Several months ago, back in the autumn I attended a trial run for Brockenhurst parkrun. Things went quiet afterwards and a combination of poor weather over the winter and finding funding meant that the event team postponed their start until the late spring.
At the time of the trial a 4 and a half lap course was being proposed. The event’s venue is Brockenhurst College (aka Brock) and each lap was of the college’s sports fields. Very reminiscent of Wide Lane Sports Field where Eastleigh parkrun was held during the winter before the move to Fleming Park.
Shortly after the trial, a revision to the course was made to make it a 4-lapper. Although, not ideal, reducing the number of laps makes it a little more tolerable. One of the great benefits if lapped courses is that fewer marshals tend to be needed. It also means said marshals have lots of opportunity to praise and encourage runners.
Fast forward to about March. I contacted parkrun HQ and offered my services in getting Brockenhurst parkrun off the starting blocks. This meant liaising with the event team to prepare documentation (risk assessment and event information) as well as provide advice on getting from the stage they were at to their inaugural event and beyond.
A start date was set and then changed to 25th May due to a clash with another event at the college.
Last week, once all the equipment had been delivered, we held a trial event. At the time there was some concern that the course was short by about 100m. With multiple-lap courses with lots of corners, this is surprisingly easy to do. Bringing the corners of the course 1m closer to the centre of the field can easily result in a course that’s that short. Fortunately, Gareth Jones very kindly offered to measure the course with the surveyor’s wheel to ensure the correct positioning of corner stakes to maintain the correct course length.
This morning Daniel and I were up at about 6:40am and left the house at about 7:40pm for the journey to Brock. Traffic was very light and we arrived at the college just after 8am. The course was being laid out and as we headed to the start area we saw David Blackman who’d also misjudged the traffic situation.
Daniel and I set up the finish funnel and the parkrun feather flag as parkrunners and volunteers started to arrive. Several familiar faces were evident including David, Neil Garton, Steve Darby, Louise Ayling, Rex Troop, Kev & Alive Yates, Rikki Prince, Charles Fox, Sophie Darling, Elaine & Colin Brassington, Robert Spencer, Richard Alderson, John Macinnes and, of course, Danny Norman.
At 8:55, Event Director, Mick Anglim, gave the pre-run briefing and we were off.
Daniel started well but it wasn’t too long before we had to resort to run, walk, whine (!), repeat. He was certainly a little sensitive but kept going which I was thankful for.
At the end of the 4 uneventful laps, it was time to sprint for the line. Daniel crossed the line ahead if me again. No idea how he does it!! 😉
Having helped pack up, it was time to head to the Portacabin cafe to help Mick and Rob process the results. The cafe’s menu was a little sparse but it’s hoped that if lots of runners are encouraged in after parkrun that they’ll extend the menu with some of runners favourite food, e.g. an assortment of cake!! Many thanks to Neil for the coffee. To say Daniel was upset that there was no coke or toast is probably an understatement!!
The results were processed very quickly. That was helped by having the same number of runners as times and no, I repeat NO, manual entries.
Rob and Mick were both surprised and concerned that I wouldn’t be at the next event to support them but I have ever confidence that they’ll do a splendid job along with Diana Davis who expertly managed the volunteer roster.
Another great parkrun joins the family. My 3rd activation in 5 weeks. Now have a couple of weekends away with no parkrun. 😦