Parkrun tourism, a return to Lee-on-Solent

22 June 2019

As the Race For Life was being held on Southampton Common this weekend we had to find another parkrun. There was a great deal of discussion about which one, with suggestions of various events we haven’t been to before. In the end though, we settled on a return to Lee-on-Solent, mostly because it was fairly close to home and didn’t involve getting up at silly o’clock. At least not for Commando and I.

The last time we visited this parkrun was May 2016. We were with a large group from the old running club. Much has changed since then though, mainly for the better. Today there were just two of us in the car. Commando and I planned to meet Rob at the start line. Hoping to get some training miles in for Thunder Run in July, he was running the fifteen miles or so there and then running the parkrun. We would be taking him home in our car. At least he hoped we would. As a plan it sounded slightly mad and, in the end, it didn’t quite work out.

We spotted him somewhere around Titchfield I think. My eyes were barely open at this point and I hadn’t had a coffee so my memory is hazy. Wherever it was, he was just about to run up a very large hill and Commando, looking at his watch, didn’t think he was going to make the parkrun on time. We pulled over and offered him a lift. He was reluctant but also slightly lost so got into the car. It was a good job because the route he would have taken would have added lots of extra miles and he’d have completely missed the parkrun. As we drove on a compromise was worked out. We took him up the hill and back on track to make the start, then we dropped him off again. If it sounds completely bonkers that’s probably because it is.

Obviously, we arrived first. While we waited for our nutty friend to join us we had a stroll along the shore. It was a beautiful sunny morning with barely a whisper of breeze. Perfect for running, or walking come to that. We passed the set up team drawing a chalk start line including a few motivational words. Then I headed up to the little walled area where I’d taken photos of the runners last time. The shots I got, with flowers in the foreground and runners in the background were some of my favourites and I was thinking of trying something similar today.

Last time the little wall was topped with low mounds of pink daisies. Now there were red geraniums, very pretty, but too tall for my purposes. While I was looking around for another likely spot, I heard someone call my name. By chance John and Rachel had decided on the same alternative parkrun as us. As Rachel is still recovering from her surgery, this meant I had some company on the finish line too.

Rob appeared at more or less the same time and, while the boys chatted, Rachel and I found a good vantage point on the grassy shingle just off the path. Moments later everyone began gathering for the start.

Pretty soon hundreds of feet were thundering past us. Somehow I found John, Rob and a slightly trailing Commando in the crowd. Lee-on-Solent is a fast flat course, great for PB’s if it isn’t windy and wet. Today though, was just about the joy of running. The three friends weren’t really bothered about record breaking and Rachel and I were so busy chatting we almost missed them as they came back along the shore to the finish.

Luckily, we did spot them and I even managed to get some pictures. With the running all done we went off to get a coffee. The only problem being choosing from the huge number of cafes close to the finish. Then it was time to head back to the car, with a little joking about Rob enjoying his run home of course. For some reason he didn’t find this very funny. So, with three in the car instead of the two who’d set out, we headed back to Southampton.

If you’re a runner looking to do a little parkrun tourism, you could do worse than Lee-on-Solent. You’d be wise to check the weather forecast first though. On a wet or windy day, five kilometres up and down the seafront there can feel more like ten. If you’re looking for a PB course, this might just be it but beware, it can get quite congested for middle of the pack runners. The big bonus is the number of cafes around the finish line for your post parkrun treat.

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The Gosport Half Marathon and PB for Commando – first published 17 november 2013

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Saturday 16 November 2013 was completely devoted to food. First there was a wander around Sainsbury’s with a basket that ended up so heavy I could hardly carry it. “Why didn’t you get a trolley?” Commando said when I moaned. The simple answer was, if I could fit it in a basket I knew I could carry it home. Even so the walk back down the hill was a struggle with four heavy canvas bags, two slung over each shoulder. After that it was packing away food and cooking food. Seriously, all I did all day was that and a quick bathroom clean. The kitchen was filled with containers of curry, home made curry pastes, pastas and a chicken noodle stir fry. The reason for all this mad Saturday activity was the Gosport Half Marathon.  Continue reading The Gosport Half Marathon and PB for Commando – first published 17 november 2013

Spitfires on Tour!

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7 May 2016

Saturday is Parkrun day, at least it is in our house. This Saturday was a little different though because, for once, there was no Parkrun on the Common. A big event was going on there, a kind of obstacle race with giant inflatables like bouncy castles and the Parkrunners had been ousted for a week. Commando thought he’d probably go to Victoria Country Park instead and, remembering the last time I’d watched him run there, I was quite looking forward to it. There’s nothing quite like a stroll beside the sea first thing in the morning to set you up for the day. Continue reading Spitfires on Tour!

the Gosport half marathon

Runners gathering at Bay House School
Runners gathering at Bay House School

16 November 2014

Shortly after eight on Sunday morning Commando and I were in Mattie Matiz setting off for the Gosport Half Marathon. Unsurprisingly it was raining. It seems I’m going to have to learn to love walking in the rain or give up altogether. The first option is difficult, the second impossible. This was the third Gosport Half for Commando and the first one we haven’t got lost getting to. Before you say anything he has always been both driver and navigator. Continue reading the Gosport half marathon