How to create a new parkrun in 10 days – part 2

We left the last blog post on Saturday with a week to do until our first Netley Abbey parkrun and what a week it’s been.

On Sunday, several of us (Gareth, Dave, Ian, Barbara, Neil, Dave, Robert, Gary and Lisa) agreed to meet to finalise the course. Due to poor traffic at Burseldon Towers Tesco, causes by the car boot sale, some of us were late. Apologies to the early arrivals. We then had another short wait for the Countryside Ranger who we needed to speak to about our intended course. Nicky arrived and true to form, we were given the go ahead so we walked around the course looking for hazards, sign placement areas, marshalling position and lots of praise for the beautiful park. We thought we’d found a winner. Little did we know…

After a couple of hours, it was time to head home. A flurry of emails were exchanged discussing the finer points and I started work on a Run Director’s course overview document.

On Monday, the revised course description and route were sent through to HQ so they could work on the event website.

A few of us had also agreed to meet at lunchtime to have an actual trial run of the course. This gave Gareth, Dave and Trevor the opportunity to remeasure the course whilst Dave Williams, Robert and I jogged around. It really was a great course and with our intended signage and marshalling, it looked to be a winner.

Having completed 4.8km of the course, it was time to take the win. I’d won my first parkrun! OK, so, there were only 2 other participants and at least one of them took pity on me but a win’s a win!!

A couple of us went to buy season tickets. At £36, this is great value over normal parking charges in the park particularly if you intend to be there for over an hour. Not only do you not have to worry about paying to park but you’re providing a source on income to the park to help keep it open. It really is that important.

It was time to get some momentum going ready for Saturday’s event. This was greatly helped by a massive mention in ‘the parkrun show’ by Danny and Tom. Danny had read my last blog post and Tom was aware of the newparkrun as he was the main point of contact at HQ. Thanks both.

Tuesday was the day a spanner went into the works. Having ordered the necessary signs, stakes etc and after what we thought was an informal agreement over the course, it was rejected. We were back to square one. I spent time discussing various options with Tom whilst Gareth and John G went to the park to investigate. Neil called to discuss what had happened and to try and cheer me up. I was gutted as our first event looked in jeopardy.

Email flew around trying to find a new course. And, we thought we’d found one. We resubmitted the course to Tom and in the meantime, emailed the park to ask if we could close a car park.

In addition, Gareth had found an alternate solution with a course consisting of 2 x 2km laps and 1x 1km lap. All laps were of the main field around the Chapel but 2 involved the out and back of Cemetery Road too. We couldn’t see how this could be rejected but knew there’d be some concerns about the out and back particularly as it was on a road that wasn’t quite as wide as we’d have liked. We waited with baited breath but in the meantime continued to look for other courses just in case. John had mentioned using the cricket field. By making use of the area NE of the trees that followed one of the gravel paths we could fit a 4-lap course in. It was an option.

We didn’t hear back from HQ on Wednesday morning and I, for one, began to panic. I had some questions about the suitability of the cricket field and also the turnaround point on Cemetery Road. I needed to check them out and rang Geoff at the park to see if we could inspect both options.

To be continued.

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