After running Southsea parkrun twice I thought I’d do a review of it. I feel quite close to Southsea in a weird way at the moment (both physically and, er, spiritually?). I recently ran the Great South Run (which starts in Southsea and runs a good portion around there) and I also work in Portsmouth, where Southsea is located. Not only this but a lot of the people I work with come from that area. So here’s my parkrun review.Location: Located on the Southsea promenade, the course begins at Speakers Corner by Rocksby’s Café. It’s very close to the Pyramids (and, for those who know it well like myself, a mile away from The Tenth Hole café). It’s about three miles from Gunwharf Quays (and the Gosport Ferry).Parking: There’s lots of parking all around Southsea (FYI it does require parallel parking. As someone who isn’t so great at this, it’s handy to know in advance!). Very close to the parkrun start you will need to pay and display. However, if you park further away (closer to The Tenth Hole) it’s free.
Amenities: There are no toilets. I repeat, NO toilets. It’s all very open so getting a wild wee somewhere is also very tricky. There are cafés about the place but I think it’s rude to use their facilities and not buy something… For after parkrun though brunch spots and cake opportunities are vast. Even a cheeky ice cream! It’s very much your traditional British seaside town.Elevation: Flat as a pancake. Not even a slight incline.
Course: The course runs along the prom, past the Southsea Pier, for 1.5 miles, then you do a U-turn and head back exactly the same way 1.5 miles.
The sharp turn will break your stride of course, and because it’s straight along the seafront with very little cover, you will be subject to the elements. When it’s windy, you will know about it. So although the elevation is a PB dream, any quick times could easily be destroyed by a windy day. If you’re familiar with the Great South Run or the Portsmouth Coastal Marathon, the final miles are similar. Despite this, the views are lovely of the sea and you can smell the tasty fodder from the different cafés you run past. It’s all on tarmac.Number of participants: There are regularly 300-400 runners. It can be a bit tricky at the start as everyone is so bunched up and promenade isn’t that wide. However, once you get going within half a mile or so everyone has diffused out and there’s more space to overtake or find your footing a bit easier. But prepare for a few elbows and tricky navigations at the start.
The volunteers, as at most parkruns, are very friendly. Though there weren’t a huge number of volunteers like at some parkruns and I think this is mainly due to the fact that the course is so self-contained and simple it really doesn’t need many. I do enjoy Southsea parkrun when I do it but I couldn’t do it every week as it’s not hugely exciting in terms of the course and though the flatness is great I do like a bit of variation. What I like though is that you can see people running the other direction as it’s an out-and-back. I find that quite good to take your mind off of things.To keep up to date, Southsea parkrun Twitter is @Southseaparkrun and check-out their Facebook page. And of course, the parkrun website.
If you’d like to write a parkrun review for this parkrun or any other one you’ve been to, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love more input!
Do you prefer flat, fast but not particularly exciting or more undulating and interesting courses?
Have you ever been to Southsea?
Do you enjoy seaside parkruns?