The Wizard returns to Oz

Way back on the 1st November 2011, the last Eastleigh parkrun at Lakeside Country Park was held.

It’s really surprising that it was so long ago. In fact, it’s 793 days since that event. Don’t worry, I didn’t use my fingers.

Tomorrow we return for the first of 3 Saturday’s at the venue that was home to Eastleigh parkrun for many of its first 77 events. (The reason for the return is that the current venue is being used for other events and is unavailable.)

The following weekend for event #78 on 8th November 2011, we returned to our winter course at the adjacent university sports fields and in the spring of 2012 opened Netley Abbey parkrun before changing venue for Eastleigh parkrun to its current venue, Fleming Park.

Many of those posting on Facebook and Twitter this week with nostalgia and fond memories about Lakeside haven’t run there since. I have run and raced there on several occasions in Aquathlons organised by TryTri events as well as at the Eastleigh Open Water Triathlon last June. However, much of the nostalgia is born more, I suspect, from the fact that they discovered parkrun at Lakeside and it soon changed their lives (whether by getting them into running, helping their decision to join a running club, giving them more of a social life or in some cases, introducing them to a future partner or an event where they might meet one).

Lakeside is a lovely venue but not without its issues including several miniature railway crossings and the several disagreements one particular over-opinionated runner ( likely to join us for our temporary return :-S ) had with those operating the railway.

Many of the current parkrunners at Eastleigh may not have known that the event was held at Lakeside having discovered parkrun since late 2011. After all, it’s been over 2 years and over 100 events since we were last there. However, if you read the run report from event #77, there are some familiar names mentioned amongst the 190-ish finishers – http://www.parkrun.org.uk/eastleigh/news/2011/11/01/event-77/. Several of those will return tomorrow to share the experience of running in the park where Eastleigh parkrun was born way back on 8th May 2010.

Conditions look set to be really wet and windy. Not great running conditions but spirits will be high I’m sure.

Let’s run it like it’s 2011.

For those wondering what the title of this post is referring to. Way back in 2011 (in fact from January 2011 until early 2013) I was the Event Director for Eastleigh parkrun and did a lot behind the scenes to held sustain and build the event alongside the team of RDs at the time (Henry, Dave, Berni, Neil and Debs) and was referred to by Neil Garton as being Eastleigh parkrun’s Wizard of Oz.

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