Oh what a positively perfect parkrun morning! Bright sunshine, blue sky, beautiful surroundings and beaming parkrunners.
A positively perfect parkrun morning (photo: Drew McLellan)
We weren't really expecting many to come to Ashton Court today, with lots of regulars weekending in London and a special event for Diabetes Week at Eastville parkrun. So it was a delight to see the crowd of joggers, walkers and runners just keep growing and growing this morning. For the first time ever, we had 454 participants. We've had 453 before, and 455 too, but never 454.
Round the bend? Us? Of course! (photo: Drew McLellan)
32 of you were running your first ever parkrun, including half a dozen juniors. You picked a wonderful morning, and you picked a beautiful place for your debut too. I hope your experience this morning left you wanting to come back again soon. 19 of you were running your second parkrun, of whom 8 had run here (and one other at Eastville parkrun) for the first time last week and clearly couldn't wait to come back. At least one brought some friends with her for their 1st parkruns. Again, I hope your second parkrun lived up to your expectations and that we see you all again soon.
First time parkrunner Katrina Entwistle on her way to finishing second female. Amongst those around her are Ian McGrory, Mike McBeth and Zolly, Daniel Ryan Morgan and Dan Lunt (photo: Drew McLellan)
Another 35 of this morning's participants had run a parkrun before, but not at Ashton Court. They included 2 of the first 3 finishers ~ Max Walker, who had run twice before at Eastbourne parkrun, and Matthew Rees, who usually runs at Swansea Bay parkrun. Separating the two newcomers was David Awde, who ran under 17 minutes for the 6th time on our course.
Coming down ~ Max Walker ahead of David Awde ~ going up ~ the Tail Walkers (photo: Drew McLellan)
The most experienced of our first time visitors today was Northala Fields parkrun's Claire Morris, who unbelievably ran 248 parkruns elsewhere before coming to see us. Enjoy your 250th parkrun, Claire, and do come and see us again soon. Another Claire, Claire Fisher, was also visiting us for the first time, from her home parkrun at Pomphrey Hill.
Dan Hird, 51st parkrun, just ahead of Claire Morris, who will probably run her 250th next week, followed by Patsy Goldstone, also running her 51st parkrun (photo: Drew McLellan)
This group also included two Amys ~ Amy Collins, from Hove Promenade parkrun, and Amy Hillier, from Yeovil Montacute parkrun. At the other end of the alphabet, Zoe Sperrin popped in from Little Stoke parkrun, possibly with Paul Sperrin from Cardiff parkrun. We also welcomed John and Angela Worlock from Chipping Sodbury parkrun, Nick Rawlings from Market Harborough parkrun, and David Bennett from Plymvalley parkrun. Finally, and with apologies to those visitors I've omitted, Tammi Preece, who has run 11 times at Cardiff parkrun and has recently moved here to Bristol, ran with us today, and we hope to see her again soon.
Pleased to be here ~ David Bennett from Plymvalley parkrun, with Andrew Burton close behind (photo: Drew McLellan)
Around the world there are 1,251 parkrunners who have run 84 parkruns. Two of them were in our top 10 ~ David Awde and Greg Chance. 886 parkrunners have finished 94 parkruns and we saw four of them, Peter Almond, Richard Haines, and Lauren Russell, immediately followed by her dad, Greg Condon. There are 255 parkrunners who have completed 159 parkruns, and we were joined by 3 of them ~ Jennifer Owsley, Jane Duffus and Isabel Bates.
It's well known at Ashton Court that you can control your flying feet with your thumb, and Jane Duffus, one of only 255 people in the galaxy to be on 159 parkruns, is really good at it. Just ahead of Jane is Wildman Daniel Thomas, with Florence asleep at the wheel, and close behind, Corinna Savage (photo: Drew McLellan)
Finally, from the numbers that jump out at me, Sarah Griffiths, Magda Wigram and Sarah Hext are to be congratulated for their neatness and sense of order. Finishing in 331st, 332nd and 333rd places, Sarah G was running her 26th parkrun, Magda her 25th, and Sarah H her 24th. Well done!
On the right in white, is Sarah Hext, one of the three orderly finishers mentioned above. Alongside her is Leanne Tripp Edwards, followed by Rebecca Lockyer, who ran her first parkrun last Saturday. Behind Sarah is Beata Oleksyk, running her first parkrun (photo: Drew McLellan)
Mentioning how many parkruns we've all run brings me to this morning's landmarks. Not many, but no less significant for that. We applauded Craig Brown as he hasn't missed any of the last 130 AC parkruns, and today was his 150th parkrun over all. So no t-shirt for our streaker, but hasn't he done well! There are t-shirts available, should they want them, for Antonia Gooder, Roger Long and Ben Lee. Antonia and Roger arrived at the 50 parkrun milestone, and Ben, one of our older juniors, reached the 10 parkrun mark, unaware that it was his 10th, or that he could claim a t-shirt as a consequence. Well done the four of you ~ next stop 200, 100, 100 and 50!
Flying to Fifty, here's Roger Long (photo: Drew McLellan)
60 of you achieved pbs this morning. The more you run here, the harder it seems to be to run faster than ever before. So David Murray Milne, achieving his first pb since November last year, in his 127th parkrun, deserves praise. Similarly Moe Soe, with his first pb in 42 parkruns, in his 107th event. This had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that his daughter Mee-Mee did much of the results processing as part of her baccalaureate ~ and a wonderful job she did too.
Moe Soe was determined to run faster than before, and he did! Moe's just ahead of 3rd female finisher Nicola Oldroyd, with Antonia Gooder, running her 50th parkrun, on Nicola's heels (photo: Drew McLellan)
Sarah Flourentzou ran a pb, in her 51st event. Only 9 of them have been here but in those 9 runs Sarah has reduced her time by over 9 minutes! strong>Abbie Wilford ran one too, in her 34th parkrun (half of them here). Oliver Clarke (65 parkruns, 24 of them here), and Adam Walker (6, all here) also ran faster than they had before on our course. Dawn Scott, a former couch to 5k graduate, beat 38 minutes for the first time in her 8th run here. Well done all of you, you're all running well and reaping the rewards.
Sarah Flourentzou didn't need any excuses ~ she ran a pb (photo: Drew McLellan)
We have something called age grades at parkrun which is a means of comparing performances regardless of our youth, or lack of it. There's all sorts of long division involved, possibly even a slide rule or two. We have boffins who sort it all out for us. They ruled that Shirley Clegg got the best score, of 83.94%, with her time of 24:54. Next came Anne Dockery, whose pb of 26:51 scored 81.56%, and first finisher Max Walker, with 77.25%. Shirley is our age grade record holder, and only 6 other runners have beaten the score she set today. Anne's score makes her the 22nd highest age grade scorer ever at AC, and Max becomes the 119th. That's out of 16,845 runners! Wow!
Ashton Court's top age grade scorer Shirley Clegg (photo: Drew McLellan)
I mentioned the first 3 male finishers earlier ~ and they were joined on our virtual podium, if we had one, by Francesca Knapper, Katrina Entwistle, in her first ever parkrun, and Nicola Oldroyd. One nice little numerical coincidence is that Katrina finished in 58th place overall, and Nicola in 85th, and exactly 60 seconds apart.
That's the way to do it! On the right is Miriam Blom-Smith. I'm not sure who her companions are, but what a great time they're having! (photo: Drew McLellan)
277 parkrunners didn't achieve a pb ~ and I know the feeling ~ but there's always next week to try again, and anyway, parkrun is about so much more than running faster than ever. Why would you want to make such a fab part of a precious weekend go so quickly? Ease back, take your time, shoot the breeze and enjoy the beautiful surroundings, the birdsong, talk to other runners and make new friends.
I know! But isn't it great to see youngsters out in the sun, exercising and having fun (photo: Drew McLellan)
We were sorry to find 50 unknown runners in our results. I know a number of you forgot your barcodes, and of course no-one does that on purpose, and we don't like to say "no, we can't write your number down" but we have to. Thanks for being so understanding. At least two parkrunners had to go back to their cars to find their barcodes, and a third had time to pop home, find her barcode, and drive back before we processed the results. Did you know that other barcode products are available? There are key fobs, credit card size thingies, and wristbands. They're harder to forget, or easier to remember, depending on the state of your glass, I suppose. And they're all much easier to scan than some of the examples of papier-mâché we try to scan sometimes (is papier-mâché still a thing?).
I mentioned in the pre-run briefing that it's our birthday next week. We're going to be 7! And because we've all been so well-behaved all year our Event Directors are letting us have a party! It'll be after the run, outside the cafe. We can all bring some cake and share it with one another. A number of people will be given Ashton Court parkrun certificates, and we'll have a free raffle, for which some of the prizes are brand new!
(image: Rich Kenington)
Finally, a huge big hug and thank you to our wonderful team of volunteers this morning. Even the ones who were rude to me! (I know!). As always, and no matter who it is that volunteers each week, they were great fun to be with.
Have a great week, and see you next time
It's a run in the park with your mates ~ Stuart Pick and Andy Green enjoying their first ever parkrun. Same time, same place, next week? (photo: Drew McLellan)
Report by Rich Kenington
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.
It was great to see Drew McLellan taking our photos today. Drew certainly made the most of the beautiful weather. You'll find them, together with all our photos, by following this link (or this one if viewing on an iOS device).