For someone who doesn't really do 'parkrun touring' I seem to have visited a fair few parkruns over the last month or so! I like to take advantage of being in the area for something else rather than making a special journey if that makes sense. This Saturday morning I had to drop my youngest son off in Petersfield at 8am (to go SCUBA diving), so had plenty of time to get to a new to me parkrun. I decided Portsmouth Lakeside parkrun looked like a good option - it also gave me the option of visiting Shit Weasel (you may remember him from adventures in Tanzania) afterwards. I did no more research than to ask a friend for a postcode to point my sat nav towards - in my defence last week was somewhat hectic - and that was a mistake!
Portsmouth Lakeside parkrun is very easy to find, there is plenty of parking and friendly marshals to point you in the right direction. The first marshal I saw was wearing a cape, which is when I got an inkling that maybe I should have done a bit of research, but the second one I encountered was just wearing a hi-viz vest (over their clothes -obviously) so I was willing to put the cape down to mild eccentricity. On parking the car I spotted two Wonder Women, some Super Men and various other caped crusaders. Oh dear! I had pitched up for Super Hero Day without a costume! It was also their second birthday and all this combined with a graduating Couch to 5K course made for a very busy parkrun.
The course is very flat, on tarmac and hard packed gravel - with a fair few puddles due to all the April showers. If you like a course with lots of out and back bits where you can see other runners - which I do - then you'll love this course. There were loads of opportunities to spot friends - and I am always amazed at the number of people I know at parkrun - and offer encouragement. I loved the fact that you can't see too far ahead at any point on the route - there is always a corner or a turn coming up soon. I am not sure I actually saw the lake - although I did see tents with people fishing from them - so I must have been a bit daft to miss it! The main landmark I spotted was the Porshe garage! I spent quite a lot of time avoiding puddles rather than running in a straight line (no clean trainers in the car - school girl error!) and that, combined with feeling as though I have been beaten up after trying yoga for the first time earlier this week, meant my time wasn't as fast as last week or as fast as I'd like on such a flat course, but 25:28 and 14th lady (86th overall) is OK considering I need to run at least 13 miles tomorrow. I was also somewhat hampered by the fact that my running tights kept falling down!
After the run, everyone retires to the Starbucks near the start. I chatted to a few people, but dashed off fairly sharpish to meet SW. Lovely to see him and his fiancé again. We went out to breakfast at the Southwick Tea Rooms in the gorgeous village of Southwick. You can't buy a house in this village as they are all part of the Southwick estate - it is beautiful and charming and the Tea Rooms are excellent. Possibly the best post parkrun breakfast I have ever had (eggs Benedict with a pot of tea and a slice of coffee cake to bring home).
So that was Portsmouth Lakeside parkrun. Huge thank you to all the volunteers as always! I may break my non touring rules next week to go and see a friend who is running near Reading....watch this space!