So on we go! I looked at the weather forecast for this week and thought it might be best to stay fairly local. So I took a short trip down the A3 to Portsmouth to attend the fifth running of Great Salterns parkrun. A lot of parkruns have been cancelled this weekend but I reckoned that Great Salterns, on a big open field, would still be taking place, and it was!
This is the third parkrun in Portsmouth. I’ve told you plenty about the history of the city before so today I will offer you ten fun facts about Portsmouth.
The Anglo-Saxon chronicle, compiled in the ninth century, states that in AD501, “Port and his two sons Beida and Maegla came to Britain with two ships in the place which is called Portesmutha and killed a young British man, a very noble man”. It is the first record of the name Portsmouth in a written source.
Portsmouth is featured on the earliest surviving route map of Great Britain from 1360, in which it is named as Portis Mouth.
Portsmouth is technically an island - Portsea Island. A channel runs across the northern edge linking Portsmouth Harbour to Langstone Harbour.
It is the most densely populated city in the UK … with a population of around 238,000 squeezed into about fifteen square miles.
As well as being the home of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth is also one of the major ports in Britain, second only to Dover. It is a major cruise and ferry terminal as well as receiving huge amounts of freight every year.
There are at least seven cities named Portsmouth in the United States.
In 2003 experts at the Tate gallery discovered that two paintings by JMW Turner, supposedly of Venice, were actually of Portsmouth.
The first league football game to be played under floodlights took place between Portsmouth FC and Newcastle in 1956. Pompey lost 2-0.
Portsmouth’s historic dockyard has been used in many recent TV and film productions including “Les Miserables”
The Great South Run is a ten mile road race around the streets of Portsmouth and Southsea. I’ve run it three or four times. Maybe it’s time I entered again.
In the 1970s Telly Savalas (aka Kojak) narrated a short tourist guide to Portsmouth. Yes really!
Great Salterns recreation ground is on the eastern side of the city, on the Langstone Harbour side. The name originates in the salt flats that predominate on this side of the harbour. The course at Great Salterns starts in the southeastern corner by the cricket pavilion and consists of three laps, largely flat, on a mixture of grass and paths. It could be quite a fast course if it were dry but today it was rather muddy and slippy.
Great Salterns is a recent addition to the parkrun family, this being only run number five. There were accordingly quite a few first time visitors to the event, many, I suspect, had come because their local parkrun had been cancelled. After the stormy weather of the previous day the conditions were bright and clear, just a little on the chilly side. There were 172 starters. Off we went over the first section of squishy grass. I used the tactics that I normally when faced with a muddy course. I took it very carefully over the slippy bits - don’t want to fall down again. Then I tried to speed up on the firmer sections. My tactics seemed to work - I managed not to fall down and I was able to pass quite a few people when I sped up. My final placing was 31st and my time was 22:53. Perfectly happy with that. I might, if I wish, come back in the summer when the course is dry and try and improve my time. It’s only about a half hour drive to get there.
My statistics for today. That was parkrun venue number 246. I was second in my age group and third overall on age graded scores.
So I was happy to have had the opportunity to visit Great Salterns and tick one more parkrun off my list. If you want a little glimpse of the course, here is a YouTube video.
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