Tag Archives: Yeovil Montacute parkrun

Southwick Country parkrun

Having had to cancel this weeks Yeovil Montacute parkrun due to high winds, Jodie and I, along with her visiting friend headed off to Southwick Country Park to run their run. It was the closest local event and the Event Director there is also our Ambassador.

It took about an hour and the weather was a it drizzly, but it was unseasonably mild at around 13 degrees – not that you could tell with the gusty wind whipping around us!

We arrived at about 8.30 with plenty of parking and it was easy and obvious to find the start and finish, the volunteer hi-vis and registration tent in the field by the entrance. On entering the park we saw this amazing statue! Constructed by local parkrunners it was presented on the very first Southwick Country parkrun and holds pride of place. Sadly, one of those who made it died recently, and the team paid their respects to him last week.

"Spirit of the oarkrunner" and Ambassador Sean Price
“Spirit of the parkrunner” and Ambassador Sean Price

The start/finish area was already bustling with runners and volunteers, who were busily putting together the makeshift funnel. Usually its on the grass, but it was too squidgy today. The backup plan is to use cones on the concrete but they kept getting blown away! The creative solution was 2 volunteers holding a piece of tape – not sure if there is a predefined volunteer role for “Human Cone”!

Matt's Nokia Lumia 930_20150110_010Meanwhile we took the opportunity to get a Southwick selfie!

Southwick Selfie!
Southwick Selfie!

Before long we were called to the start – about a 300 yard walk from the funnel area. We left our bags next to this tent – unfortunately shortly after this photo the wind got the better of it and it took a group of volunteers to grab it! I saw it stuffed under a fence after the run!

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There were plenty of people gathering up on the start. As paths are narrow, everyone was snaked up at the start and the team had to call people in closer to do the run briefing, during which I had a special “shout out” which was very kind and a small ripple of applause!

Run BriefingMatt's Nokia Lumia 930_20150110_012 Matt's Nokia Lumia 930_20150110_011The run briefing covered everything we needed to know, including the course description. 2 and 3/4 laps (Anticlockwise), and we had to pass the “Spirit of the parkrunner” statue twice. If you passed it a third time, you’ve missed the funnel!

The course was hard compact trail. Perfectly adequate to wear road shoes, but in the wet conditions trail shoes may have been a better choice, though not by much. The course was quite puddly – which I love! I don’t know why, but when you’re running a wet course people around you tend to run at the side and try and avoid getting their feet damp – that opens up nice big overtaking gaps, so I run through the middle and the water keeps you cool!

Another nice touch was that they have permanent marker posts, indicating the start, finish, and each kilometre. They are carved into short stump type posts, perfectly fitting with the aesthetic of the park and ideal for anyone wanting to have a freedom run.

My run was meant to be part of a 4mile recovery jog, but after the first half a mile I was enjoying myself too much and picked up the pace to finish at about my threshold pace, with a negative spit for every km I think! I finished in 25th place in 22:15. It was my 34th run across 13 different parkrun events. I thanked all the volunteers on the way round, and if you don’t – I recommend you do! Without them you couldn’t run, and on a multi lap course theres no excuse not to say thankyou to each marshal at least once.

Afterwards we went to the cafe, which also had toilets. You can use the toilets ahead of the run, but only if you come back and use the cafe afterwards, which is very fair! It was very busy and clearly enjoyed by parkrunners – it was standing room only!

Matt's Nokia Lumia 930_20150110_015

They had an amazing selection of cakes on display, did a fantastic looking cooked breakfast and was all very good value. The other nice thing about the cafe is that it supports a local charity for adults with learning disabilities – another brilliant example of how parkrun supports local communities.

We hit the road shortly afterwards, whilst this nice lady was sorting the tokens. We had a lovely time, and will be back in the summer to have a crack in the dry!

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 UPDATE: “Official” photos from Southwick Country parkrun’s Flickr Group.

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Manchester Marathon Training: Week 3 of 18

Week 3 marked the final week of 2014, an enormous year for me running wise and ushered in a new one with new targets. It also saw the last week of training plan disruption caused by the festive period, though this was managed quite nicely thanks to some creative thinking!

According to the book/training plan, this week called for:

Tuesday – 10m GA
Wednesday – 4m Recovery
Thursday – 8m (4m LT)
Saturday – 4m R
Sunday – 14m MLR

And this largely remained unchanged, except Thursday was New Years day! I wanted to take the opportunity to do a “parkrun double” s decided to switch the Tuesday and Thursday session, and add a mile either side of each parkrun which worked quite well.


Tuesday’s LT run was much harder than when I did it a few weeks ago. A Christmas of indulgence made me pay the price by delivering a tough run. I managed to hit the splits but it was far less comfortable. Note to self: Shift the Christmas timber!

Thursday was parkrun double day! In Bristol, Chipping Sodbury and Pomphrey Hill started an hour and a half apart allowing 155 people to do both. As I was due to do 10m at General Aerobic pace, I though a mile warm up and warm down for each would be a good way of fulfilling the training obligations provided I didn’t take them too fast…. Jodie and I drove up with friends Nikkii, Steve, Paige and Kam and also stumbled across the Biss family who were also on double duty! It made for a good away day for Yeovil Montacute!


Chipping Sodbury is a 3 lap course on narrow tarmac paths around a rugby club playing fields. The tourism/NYD factor tripled their average attendance and the first lap was quite congested. This helped me keep it easy. I then started getting a bit faster as the run went on and even kicked in a solid finish before having a cool down lap. The people and marshals were lovely, though the course wasn’t the most interesting. Very flat though, and could be good for a PB in the right conditions!

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Pomphrey Hill was similar in that it was a three lapper, but had a feature hill which of course needed to be climbed 3 times! My warm up lap took me down it and it put the Yeovil Montacute hill to shame! The course is all tarmac apart from the hill and a section along the top which was woodchipping (Apparently the hill woodchippings are quite new – would have hated to have tackled it without them!) and the paths are much wider. I found the surroundings much nicer for some reason, and actually think this is one of my favourite parkruns!

In my run I decided to give it a good tempo effort as I liked the challenge of the hill. I wasn’t going all out but set a pleasing time with a good finish.

1910997_10152973371632241_4597823702280872528_oI couldn’t quite believe it but we had loads of volunteers for Saturday’s parkrun too, so I got the opportunity to run at home too! The idea was I’d do the run at recovery pace. It started well, but the competitive juices got going and upped the pace for the last mile. This was semi conscious – the last mile is ALWAYS the one my pace drops off at. So by injecting a quick last mile in a “training” run, meant I could get a psychological boost without affecting my training too much and taking too much out of my legs for the Sunday long run. I even managed a sprint finish!

16184689495_c73935357b_kThis puts me on 33 parkruns, a tantalising 17 from the 50 club!

Sunday of course meant a long run. 14 miles at LR pace. I managed to keep things nice and consistent, managed a good amount of climbing for strength building. The first 9 miles flew by, and the last 5 got gradually harder – though that’s to be expected!

Week 4 started today with a rest day! And it’s officially the start of Jantastic! The free online motivation challenge helps you to be consistent with your running, as consistency is the key to improvement. Sign up at http://www.jantastic.me to take part!


Yeovil Montacute parkrun #52

I went into parkrun on Saturday thinking about a shot at a PB. I’d pulled out my Salomon Speedcross shoes and worked out my target pace. Unfortunately, I don’t think i was mentally prepared for it. Pre-run I was busy co-ordinating volunteers and doing my favourite part of parkrun – talking parkrun with other parkrunners. I spent too much time doing that though and before I knew it, and with barely time for a warm up, the run briefing was starting!

I hit my paces OK for the first mile, but it went downhill from there. The conditions were tough underfoot, and the general consensus was that the course was running slower. Halfway round I semi gave up on my PB attempt and just ran it comfortably hard. I only missed my PB by about a minute, but I knew after mile 1 it wasn’t my day.

Jodie on the other hand, absolutely smashed it! It was her 4th parkrun of the month, and her first attempt at a new PB, and only went and delivered! A 15s PB in those conditions was a brilliant acheivement! Tantalizingly close to Sub 29, but inside the top 100! Her main aim at the moment though is to run a time faster than the “Average run time” published at the bottom of the Yeovil Montacute website, so she can say she is an “Above average runner” which is a very respectable target. I reckon she’ll have done that by the end of the year.

Some cracking photos of us taken this week too, which I’ve uploaded below. Taken from the Flickr group.

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My weekend running – a Tour de France special!

What a weekend!

So I awoke on Saturday morning ready to go an herd the cattle at Montacute Park ready for another parkrun. The cows were particularly frisky – much worse than last week. They were really spooked and charging around all over the place. At one point I had to run for my life as they turned to charge me!

Eventually we got them vaguely under control, and just as we were trying to herd them into another field through the gate, they decided instead to charge the fence. 50+ cows jumping over or diving through a barbed wire fence was not what I was expecting. And it looked nasty – we were worried for the cows, especially the one that landed on its neck. Fortunately they all got up and calmed down. Which meant parkrun could go ahead as normal.

The intention for me this week was to pace the missus round as part of an easy 5 miler. But as soon as Nikkii, marshal extraordinaire got wind of this, she decided that I had to go for a PB!

I should qualify the above paragraph by saying that my 5k PB was set because of Nikkii’s encouragement. At the Yeovilton 5k I was intending to run sub-2 for the first time. Nikkii thought better of it and said I could go sub-22. She was utterly convincing, so i worked out my pace and just went for it. And I only bloody went and got it didn’t I! So from now on, I listen to Nikkii!

Now we’d previously announced that we’d be doing a Tour de France special, and encouraged runners to turn up in “Yellow Jerseys” and helmets. I was the only one sporting a helmet though.

The only time I’ll ever be ahead of the Biss boys!

Whether the slipstream of the helmet helped or not I’m not sure – But stats don’t lie and I took 25 seconds of my CB. And for a challenging course like Yeovil Montacute parkrun I was delighted. Not quite sure I’m ready to try a flat course yet though!

Saturday came and went and when I woke up on Sunday morning, whilst checking Facebook, Neil had taken the above photo and worked some Photoshop magic to produce these little corkers!

Fabulous photos, I love them!

Sunday is long slow run day, and I blasted through a lovely 10 miler. Averaging around 9:15m/m it was just the pace I wanted to hit. After 5 miles though the heavens opened and I was utterly drenched. It only lasted 10 minutes though, and as I ran the remaining 4 or so miles the clothes dried a bit, and as the sun came out I could see the steam from the evaporation along the cycle path. It was quite the site.

I really must start taking a camera on these long slow runs!