A trip to Bournemouth parkrun for their inaugural event

The news of a parkrun in Bournemouth has been bubbling for a while and they held their inaugural event this morning. I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to make it so was pleased that all the other plans for the day allowed Daniel and I to take the trip down to King’s Park.

I woke early and got myself ready to allow Daniel a longer lie-in. He’s had a very busy week of long day trips and I’m sure he’d have loved a lazy morning at home. It’s been over a month since we last ran at a parkrun after a couple of weekends away camping and 2 weeks of volunteering at parkruns.

The Bournemouth parkrun is at King’s Park which is just outside the centre of Bournemouth. The park is home for several sporting venues including a football stadium and an athletics track.

As it’s a Bank Holiday weekend, I expected there to be a fair amount of traffic on the roads heading down to the coast. However, the weather is hardly glorious and that meant a very reasonable 35 minute journey from home.

The event’s website mentioned that parking was free on park roads. However, where these were was a bit of a mystery. We ended up parking in a pay and display car park and paid £1.50 for up to 3 hours parking.

We took a very short walk from the car park to the Athletics Track which acted as HQ for the event. On arrival, we started to several familiar faces including Danny Norman, Rex Troop, Mike Cure, Robert Spencer and James Sawyer. It was also good to see Martin Yelling.

It was clear there would be a good turnout as more and more parkrunners converged on the the venue. Several fellow Lordshill Road Runners started to turn up including Neil, Jim, Irene, Kev, Alice, Emily, Katherine, Julian and Sue, Kirsty and Tony. It was great to catch up with lots of parkrun friends.

As expected, parkrun über-tourists Colin and Elaine Brassington were checking out yet another inaugural.

When I spoke to Sarah Ngugi (Event Director at Poole parkrun) who was volunteering at the event, it was clear that there was a problem with one of the barcode scanners. Fortunately, I normally carry one or two scanners to events just in case they have too few scanners for the number of runners so lent them one.

Before too long (and not a single ‘how long ’til it starts?’ from Daniel) it was time to head to the start area and start the run.

There was a little confusion on where to leave baggage (either in the cafe at the track or at the finish funnel).

The course is 2-laps (obviously 2.5km each) on a mix of (mainly) tarmac paths, grass and compacted gravel. The course is mostly flat with a couple of gentle hills (one per lap).

Daniel did well for the first third of the run and then realised just how far each lap was. He wasn’t too keen on having to run a 2nd lap and kept asking how much longer ’til the end. At this point, we had to adopt a 20-second run, 20-second walk strategy to get us to the end which, at that point, was over a lap away.

About 4/5th through the lap, the course crosses the entrance to one of the main car parks in the park. This shouldn’t have been allowed as this means runners could meet a public vehicle. There are several restrictions that each parkrun must avoid:

– runners must not run along a road or anywhere they could meet a public vehicle
– runners must not cross a road
– runners must not have to run up steps

Clearly, the current route wasn’t acceptable and amendments will be made to correct this. This may involve closing the car park (if possible) or re-routing the course to avoid the hazard.

As we approached the end of the first lap, we were lapped by the front runners including James Sawyer, Jim Davies and Kev Yates.

The 2nd lap was mostly about getting Daniel around the course to the finish. The 20 second run/walk strategy worked fine and before too long we were back at the finish straight. With 100m to go, I told Daniel to go for his trademark finish sprint. He was a little reluctant at first but with a little encouragement from spectators he revved up a gear.

As we approached the entrance to the finish funnel, I clipped the back of his running shoe and almost tripped him up. Unintentional!! Honest!! It didn’t go unnoticed by the marshals, Danny and assorted LRRs at the finish!! Fortunately, Daniel kept upright and crossed the line ahead of me.

When we’d finished, he got a little tearful. This was partly down to being tired from his busy week, me almost tripping him up and also the fact Daniel ‘doesn’t like 2 long laps’ or flat courses!

Once we’d finished, it was time to do a little socialising in the cafe and then head home. We made good time on the journey home arriving about 20 minutes before Denise had to head out for her appointment.

Overall, Bournemouth parkrun was great. A fast but slightly (only) challenging course with a great venue with cafe, toilets and changing rooms at the start/finish area. Ample parking in the pay and display car parking around the park and (allegedly) free parking also available. I’m sure that the event will be very popular and potentially see attendances grow to 400+ once established.

3 thoughts on “A trip to Bournemouth parkrun for their inaugural event

  1. Pingback: Tamworth Parkrun | The Tri Road

  2. Hi. What a nicely written article and I’m glad that you seemed to enjoy your Bournemouth parkrun experience overall.

    You will be pleased to know that we have now redesigned the course so that runners do not cross the car parks 🙂

    We hope to see you again in the near future…

    • Many thanks Chris. It was a great event and a great addition to the parkrun family. Should you ever need any help, please let me know. I’ve been ED at 3 of the local parkrun events, RDd on numerous occasions and am the parkrun Ambassador for Hampshire.

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