Skip to main content

Queen Elizabeth parkrun

There was a strange feeling to this week's event. News of a new virus has led to lots of whispers that this could be the last event for a while. Storm Jorge also didn't want to pass by unnoticed, resulting in lots of events cancelling due to flooded courses and high winds. I had booked my hotel for Queen Elizabeth parkrun previously, and so all I could do was turn up and see what happened.

This was to be the first time I had booked a hotel with the main purpose being parkrun tourism, and so I arrived in the town of Horndean the night before, which meant my shortest trip to a parkrun on the morning so far.

The area

Queen Elizabeth Country Park is located on the outskirts of Horndean, near Portsmouth. The park forms part of the South Downs National Park, which is a form of chalk hills stretching from Hampshire to Eastbourne.

The area comprising Queen Elizabeth Country Park is a mixture of downland and woodland, with most of the resident beech trees being planted in the 1930s. The park is especially popular with walkers and mountain bikers, with a number of long-distance walking routes passing through the site, and a number of woodland mountain-bike trails attracting riders from far and wide. Butser hill, within the boundaries of the park, is the tallest point in Hampshire, which also draws a range of tourists.

The area is frequently used by the British Armed Forces for survival training operations, and as such, it's not uncommon to see people in full camo gear wandering the area (along with the South Downs in general).

The course

The course follows two laps (one small lap, one larger lap) through the extremely scenic woodland. The first lap begins with a steep uphill section, before veering to the right, down the same elevation, before looping back to the start along some trail paths. The second lap follows the same initial path as the first lap, but continuing until much further up the hill (approximately 1km of up-hill running)! Fortunately, the gradient lessens slightly after the first lap turn-off point, but it's still some tough running. The second lap reaches another turning point, where runners then proceed back down the hill, this time much less steeply, to rejoin the path followed on the first lap back towards the start, and the finish is just before you reach the start.

Scenic view of neighbouring hills

Paid parking is available within the country park, which also has an on-site cafe with public toilets.

The run

As usual, the the first thing was the first timer's briefing, which like Valentines parkrun a few weeks ago, consisted of a large cohort of tourists, who like me, were picking up their "Q" for their alphabets. We were told that the trails were very muddy, and we were warned that the first downhill section was exceptionally slippery!

As the run got underway, we set of up the first hill, and it started to hit home how challenging this run was going to be. I summited the first section and veered right onto the downhill section - I felt very glad to have worn my trail shoes! The only signs of there being a trail nearby was the opening in the trees - at ground level, we simply followed a mud slide (and some people did slide!) to the trail at the bottom, and back to the start.

I found the second lap much harder than the first, having spent my energy climbing the hill previously. I resorted to power-hiking a particularly steep section around the 3rd kilometer marker as it was quicker than my attempt at running, but fortunately we crested the second lap before too long. The decline was much gentler than the incline, as promised, and soon enough, the finish funnel was upon us.

Hills and woodland adjacent to the finish funnel

Completing this event means that I've now completed 20 different events, which means I can now join the facebook tourist group and claim my cow cowell. Hopefully we will still be running next week, so I can give the cowell its first outing!

Finish funnel with lots of finishers, many wearing tourist paraphernalia

A very special thank you to the marshals today - it can't have been fun to stand in the rain, even if you did have some cover from the trees!

Links: Results | Strava

Popular posts from this blog

Ally Pally parkrun

Now that I have completed the UK Alphabet, my focus has turned towards the East of England region. As there are so many events to choose from, I'm going to start by working through events in alphabetical order again, with an emphasis on working east to west, which for me, effectively orders events furthest to nearest. During my initial exploration of the challenge, I did make a mistake however, which I only realised after running this event - I didn't realise that Aldenham parkrun was in the region, and so I started this phase of parkrunning by running Ally Pally parkrun instead! The area Ally Pally, or Alexandra Palace, is a purpose built community centre in Haringey, North London. Unlike other palaces in the UK, Ally Pally has no royal connection, and instead has been entirely community oriented since its conception. The palace houses a theatre, concert hall, a convention centre, an ice rink, and has facilitated BBC broadcasts an

York parkrun

After the exciting return of parkrun last week, I was super keen to complete my outstanding alphabet challenge without as many hiccups as possible, which meant ticking off the rarer letters while I still had the possibility to divert to other events as possible. Yeovil Montecute parkrun hadn't returned since the break, leaving York as the only option for a "Y", and so while I still had some contingencies available in the forms of Wetherby and Potternewton parkruns. While not a big factor in deciding this week's destination, this was to be York's first event back, as it wasn't able to take place last week due to horse racing taking place. The area York parkrun takes place in the Knavesmire, in the south of York. The city of York was founded in 71AD, and then known as Eboracum, was the capital of Britannia Inferior - one of the Roman provinces. As with any city of this age, its history is vast, and the city has played many imp

Alton Water parkrun

While I have been looking forwards to attending Alton Water parkrun for a while (it shared its inaugural run with Bury Field, which I attended), the fact that attending this week also gives me some more progress towards the Fibonacci sequence by ticking off a 13th event was enough to tip the scales in its favour this week. The area Alton Water is a reservoir, built to provide drinking water to the Ipswich area following water shortages in the 1960s by building a dam at the eastern end of the lowland, and allowing water levels to rise over the course of the next 10 years. The area which was claimed by the reservoir, as well as today's surroundings are primarily farmland, punctuated by the occasional village. The course The two-lap trail course is run primarily on grass, with some gravel and dirt paths for good measure. The course is situated to the south of the reservoir, and offers views of the water, woodlands, and farmland, while cattle, geese and waterfowl are commo