It is the first morning of the half term holiday, so what happens at MrsBridgewater's house? Do we all get a well earned lie in followed by a leisurely breakfast? Of course not! The alarm was set for 6.45am, which is to be fair 55 minutes later than a week day, and we had a quick breakfast, opened a few birthday presents (my baby girl is 7 today) and then I set off for Brokenhurt's inaugural parkrun. Just one accompanying child this week, which seems to have become the norm. He has decided to run with me a couple of times during the week too, and I had great hopes that this would improve his parkrun performance. We also picked up a passenger on the way, and prepared ourselves mentally for heavy Bank Holiday traffic.
We were pleasantly surprised, the traffic was light and we got there with time to spare. We weren't the only 'parkrun tourists' making a journey today, there was a knock on my car window before I'd even taken the key out of the ignition and and old friend was standing there. As I looked around I saw lots of familiar faces from last week at Queen Elizabeth parkrun and overheard the comment that this was becoming a bit of a moveable feast... same faces different venue! I like this aspect of inaugurals. I think it must give first time parkrunners a real sense of the type community that their new parkrun will develop into.
Brockenhurst parkrun is held on the sports fields of Brockenhurst College. The course details told me that it was a 4 lap course and fairly flat. All of the course is on grass. I think I may have mentioned once or twice that I don't like grass. And I really don't like laps. I am still wondering what on Earth possessed me to enter a 17 lap marathon next weekend.... After the run briefing we set off towards that back of the pack, we could see the field spread out as the speedy runners pulled ahead. The weather was sunny but the wind was chilly, so it was a case of baking in the sunny bits and feeling rather cold in the shade!
My young companion had been running splendidly during the week, we'd been for two runs together of 2 miles and 2.5 miles, and he'd averaged 10 minute/mile pace. I had great hopes that he'd pull a new parkrun PB out of the bag this week. From the outset he was grumpy. And slow! I was disappointed. I love running with him, but I miss having a good, speedy parkrun blast on a Saturday morning. He got increasingly more miserable (and slower) as we carried on. He started complaining about achey feet, elbows, shoulders, eyeballs, earlobes etc! I said he could stop, but he didn't want to stop. I said that if he smiled he'd feel better, he accused me of lying! I carried on encouraging him, running backwards to cheer him on.
One of the advantages of running at the back is that you often get lapped by the lithe young men, and get a lovely view of their legs as they race past you. On today's four lap run we got lapped twice - an unexpected pleasure! My son was more impressed by watching the passing trains, but each to their own! One of the disadvantages of running on grass is that you often can't hear the faster runners approaching, so we had to work hard to stay out of their way!
On our final lap we were joined by parkrun show presenter Danny Norman who was running his warm down lap. He and I chatted about all things parkrun and grumpy socks fell further behind. Luckily my friend came back and ran with him, which meant I could at least put on a bit of a sprint for the last 100m! I think the grumpiness may be due to not eating a proper breakfast, he is his father's son after all! If Husbando is grumpy it is because he hasn't eaten, so maybe I need to make sure we all get a 'proper breakfast' before we leave rather than allowing him to just grab a snack. He certainly perked up after a post run bacon bap!
A good proportion of the 113 runners and the volunteers descended on Brockenhurt College's internet cafe. It was an inauspicious looking venue housed in a portacabin, but the coffee was surprisingly good. Good enough to drink two cups anyway! It has the advantage of being right next to the finish line, and the lady who runs it is apparently open to the idea of getting 'runner friendly' snacks in... that'll be cake then!
The Brockenhurst venue has free parking, right next to the route, and lovely clean toilets! Nice toilets are always a bonus, especially if you are travelling a long way to get to parkrun. This is a lovely little addition to the parkrun family, I really hope it goes from strength to strength.