Lymington might be more famous for its sailing history, but thankfully, just over three years ago, it also joined the Parkrun scene.
Why Lymington Parkrun?
Lymington Woodside is the only local parkrun I haven’t tried. So with a long January stretching out in front of us, I thought it would be fun to take the opportunity to make a bit more of an effort on a Saturday morning and try something new.
After two consecutive Saturday cancellations due to a water logged field, it’s easy to see why today’s run took place on the 3 lap, wet weather course, excluding the extra loop of the lower field that makes up the dry weather route.
The briefing takes place outside the pavillion, and because there is a wide start on the grass field, you don’t have the pressure of needing to push to the front if you’re chasing a faster time. From the start you run up a slight hill on the grass before peeling off, dodging the table tennis tables and gym equipment to the right of the pergola, and continuing onto the tarmac park that weaves its way through the ornamental gardens. This was probably one of my favourite bits. It’s really pretty, and I always love a slight technical section.
The solid path continues up a slight hill again and past the skate park before you dog leg around a pole to come back down the hill, this time on the grass. Standardly for January, the field was super squidgy and the entire section on the field was really slippery, especially the sharp turn before you cut back out to the edge of the field. There were definitely a few times that I also stacked it. In hindsight, I think trail shoes would have been a more appropriate choice than my gel kyanos.
You complete the anticlockwise loop (does anyone know a parkrun with a clockwise loop out of interest? I’ve not found one!) of the lower field by joining the tarmac path back to the pavillion. After a further two laps, you finish where you started.
Unfortunately there is no easy train from Bournemouth on a Saturday morning, so I had to drive. There’s very limited parking in the Woodside gardens, but I parked (for free) in the car park at Priestlands Leisure Centre, where parking was nonissue. It was then just over half a mile to the start. A perfect warm up and cool down.
What I especially loved about Lymington Parkrun
- The smaller field, 128 runners this week, gave it a really local community feel. One of the best bits of parkrun.
- The variety of the tarmac, curvy section through the gardens and then more exposed open sections on grass.
- It had a real cross country feel. The course is marked really well by arrows and often, on the grass sections, you are guided by white poles which you run in between. That, and a constant effort not to stack it whilst cornering around a pole was a lot of fun.
- The support at the finish was great.
- I enjoyed the lapped course. Each lap is roughly a mile which makes your splits nice and easy to pace.
And what I didn’t
- I honestly can’t think of anything. I suppose if you like a busier course, you might find this one a bit lonely at times. Also, by the start of the third lap, I was lapping people which may be demoralising for some.
I imagine it would be much faster during the summer months when you aren’t loosing 15 seconds a lap on cornering on squidgy mud! I’m actually fairly chuffed with my 22.25 on this course. If you talking about dropping seconds then I doubt you are going to achieve it here, but because it’s a fairly flat route, I think it probably does have some PB potential in better conditions.
Stats from 4th January 2020
Event number: 167
Number of runners: 128
This weeks fastest: M- 18.50 F- 20.23