A panic jog to wonderful Southall parkrun

I’m not aiming for Lon-done because there are so many, but lots of my NENDY’s are now in London and so I am gradually making a dent in that section of the map.

I was not sure where to go and Branka was free and fancied ticking off another London event, and suggested Southall. This wasn’t particularly on my radar, but I rewatched the With Me Now video and this made me really look forward to it.

Branka had booked a Just Park spot right by the park at 8:30, and picked me up just after 7:30 to give us loads of time to get there. All was going well and we were having a lovely catch up in the car, but then we ended up taking a wrong turn (all those roundabouts underneath underpasses are so confusing) and headed up the M1 for a bit. Thankfully there was a services that we could turn around in, but this meant we didn’t arrive at the parking space until 8:45. We were both happy to miss the first timers welcome, and though that 15 minutes would be plenty of time to get to the park. However, we had not banked on our sense of direction (or lack of). If you know me or have read this previously, you will probably know that I am not great with directions. Never mind, I’ve learnt how to use live view on Google Maps. Only for some reason the route took us in a bit of a circle, with us running up and down the same street and retracing our steps for a bit, even when Branka tried her apple maps. When we finally reached the park it was 9am and we could see the parkrun being started. Panic jog indeed!

A few photos taken as we walked around during the event.

However, this is an absolute parkrun gem, and as we got closer the marshals pointed us to the start, and told us we could catch up with the “person in orange” (tail walker)- we headed past the start/finish area and all the volunteers cheered us on. We were run/walking as Branka is recovering from an injury, and at one point were overtaken by another runner who was late to the start. We had probably gone around a km (we could always see the tail walker and were gradually catching her up) when she turned around and began walking back to us. The person who had overtaken us had told her, and she had come back for us. Honestly, it was such a kind gesture. We ended up chatting to her a fair bit on the way around too (hopefully she will come to Panshanger soon as it was on her list but she was put off by stories of how bad the parking can be)- she was so lovely as she chatted to us a lot but also chatted to the marshals, cheered on runners as they headed past and collected the cones etc on our final lap.

As well as the most wonderful tail walker (above), this event had such a welcoming team of volunteers. All of the marshals on the route were fantastic and there was lots of chat between participants and volunteers which added to the community feel.

When we finished we of course had the purple pop up sign photo (and were photo bombed by one of the volunteers), were offered chocolates, admired their token sorting board (below) and chatted to a few of the team. It was so wonderful.

As Branka had the parking space until 10:30, we had a wander around the park for a bit, visiting the globe sculpture and again chatted to a few locals walking through the park. The park itself is wonderful too- so varied with lots of wildflower areas, a community orchard, a recently re-created pond, some brilliant looking playgrounds for kids, outdoor fitness equipment – so much packed into a small area. Yes on paper it’s three laps of a small patch of greenery in a built up area, but it’s so much more than that.

Our journey home was more uneventful, just more catching up on parkrun plans as usual!

So, that was my 365th parkrun (one for every day of a year!), and my 115th different location, and ticked off another London event. There are so many that I only gained a small purple chunk on my map!

Before and after! Spot the difference…

Have you turned up late to a parkrun before? The only time this has happened to me before was when I was in Dublin and got lost, then got a taxi, and arrived at 9:40 when thankfully the briefing was still going on! I was cutting it close when I went to Southwark but I was there for the briefing so that was fine.

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1 thought on “A panic jog to wonderful Southall parkrun”

  1. Aside from Southall, the only one I’ve ever cut it very fine for was Hasenheide as the taxi took forever to get to the park, and the start was in the middle of the park… and it was a huge park! Oh well, it’s bound to happen at some point!

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