Frimley Lodge parkrun

This weeks parkrun tour took us to Frimley Green, a mere 25 minutes away from “home” and just a short trip up the M3.

At least it would have been a short trip if I hadn’t gone into the controflow lane, missed the exit and have to travel down 2 further exits to make a U turn and head back in the right direction! This, along with some roadworks directly at the front of the park (which were mentioned on Facebook) meant it was a bit touch and go, but we managed to make it to hear the last part of the “First timers briefing”. Unfortunately, we missed the most important part (Talking about the course and the specifics of the event) and only heard the part we already knew (About tokens and barcode scanning). Thankfully though they had this fantastic notice board containing all the information we needed to know! I think i may just steal this idea for Yeovil Montacute!

A nice touch, a board with all the information you need to know about the event
A nice touch, a board with all the information you need to know about the event

One piece of information,  is that if you are registered with a barcode then you are covered by parkrun insurance. This is slightly inaccurate – Regardless of your “Registered” status, if you are running or volunteering at a parkrun event you are covered by UKA insurance. Other than that it highlighted all the key points and was a great resource for the first timer.

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One point not quite accurate, but otherwise very useful info!

The weather was quite frankly miserable. Drizzly rain, overcast and windy. It didn’t stop the 350+ runners turning up in force though. I obviously didn’t pack for the weather…

Looking cool before the start (Literally - it was freezing!)
Looking cool before the start (Literally – it was freezing!)

Though Jodie didn’t seem to mind!

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The runners gathered together and before long the run briefing got started. The Run Director was brilliant, highlighting all the key runs for those running their 50th, 100th and other arbitrary numbers. He also sought any tourists, which there were a few. We did get a little applause for representing Yeovil Montacute!

A gathering of runners
A gathering of runners

I didn’t realise though (And being an avid parkrun show listener, I should have…) that this was Darren “496 runs” Wood’s home parkrun! I should have found him and met him, what a legend! I’m looking forward to the last show where Darren completes his 500th.

Before long we were sent to the start. It was a VERY congested start, and my positioning compared to my pace didn’t really help. There were so many people to weave around, but it was my own fault.

The course is a 2 lapper, starting with a half lap of a football pitch fields before running down a canal towpath before doubling back through some more playing fields, past a model railway, some more playing fields before rounding the toilet.changing block for lap 2/the finish.

Speaking of model railways, this is the second one I’ve run past along with Weymouth – I wonder how many more parkruns with model railways are out there?

Anyway, back to the course, I’m not a huge fan of laps around playing fields, but the canal and wooded sections were really lovely, and in spite of the playing fields the park is quite secluded in a nice picturesque setting. The first lap was tough, as I was doing a lot of weaving. I actually ran most of it on a separate track parallel to the main route in order to overtake. It was no shortcut though, with little slopes, branches to negotiate and muddy puddles to conquer. My road shoes didn’t have a huge amount of grip and would recommend trail shoes, even in the summer, as there is precious little tarmac for roadies to grip on.

One of the reasons we wanted to visit Frimley Lodge was to visit the home run of Graham Petrie, who died after taking part in a new year’s day parkrun double. Though I didn’t know Graham personally, he was a friend of my Dad. I knew Graham was a parkrunner due to his interactions with my Dad on Facebook, though I didn’t know where he ran. When I read about the tragic news and saw his name, my heart sank. I shared the news with my Dad, who had no idea. Sorry to have broken the news that way. But it goes to show what a small world it is and how parkrun brings people together. My Dad and Stepmum went to the funeral, and also visited the Frimley Lodge parkrun course, where they had heard he had a memorial. Unfortunately, they couldn’t find it, so I wanted to find it for them.

A lovey tribute to Graham Petrie
A lovey tribute to Graham Petrie

It was around halfway around the lap. It was nice to see runners touching the post as they run past in a mark of respect, and long may that continue. That, along with the presentation of a posthumous 100 club tee shirt seems quite a fitting tribute to someone who clearly loved parkrun – and seeing the runners pay homage, it seems clear that parkrun loved him too. Rest in peace, Graham.

Back to my run, I gradually picked up the pace a bit until I caught up with Jodie again and ran with her for a short time before kicking on again. This time it was much less congested and ran a much quicker second lap. Due to conditions the run wasn’t exactly quick for me – I was astonished to see the first finisher crossed the line in about 16 minutes. In dry conditions that would be about 30 seconds off that I reckon. The depth of the field was brilliant though, with a wide range of runners nailing impressive times!

After I crossed the line I stayed on to wait for Jodie, and this lady caught my eye. She was so encouraging and cheery, she reminded me of Nikkii back home. Every parkrun should have at least one! Brilliant encouragement!

The lady in the black 100 tee shirt wins my "Best supporter" award - magnificent encouragement on the finish straight!
The lady in the black 100 tee shirt wins my “Best supporter” award – magnificent encouragement on the finish straight!

Jodie made it to the end and I got this snap of her.

Faster than a speeding bullet!
Faster than a speeding bullet!

We couldn’t stick around for Coffee as we had to get back for a family party, but it was a pleasure to run at Frimley Lodge. Parking was plentiful, there were toilets and changing rooms and the cafe was onsite.

We will certainly be back, though probably in a summer month to run faster times! Thankyou of course to all the magnificent voluncheers that made it possible.

We’re in the same area next week too, Rushmoor or Alice Holt await – can anyone recommend which to do first? The other will be done in a few weeks!

Event photos, taken from the Frimley Lodge facebook page, courtesy of Chris Peddle.

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