99 Luftballons, peace camps, Greenham Common. W8r3 sneaky peak at Park Run

99 red balloons, floating in the summer sky

Panic bells it's red alert

There's something here from somewhere else.

The war machine springs to life, Opens up one eager eye

Focusing it on the sky as 99 red balloons go by

If you are of a certain age (like me) you will remember the 1984 hit by Nena '99 Red Ballons'. It reminds me of that Cold War era, and in particular the Peace Camps established at Greenham Common, Thatcham. From 1983, peace protesters camped at the site to draw attention to the cruise missiles based there. At times, 70,000 people like you and me made human chains from there to the atomic weapons research centre at Aldermaston. The last protesters left after 16 years in 2000. I'd like to say that we now live in a safer world.

Today the airbase is closed, the cruise missles have long gone, and the airbase is returning to nature. It is a beautiful area of common-land offering spectacular views over Berkshire and (possibly) north Hampshire. It is also the home of Newbury Park Run and tonight I went there to have a cheeky, sneaky peak at the course. I ran the 5km course during my 28 minute W8r3 and now know that it is flat, good underfoot, a bit windy and has a fabulous setting. And I know that I can manage it.

My post-graduation plans will 100% include a trip to Newbury Park Run. Bring it on!

12 Replies

  • Well done, MarkyMark ;) So you managed the 5k in 28 minutes on w8r3? If so, that is a great achievement.

  • I covered 5.6km in 33minutes including warmup walk. But the course is pretty flat and a hard-packed trail, and the evening was not too hot.

  • Still pretty impressive :) Well done.

  • Oh I remember that very well

    I went to Newbury once. Very nice part of the world. I visited during the demo's about the trees being felled to make room for the bypass. I wasn't there to demonstrate, just visiting.

    I think it will be a lovely venue for your first Parkrun.

  • Ah, Swampy and his team. The bypass still got built. Outside the new library there is a mural of Newbury history. The 3rd Battle of Newbury (Swampy) is commemorated.

  • I went to Greenham common ... My mum took me and I wore pink leg warmers!! I was about 12!!! I let off a balloon too I grew up with CND and nonviolent direct action!!!!

  • Maybe you can wear pink compression socks on your next run to remind you of that day in the 1980s? You could start a trend.

    Please write one of your motivational posts soon JJ.

  • Second thoughts... Panther & pink? I think not...

  • Great song, great era - go get em and don't forget your barcode!

  • Go for it MarkyD!! Newbury Parkrun was my first 5 k after graduating... Have done it 6 times since... V friendly and v well organised. It looks flat but watch out for the 2 "hills" on the straight run back... They certainly take my breath away! Also lookout for random cattle crossing the path unfazed by 300 people running towards them...

    I am not going tomorrow as doing 10k inTadley on Sunday... But hope to be there next week... Good luck!!

  • I found the 'hill' last night. Not sure where the downhill was, though, I felt cheated :-)

  • Enjoy your parkrun :-)

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