomping Royal Marine I was tantalised by the smell of bacon, surely it couldn’t be from the café all this way away! Eventually I spotted the culprit, a couple cooking breakfast at the back of their camper van – how cruel can you be?
Coming up to South Parade Pier, which I hope is being restored to its former glory, the head wind seemed to suddenly get much stronger. Perhaps that was just because I no longer had the smell of frying bacon pulling me on. I had been told that this parkrun would be good practice for the long last mile or so of the Great South Run, and I can see why. Despite my ‘flying start’ my hopes for a 5 km PB were evaporating by this time, I’ll have to come back when it isn’t good sailing weather!
To lots of encouragement from the marshals at the finish funnel I crossed the line, picked up my finish token and went to seek out the barcode scanners. My finish token wouldn’t scan so I headed off to see the manual recorder. A lovely efficient operation.
I didn’t have too long to hang around and socialise after the run, but I couldn’t resist a post parkrun cuppa and a bacon buttie (what else?). Then a quick change into morris kit and off to Guildhall Square for the start of a day of singing and dancing courtesy of Victory Morris. All in all a brilliant day, what summers are made for.
Some stats for Southsea parkrun number 93:-
Number of finishers 241
First timers 43
First male finisher Neil Riley 17:01
First female finisher Emma Jolley 19:42
40 PB’s (Yippee!! I was over 5 mins quicker than last year, but couldn’t match my Bognor Regis record)
As I’m writing this on a very wet dismal Sunday after a glorious parkrunday and a wet dismal Friday I remember what I was told several times yesterday, “It never rains on Victory Morris!”. Maybe you should check their diary before you book your next barbecue!
Thanks for making me so welcome at Southsea parkrun, and a special thanks to all your volunteers who make parkrun happen every week. If you haven’t volunteered yet give it a try, it’s as much fun as running in its own way.
Bognor Regis parkrun
Thanks Anita, that's brilliant!
Our volunteer roster is very sparse for the next few week's - can anyone help out?