Event no. 377, 22nd December 2018

Run Report by Linda Cole

Santa, his elves and reindeer decided to take a break from Christmas preparations, and were joined at Abingdon parkrun by their old friends, the Holy Family. The total number of runners today was 417. The festive characters weren’t the only visitors, with 38 visitors coming from Milton Keynes, Oxford, Cambridge, Dundee, York, Nottingham and beyond. Ordnance Survey runners were also present to ensure Santa could find his way back to the North Pole in time to have a good rest before Christmas Day.

During this morning’s run Santa, his elves and Reindeer, were delighted to hear the tale of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

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The Wardrobe, following behind the Lion and the Witch

parkrun has long reminded me of another story, that of The Hare and the Tortoise. Should these characters attend a future parkrun (World Bookday parkrun fancy dress anyone?) they should watch out for this week’s Hare who finished in an impressive 18:37. His time is particularly impressive given the muddy conditions underfoot; reindeer hooves, Santa boots and Shepherds’ crooks to be replaced by trail shoes to cope with the muddy conditions in the interests of Elf and Safety. Tortoise would doubtless be accompanied by a friendly Tail Walker like Kathy Burbidge, who completed today’s event in 58:42 and was joined at the back by a friendly bunch of runners including juniors and veterans and every age group in between.

The thing that makes me want to recommend Abingdon parkrun to Hare and Tortoise is that thanks to our two-lap course they could actually run part of the run together. As more of a tortoise-like runner than a hare, I have lost track of the number of times an overtaking hare-like runner has shouted things like “good running” or “you can catch him” or high-fived a juvenile reindeer or young elf. At the end, it is always so nice to hear cheering, clapping and “go Santa” or “good running Reindeer” at the end from more experienced, faster runners who have ignited my love of parkrun and persuaded me, and many others, to go for that elusive sprint finish. Thank you fast runners, every high five, cheer and motivational comment means a huge amount to us slower runners.

All the Santas, elves and reindeer and their friends would like to thank the fantastic volunteers at Abingdon parkrun for making such a friendly and festive atmosphere.

Michelle DURHAM • Aldred DURHAM • Julian MOORE • Caroline Elizabeth HUTCHINGS • Mike SHEPHERD • Javier PRIETO • David KENNEDY • Hazel WIGGINTON • Stephen COULSON • Maria COATES • Martin WALKER • Maggy SHEPLEY • Kathy BURBIDGE • Duncan HEPBURN • Alistair BUCKLEY • Linda COLE • Sabiene NORTH • Fiona SEMPLE • Dominic SEMPLE • Simon BURBIDGE • Neville KING • Zebedee MARSH

The tokens were ably sorted outside Java and Co. by the geese a-laying and a Christmas pudding.

Marshals provided enthusiastic support, high fives, and ensured that all runners, sleighs and wardrobes kept on the right side of both the road and the tow path, and well clear of any passing cars or boats. Santa has noted this, and will ensure that Volunteers and all parkrunners who followed their directions will be on the “nice list” on Tuesday.

A big thank you has to go to Run Director Julian Moore for inviting Santa, his reindeer and elves and, of course a few hundred parkrunners to join him for a pre-Christmas parkrun alongside the River Thames.

To the twelve first timers congratulations on your first parkrun and welcome to the parkrun family.

Today 5 people completed milestones, and they can tell you just how addictive parkrun can be.

Congratulations on your milestones:

100 Events
Linda Fathers

50 Events
Linda Cole
Amanda Wall
Bethan Lipp

10 Events (juniors)
Matilda Wall
Aidan Sherwood

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Finally a big thank you from me to everybody who has welcomed me to the parkrun family over the last 50 runs… running alongside (usually behind) all of you has been a real pleasure. Here’s to many more parkruns in 2019.

Happy parkrunday and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Linda Cole

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Helen introduced me to park run

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Bethan and I did 50 runs