28 Nov

Netley Abbey parkrun celebrates the life of a stalwart

Netley Abbey parkrun

There was a record attendance of runners and volunteers as Netley Abbey parkrun dedicated its 414th run to the memory of Beth Ingason. The tragedy was turned into overwhelming support as the parkrun and athletics community coalesced to pay tribute to the Hedge End Running Club member.

Beth Ingason ran 32:08 at Market Harborough in 2016 and her best of 134 Netley Abbey parkruns was 32:42 in 2017. Equally at home in hi-viz, Beth clocked up 136 volunteer duties, including acting as Run Director.
Saturday's (23 November) Netley Abbey record was 459 runners plus 70 volunteers, with 83 'Hedgies' joining the one minute applause held before the start in memory of their colleague. Runners were requested to wear bright clothing to celebrate the life of a parkrun stalwart. 
Netley Abbey core team liaised with Beth's family and her husband Peter asked them to go ahead with the run as usual, while taking the opportunity to pay their respects in a rather special and moving way. Numbers were boosted by many former work colleagues, friends and family, who were newcomers and appreciated the unrivalled parkrun family support. 
Following the run something wonderful has happened as a book of memories has been started and parkrun tourist Jo of the NHS mental health support service 'Steps to Wellbeing' has posted detailed advice on Netley Abbey parkrun's Facebook page. This has started a crucial conversation, with many offers of help from trained and knowledgeable parkrunners.
We would like to share the following brief extract from that advice as it seems simple and obvious, yet we all too often shy away from offering a supportive ear:
“Perhaps one of the greatest tributes we can pay Beth is to keep looking out for each other during the week between parkruns, to check in with each other and (even if it's not very British) to tell each other that we care about them. Do make sure you look after yourself too, and practice self-care. Do shout up to someone if you are struggling”. 
Netley Abbey parkrun launched on 17 March 2012 with 161 runners and 21 volunteers. The inaugural first finishers were Steve Marcer (Southampton AC, 18:11) and Sue Sleath (Romsey Road Runners, 20:24). First finishers on Saturday were Michael Gregory (Stubbington Green Runners, 18:09) and Natasha Angel (22:09). 
Netley Abbey is the most complete surviving abbey built by the Cistercian monks in southern England. Standing proudly next to Southampton Water, the romantic ruin reflects nearly 800 years of change since Peter des Roches, Bishop of Winchester, founded the abbey in 1238.
Images courtesy Ken Grist/Netley Abbey parkrun and English Heritage
netley Abbey