Saturday, 17 November 2012

Alice Holt inaugural parkrun


About six months ago I answered a request for people to help set up a new parkrun.  It was all very exciting, planning new routes, meeting new people, setting up new Facebook pages and so on.  Sadly, due to work and home commitments, I couldn't play as active a part in the event team as I would have liked, but I still kept up to date with what was going on (as I have admin rights on the Facebook page!) and was thrilled to hear that the event was starting today.  

I'd run a couple of the proposed routes with Martin Bushell (event director) and other members of the team back in June, but I hadn't even looked to see where the official route would take us.  Alice Holt is far from flat, so I knew we would be in for an interesting run.  

This is now my nearest parkrun, being about 4 miles up the road from me, this meant that I could have a little bit of a lie in this morning, getting up at ten past seven rather than seven o'clock!  I chivied the two younger boys into their shorts and trainers, drank a quick cup of tea, transferred my Alice Holt parking ticket from one car to another, checked I had all the barcodes and bundled the children into the car.  Finding a parking place at 8.30am is not going to be a problem at this venue - there are vast pay and display car parks.  Canny locals tell me that there are free car parks a short walk away, but I'm far too lazy for that!

It was lovely to see so many friendly faces at the start.  There were regulars there from Basingstoke and Frimley Lodge parkruns, Chineham Park Running Club had a huge presence on the day, and I spotted several people from the online running community that is Fetcheveryone.  parkrun royalty was represented by Paul Sinton-Hewitt (it is his fault we are all up early running round parks in the first place) and Danny Norman (of 'The parkrun show' fame).   Event director Martin welcomed us all to the forest and did the first of many very successful pre-run briefings.  If he was nervous it didn't show!  

And then we were off!  The start is nice and wide, with a gentle downhill slope for the first couple of hundred metres.  'Not so fast Freddy' and I fell into step (for a little while) beside a lady with a 50 club t shirt on and we ran and chatted for a while.  We talked about various things running related, and she mentioned that she runs round marathons counting them out in parkruns.  'That's odd,' I said, 'There was a lady on the parkrun show the week before last who said the same thing!'  'That's because that lady was me!' said Louise Ayling! 

The two lap course is lovely, very up and down, but the hills are quite short so you don't notice them too much!  It is a beautiful place to run and I reckon the changing seasons will provide plenty of wonderful scenery.    


It was wet and quite slippery today, Freddy went flying at one point fairly early on, covering his 10 club t-shirt in thick mud.  Strangely (!) he was quite grumpy about the whole thing after that and I really had to cajole/bully/threaten/bribe him round.  On the plus side this did give me time to chat with the wonderful marshals and to take photos!  Another advantage is that if I run it on my own I will easily get a PB!  My other son had run on ahead of us.  

We were only lapped by one person, I do hate being lapped, but was gracious and cheered Danny on!  Danny in turn encouraged Freddy as he passed us (again) on his warm down lap!  I don't think this will ever be a very fast 5k course, even in dry conditions as it is quite undulating with a lot of uneven ground (which was quite 'challenging' for my dodgy foot), but is it a fun course with lots of twists and turns.


Coffee afterwards at The Cafe on The Green was very welcome on a chilly morning.  Lots of chance to socialise, eat cake, discuss the route, eat cake, talk about other parkruns and eat cake.  Actually, the boys both had the 'woodsman breakfast' which was good value at £4.95 each and looked delicious.  The coffee was good too!  

My middle child is planning to do his ESB exam talk about parkrun this year, and was keen to get pictures of all four club T-shirts (and their wearers!) in one place.  Danny (250), Nicola (100),Freddy (10) and an as yet unknown member of the 100 club obliged.  I am very grateful, as is he! 

So, will I change my home parkrun?  Probably not, but I will try to run my local parkrun on a regular basis.  I have one son who loved Alice Holt and one who swears he will never run it again (that'll be because he fell over!) but will happily volunteer!  So to keep everyone, including me (I like a shopping fix after my B'stoke parkrun as well as a gossip with my B'stoke parkrun family) it looks as though we will be visiting Alice Holt occasionally.    If any of my running buddies wants to visit Alice Holt parkrun I am more than happy to meet you there!  

Friday, 16 November 2012

An Ode to Bramhall parkrun, by Richard Hall

A delightful promise of a perfect setting?
Of course many descend from miles around
Woods and hills and grand architecture?
Or is there something else which can be found?


Always a steep start gets the pulse racing
Soon a magnificent Tudor House facing
But is anyone able to admire the view
Only a very fit and chosen few

A field where the Tudors practised their bow
Those taking it easy set off and go
Don’t cut that corner you’ve made unsightly mud
Rob would fire an arrow if he could

The Lake is an art for the leaders
Scatter the geese and sometimes their feeders
Gathering up the mess on their shoes
This is where those bringing up the rear don’t lose

You love it or hate it, marmite?
No the woods, up and down, and the fight
Win the left track or you haven’t got the knack
Enjoy being too far to hear Nick on the mike

Slow down it’s slippy on the bridge
In summer, a bite from the odd midge
A half way shout is a luxury for parkrun
But only if your time is under twenty one

It’s not the trees or well laid paths that count
It’s not even the heron or the jumping trout
It’s the people with a focus and a weekend belonging
Its a good enough subject to compose a song in

parkrun registration stats this week

There is still a little time for new registrations this week, but at the time of writing and compared to the figures in my post this time last week....

Totalling up new registrations across parkrun globally, shows that parkrun has attracted a further 4,335 registrations in the last week.

This takes the total number of global parkrun registrations up to 388,284. That is a growth of 1.1% since last week. At this rate of growth parkrun should break-through the 400,000 registrations mark in roughly 3 weeks time.

As far as I am aware Alice Holt parkrun (Farnham, Surrey) is the only new event starting this week.

After its first event last week, Malahide parkrun continues to be top of the charts in the number of new registrations category this week, adding 219 new registrants.

parkrun events showing notable growth this week are:
Event   Total   This week
Malahide parkrun689219
Nahoon Point parkrun141777
Newy parkrun169164
Albert parkrun, Melbourne147553
Launceston parkrun22851

parkrun continues to show impressive growth outside the UK.

No great surprises in the "largest parkrun in the world" category this week, where it is still:
Event   Total   
Bushy parkrun20832
Glasgow parkrun12180
Leeds parkrun11006

And at the other end of the spectrum, but just as worthy of a mention we have:
Event   Total   
Upton Court parkrun6
Sandgate parkrun10
Kingscliff parkrun39

parkrun Tourists...come to Leamington parkrun

parkrun Tourists: Come and give Leamington parkrun a try - you know you want to!

Where is it?
Newbold Comyn, Newbold Terrace East, Leamington Spa.
The Postcode CV32 4EW will get you to the Newbold Comyn Leisure Centre car park close to the start.
After leaving your car, travel further along the same road and you will see the changing rooms near to the start line off to your right. Its only about 5 minutes walk from the car parks.
Click here for more information on Newbold Comyn on the Council website.

Travel
By train: The nearest railway station is Leamington Spa Station (Old Warwick Road, Leamington Spa, CV31 3NS). The shortest walking route from the station to the parkrun is 1.4 miles and takes 28 minutes according to Google Maps.
For train times and tickets check here: National Rail Enquiries
Or here (often cheaper): TheTrainLine
By bus: Service 75 (Pete's Travel), Mon - Fri

Car parking
The car parks for Newbold Comyn and for the Leisure Centre are huge and are free of charge. The car parks have no problem coping with the numbers coming to parkrun. The postcode for the car parks is CV32 4EW.

Links
Leamington parkrun parkrunfans Course description
Leamington parkrun Course page
Leamington parkrun News page
Leamington parkrun Latest results
Leamington parkrun on Facebook

Newbold Comyn Facilities
Cafes: There is a cafe in the Newbold Comyn Leisure Centre. This serves hot and cold drinks and snacks. Very close to the leisure centre in the Newbold Comyn Arms, a pub serving food and drink (of course). Unfortunately you will have to wait until 11am for the pub to open on a Saturday morning.
NB. hot and cold drinks are normally served in the building that houses the changing rooms adjacent to the start/finish area. This facility is staffed by parkrun volunteers and a small donation is requested to cover the costs.
Toilets: There are toilets in the changing room block right beside the parkrun start/finish area.
There is also: a childrens' playground, a scateboard park, a nine hole pitch and putt golf course, an 18 hole pay and play full golf course and many football, cricket and rugby pitches.

Tourist Information
Enjoy Warwickshire

Where to Stay
If you are coming from a fair distance away, you may want to consider staying in Leamington on the Friday or Saturday night.
Hotels nearby:
The Beauty Rooms
The Angel Hotel
Travelodge
The Lansdowne
Bed & Breakfast nearby:
Hedley Villa Guest House
Buckland Lodge
York House

Local Attractions
Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum
History of the park
Council website
Wikipedia

A year in the life of a parkrun tourist...part 4.


The highlight of my parkrunning year? Got to be August the 4th at Bushy parkrun.

Jamie and I had tickets for the Athletics in the Olympic Stadium that night so decided to make a proper trip of it, going down on the Thursday, visiting friends and doing the tourist bit for a couple of days. On the Saturday we realised the only way we could get to Bushy was to catch the 7am train, a couple of others then run about a mile through the park to the start. The trains worked like clockwork getting us there just before 8:45am, then accosting a very nice family in running kit led us to the start- at 8:58 just in time for the run briefing! At such a large run I never expected to see anyone I knew but there was Chris Healey from Bradford, down for exactly the same reasons as us!!

 


It was going to be a long day so Jamie and I ran together at the back for the first 1k done in 7 and a half minutes. I could see he wanted to go so I let him! It was the most beautiful thing to see him running past 100 people over the next 4k, very sensibly keeping out of the way and concentrating on running perfectly! His 24 min last 4km saw him set a 2 minute plus parkrun pb in 31:32 which cost me a full English breakfast at the café and a Gold Wenlock later in the day!

Breakfast was interrupted by a photo opportunity- Jamie with an Olympic torch!! Even he had to stop stuffing his face for that one!! We were then interviewed by Rodney, author of the Bushy parkrun newsletter who produced a fantastic piece on my little parkrun tourist under the title of “Inspire a Generation”, complete with pictures including the Huddersfield Bunny on Tour T-Shirt! Ray and Ann Coward, the pixies behind the parkrun T-shirts we wear so proudly then gave us a lift back to the station – an hour and a half later we were back at the hotel and Jamie had a kip!!

  

That night as everybody knows we witnessed 3 British Olympic Gold medals in 44 minutes in the Olympic Stadium. I have never experienced an atmosphere like it anywhere, nor do I ever expect to see that level of performance from a British team in one night ever again. Jamie loved it, and when we finally left about 10:30pm he was bouncing!! The venue was so busy however it took us 90 minutes to shuffle all the way to West Ham station as Stratford was gridlocked! It was only at midnight when we finally got on a train he crashed. A piece of advice- when carrying a 6 year old on the tube at midnight on a Saturday do not change at Embankment- lots and lots of steps and a long walk is not what you need!!

The next day we went to the arranged meet up via the Marathon Talk podcast to watch the Women’s marathon. Arriving a little late we found everyone and spent the rest of the day cheering on the runners, though due to torrential rain I have to admit Jamie hid in the pub and watched on tv!!! As well as meeting some good parkrun friends there (Tom and Helen Williams, Ralph and Eleanor from Leeds parkrun and Danny Norman to name just a few) the best was meeting Danny’s parents! I had been winding him up about having tickets for that session of athletics for ages and it was even mentioned on the Marathon Talk live podcast when I predicted what 10,000m at the coming Olympics would be the best Olympic race ever! The fact I mainly did this to wind Danny up and was sat next to him when Tom read it out was a big bonus, however it was Danny’s mum Lynne thanking me for winding him up for so long that made my day! Incidentally Danny’s parents recently ran their first ever parkrun at Bushy – respect!!!

So there you have it, a perfect parkrun weekend! Ok, so it wasn’t all about the parkrun but if we’d have gone home after the full English I think it would still have been the winner! The only thing left to do was get the train home – meeting a fellow Hyde Park Harrier Matt Jackson at Kings Cross was not really a surprise by this point, even though he was arriving as we were leaving! Sitting in MacDonalds and being joined at the table by Women’s Marathon 13th place athlete Marisa Barros and her entourage certainly was- great to see an Olympic athlete letting her hair down so soon after the event!! I let my hair down when we got back with a glass of wine, just in time to see Usain Bolt in the 100m final…….

You may also want to read:
Part 1 ,Part 2 and Part 3.

Is parkrun for me or my kids?

parkrun is mine! It's always been mine!

I have been running at Coventry parkrun for around 2 and a half years and it has always been me time. A time when I can really switch off after the working week and just run it all out of my system. And at that end of parkrun I have always been able to hang around and chat with my relatively new-found parkrun friends.

A Saturday morning at 9am tends to be a time when my wife and kids would prefer to take it easy or laze around in pyjamas watching Saturday morning TV. There has never been a problem with me doing parkrun, because there is never very much else to be done at that time, certainly nothing that can't wait for an hour.

But times are changing!

After the amazing success of not only getting my 8 year old son to turn up to parkrun, but also him being keen to do it, managing to run the whole way, enjoying it, and even asking to do it again next week...parkrun may not be mine for much longer. It looks like I am going to have to start sharing parkrun with my son.

So is this any great problem? I suppose I always thought parkrun would be mine. I suppose that means I thought it would be a problem for me to have to share it., But now,  faced with this prospect this week, I have given it a bit of thought and really, isn't this what I have always wanted?!

Now I get to share my love of parkrun and running with my eldest son. It can now be Daddy and son time! We can both share the experience, the challenge and the fun that parkrun has brought into my life almost each and every week for the past few years.

I have a friend at work with grown up kids and he has always told me how much he has enjoyed running with his daughter. There is no doubt that he has an even more special bond with his daughter due to their shared experiences through running.

parkrun is making "proper" running accessible to kids. The weekly challenge, but not too serious. The familiar faces. Running with friends and family of any age. The range of abilities. The fun before and after the run. A treat in the cafe. The volunteering. The challenge of attempting a new PB. The wait for the text or email. Checking the website. All these things are so attractive to our kids.

This makes parkrun so much more attractive to a child than just "going for a run". The kids at parkrun are exercising but they hardly even realise it. That, in itself, is just brilliant!

parkrun gives me the simplest way possible to instill social and exercising habits into my son's life without even having to try. Why tell him that we all need to: exercise, look after ourselves, join in, socialise, take our turn, help others and commit to things, when through parkrun I can show him and even do it with him.

parkrun is no longer just mine. It is mine to share and I am going to share it with my son whenever he wants me to, which at the moment sounds like he wants it to be a lot. No doubt there will still be times (certainly with Winter approaching) where he won't fancy it - and that's fine too.

It's a new chapter of parkrun for me, it's no longer all about me, but I think I may just enjoy this different approach even more.

I would encourage anyone to try sharing parkrun with your kids as soon as you think they are old enough.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

A year in the life of a parkrun tourist...part 3.

In June we attended the inaugural Dewsbury parkrun, again after a night out with too much alcohol! I think it helped that I couldn’t feel my legs as this is another Yorkshire Tough course – 4 laps, twisting and turning starting up the hill, and finishing up it too! Ouch. Run by Nicki and Jonny, originally from Huddersfield parkrun it has a great atmosphere and a nice café in the park. It is tough though, so much so at our second attempt Jamie dropped out after 2 laps!! I tell you, 2 laps of that eyeballs out is not easy but great fun!

The Longest parkrun, Yorkshire. 7 parkruns at 6 venues in one day. Please make sure this is in your diary for next year. 3 of us did 9 between us: including Jamie taking off on his own at York in his wellies! Too much to put that in here but Steve Darby’s blog of the day is fantastic!! http://runningonaraisin.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/longest-parkrun-yorkshire-2012.html

Last year Jamie and I went to Conkers in Leicestershire for their 4th parkrun- there is a really good childerens activity centre there and a campsite next door so it made for a perfect weekend. Problem was I was injured so ended up timekeeping (with those little timers with no display to tell you it is working- even with only 22 runners that was the most stress ever at a parkrun, respect to timekeepers everywhere!!!!) and Jamie gave out finishing tokens! This year we went back with the group from Huddersfield parkrun who were going off to do the Thunder Run afterwards and joined in their parkrun. In the run briefing they said they were missing a few marshalls, especially along the canal. When I hit this point we turned off and I was in a dilemma as to whether to wait for Jamie or not. He has run many parkruns on his own with no problems but this niggled at me all the way to the finish. I immediately ran back and couldn’t see him and I knew straight away where he had gone wrong. Following the path I passed a number of people who said they had seen him “running for England” so I kept on going. Eventually I caught up with him, ironically at the car park at the finish where they generously gave him a finish time – and I had run 4k extra faster than the run itself! Lesson Learned!!!

So now we come to August, and a visit to my all time favourite parkrun course. Surprisingly this is in Milton Keynes, not somewhere you would naturally think of as high on your list of places to visit but I love it!!! We first visited in August last year on our way to Wembley to see Leeds Rhinos lose the Challenge Cup final – travelling with a couple of Leeds parkrun mates Dave McGuire and Janet Glynn we set off at 5:30am, collecting my step dad in Nottingham en route. We had such a great time and loved the course so much we decided to repeat this again this year – as did the Rhinos, losing yet again at Wembley!!

A great course descrition can be found at http://parkrunfans.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/parkrun-course-description-milton-keynes.html


The start is by Willen Lake with a number of café’s and lots of room for warming up and a great view over the lake, complete with mist and swans taking off and landing!! The course is a single lap (bonus!!) and starts with a long run on paths to the canal, following the towpath until turning back towards the lake on dedicated footpaths. You then drop down and have the strange view in front of you of a steep hill complete with steps!! Lots of them!! The route however follows the switchback, zigzagging up the hill with hairpin bends to stop you going too fast!! Then its down to the lake and the last 2k following it round giving a very fast run into the finish. I would recommend this course to anyone, though maybe without the 3 hour drive to get there! Definitely my favourite!!!

Read: Part 1 and Part 2

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

parkrun Volunteering made simple...being a Marshall

There are plenty of roles that any of us can take on as volunteers at parkrun. Many of these roles are very simple and anyone should be able to do them.

My aim is to make it as clear as possible as to what is involved with each role in an effort to break down any barriers that may be stopping runners from coming forward to volunteer or to take on certain roles, perhaps perceived as too tricky.

So today, I want to start by explaining what is involved in being a Marshal at a parkrun event.

Being a Marshal is very simple.

To volunteer as a Marshal it is normally advisable to contact your event, either in person a week (or more) in advance, or perhaps via email. If you specifically want to be a Marshall, make sure that you say so.

It is likely that you will be told in advance, or get an email, or even both, telling you what your role will be on the day.

You will probably be asked to turn up a little before the parkrun event start time. Thirty minutes before would normally be plenty, but I am sure that your volunteer co-ordinator will make this clear.

Your first task on the day is to report to the Run Director, or whoever is co-ordinating volunteer roles on the day. You will be told what your role is for the day, if unclear just ask. You will probably be given a parkrun high-viz top so that you stand-out as a volunteer.

Before the run there may be some course set-up to do. Perhaps a quick look around the course to ensure that there are no unexpected problems or obstacles. And of course putting out any directional, distance and start/finish signs. These are all simple tasks that can easily be carried out by marshals and free-up the Run Director for anything else that may crop up.

In general, the responsibilities when being a Marshal will include:
  • Being on hand to answer questions before the parkrun.
  • Directing runners to the start.
  • Ensuring safety on the course:
    • standing in a problem area, maybe where runners cross or pass in both directions.
    • warning runners about narrow, slippery or other obstacles or less than ideal sections of the course.
  • Directing runners at a given point on the course. Typically at turns or intersections of the course with other routes.
  • Looking out for any runners who look unwell. And offering help or friendly advice as necessary.
  • And of course giving general encouragement to all the runners and cheering them on their way. This has to be the best and simplest task of all for marshals, just cheer and clap as many runners as you can, particularly the kids!
There really is not much to it. Anyone can do it. My kids have even helped me marshal.

Also, not that it bothers many runners, but you do get the full 100 points towards the annual points competition, should that sort of thing float your boat.

And that is pretty much all you need to know to be a marshal at parkrun.

On this day in parkrun history...13th November 2010

Only 2 years ago today, on Saturday 13th November 2010, parkrun was so much smaller than it is today, but it was already showing the signs of what it was to become.

On that parkrunday, 52 parkrun events took place with just 6,442 parkrunners taking part.

Compare that to last weekend, which saw 184 parkrun events (a new weekly record) with 22,666 completed runs.

Those figures show that a growth of 253% in the number of events and an increase of 252% in runners. It's quite strange how these two figures continue to correlate so closely.

Impressive growth yet again!

Cross-country debut

It was a day of running debuts on Saturday for the Wilkinson family.

Firstly, my son Ollie completed his first parkrun (Ollie is 8 years old) and then in the afternoon, I ran my first cross-country race since my school days, some 23 years or so ago.

We turned up at the Newbold Comyn cross-country course (in Leamington Spa) to be greeted by the site of hundreds upon hundreds of runners clad in the vests of many different running clubs. First impressions, there are some serious runners here!

I headed for the Sphinx AC (my club) tent and started to get ready.

About this time some of the women runners started to head back to the tent after completing their earlier run. I had expected that cross-country would involve a little but of getting muddy, but now I realised just how muddy that would be! Waist down was all mud. Waist up, it was a rough split of 50-50 as to whether it was just major mud splatterings or totally covered. Faces were splattered too, with the odd camouflage like hand swipe of muddiness across the face, clearly after a hands-down incident of some sort. This was going to get messy!

With no spikes in my assorted collection of running footwear, it was either my brand spanking new Saucony trail shoes (first time out of their shoebox) or a pair of old football boots, of which I had taken two pairs. I opted for the moulded stud football boots. I'm not what the right choice of footwear was and I'm not even sure if there was a right choice, but with hindsight, I don't think moulded studs was it!

Pre-race preparation basically consisted of a quick stretch and a walk/jog to the start line a couple of minutes away. I had already decided that a warm-up was just going to be energy wasted. I'd soon get warmed-up on the way round and I wasn't going to take it too seriously anyway. Just get round and try to enjoy it was my mantra on this occasion.

At the start line we must have been 50 or so abreast, and at least 15 deep. There was a bit of a false start as we moved forward to the start line. Then seconds later, the hooter went and we were away across a meadow of ruts and tufted grass specifically designed for ankle breaking. I started sensibly.

We reached the first corner, where 50 a breast quickly turned to 5 a breast and STOP! We all bunched up together and could hardly move. Luckily no spikes in the back of my calf. On to corner two and into a narrow wooded area where it went from 5 abreast to 2 or 3 abreast and another STOP! After this point the field was spread out sufficiently to run your own race.

Along the path, through the woods and then came the legendary ditch. I had been told about this ditch and on advice had looked at the YouTube videos the day before. I had shown them to my sons who had spent 10 minutes watching the You've Been Framed style video amidst howls of laughter as poor fellows half made it through the ditch before tumbling and sprawling into he muddiness head-first. It was very funny an I just wanted to make sure that I was not one of those clips this year.

I decided on a one foot in the ditch approach and this worked well as I got through unscathed and away up he steep bank on the other side.

A few hundred yards further on and it was UP! Up Beacon hill. Its not a large hill, you are probably only running up for 70 metres or so, but its so steep that you feel as though you almost stop. And some did. Around the beacon at the top, then straight back down, trying not to let the body get too far ahead of the legs.

Another few hundred yards and that was lap one done. Only two more to go! This is going to hurt!

I had hoped to start slowly and speed up, but there was no chance of speeding up as that would only risk not finishing. Anyway, how can you speed up when you feel like you are wearing ice-skates or doing wheel spins whenever you try to apply some power.

On the second lap I took the same line through the ditch. I again used the "one foot in" method, of course mis-timing my steps to ensure the other foot was soaked this time! But again I was away unscathed. If you can count knee deep in muddy water and splattered with mud as unscathed! Beacon hill was a bit harder this lap too. Still, I managed it without stopping.

Lap three gave my last chance to mess up the ditch and thanks to the guy in front of me stopping dead in front of me, this time it was the both feet in approach. As I had pre-supposed, this was not a good method and resulted in a slip and hands and knees down slide into the bank on the other side. I was quickly up and away again with no great dramas, but this was certainly not escaping unscathed. The gloves were off now, literally, as the soaked with gloopy mud was not worth keeping them on. Strangely I tried wiping the mud off on my face. That didn't help much either!

Last time up the hill and somehow I again managed it without stopping. Many others were either walking or climbing up this time round!

Final sprint into the finish was not so much a sprint as a hard slog. I did look ahead and spot one rival in the same division who I forced myself to beat, but luckily, after him there were no more in sight, so I just made sure that no one came past me.

I looked up my result yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to find out that I had come 108th out of 216 runners in division 2, finishing the 10km in 44:30 as the 5th points scorer for the club's 1st team. Not too bad.

But most of all, my lasting memory will be of how much fun it was. It will certainly not be my last cross-country race. And I don't suppose I can give much higher praise than that. Just great clean (no, very dirty) fun!

Monday, 12 November 2012

parkrun stats this week...10th November 2012

The parkrun statistics of note for this week are:

184 parkrun events run
22,666 runners
The average number of runners per parkrun event run was: 123 (down 10 on last week).

8 events recorded a new record attendance, as follows:
Claisebrook Cove78
Conkers178
Cornwall Park56
Highbury Fields72
Launceston92
Lower Hutt103
Malahide159
Summerfields34


Malahide parkrun there showing an impressive 159 runners for its inaugural event.
Also of note was Shernigham parkrun, which was run for the second time this week and exactly matched its attandance of 85 runners from the previous week.

Also a special mention for Preston parkrun who came within 1 runner of equalling their attendance record.

The longest standing parkrun attandance record is:
Amager Faelled14628/08/2010


And in the UK its:
Old Deer Park8315/01/2011


The highest attandance this week was 783 at Bushy Park. No surprise there. Bushy parkrun still holds the global attendance record for a single event of 1000.

The lowest attandance this week was 1 at Kawana, with just 6 at Livonia.


7 new male course records set this week:
LauncestonOscar PHILLIPS18:43
MalahideMichael MCSWIGGAN18:19
North BeachGrant Matthew MACKAY19:14
SummerfieldsAndre VAN HEERDEN21:34
RushcliffeAlastair WATSON15:05
Claisebrook CoveLiam FUERY16:45
Albert MelbourneGraham HOGG15:40


15 new female course records set this week:
Balyang SanctuaryAmy CARRIG18:18
BurgessJanet WORSTER21:11
LauncestonKate RODRIGUE20:47
Little StokeDeborah Anne NICCOL18:09
Lower HuttNicola Corinne HANDLEY19:01
MalahideRachael BECK20:27
NewburySandra BOWERS16:03
North BeachSarah KING19:42
North LakesHelen STANTON18:55
PooleLouise DAMEN16:22
PortrushGemma TURLEY21:15
SheringhamEleanor MATTHEWS19:44
South BankGlenda BANAGHAN19:26
SouthendSophie RICHES18:09
StewartLucy JEFFERIES20:04

A total of 60 runners (down 9 on last week) ran times under 17 minutes this week.
10 of these (up 2 on last week) run under 16 minutes!

The fastest parkrunner in the World this week was by Alastair Watson running 15:05 at Rushcliffe parkrun.

The top age grade performance this week was by Sandra Bowers who ran 16:03 in the SW35-39 category at Newbury parkrun, recording a 94.29% age grade in the process. Very impressive!

The fastest freedom run recorded the week was:
Christopher SULLIVAN08/11/2012Albert Melbourne00:17:56

Sunday, 11 November 2012

My first parkrun - Ollie Wilkinson, 8 Years old

I am Oliver, I am 8years old, and on Saturday I did my first parkrun with my Daddy and Uncle.

On Friday, my Daddy asked me if I would like to do parkrun. When I had thought about it I said "Yes!". The next morning I woke up at 7o'clock and had eaten my breakfast and got dressed before I knew it. I was feeling a mixture of feelings:excited, nervous and rushed. When I was getting ready, I couldn't stay still because I was so excited about doing parkrun.

At the start I was thinking how proud that people would be of me if I did it. On the first lap I felt like I could keep doing the same pace the whole way round. When we were running we were talking all the way, which I really liked. When I was running my legs were hurting and I was desperate to get to the finish.

When I crossed the finish line, I was glad that I had beaten my Daddy and Uncle. When I finished I gave a sigh of relief as I was so glad that I had done it.I felt really glad and happy.

When I had finished I talked to my friend from cubs Andrew and his mum who is my cubs leader. I said that I had beaten my Dad and my Uncle and that I was really happy about it.

When we went to get our stuff I was glad to get my Rocky bar that I had been trying to earn the whole time.

After that we went to do the results upload and because I had done so well I had a bacon sandwich from the cafe as a treat.

I got my email the day after I did the parkrun and I was happy that I did it in 35 minutes and 21 seconds. That was faster than I had thought.

I am looking forward to doing it again very soon.