My parkrun A-Z: Guildford parkrun

Map of Guildford parkrun with 'My parkrun A-Z: Guildford parkrun' superimposed on it.

After doing our last three parkruns at Moors Valley, Killerton and the Eden Project, we were looking forward to seeing friends at our home parkrun today, however, we ended up doing Guildford parkrun.

Why did we go to Guildford parkrun?

We’re busy planning ahead for a trip to Australia in the autumn. We last went two years ago. At that point, there were plenty of second hand running buggies available at low prices. I picked up an old Mountain Buggy Terrain for £20. This time around, secondhand running buggies are being sold for astronomical prices, so I decided it would be easier to buy a secondhand travel bag to put our buggy in. Someone was selling one near to Farnborough. I’ve already done Frimley parkrun, so we decided to get up early and squeeze in Guildford parkrun before collecting the buggy bag.

Seven letters to go to be an alphabeteer. Queen Elizabeth is likely to be next.

The start of Guildford parkrun

We arrived quite early, so there was plenty of parking available at Guildford Spectrum leisure centre. We sat there in the car for 10 minutes as the tail end of Storm Hannah meant it was extremely windy. I was starting to regret wearing shorts!

Runners at the start of Guildford parkrun.

I’d spent some time looking up Guildford parkrun as I knew the weather meant there were likely to be event cancellations. The course is two laps of Stoke Park. Yet again, I made assumptions. I thought it would be reasonably flat as it’s a park. After the hills of the last fortnight, I was so relieved that it was only gently undulating.

There are toilets at the start of the run and it’s also possible to leave your jacket in the changing rooms. There is a PA system, so it was easy to hear the run briefing. A nice touch was that the names of all of the volunteers were read out… however, given the number of volunteers that we have at Southampton, I can’t see us doing that any time soon!

First lap of the run

There is a very wide start at Guildford parkrun, which is good as it means that by the time the path narrows, runners are positioned according to their pace.

Today’s run had a minor diversion as there was a mini digger on the path. I wasn’t running with M in her buggy, but Stu said she really liked seeing it. There were also some brilliant volunteers who were exceptionally enthusiastic given the weather conditions. I particularly liked the adult and two young boys with cowbells at the far end of the loop.

At the end of the first lap, one of the timekeepers was shouting out times to runners as they passed. It took me 15:45.

Second lap of the run

As I started the second loop, I realised that the wind had picked up again. Running into a headwind is so hard! I set myself the goal to try to pick off as many runners as possible.

Stuart and M were watching for me on the final straight. I had to wave lots before M finally noticed me!

I then did my best to pick up the pace for a slight sprint finish.

How did I do?

I had hoped that I would beat my time from Eden Project parkrun, which felt much harder, but I was about 30s slower. I’m partly to blame as I’m not managing my asthma well at the moment.

Some other stats

After last week’s surprising stat (I was the runner who had completed the most runs at the Eden Project parkrun), I thought I’d see where I placed in that list this week. I was 4th in the list after three men, all of whom were called Andrew (which was my maiden name!)

So far in 2019, I’ve run 13 parkruns. Unbelievably, only 6 of those runs have taken place at Southampton! Illness prevented me from doing a New Year’s double and I’ve also been Run Director a few times.

Did you parkrun this weekend? Is your parkrun popular with tourists? Why?

I'd love to hear your thoughts...

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