Having ended the old parkrun year with both first finishers named Alex ~ the first time we've ever had our first male and female with the same first name ~ we wondered what the new year might bring. And from a parkrun perspective it brought us the usual wonderful mixture of old and new friends, 463 of us in all, with 17 of us volunteering, and making the parkrun happen, 445 of us propelling ourselves up and down the hill, and one, our tail runner, doing both.
Over half of us ~ 262 in fact ~ then crossed Bristol and took part in Pomphrey Hill parkrun, which began a little after 10.30. 4 of us - Doug Ward, Elijah Langley-Hobbs, Sadie Forgan and Emma Rogers, achieved pbs at both events. Doug's two times were just 3 seconds apart, Sadie's 5 seconds. 31 of us were visitors from parkruns elsewhere, running at both Ashton Court and Pomphrey Hill for the first time.
We welcomed 24 brand new first timers to parkrun at Ashton Court, including the Koupparis family ~ Leo, Amelia, Imogen and Anthony. 3 of these first timers were amongst the 262 who took part at both the morning's events. Anders Bishop, Trevor Ray and Sean Glover were first-timers for little more than an hour! Sean was the most consistent, running times just 14 seconds apart.
Two of us achieved the remarkable feat of running the same twice ~ step forward Bill Hull with 20.23 and 20.23, and Andy White, with 21.54 and 21.54.
But back to Ashton Court, where our 446 runners, walkers and joggers included 83 parkrunners who were visiting AC for the first time ~ many of them from other Bristol events. These visitors included Sheila Porter from Wolverhampton parkrun (who chose not to go to Pomphrey Hill, having been dancing until 3 am in the morning), Paul and Wendy Reddaway from Gunpowder parkrun, Stephen and Natalie Callow from Bath Skyline, Lucy and Rebecca White from Longrun Meadow parkrun, and Chris Cook and Lucy Fraser from Southampton parkrun.
Claire Gent and Trevor Clark came from Worcestor parkrun ~ Trevor was running his 302nd parkrun and had anticipated being joined by a number of friends, including a bear (!!) but sadly this didn't happen, and we were left to enjoy quality, rather than quantity!
Aled Hughes came over from Porthcawl parkrun, Andrew Billany from Gunpowder parkrun, David Pascoe from Hereford parkrun, and Elizabeth Duffin from Winchester parkrun. John Willis represented Hackworth parkrun, Andy Jarrett visited from Kingsway parkrun, Ross Taylor was from Alice Holt parkrun and Philip Richardson from Southwick parkrun.
From Burnham and Highbridge parkrun (so good they named it twice) there came a veritable charabanc full of parkrunners, amongst them Jeannine and David Darling, Lexie and Archie Smith-Finch, Sara Stobart, Sharon and Joshua Davies, Gill Constable, Amy Badman, Tina Burrows, Sadie Carter, Helen James and Philip Hobbs. It was lovely to see Sorrel and Elijah Langley-Hobbs back at Ashton Court.
On a personal note it was great to see old friends from Abingdon parkrun, Carrie and Richard Kembleton, each pushing a loaded buggy, and finishing less than 90 seconds apart in 26:37 and 25:09 respectively.
And then there were the hordes from our neighbours at Eastville, Pomphrey Hill, Thornbury and Chipping Sodbury parkruns. Everybody, please do come and see us again soon!
Every age group was represented, from under 11s to 70-74 year olds, with the least being from the 18-19 age group ~ just one. Well done Kyler Phillips, you're an example to your peers! The most represented age group was 35-39 year olds, who almost gave us some numerical magic as they consisted of 34 males and 39 females!
There were more Andrews and Andys than any other, with 12 of them in all. Next came Michael Mike Mikey, and Stephen Steven Steve, with 10 of them. We ran with 9 Kate Katherine Kathleen Kathryn Katies, 6 Ann Anna Anne Annettes and 5 Helens. As for second names, in our midst were 7 members of the Cox family, 6 Whites and 6 Davies.
We saw 49 pbs ~ better than 10% of the congregation, and the remarkably (and very welcome) number of just 11 unknown participants. Richard Stockham has a pb of 23:45, and on this occasion rearranged those numbers, finishing in 24:53. Sadly, from a narrative point of view, nobody equalled their pb. Katie Cox usually runs at Burnham and Highbridge parkrun, this was her 6th visit to AC and she ran her 5th pb. Katie has reduced her AC time from 46:12 to 31:02. John Churchill ran faster than 29 minutes for the first time, finishing in 28:51. Also beating 29 minutes for the first time was Naina Burgess, starting the New Year in the same way she ended the Old, with a pb. Peter Barber broke 27 minutes for the first time with his time of 26:16, and Andrew Blacker, who used to run here a lot but now spends most of his parkrun time at Pomphrey Hill, got below 25 minutes for the first time at AC, finishing in 24:55. Andrew's previous AC pb was 30 seconds slower, set in May 2013.
Nobody managed to match their finish position with the number of their parkrun, although Mike McBeth came up with a hybrid solution by finishing in 106th place at AC, and then running his 106th parkrun at PH, where he finished 79th overall.
Liz Hill, one of our Run Directors, Stephanie Lear and Lucy Staple all became parkrun centurions today. Liz, our Tail Walker, was also volunteering for the 25th time ~ Steph was accompanied by a bunch of old dears (and "oh dear" was the thought that came to mind when we first caught sight of them) ~ and we were delighted that Lucy, who has lived something of a nomadic parkrun life since the demise of Little Stoke, ran this special landmark run at our place.
Two Ashton Court homies were running their special runs elsewhere ~ Kirsty Phelps ran her 49th at Shepton Mallet parkrun, and her 50th a little later at Southwick Country parkrun ~ and Brendan Wilson ran his 150th at Lydney parkrun and quickly followed it up with his 151st, at Forest of Dean parkrun. Dave Denning joined in with these double parkrun shennanigans, running his 199th parkrun on home turf at AC, and his 200th across the city at Pomphrey Hill parkrun.
Two of our visitors from local parkruns, Giles Dakin and William Lee, ran their 150th parkruns. For both Giles and William it was only their second visit to AC ~ the first time either had run here was exactly 2 years ago, on New Year's Day 2016! Tom Swift visited us for the fourth time and ran his 250th parkrun, beating his brother Ben to that particular landmark by 2 weeks. And finally, because I like the coincidences that numbers give us, Tim Neal-Hopes ran his 150th parkrun, having run precisely 10% of his parkruns at Ashton Court. For this numerical nicety alone, Tim gets a mention!
Congratulations to everyone who started the new year with a landmark parkrun.
Congratulations also to everyone who began the year with their first ever parkrun, and welcome to the family! We really hope that you enjoyed your first one and that we see you again very soon. It's really pleasing to see that 7 of the morning's participants had come back for their second parkrun. The slopey bit we run up can be quite daunting, but it is after all, downhill all the way for the final 2.5k, and you won't find that at any other parkrun in the UK.
We had a little mud embellishing our usual start/finish/scanning areas, and so as you know, we finished where we started, on the road. When we do this it becomes a little congested at times, with runners who've finished making their way back to their cars, but it works. We added to the congestion this time by also moving the barcode scanners off the grass, moving them closer to the Mansion, on the tarmac. They did a great job for us, and all our runners were very patient with the revised arrangement, for which we were most grateful.
A couple of parkrunners asked if there was anything they could help with after they'd had their barcodes scanned. There wasn't really anything I could ask of them - we were using all our equipment, we were using a short funnel, and we were coping, and so I had to say "no thanks". But thank you Rachel and Wendy, your thoughtfulness was much appreciated.
We had 18 volunteers looking after us at our 337th parkrun, 9 of them members of our team of Run Directors. As conditions deteriorated, the clouds burst and the rain began to teem down so hard that it became almost impossible to think, the team pulled together and just kept on making it happen. Towards the end we were down to a hardcore of about 8 of us, then 7, then 6, and finally 5. We were sopping wet and numb with cold, but the broad smiles of the final two finishers made our day. They'd just done something they'd never done before, and started the New Year in the best possible way, doing something they might never have contemplated were it not for parkrun.
Isn't parkrun brilliant!
Report by Rich
Many thanks to the fabulous team of volunteers who made this week’s event happen. Although AC parkrun has a great crowd of enthusiastic volunteers we're always looking out for more people to join the team and spread the load, and if you’d like to sign up as a volunteer, we’d love to have you. Please opt in to receive volunteer emails (via ‘manage my profile’ on any result or newsletter email) and contact AshtonCourtHelpers@parkrun.com to offer help.
Don’t forget to follow us on these news pages, on Twitter (@ashtonctparkrun) or on Facebook (Ashton Court parkrun) for the latest news and information. You can also find us on Instagram too, where we try to post something a little different from time to time.
This week’s full results and course records are here.
Unfortunately we didn't have a photographer this time, but you can find our archive of photos by following this link here (or here if viewing on an iOS device).