My first parkrun of the year and we’ve opted for Bartley Park parkrun; a new parkrun, which only started at the end of December 2021. It is also (drumroll) the first outing for my brand new 250 parkruns T shirt.
The event takes place in Bartley Park, Totton on the outskirts of Southampton. The park is on the edge of a housing estate. There appears to be plenty of parking available in nearby roads, but organisers have asked that visitors park further away so as not to antagonise local residents.
There are toilets in the park, but they’re a good 10 minutes walk from the start. So if like me, just thinking about going for a run makes you need a wee, the choices are threefold; as we drove to Totton, I opted to stop at the toilets first, then drive on to nearer the start. This was easy as the toilet block is close to the road, so I could just pop in and out while the old man sat in the car. Alternatively, make sure you leave ample time to make it to/from the toilets and the start line. Although, as the toilets are actually on the run route, option number three, if you’re not after a PB, could be to stop on the way past.
The course consists of two laps. The park is rather linear so there’s several out and back sections within those laps.
It’s mostly flat with sections of paved paths and some sections of trail. However, on a wet January the trail sections were very water logged and there was rather a lot of mud and puddles to negotiate.
Run Britain rankings for UK parkruns places Bartley Park as 325th fastest out of 706. It has a total elevation of 19 metres. Although it’s pretty flat, there are 4 x 360 degree turns to negotiate.
Not the most scenic of routes, but no major obstacles or inclines meant it wasn’t too taxing, apart from trying to avoid slipping in the mud. It might be fun on a drier day. I got very wet feet, which made me rather grumpy. Also, the path is quite narrow in places, so with runners going out and back along the same path, plus runners lapping me, it was rather congested and not conducive to any sort of social distancing. There also appears to be some local opposition to the event, which was evident among a couple of dog walkers I passed along the way who felt the need to make their opinions known.