Eight hundred... nine hundred... one thousand and still they came across the finish line in the 255th Southampton parkrun at Southampton Common before cramming into the Hawthorns Centre cafe to celebrate their personal best attendance one week after ABP Southampton Marathon had gone head to head with a slightly better known 26.2 miler in London!
Pen And Paper Needed In Southampton
Rumour has it that Southampton told London about the revival of their marathon but London went ahead with their event anyway! Whether it was Southampton or London that inspired local runners is not clear but the effect was obvious with the 5k one of three parkruns that experienced a four-figure attendance on Saturday.
The funnel volunteers first reached for the rarely used 900-1000 finisher barcode set before resorting to good old fashioned pen and paper to record another 32 runners on 29 April; then repeating the exercise on 6 May as 1013 filed across the line on Southampton Common.
Another record was set in the latest event as 63 volunteers turned up to help manage the huge number of runners. Part of the course was reversed to ease congestion and it seems this will be retained as runner feedback was positive and there were more personal bests than ever. Southampton parkrunner Ollie Woods commented: “Shows how awesome our run is that so many people want to come to it."
Southampton parkrun started on 7 July 2012 in the height of pre-London Olympic fever, with 254 finishers and 24 volunteers. Since then there have been 256 runs with an average of 510 runners attending. The course records are held by Mahamed Mahamed (14:56) and Lorna Russell (16:40), while Zakariya Mahamed holds the age-graded best at 91.21%.
The top three parkruns for attendance now reads: Bushy Park (1705 on 14/10/14), Southampton (1032 on 29/04/17) and Cannon Hill (1025 on 06/05/17). With gold, silver and bronze claimed it remains to be seen where the next 1000-plus parkrun stat will emerge but Poole is certainly a contender with a best of 949 on 15 April 2017 – watch this space!
Find your local parkrun at the UK event website here and for all the latest news at Southampton visit their website here.