Arrow Valley parkrun – ‘Overrun with Christmas spirit’ #338 – 22/12/2018

What an amazing event this morning's parkrun was. The weather was chilly, but it was dry and bright, which made for perfect running and volunteering conditions. A fantastic 356 people took part in the event - 19 first-timers, a whopping 34 new PB's and some great milestones too – just brilliant!

Many participants and volunteers sported superb festive costumes, totally embracing the Christmas spirit. There was also a festive food table with lots of goodies and an all-round feeling of festive good cheer. Here's a few of the fab costumes we spotted.
Arrow Valley parkrun Christmas Day 2018Arrow Valley parkrun Christmas Day 2018
Arrow Valley parkrun Christmas Day 2018Arrow Valley parkrun Christmas Day 2018
Arrow Valley parkrun Christmas Day 2018

Mark and I offered to write this run report because we wanted to share with you what a difference volunteering and running at Arrow Valley parkrun has made to our lives.
Arrow Valley parkrun Christmas Day 2018
This time last year we didn't even know parkrun existed! We thought PB stood for pigs in blankets and had no idea that just down the road from us was this wonderful free event called parkrun. An event where amazing people venture out in wind, rain, snow, sleet and shine to volunteer so that parkrun can happen. An event where anyone can run or walk around a 5k route in safety and even better get a time at the end of it (provided you've got your barcode that is). It's a totally inclusive event where many of the volunteers are also the runners and it's just amazing that it's right here on our doorstep – who knew.

If you'd known us a year ago we were very different people. We were couch potatoes, neither of us had run in years. If I'm being completely honest I was suffering with my mental health and well-being and Mark wasn't in great shape either. What a difference a few short months can make. I ran my first parkrun on the 28 April 2018 and, for those who don't know, I'm visually impaired so always run with a guide. You can read about my first parkrun here if you want to. Mark ran his first parkrun on the 14 July 2018 and he ran it with me because my guide runner was injured.
Arrow Valley parkrun has been a regular feature in our lives ever since and we've met so many amazing and inspirational people because of it. What's struck us about the running community is how inclusive and supportive it is. Everyone just wants to help and support each other – which is amazing. Over the last few months people have come to know us, shouting out hello's whether we are running or volunteering, we both run regularly in the week too now and we both feel so much better for it.

Since starting at parkrun, many people have also stepped in to support me because of my visual impairment. There's always someone who'll make sure I'm safe with a supporter if Mark runs and I don't. Another thing that's totally blown me away are the people who run with me as my guide. They give so much and I honestly don't think they realise what a huge difference it makes to my life as without them I wouldn't be able to run at all - it's just amazing.
It's also lovely catching up with our new running family afterwards for a cuppa too. Our Saturday mornings are not the same if we can't make it and we just wanted to say thank you! Especially to the core team and to everyone who has helped us, made us feel so very welcome and made us part of the parkrun family.

Merry Christmas to you all and a very happy and healthy New Year too.

As well as Mark and myself, the volunteers were: Liz ADEY, Rashida BASHIR, Christopher BIRD, Raymond BOYLE, Neil BROWN, Clare CARMEN, Beth DRISSELL, Sally EVANS, Norma FOX, Wendy GARDNER, Dylan GOULD, Melba JONES, Adam KNOWLES, Gary MANDERS, Pamela MORETON, Willow MUGGLESTONE, Katie MULHALL, Hannah PRZYBYLAK, Stephen REA, Robert SARGENT, Nick SECKER, Abigail SWARBRICK, Simon TAYLOR, Andy TERRY, Philip THOMAS, Katie THORLEY, Leigh WALTON, Ian WIDDOWS, Paula WIDDOWS, Ricky YOUNG – THANK YOU!

 

Arrow Valley Christmas Day parkrun 09:30am

Thank you to everyone that gave a little bit back and committed to filling the volunteer rosters up to Christmas Day. We really appreciate all of your help.

We are delighted to confirm that Arrow Valley will be hosting a Christmas Day parkrun starting at 09:30
IMG_0165A festive occasion and we look forward to the many santa's, elves and reindeers galloping around the park... even inflatable snowmen..!! IMG_0166
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Wishing you all well for the Festive season and please remember that the volunteer roster is for life, not just Christmas.

 

David Harrison Run Report – Event #332 – 10-11-18

What a cracker!
The Arrow Valley parkrun just goes from strength to strength. A record number of 518 runners took part, including Nick Brown who was visiting from Atlanta, USA.
The conditions were perfect for running. The rain showers had cleared, replaced by beautiful sunny conditions and a nice temperature of 9 degrees centigrade. A beautiful Autumnal morning. The lake looked magnificent, reflecting all shades of yellow, orange, red and brown from the surrounding trees. Multi-coloured leaves floated down on the runners like confetti creating a picturesque setting.
I don’t know whether it was the Autumn sunshine but everyone seemed to be on top form, with lots of smiling faces and happy banter. It was AVPR at its very best.
IMG_8588Milestones The numbers were swelled by huge turnouts from two local running clubs, Redditch STARS and Kingfisher Harriers and with supporters of runners with significant milestones. In fact an Arrow Valley record attendance of 518 was recorded in the results.  Congratulations to Tim Harrison (200th run), Steven Singh Sadhra (100th run), Gary Tomkinson, Graham Tomkinson and Meg Parker (50th run) and Chloe Lynch (10th run). It was fun to see a large group of friends, dressed in red outfits and lots of balloons, celebrating Meg’s milestone. IMG_8587

Adam Peacock finished first in an impressive 16.08, which apparently was the 20th fastest park run time in the UK this Saturday. Well done Adam!
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In second position was Adam Hill in 17.25 who just edged out Mark Lawlor by 2 seconds. Joanne Smith was the first lady to finish in a time of 20.06, followed in by Becki Timmings in 20.14 and Rachael Davies in 20.57. 47 PBs were achieved, not bad considering how many runners there were today. The important thing was that every single runner appeared to have a great time and everyone came back happy and pumped up for the weekend. Don’t you just love the parkrun?!

Redditch STARS parkrun Challenge Final Today was also the final of the Redditch STARS parkrun Challenge, a knock-out competition started in February and organised by Ian Widdows. Draws were made at random and a handicap system was applied using each entrants best time from 2017 as a baseline. This created a level playing field and rewarded runners who made the greatest progress and improvement. Virtually every runner improved their times and so many PBs were achieved. At the quarter-final stage, the handicap system was adjusted to take into account the latest PBs which made the competition even more exciting. The final was a battle of the Zoe’s. Using the handicap times, Zoe Newman had to run 90 seconds faster than Zoe Neale to claim the crown in the final. We were tracking the gap at various stages of the run and predicting a close finish. Zoe Newman went off like a rocket, paced by Carl Newman, opening up a lead of 37 seconds at half-way. Zoe Neale, paced by Cathy Richardson and Richie Ellison hung in there. At the last corner opposite the visitor centre, Zoe Newman had a 91 second lead and was on course to win by 1 second but Zoe Neale dug deep and sprinted to the line to triumph by just 2 seconds. The girls hugged each other at the end, had pictures taken together and sat next to each other helping to sort out the finishing tokens afterwards, still not certain of the result until the times had been processed. They knew it was close and had to wait nervously before the competition result was announced. In the end Zoe Neale was the champion but both girls were winners, not just for the incredible improvement made but also in the spirit that they had approached the competition. A real credit to their club and to the AVPR community. IMG_8585

Just for the record, Zoe Newman achieved 4 PBs in 2018, improving from 32.57 to 28.06 and knocking 47 seconds off her previous PB in the final. Zoe Neale achieved 8 PBs improving from 40.45 to 29.34 and knocking a massive 61 seconds off her previous PB in the final, breaking 30 minutes for the first time. To think that Zoe only graduated from the Couch to 5K programme at the end of 2017 shows the progress she has made. Well done to both Zoe’s.
Stuart Beasley came in third-place with a time of 23.22 from Anthony White who finished an honourable 4th place.
IMG_8586Volunteers A big thank you to the marvellous volunteers who gave the runners so much encouragement and worked hard both before and after the event to make it such a success. IMG_8589

This week’s volunteers included:
Adam KNOWLES • Andy TERRY • Colin DRISSELL • Chris ROSS • Christopher BIRD • Claire JAKEMAN • Clare GRENNAN • Corin ELLIOTT • David HARRISON • Dylan GOULD • Emma SHANNON • Glenn LACEY • Guy WALTON • Ian WIDDOWS • Jo COLLINS • Jo PECK • Katie MULHALL • Liz ADEY • Matthew VAS • Melissa WOOD • Michelle TAYLOR • Nick HAYNES • Paige WOOD • Pamela MORETON • Paul ADEY • Raymond BOYLE • Robert SARGENT • Sonia STOCKWIN • Steve ELLIOTT • Trenten ROBERTS • Willow MUGGLESTONE • Zoe NEALE • Zoe NEWMAN

 

 

No Event on New Years Day

The team at Arrow Valley have decided to decline the opportunity to host a New Year Day parkrun. The team love to celebrate on New Years Eve and we hope you enjoy the occasion too.

 

Arrow Valley Parkrun #330 27-10-2018 by David Harrison

Six full hours after the 'witching' hour, the clock ticked around to 9 am, otherwise known as the Dead of Night' to teenagers, 419 runners lined up for the Arrow Valley 'Spooktacula' to appease the Spirits.  Looking at the state of some of them they had been drinking plenty of spirits last night.

Event 330 - 1

It had been hoped to offer a sacrificial virgin but the search was in vain as you don't find many of those in Redditch.  Fittingly, there was a chill in the air and if you listened carefully enough you could hear Wagner's 'The Ride of the Valkyries' dancing across the Stitch Meadow.

Unverified reports suggested that there were some mysterious tourists in attendance from Gravesend, Coffinswell, Devil's Dyke, Upper and Lower Slaughter.

Event 330 - 3

 

The runners gathered to listen to the briefing given by the Clare 'Pussy-Cat' Grennan.  You could see that the spooks were huddled in groups including Zombies, Vampires, Skeletons and there were several Mummies in attendance.  An eerie silence descended over the participants like a blanket as they waited for the run to begin.  It was broken by the roar of the monsters and blood curdling screams of the masses as the race started.

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The marvellous Marshals were in place at strategic points to encourage the runners and point them in the right direction.  This was particularly important as the Headless Horseman from Headless Cross were in danger of taking a wrong turn into the Forbidden Forest.

Event 330 - 2
Some of the runners were slow, dead slow, and some were fast, frighteningly fast.  Non mores so than the mightiest of monsters.  Typhon (aka Chris 'Batman' Lockhart) who showed super-human strength, stamina and speed, accompanied by the three-headed hell-hound, Cereberus (aka Ronan), completing the course in an amazing PB time of 16 minutes and 7 seconds.

Event 330- 6

 

A clutch of mortals, running for their lives, or maybe just trying to keep warm, sped over the finishing line ahead of the first ghost, Sammy Taaffe (who also won the prize for the spook with the most vowels in his surname).

Event 330 - 7

There was no denying that the ghosts were the fastest, followed by the witches and then the vampires who were no doubt in a hurry to get back to their coffins before the sun burst through.  Predictably, the Mummies were hampered by their bandages and bringing up the rear were the Zombies who shuffled around as fast as they could go; not bad considering that they had only just risen from their graves.  Just ahead, in honour of the festival of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) was a well-known gentleman doing the 'Monster Mash', it was the Graveyard Flash (Well done Ken).

The runners came streaming in, relentlessly stomping home.  All the heroes made it to the end, thankfully unscathed and living to fight another day.

Volunteers

Thank you to all of the volunteers who turned out on such a cold day and who made this event happen: William ALDRIDGE, Richard BANKS, Rashida BASHIR, Scott BEVERLEY, Raymond BOYLE, Diane Mary BRIAN, Victoria CARUANA, Janet CRIPPS, Natalie CUTLER, Barry DREW, Paul EDWARDS, Clare GRENNAN, David HARRISON, Anita HARTLEY, Alison HIGGINS, Adam KNOWLES, Rebecca MOORE, Pamela MORETON, Willow MUGGLESTONE, Katie MULHALL, David OLDAKER, Stephen REA, Andy SCOTT, David SNAPE, Lauren SYKES, Kate SYKES, Andy TERRY, Katie THORLEY, Pauline TIMMINGS, Lizzie TOVEY, Mark TOVEY, Rhona ULYETT, Matthew VAS, Mark WEAFER, Clare WEAVER, Ian WIDDOWS, Paula WIDDOWS, Shantell WILLMOTT.

Pacers

Thank you to the pacers who did a great job: Scott BEVERLEY, Richard BANKS, Mark WEAFER, Andrew WAREING, Ricky YOUNG, David SNAPE, Diane BRIAN, Katie THORLEY, Anita HARTLEY, Kate SYKES, Clare GRENNAN and Natalie CUTLER.

Personal Bests

There were an incredible 92 PBs.  Were they inspired by the pacers, running fast just to keep warm or petrified by the presence of spooks? Who knows? Any PB is a great achievement but it is even more sweeter if you finish in the first 10 or when it dips under one of the notable benchmarks, so congratulations to:

Chris Lockhart 16.07, Oscar Barbour 16.33, Phil Wells 18.41, Frazer Slade 19.15 and Ellie Burrell 23.48 who all finished in the top 10 for male and female categories and Richard Kemp 24.45 (on 64th parkrun), Simon Smart, 24.53, Michelle Taylor 29.24, Ken McMullan 29.44, Paula Widdows 29.49 (on 83rd parkrun!), Eleanor England 39.54, Claire Reid 39.12, Lynda Aharp 39.37, Monica Smith 39.38 who all dipped under the time benchmarks.

Event 330

Milestones

Congratulations also to the following runners who reached important milestones:

50 runs: Richard Latham, Richard Banks and Kelly-Rose Rignall

10 runs: Ryan Oldfield

 

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