Tag Archives: RVCP

parkrun at Royal Victoria Country Park

24 Jan

Yesterday morning I ventured over to Netley Abbey parkrun for a change. I had agreed with my friend Dörte that we would meet up for a run at her local parkrun.

I had originally intended to cycle to Royal Victoria Country Park, but it was very foggy when I got up and as my main cycling jacket is white, that didn’t seem a sensible option, so I was lazy and drove there. It’s a shame as there are some lovely bike racks in the park and the cycle route is usually quite scenic.


I didn’t really give myself enough time to drive, so I only had five minutes to park and get myself to the start line.

After I had dropped my bag with the rest of the baggage, I saw a few of my friends from Lordshill at the start. I had a quick chat with Dave who is trying out the Furman (FIRST) three day a week marathon plan. Whilst we were talking, I felt a little nudge from behind. My lovely friend, Di, was trying to catch my attention, so she had poked me with her foot… unfortunately, it was only as she did it that she realised just how muddy her feet were, so I started the run with a footprint on my bum!

I looked around and couldn’t see Dörte, so I thought I’d set off and would probably see her on the way around as she’s a faster runner than me and it’s a three lap course where you pass other runners.

I find Netley Abbey parkrun to be quite challenging. The current route is a three lap course that has a downhill section before a run parallel to the shore. (If you want to see a bit more of the view, check out this video from the Shipwrecks and Submerged Worlds: Maritime Archaeology course that I was involved in – Julian and Jesse are standing just off the path that we run along, so you can see the Itchen shoreline and Fawley oil refinery in the distance!) I was supposed to be going quickly, so that I could report a 5k time back to Coach Olly, but I got really distracted when I saw a little pug walking along the shingle – oops! There were also some good marshalls along this section.

After the run along the shore, there is an uphill section that is quite narrow and can only fit two runners abreast. Then it’s back onto the main path, which is quite muddy and has a number of puddles on it at the moment.

After a few minutes to get your breath back, there’s another uphill section, before heading through the woods and a lovely downhill section, which is also quite muddy and leafy.

Several times during the run, I saw Ben who was the first finisher and I also saw Dave, Di, Khalid, Rodolfo, Aurelio, Kelly and various other friends… but no Dörte.

Going into the last lap, Kelly passed me. I don’t see her very often as Kelly runs with Hedge End Running Club and doesn’t come to Southampton parkrun very often, but Kelly and I ran our first half marathon together and finished Stubbington 10k in exactly the same time last week. I tried to stick with Kelly when she passed me, but I was just feeling too tired to keep up. I think this week’s interval sessions have taken it out of me a bit!


There used to be a large hospital for wounded servicemen at Netelet Abbey – now the chapel is all that remains in the park

The section back on the flat is challenging as the right hand side of the path has fewer puddles so runners coming in the other direction often veer onto this side of the path.

On the final lap there is a really long finishing straight, which is great if you’re feeling like really going for it at the end of the lap. I got to the final 100m and wanted to have a sprint finish, but I had nothing left. I had assumed that I would get a time of 26:XX, but it was not to be. My time on my Garmin was 27:15, which is quite disappointing.

Netley Abbey parkrun 209 23 Jan 2016

A look at the stats was a little less depressing – I finished 3rd out of 21 in my age category and was 21/110 women. Overall, I was 123rd out of 270. I also realised that my time was a PB on this course – although I have only run it 3 times before and it has generally been with other people. First place in my age category was a time of 26:01 – I reckon that I can manage that with a bit more training!

Overall, this is a lovely parkrun. Occasionally, it is run on a multi-loop course around teh cricket pitch, which is quite dull, but the other main route is also attractive. The marshalls were great and as the event isn’t too big, it still has a local comunity feel to it.

Afterwards, lots of people adjourned to the cafe for a drink. I sent my friend, Dörte a text message and found out that she hadn’t been able to make the run, but she was able to cycle down to the cafe to met me… this also gives me a great excuse to come back to Netley, so that we can have a run together!

And now for something completely different… You may have noticed that it’s ‘Way Back Week’ on Facebook. Here’s my photo from about 1980!




“I came across a fallen tree…”

5 Jan

Today was my second long run of my marathon training. I had originally planned to incorporate it with a CC6 (cross-country race), but the weather here has been horrendous, so I thought it might be very hard to force myself to run 9 or so miles home from a race whilst wet and muddy (and I would have had to take a change of shoes as my trail shoes would not be comfortable on the road). Instead, I agreed to meet Teri and Justin at 7:45am. Teri is training for her first marathon – she is doing the London Marathon the week after I do Brighton and she’s raising money for Friends of PICU (Southampton’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit)

We decided to run through some parks in town, across the Itchen Bridge and along to coastal path to Royal Victoria Country Park and back as I knew that would be around 20km. I also made an effort to take more photos than usual on our run, as I rarely take a phone/camera out on my runs.

We took the first 5km at a steady pace, before pausing on the top of the Itchen Bridge for some photos.

Teri, Justin and I at the top of the Itchen Bridge

Teri, Justin and I at the top of the Itchen Bridge

I’m not really a fan of selfies – I always manage to give myself multiple chins in them! My lovely sister also pointed out that I look bald, but I really do have hair!!! Anyway, the running conditions were perfect. After weeks of rain and strong winds, it remained dry for our entire run and even on top of the bridge there wasn’t even a gentle breeze. Also, despite the industrial surroundings, it was quite a beautiful run.

The sky over Woolston

The sky over Woolston

View from the Itchen Bridge

Skies like this make the early morning starts feel worthwhile

We carried on over the bridge, down the steps and into Weston, before following the footpath along Weston Shore.

Beautiful view of the sky from Weston Shore

Beautiful view of the sky from Weston Shore

Beautiful view of the sky from Weston Shore

It was a beautiful morning to be running.

There were quite a few dog-walkers out enjoying the break in the weather, and one older chap with Wellington boots on warned us that it was wet underfoot ahead. We thanked him and carried on, assuming that the ground might be a little bit muddy… how wrong we were! Water was flowing down the adjacent road and then right across the path and onto the beach. There was no way that we could vault the river, so we had to go through it. It was a little disappointing that we had covered 8km with dry feet and had to squelch from this point onwards, but as we were moving quickly and the air was still, we quickly dried out and warmed up again.

Further on, we found that the path was indeed quite muddy and there were some obstacles to negotiate. I let Teri and Justin run on, whilst I got out my phone to take some pictures of them traversing the fallen tree.

Teri, Justin and a fallen tree

“I came across a fallen tree…” © Keane

It was a surprisingly large tree with a distinct fork, so that there were two large branches – one that they went under and another that they climbed over.

Teri and Justin climbing over a tree

Which way now? Under then over!

Teri and Justin climbing over a tree

Teri showing off her talent as an outdoor sports model

I then put my phone away and caught up with them for the last part of the run to Royal Victoria Country Park. It is a particularly scenic park, but I forgot to get my camera out again, so unfortunately, I don’t have any photos to share. I’ve run there a few times before as it’s the setting for Netley Abbey parkrun and also an RR10 (cross-country race for local clubs). After looping around the park, we headed back towards the Itchen Bridge the same way we came.

Teri had been joking with Justin that whenever she runs with me, we always see someone who I know. I think this is probably because I’ve been quite visible at parkrun for the last few years and also know quite a few people through my running club. Anyway, true to form, as we were running through Woolston on the way back to the bridge, we saw John (one of my fellow parkrun Run Directors) running towards us. I think he’s training for another marathon and it looked like he was going pretty fast.

I started tiring as we got to the bridge, so although Teri was able to motivate me to run up the steps, I had to walk for a little bit. We then ran back over the bridge and then took a slightly different route back to the start through another park.

Overall, I did 22km, so I fulfilled my distance goal, but I think my recent cold and sinusitis has really taken it out of me as I felt exhausted and I failed to run at my long slow run pace (I was 30s/km too slow). For full details of my run, look on Garmin Connect: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/424857264 or Strava: http://www.strava.com/activities/104152032