Saturday’s Ashton Court parkrun was our 376th, and we finished with 327 finishers. It’s the 3rd time we’ve had that many take part at AC – the first occasion having been almost exactly 3 years ago, at our 223rd event, repeated the first time a few months later at AC parkrun number 244.
Run Director Alice Doggrell briefs the morning's marshals and tail walkers. Thank you to all Saturday's volunteers for helping to make another Ashton Court parkrun happen (photo: Rich Kenington)
There were 25 people who took part without a barcode this morning, a relatively small proportion, which is pleasing as we do like to know who everyone is. Of the remaining 302, 24 were running their first ever parkrun, and 38 had run parkruns elsewhere in the world but were visiting us for the first time.
Off we go! (photo: Rich Kenington)
That leaves 240 parkrunners who had run at AC at least once before, and exactly 10% of them ran our course faster than they had ever run it before, and out of the 216 who weren’t able to record a pb, spare a thought for the two who equalled their pb.
Three more of our hi-vis heroes ~ one, a junior, volunteering for the 2nd time ~ Jacob Butterly, volunteering for the 21st time, and Anna Berryman, volunteering for the 1st time. Thanks, all of you (photo: Rich Kenington)
It was great to welcome our course record holder Jarlath McKenna back for only the second time since he and his family moved to the Midlands in the summer of last year. And it came as no surprise to those of us who know him that he was able to finish just inside 17 minutes, the first person to do so here since late May. Jarlath also achieved the highest age grade this morning, scoring 78.19%.
First finisher Jarlath McKenna keeps his feet off the ground (photo: Rich Kenington)
Our first female finisher was running here for the first time, and you wonder how fast Hannah Taunton might run here if she got to know the course better. Hannah, who has run 150 times at her home event, Longrun Meadow parkrun in Taunton (where else?), ran the first sub-20 minute female time here since July. Someone who knows our course very well – having run it 227 times - is Marie Malloy. Marie was the morning’s second female finisher and it was disconcerting for me to be overtaken by her on her second lap of the course, just before I reached the 4k point. In my defence I had taken photos of everyone else during the run, and by then my camera was feeling much heavier than it had a little earlier!
First-time first female finisher Hannah Taunton, on her way to finishing in 7th place, and becoming the 38th fastest female at Ashton Court parkrun (photo: Rich Kenington)
Our second finisher was Adam Holland, breaking his journey from Devon to York where he was taking part in Sunday’s York Marathon. It was Adam’s first visit to Ashton Court in his 155 parkruns, and the next runner home was also running here for the first time. He was Ian Hayward, who had run 130 parkruns before Saturday. Adam’s home event is Newark parkrun, and Ian’s is Southsea parkrun.
Two way traffic on the hill ~ remember that left is right and right is wrong! (photo: Rich Kenington)
The third female to finish was Emma Pemberton, running her 3rd AC parkrun this year and finishing 3rd for the 2nd time in those 3 events. The odd one out was when Emma finished 2nd. Not only that, but in these 3 parkruns, Emma has finished 38th overall twice, and in the time of 21:41 twice. These numbers do like playing their little games don’t they!
Almost blending in with the background is Emma Pemberton, now half way to a decidedly non-blending red parkrun 50 club t-shirt ~ with Peter May behind, now 5k away from completing 150 parkruns (photo: Rich Kenington)
We were joined by 16 first-time parkrunners last week and 2 of them, Jonathan Andrews and Andrew Jones came back straight away for a second go, and both achieved pbs. Two others also ran their second parkrun on Saturday, both at Bournemouth parkrun. Possibly some sort of parkrun package deal the rest of us didn’t hear about? It’s great to see that 4 out of the 16 couldn’t wait to run a second parkrun, I wonder how many of our 24 new folk are counting down the hours until 9.00 next Saturday?
Returning for her second parkrun is Bethan Broadbent, with two first-timers ~ David Curlis and Emily Burrows ~ right behind. Next in line is Lorraine Cromwell, who almost equalled the pb she set last week, missing out by 1 second, with James Hawke giving a wave (photo: Rich Kenington)
When someone runs their first parkrun I don’t suppose many of them envisage running 49 more, let alone 299 more! I’d love to know what went through the minds of our newcomers when they heard us congratulate Sharon Barrett, who was about to run her 50th parkrun? Or Steve Harding, setting off on his 150th? Or David Capel, who ran at our first event in 2011, looking forward to starting his 300th parkrun?
Good to see Sharon Barrett enjoying her 50th parkrun. Patti Rudling (21 parkruns) and Pete Snowman (6 parkruns) keep Sharon company (photo: Rich Kenington)
There’s already enough information in the pre-run briefing, so we didn’t mention that Ross Anderson was about to run an Ashton Court parkrun for the 50th time. Ross is the 332nd person to have propelled himself up and down our hill, and even more bonkers, Roger Brocklesby was running his 200th Ashton Court parkrun, the 18th to have run here so often.
Running down the hill for the 200th time ~ Roger Brocklesby. Catherine Clarke and Phil Rees, who both usually run at Bath Skyline parkrun, were on their first descent (photo: Rich Kenington)
Even one of our visitors got in on the act – David Deane (one of several Hampshire parkrunners to join us) was running his 200th parkrun. He hadn’t taken part in our event before and we’re delighted that he showed remarkably good taste in selecting Ashton Court parkrun for this particular landmark.
Visiting for the first-time, and running his 200th parkrun, here's David Deane. David is this week's winner of our "What took you so long?" award (no prize, it's just for fun), having run 199 parkruns elsewhere before arriving at Ashton Court. The runner behind is unknown ~ the two of them finished this close to one another too (photo: Rich Kenington)
David’s home event is Queen Elizabeth parkrun. Whatever the collective noun is for a bunch of people from Hampshire, it also included Ian and Loisa Hayward from Southsea parkrun, Drew Forrest from Winchester parkrun and Stephen Chapman from Lymington Woodside parkrun. Other first time visitors included David Webster, from Newport parkrun ~ Danielle Hardy from Newcastle parkrun ~ Jonathan Coney, from Woodhouse Moor parkrun in Leeds ~ Thomas Smith from Cannon Hill parkrun in Birmingham (West Midlands, not Alabama) ~ and Duncan Watts, from Penrhyn parkrun. My apologies to the first-time visitors I’ve not listed, and hopefully we’ll see all of you again sometime soon.
Two first-time visitors ~ Caroline Lansdown, from just up the road at Chipping Sodbury parkrun, followed by Danielle Hardy, from Newcastle parkrun, a bit further up the road (photo: Rich Kenington)
Although not a first-time visitor, Hannah Susorney was probably furthest from her home event on Saturday, as she began her parkrun adventure at Leakin Park parkrun in Baltimore, in Maryland USA. It’s northeast of Washington DC, and having looked at the map it looks like a beautiful place to be. I was particularly taken by a nearby village named Dickeyville.
All the way from Leakin Park parkrun in Baltimore, here's Hannah Susorney, with Louise Neale-Hopes close behind (photo: Rich Kenington)
This brings us to some international news, as while we entertained one parkrunner from the USA, 3 Ashton Court parkrunners were enjoying North American hospitality. Simon Wood ran for the 5th time at his second home of San Francisco’s Crissy Field parkrun. Some way east of Simon, Marcus Kropacsy and Natalie Mundy attempted a takeover of Mountain Goat Trail parkrun, which takes place in Tennessee, a bit south east of Nashville. Marcus, wearing his 250 parkrun t-shirt for the first time, finished first, then handed out the finish tokens before scanning them. There is of course no truth in the rumour that Marcus finished first because he kept that token for himself! Natalie was the second female to finish, in 6th place overall, and having got her breath back helped with the post-event close down. Incidentally, this seems to be a course without marshals, which makes Marcus’ achievement in finishing first even more laudable. Mind you, the next two finishers were also first-timers! And to top it all off, this was the 25th time Marcus had volunteered, so now he can claim another new parkrun t-shirt.
Whatever motivational sounds Rhys Davies was listening to it worked, as Rhys achieved a pb for the first time in 8 parkruns. Commiserations to Michael Jenkins alongside though ~ running here for the 5th time Michael finished in 33:03, equalling the time he ran on his first visit here a few weeks ago. Better luck next time! (photo: Rich Kenington)
Returning to our first-time visitors, two of them, Eloise Primrose, and Claire Hurrell, both have Ashton Court as their home parkrun, which perhaps means a recent move to the area. Welcome to Ashton Court both of you, we wish you well in your new ventures.
Claire Hurrell, possibly recently relocated in Bristol. Welcome! (photo: Rich Kenington)
Last weekend, much fuss was quite rightly made about the 5,000,000th parkrun barcode having been issued. To demonstrate just how quickly parkrun is growing, we’ve already scanned one numbered higher than 5040000. I mentioned Jonathan Andrews earlier – his barcode is the closest we’ve seen to that Holy Grail of 5 million – sadly Jonathan registered 2,484 barcodes too soon!
The Ashton Court parkrunner who was closest to receiving barcode number 5000000, Jonathan Andrews, is the 18,530th different person to have finished at Ashton Court. Chatting to someone we can't identify is Jonathan Bartlett, with first-timer Rachel Wilson close behind (photo: Rich Kenington)
The total of 24 pbs achieved this week is proportionally the fewest we’ve had at Ashton Court this year. We even managed more at 9 o’clock in the morning on New Year’s Day! Three in particular stand out, those achieved by Vladi Krajnak, John Bradwell and Ben Heald. Vladi is in a groove, running his 3rd pb in as many weeks, reducing his time from 22:22 to 21:52 to 21:48 this time. On the other hand, John hadn’t achieved a pb for 30 parkruns spread over 3 years. John’s previous pb was 28:56, last week he could hardly have got closer, with 28:57, and on Saturday he got there, finishing in 28:55! Persistence pays! Ben ran 23:19 when he first ran here, in 2014. On Saturday, six AC parkruns later Ben ran his first pb, with his time of 23:12. Congratulations to all of you who now have new targets to aim for.
Clearly determined to nail that pb this time ~ John Bradshaw flys down the hill (photo: Rich Kenington)
Finally, having followed you all up the hill trying to take your photos, when I turned back to head downhill I was on my own, with no one to call out to and no runners to photograph. I was struck by how calm and peaceful it was up on top of the course. With no-one to shout at it would be, but it was more than that. I felt I could have stayed up there all day, absorbing whatever it was that was in the air. I didn’t hurry to get to the finish and took time to reflect on the last 15 months. Some of you know that life has placed a few obstacles in my way in that time, and Ashton Court has played a major part in keeping me going. The beautiful estate and its surroundings, with the stunning colours that appear to change every day, and all the different creatures we’re privileged to share it with. Of course, our parkrun, and the community that’s grown around it, including every single person that’s taken part there. One run or two hundred of them, regardless of whether you know what I’m talking about or not, everyone’s made a difference and kept me positive. And really, I just wanted to say Thank You
Some of those who finished ahead of me may have missed some of this ~ we're so fortunate to be able to run here (photo: Rich Kenington)
Report by Rich Kenington
Many thanks to the fabulous team of volunteers who made this weekís 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 youíd like to sign up as a volunteer, weíd love to have you. Please opt in to receive volunteer emails (via ëmanage my profileí on any result or newsletter email) and contact AshtonCourtHelpers@parkrun.com to offer help.
Donít 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 weekís full results and course records are here.