I always think I am going to arrive late at the Upton House Parkrun because I live in Branksome Park between the Bournemouth and Poole parkrun and it takes longer to get to and is usually into a head wind. As I have not drunk for two days, and woke up early, today I knew I would be on time. Enough time to warm up in the walled garden, look at the fading red camellias and smell the box wood hedges.
I started my Parkrun journey in Poole Park 2012. As the course grew in popularity, partly as it is a fast flat course, it has become a victim of its own success with crowding at the start.
So to take the pressure off , new parkruns have since opened in Bournemouth's King’s Park and Upton House. I was at Upton House for the inaugural run on 3.6.17 (as were 323 other runners) and I knew it was going to be a success. However when I ran the second run on 10.6.17 numbers dropped to 216. Luckily numbers have steadily grown with 344 souls dragging themselves out of bed today. Today was a delight none of the cold windy rain that has plagued 2020.
What do I like/love about the Upton House Course?
- Firstly the bicycle ride out along the water’s edge of Holes Bay a chance to dodge dog walkers, look at the waders and swans and glance across the harbour. It saves the car park fee and is a good warm up and down.
- Before the start there are two toilets and never the queues of Poole.
- No confined spaces where runners assemble where you could catch Corona Virus!
- You can run on grass, gravel or mud rather than tarmac for a lot of the course, so better for your joints.
- There are no cars or café delivery vans to try to avoid, in fact no sight or noise of roads.
- You can hear the announcements.
- No elephant costumes overtook me!
- No likelihood of dogs trying to run you into boating lakes.
- There is a café for a post-race drink or food with 10% off for PR barcode holders.
- Lastly the ride home along the harbour’s edge.
What do I not like about the Upton House Course?
- For me based on 20 runs it is on average 82 seconds slower than the Poole course (216 runs). But it is not comparing like with like.
- The other runners won’t let me win (today my place was 35th 22.56 and my fastest time this year. I was 1 minute 2 secs off my pb set in 2019. If I lost weight, trained more, drank less perhaps I’d be a few seconds quicker, perhaps…
Today’s top male was Jason Robbins, a Lytchett Manor Strider in 18.27 ,not bad for a vet 40-45! Top female Clare Wood in 22.41 who is also 40-44 category!, when she went past me lap 2, I tried to stay with her.…Top junior was Abigail Westcott in 22.57 cat 11-14 who was staring at the back of my T-shirt! Top gent over 60 was Nigel Haywood 21.01 .Top lady over 50 Julia Hurt 23.59. There were 65 PB’s today too, so congratulations to them.
Well the Temperature was 9 degrees centigrade, Wind was 20 mph (so it felt like 6 degrees centigrade) South Westerly, Humidity 89%, Precipitation 0 , Air Pressure 1018 mb and 100% clouds .
Thanks to all the marshals, deputies, sheriffs and Race Director. It could be your turn to volunteer next week. Your Parkrun needs you!
James S. Fuller