It was a grey morning for week 4 of #myparkrunchallenge and I was starting to panic on route to Southampton parkrun as they rain began to hit my windscreen. “You can do this, it’s only a little rain.” I said to myself, and I’d run many runs in the rain so what was another one?
As I arrived at Cemetary Road near Southampton Common the rain had stopped, phew! Parking was easy as a long stretch of road was filled with empty spaces and I had about 15 minutes until the start of the run.
All parked up I made my way to the common taking in the trees and birds on my way, I was feeling good.
As I arrived at the start I was shocked at how busy it was, I had been told it was the busiest parkrun around with sometimes 700 runners but hadn’t anticipated quite how busy that would feel. The closure of nearby Eastleigh parkrun had meant there were several more parkrun tourists eager to get their weekly 5k in.
The atmosphere was interesting, it was busy but I felt slightly more alone than I had done in my previous weeks as I hadn’t spoken to anyone since I arrived.
The race began and as like most parkruns the start is chaotic as everyone is trying to get a good position and in this case avoid the muddy field!
I found my spot and began to enjoy the scenery, it took me back to last April and the day I ran the ABP Southampton Half, part of the route runs through the Common and I felt all nostalgic and warm inside. This feeling began to deplete once I realised this wasn’t a “flat” course after all, and once again the description lied! Two laps of the same course were really not too bad and to be fair it was mostly flat with the exception of one everlasting hill featured on both laps.
With the run nearly over I found my way to the finish, overtaking a runner who had been stop-starting, overtaking me and dropping back all through the run, kind of annoying, so at the last stretch I sprinted past him but somehow he managed to get past me at the very end. Then began the queue to get to the scanners, we weren’t given a token but had to remain in the position we finished, I guess due to the amount of people running it they had a different system to the other parkruns which was unusual. Finally got my wristband scanned and had my first conversation with a nice guy who complemented me on my time.
I had managed my quickest parkrun in months, still nowhere near my PB but it was proof enough that I was getting back to where I was, even if it was slowly.
Southampton parkrun ✔️ all in all a good parkrun, easy to get to, easy to park and a nice scenic route round the common, mostly on gravel path so no trail trainers needed. The only downside is the amount of people and the token thing at the end but other than that I would definitely come back again!
Until next time