If there is a better way to kick off janathon and celebrate the new year than by running a parkrun double, then I have yet to find it. Of course, if I were sensible, which clearly I am not, I would have stayed local and opted for either the Bushy/Kingston or Lloyd/Roundshaw doubles.
But I am rarely sensible when it comes to parkrun, so at early o’clock, I leapt out of bed*, bright-eyed and bushy tailed**, and headed for Southampton…
…where I crossed paths with Steve Darby, the driving force behind this year’s Longest parkrun (Yorkshire), and also managed to find a navigator to steer me from Southampton to Netley Abbey.
Southampton parkrun (or at least today’s variant of it) is a two-lap lollipop (out, twice round the loop, and back) on tarmac paths with gentle gradients***. My brief was to go all out, which in reality translated into going off faster than jet-lagged, jam tart filled legs could cope with and then drifting slowly backwards through the field to cross the line in 94th position****.
Netley Abbey (or at least today’s variant of it) is a three lap course with beautiful sea views, a woodland section, lots and lots and lots of muddy puddles and a two way section which allows you to support faster and slower runners at multiple points around the course. My brief was to enjoy, so I slowed down, splashed my way through all the puddles and crossed the line in 94th position****.
After which my expert navigator guided me back to the motorway whence I pootled on home.
*Crawled off the sofa.
**With all the vim and vigour of a three-day-old corpse.
***You know the sort. Hills so mild that you don’t realise they’re hills and just feel that someone has drained all the energy from your legs.
****At Southampton, just behind Mike, who had introduced me to my expert navigator John, and at Netley Abbey, just ahead of Ian, who I’d chatted to at Eastleigh just before his first ever parkrun.