Yesterday (Saturday 13th March) was the 52nd notparkrunday. That’s a whole year without parkrun. When Covid-19 caused parkrun to be suspended back in March 2020, Mrs Chippy and I decided we would carry on with our regular 5 km runs at 9 am on a Saturday morning. Originally, we called them Socially Distanced Runs, until the notparkrunday word was created. I don’t think anyone expected parkrun to be suspended for more than a few weeks – there was astonishment when we reached 13.
Every Saturday morning (apart from one occasion when we moved our notparkrunday to Sunday), plus Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, we have run 5 km (or more). Usually at 9 am, but occasionally other commitments meant we started a bit earlier or later.
We deliberately avoided the regular parkrun route but have found several routes around Eastleigh. Our favourite, and most frequently visited, is Lakeside Country Park. Anywhere else, we now refer to as parkrun tourism!
On the rare trips to the Midlands during non-lockdown periods to visit parents, we have found routes through Leicestershire countryside or Sheffield city centre (I get told off for referring to Sheffield as the north-east Midlands). We’ve even grown pretty good at estimating a 5 km route (two laps of the perimeter of Fleming Park, if you were wondering)
We have kept other parkrun traditions too. A run report is written each week. This was something we started for a bit of fun and thought we would end after a few weeks. So many people said how much they enjoy reading them, we carried on.
We divide the usual parkrun volunteer roles between us, and allocate a few to unsuspecting passers-by. We sometimes invent a few volunteer roles as well (see if you can spot the made-up roles in the list below)
We’ve worn fancy dress on special occasions, such as Christmas and Halloween. We marked both the twentieth notparkrunday and New Year’s Day with two notparkruns in different parks. We bought ourselves special shirts (and fitness tracker watches). And made the national parkrun news one week.
And so to the details for notparkrunday number 52.
We were back at our favourite Lakeside course after a few weeks where mud kept us (well, Mrs Chippy) away. A beautiful sunny morning, but still a bit breezy. And the mud and puddles hadn’t gone away as much as we’d expected.
But the mud was soon forgotten when we visited the amazing Lakeside Café for a coffee and bacon roll.
And the volunteer roles:
- Run Director – Chippy
- Tail Walker – Mrs Chippy
- Course Inspection – Chippy (“It’ll be fine”)
- Timer – Garmin Forerunner
- Finish Funnel – Mrs Chippy
- Marshals – Geese, ducks, dog-walkers and a few toddlers and their parents
- Run Report – Chippy
- Run Report proof-reader – Mrs Chippy
- New Shirt Fashion Model – Chippy
- Needs new shoes – Chippy