Monday, 27 February 2012

An A to Z of Hanley parkrun

Hanley parkrun began in September 2011 and here is a brief introduction to the fun:

  • A is @hanleyparkrun - there is great banter before and after each parkrun - we love Twitter!
  • B is for bandstand, which marks the finishing spot for the 5km.
  • C is for the Caldon Canal, which runs right through the middle of Hanley Park and which you will cross 5 times in completing your 5km.
  • D is for dog walkers, with whom we share the park most Saturday mornings. Another hazard to avoid in completing your parkrun.
  • E is for encouragement - we have a great support whilst completing the route and have quite a few volunteers who take on the role of cheerleader. It is a great help on the final lap in particular.
  • F is for fountains - when the fountains start up, its time for parkrun to start.
  • G is for geese, primarily of the Canadian variety, who own the park. Best advice - avoid!
  • H is for Hanley, one of the six official towns that make up the city of Stoke-on-Trent.
  • I is for ice, which so far is the only thing that has stopped us at Hanley parkrun.
  • J is for jog, run or walk - just complete the course however you can at your own pace - its part of the philosphy of parkrun
  • K is for kudos, the sense of achievement that everyone gets from taking part in parkrun either as a runner or a volunteer.
  • L is for the lake, which is the location of the start of the parkrun.
  • M is for mud, through which we sometimes have to run, as the 5km route includes a couple of places where we have to cut across the grass to avoid the top and bottom carparks. As Tommy (see T is for Tommy below) tells us each week: "runners and cars don't mix".
  • N is for numbers. We've had 21 events with an average of 33 runners each week, 699 runs in total. The biggest field of runners was 50 (we've achieved that twice).
  • O is for oatcakes, real Staffordshire oatcakes, to be enjoyed post-event at Flavours Cafe just by the park. There is lots of debate about oatcakes, especially on the parkrun show, but we think they are the perfect recovery food.
  • P is for personal bests, something we all chase each week. This week we had 10 PBs for the 38 competitors. The current course records are: 16:06 (men) and 20:28 (women). 
  • Q is for quite quick - see the PBs above. Do you think you can go quicker? There are records to be broken at Hanley parkrun.
  • R is for running clubs. Many of the people who have taken part at Hanley parkrun are also members of local running clubs and Trentham RC, Sandbach Striders, Potters Trotters, Newcastle AC and South Cheshire Harriers currently top the list of runs!
  • S is for Staffordshire University Students Union, our local sponsors. A big thanks for their support.
  • T is for Tommy Hill, our volunteer co-ordinator and run director each week. Another big thank you to Tommy for all his hard work. We're still working on getting him to take part in the Hanley parkrun though... perhaps for run #25!
  • U is for undulating, which is the official description of the course. We prefer to describe it as hilly.
  • V is for volunteers, without whom we couldn't put on the parkrun each week. We could always do with more help though, so please volunteer from time to time if you can. It gives you a different perspective on parkrun and is a great way to get to know more of the parkrunners.
  • W is for welcoming. We try our very best to welcome everyone to Hanley parkrun, whether you're a regular runner or visiting from another parkrun. We're a friendly bunch, just ask Norm.
  • X is for Xmas - we had a fantastic fancy dress run on Christmas Eve with 50 participants and a whole host of fancy dress costumes. No doubt, there will be more fancy dress events as the year progresses.
  • Y is for young and old. We have parkrunners of all ages and its one of the things that makes Hanley parkrun so special.
  • Z is for zephyr, although I'm not sure that's an accurate description for the windy conditions we've experienced at Hanley parkrun. But its a Z and that's good enough for me!
So that's Hanley parkrun, with apologies for the slightly dodgy entries for K, Q, X and Z. If you've not been for a visit before, come and run with us soon. There's a PB just waiting to be achieved!



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