A trip to Bushy parkrun for parkrun’s 8th anniversary

Being Event Director for 3 parkruns is one of the things I’m quite proud of. However, I’ve not been to many other parkruns other than those I’ve been instrumental in getting off the ground.

Ever since I started running at parkruns, I’ve wanted to visit the first, and biggest, Bushy parkrun in Teddington. As it was parkrun’s 8th anniversary today, it seemed a great opportunity to make the trip.

Fortunately, fellow parkrunner, Robert Spencer, wanted to go so along with Geoff Collins and Mike Harper, we made the trip up the M3 this morning. It was an early start (7am and we arrived at 8:15am).

It wasn’t long before the park started to fill up with parkrunners, we bumped into Danny Norman for a chat, and at 8:40am, we congregated for the anniversary awards ceremony with trophies being presented by Nell McAndrew.

All of a sudden, the crowd of almost 1000 runners moved subtly and we were ready for the start almost at the front which was definitely the wrong place for us to start.

The pre-run briefing was short, sweet and very difficult to hear.

The first straight was on grass alongside the road that enters the park. To say it was waterlogged was a slight understatement. Trying to avoid the surface water was pointless.

Before long, we were on a gravel path littered with more puddles. Due to the number of runners, I was always running in a pack. I was hoping to equal my recent course PB at Southampton parkrun of 24:20 and kept pace at about 4:50 mins/km throughout the run. Given the flat nature of the course and the fact there were no tight turns, this wasn’t too difficult. No sudden inclines to zap energy.

Before too long I had reached the 4km mark and felt ok. The last km went by quickly and it wasn’t too long before I was crossing the finish line. I looked down at my Garmin. 24:02. 18 seconds better than my course PB at Southampton and only 9 seconds away from my 5km PB.

The finish funnel had been honed to ensure that everyone was kept in order during peak periods and given the right position token. The solution was to keep runners in batches and take one batch at a time. During peak finishing times, batches were shepherded in parallel to ensure the finish funnel didn’t get overcrowded. This seemed to work well.

It wasn’t long until Robert and Geoff crossed the line. In the meantime, I caught up with Jo and Paul Sinton-Hewitt.

Before we headed home, we indulged in a rather tasty cooked breakfast.

Overall, a great trip and definitely interesting to see Bushy parkrun with its 2nd highest attendance of 994 runners. I crossed the line in position 344 in a confirmed time of 24:02.

I’m hoping to beat by 5km PB the next time I run at Southampton parkrun (most likely early November).

Alice Holt parkrun looks like its going to start on the 17th November and as I had involvement in the initial meeting with their local council, I hope to make their inaugural event. If possible, I’ll try and squeeze a visit in to Poole parkrun too.

Just looking forward to 2013 and the races I’m planning on doing, I’d like to focus on:

– Stubbington 10K – January – booked
– Eastleigh 10K – March
– Brighton Marathon – April – dependent on training and no injuries
– RVCP 10K – May
– Eastleigh Sprint Triathlon – July – booked
– Wyvern 10K – July
– Gosport Half Marathon – November (as long as it doesn’t clash with holiday)

It’s unlikely I’ll have the chance to do GSR in 2013 particularly as I’d like to consider doing an Olympic Triathlon of the Sprint Tri goes well.

Would love to hit the following targets in 2013:

5km – get closer to 23:20
10km – sub-49:00
Half marathon – sub 1:49:00
Marathon – sub 4 hours

It’s good to have a target!

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