I’ve never made it to a New Years Day parkrun. The last two years I’ve fallen ill with a virus a couple of days before and both times slept through the final days of December and thought I’d missed New Year! Thankfully though, not this year…or last year!
I was planning on doing the double parkrun with my first parkrun being Fareham parkrun at 9am and then coming back over to my local parkrun at 10.30am. I posted on Facebook on NYE asking my friends where they were doing parkrun and someone asked if I’d thought about doing Whiteley parkrun. They got me interested with the promise of no mud (unlike the muddy Fareham parkrun) so my plan was changed. I was going to Whiteley at 9am instead.
Whiteley parkrun is at the side of a large outdoor shopping area. I’ve been to the shopping area before and knew there was a parkrun there, but had no idea where the parkrun was actually held. We got parked up and it was easy to figure out where it started, just follow the line of lycra clad runners! I stopped on the way to take a picture with one of their Christmas decorations!
At the start line I found Penny and Lorna and had a little chat with them before listening to the first time runners briefing. I’ve avoided Whiteley parkrun as it’s laps and I thought 3 laps of a field would be soul destroying. It turns out I’d had the route completely wrong in my mind and the field was only part of the course.
It was actually an enjoyable route. You start running around the edge of the field, you actually run right past people’s front doors which I found surprising. One of them had a dog barking wildly inside and I thought they must get very annoyed every Saturday with the parkrunners sending the dog bonkers! There’s then a slight downhill which leads in to a more “woody” area, but it still has tarmac paths, before you turn around and wind back towards the start before starting the next lap. On the third lap you just peel off to the finish funnel instead of running back past the start.
The course has one particular part which is very narrow with the runners going in both directions right alongside each other. I kept hearing a lady shouting at runners, things like “Oi, watch where you’re going” over and over. She was behind me so I thought she must be an angry pedestrian caught up in the parkrun but as I turned around and ran back towards her I realised she was a parkrunner. She was only a little way behind me and she shouted and swore the whole way round!
I saw quite a few people I knew from my local parkrun there so it was nice to look out for friendly faces and because it was laps I managed to see them a couple of times. I ran with Phil for a good while. He was pacing the run/walk group at my local parkrun afterwards and I said I’d probably join him as I’ve not run 10K since May.
Another thing I did note about the course, you’re told to keep right. As I was keeping right and passing the finish funnel the faster runners were peeling off to finish their run and they run straight in to your path, or perhaps I plod through theirs. Either way, it was a close call for me as a runner ran in front of me and missed me by inches.
I ran much better than I did on the 28th December but I did take a couple of very brief walk breaks. I thoroughly enjoyed the course though and will definitely head back to Whiteley parkrun at some point. They had a record attendance with 460 people attending.
I finished with a time of 38:57 in position 431. I went straight back to the car which my husband had very kindly gone back to and warmed up so I wouldn’t get too cold on the drive towards home.
To Be Continued…
Have you done the New Years Day parkrun double?
Which two parkruns did you visit for the double?