After a bit of last minute dithering about which new parkrun venue to try, I yielded to the blandishments of @havantparkrun and headed south.
I had intended to augment my parkrun with some pre-parkrun miles, but despite arriving in plenty of time to fit them in, my legs took one look at the chilly morning and refused to move from the car. In the end I settled for a couple of short warm up jogs and made a mental note to dig out my cooler weather running kit.
Havant parkrun takes place at Staunton Country Park. The car park, to the south of Middle Park Way, is pay and display, but your parking ticket comes complete with a voucher that can be traded in at the end of the parkrun for a free tea or coffee. Bliss on a day as cold as today.
The parkrun is to the north of Middle Park Way, and the start is clearly signposted from the road. Underfoot is described on the website as ‘compacted gravel’, but some of the stones wouldn’t be out of place in a flint wall. The final effect is firm but uneven and required a dollop more concentration than my usual pavement routes.
The undulating route is three laps. The first is a short warm up around the lawns, the second and third are longer, and feature a steep downhill, a lake, lots and lots of trees and a gentle uphill. Simply gorgeous.
As for the runners, they are as friendly as I was promised. Between Hannah, Dave and the members of the Cake Club (mmmm, lemon drizzle muffins), I was spoiled for company, and my “more likely than not to bump into a parkrunner I know” rule of thumb held true as Dave had also run the Basingstoke Royal Jubilee bank holiday special.
Will I be back? Very probably, especially if they ever run the course in reverse. I’m curious to know what the steep downhill and gentle uphill feel like the other way around.