A REport on a re-run

 

Report is brought to you by the letters R and E. I was inspired (saved?) by noticing how many of the different topics seemed to fit. So there are a lot of RE-words this week, but no mention of RE – which was never really my favourite school subject anyway.

 

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"Ready, set . . " (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

Re-run of course: the 390th time people have done battle with the hill. But even as we move towards our 8th birthday (save the date – April 27th), it’s different every time. So what was unusual about today?

 

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Our 390th Ashton Court parkrun and Daniel Morgan's run 338 of them! Nobody's run more times here (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

Return to work, to school, normality – that was one thing. Not a festive garment in sight and – even more shocking – no cake in the courtyard!

 

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And there they were ~ gone! (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

Resolutions: the most obvious thing was the massive attendance, and some of this was to do with New Year resolutions. We sort of suspected this might happen, having seen the large number of registrations during the week. As it was, 651 people crossed the finish line, so with the 27 volunteers that means there were a record 678 involved.

 

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In the middle of the group, wearing a Red January top, is Rob Eeuwens, running his first parkrun. To Rob's right is Arturus Volianskis, running his 41st, and just ahead, underneath his headphones, is Cedryc Noumsi Mbopda, running his 9th. Cedryc was one of a small number of parkrunners who then went and repeated the course, as if once was not enough! (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

Red January is a thing at the moment, and a fair number of runners were spotted sporting the red shirt with its natty calendar on the back – others were supporting the idea but in their normal kit. Let’s hope all those make it through the month, and that they’ll keep coming back afterwards as well.

 

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Ashton Court parkrun regular Michalis Sanidas proudly wears his Red January t-shirt (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

Records: well, apart from that crowd figure, there were plenty more records. Every PB is a record, after all. There were 80 of those, and two of them were achieved by Rebecca Day and Rebecca Quinn. The third Rebecca of the day was Becci Colquhoun, one of our most frequent flyers (272 runs). And every first parkrun is a record too – and we had 114 first-timers. They included Rebekah Townsend, Rob Eeuwens and Rowena Evans.

 

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Rebecca Day returned after just over 3 years to record a pb. Just ahead in the blue top is Ben Masters, with a junior runner in the stripes and Nas Iqbal, who usually runs at Cardiff parkrun, to Rebecca's right (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

Recognition of landmark runs is something we make a point of, thanks to a combination of software and our resident algorithm Rich Kenington. This week we were able to salute juniors Izzy Fisher, Saoirse Anders and Poppy Collis-Smith as they reached 10 runs; Daniel Kanaris who ran his 200th parkrun; Steve Stone on reaching 100; and four runners who got to 50: Jane Blazeby, Dominic Holmes, Tim Milstead and Richard Edwards.

 

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Steve Stone not very far from completing his 100th parkrun, with Sally Stone and John O'Brien escorting him home (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

Relatives came along together as always: the aforementioned Richard had a team of family support with him (and his initials are of course RE. Spooky or what?). Another family group was Istvan, Lilla and Bori Farkas-Kiraly, who between them have done 44 parkruns, all at Ashton Court. Mind you, Team Fennell has racked up 242 runs – its members being Richie, Ethan and Myles (R.E.M. – just saying).

 

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Richard Edwards not celebrating his 50th birthday, which is a number of years away yet, but instead enjoying his 50th parkrun with his son navigating, and a runner without a barcode alongside (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

Regulars were there in plenty of course, as you can tell from the photos. The familiar face of Celia Johnstone appeared today among the volunteers, as she completed her 25th stint of volunteering.

 

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A few of the morning's remarkable volunteers ~ Celia Johnstone is second from the left (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

Resilience was called for from the volunteers today, with such a large field of parkrunners and a big range of finishing times. Respect is due to every one of the 301 different people who volunteered over the past year.

 

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More people than we've ever seen before! (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

Results: they were there for all to see comfortably before lunchtime, which is a tribute to the processing skills of Tony Myers and Liz Hill this week, aided and abetted by Rich and Maggie Salter.

 

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Tony Myers deep in thought, Michael Winter -Graham checks his instructions whilst Liz Hill updates the morning's volunteer register (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

Regrets, we had a couple. Clare Meraz took a tumble out on the course, and we hope she’s fully restored now: her thanks (and ours) to the many parkrunners who helped her and made sure she got back to the finish.

The other regret of the day was the observation (not a complaint) of a visiting runner who let us know that she felt scared as she ran up the course between the turn onto the gravel and the brow of the hill. She said the mass of runners, some with buggies, hurtling down the hill left her little space and no option but to take evasive action. So that brings me to a ~

 

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Respect for those around us. Even in the last kilometre we can see it's important to keep left, to allow others to travel in the opposite direction and faster people to overtake. Up on the gravel path, which is not as broad and we're running or walking in both directions, it's essential that we keep left and if in doubt, give way rather than overtake. Safety first at all times! (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

Reminder: let’s please bear in mind the people running in the opposite direction. Keep left, warn fellow runners of oncoming people, and even drop back so that we don’t extend right across the path. It’s particularly important when the numbers are so high!

 

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How could we resist this photo, taken during a quieter moment on the finish line? (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

Revisit Ashton Court next week, please!

Reply to the results email by volunteering, if you can.

 

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And the winner of this week's "What took you so long award?" (no prize, it's just for fun) is the man with the flying feet, Tony Owen, from Parke parkrun, who had run 204 other parkruns before calling in to see us (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

Remember your barcode and –

Rejoice that we get to do this every week!

 

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Report writer Niall Hoskin reassures the morning's first time parkrunners and visitors that the hill really isn't as bad as they'd probably heard. In fact, it's almost certainly worse! (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

Really the end

 

Report by Niall Hoskin

 

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.

Returning photographer Sarah Jones recorded most of this week's record number of participants, and you can find her great photos, together with our entire photo archive, by following this link (or this one if viewing on an iOS device).

 

parkrun ballooning . .

 

The New Year’s only 5 days old and we’ve enjoyed 2 parkruns already. And having begun 2019 in such grand style, now we can settle back into our regular weekly routine of gathering on the hill every Saturday.

 

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Getting pumped up before parkrun (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

151 of us, including volunteers, came along on both occasions, and found Saturday to be quite a contrast to Tuesday. The weather, for example, was quite different, and we “enjoyed” a crisp and cold morning, with a little white frost on the grass and hardly a breath of wind. We were also treated to the sight of two hot air balloons being filled up with hot air and taking off. One of them was up and gone in next to no time, but the other dithered and dallied and was still hanging around the hill behind our finish an hour later.

 

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and this one's away! (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

A second treat was a record number of participants – almost! Standing beside the finish line to watch the last few finishers, it was clear from the tokens being given out that our attendance record was under threat.

Back in April 2017, at our 300th event, we saw 624 parkrunners cross our finish line. This number was a huge leap from our previous record of 568, established a year earlier, and we’ve not really come close since then. Not a great surprise this, really, given that since the record was set Eastville and Thornbury parkruns, and more recently, Somerdale Pavilion parkrun in Keynsham, have been set up.

 

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So many parkrunners! (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

So it was a great thrill to see 623 finishers cross the line this time. Of course, we’d have loved to celebrate a new record, and Janet and Maggie, who were processing the results, did what they could to find 2 extra finishers. But it wasn’t to be, and the record remains, for one more week at least.

 

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No wonder the finish funnel was extremely busy, with big clusters of runners like this just over 1k away from the finish (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

Those 624 finishers at our 300th event included 95 unknowns, and 63 first time parkrunners, 29 of whom have never returned. Yesterday we saw 77 unknowns, and 54 first timers, the most first timers here since event #300. Let’s hope a greater proportion of them return sometime soon.

 

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Scott and Vicky Read, both running their first parkrun (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

New Year’s Day brought with it 19 new parkrunners, and 6 of them returned yesterday to run their 2nd event, or 3rd, if they’d also run at Eastville on Tuesday. And whilst we love seeing people return straight away, it’s not essential. Yesterday saw 5 folk come back for their second run after considerable gaps. Sinead Hyland ran her first run 20 parkruns ago, and Alastair Lynch ran his at event number 305. We first saw Orson Gard at our 283rd event, and Tom Henderson at our 144th. The prize for the dustiest pair of running shoes goes to Seb Maki, who came along to our 13th event for his first parkrun and ran his second yesterday! Welcome back all five of you.

 

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Marie Malloy, who finished 1st female 17 times in 2018, with Orson Gard just behind. Last seen here over 2 years ago, it's good to see you back, Orson (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

Yesterday 93 of us ran faster than we ever had before at Ashton Court! Close, but no mince pie, for Thomas Eames and Kristelle Haslam, who both equalled their existing best times.

Amongst those in a hurry to get home were Amanda Halford, who got into the pb habit last autumn and seems determined to carry on, with a big jump from 32.58 to 31.14. Katrina Darke made it 5 pbs in a row (no pressure next week eh?) dropping down from 30.22 to 29.56.

 

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Here are Wendy Conway and Caroline Blunt, at parkrun for the first time in exactly one year, just ahead of Amanda Halford, about to beat 32 minutes for the first time (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

Rebecca Law last achieved a pb at our 339th event about 51 weeks ago, and brought her time down from 28.01 to 27.55 yesterday. Also dealing in narrow margins is Louise Nikou, whose best came down from 34.02 to 33.56.

Ruth Hilton brought her best down from 25.28 to 25.08, and Phil Martin reduced his from 26.03 to 25.23 Tom Hiddleston’s best was 21.07, now it’s 10 seconds faster. Joe Sallis last ran a pb in November 2015, with 21.57, and he knocked 7 seconds off yesterday.

 

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Rebecca Law's in the bright top, running a pb (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

Several juniors achieved pbs as well. Finn Goodhew brought his pb down from 21.07 to 20.57, and Eddie Thraves, who was part of our volunteer team for some months while taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award, reduced his from 23.19 to 22.47. If Amanda Halford's new best time was a big jump, then Izzy Fisher's improvement is a giant leap, because Izzy brought her best time down from 31.04 to 27.52 all at once! Also in giant leap territory is Genevieve Bussell who reduced her best from 34.54 to 30.44. Finally, Evie Russell ran the whole way for the first time and finished in 37.35, 44 seconds quicker than before!

 

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Two of our unknown runners having fun (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

The 1st 3 females yesterday all finished with pbs. Claire Hammett finished 1st for the 1st time, and brought her best time down from 21.08 to 19.57, which makes her the 40th fastest female ever at AC. It was a nice surprise to see Amy Partridge tearing back down the hill again, as we’ve not seen her since April. Amy brought her best time down from 20.05 to 20.00. Finally, our 3rd female Clare Meraz squeezed her parkrun into a long run, as you do, and improved her AC time by 16 seconds to 20.30.

 

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Claire Hammett, on her way to her 1st 1st finish and to beat 20 minutes for the first time here (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

Not a pb by any stretch of the imagination, but if I don’t write it nobody else will (the title of Eric Sykes’ autobiography, by the way). I ran my fastest time since February 2016, with 41.34, almost 4 minutes quicker than anything I’d achieved last year. Don’t ask me how because I’ve no idea! It was the first time I’d ever worn my new green 250 parkrun t-shirt, and it seems to go really fast! So fast that I struggled to keep up with it at times!

 

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Fact: new green 250 parkrun t-shirts make you run more quickly! The first time, at least! (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

We love showing off our beautiful parkrun surroundings to visitors from other events. Amongst those who we hope were suitably impressed yesterday were our 1st time 1st finisher, Graham Bee, whose home event is Inverness parkrun. Sophie Hurst usually runs at Highbury Fields parkrun, and Amanda Day at Exmouth parkrun.

 

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All the way from Inverness parkrun, our first finisher Graham Bee (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

I hope the football result later in the afternoon didn’t spoil Richard and Claire Plunkett’s day – their home is Huddersfield parkrun. Amanda Howbrook and James Bottrill usually run at Newark parkrun, and Jasmine, Joseph and Leigh Tucker’s home run is Street parkrun. Elizabeth Czaban’s usual haunt is Penallta parkrun, Trudi Cox is at home at Southsea parkrun, and Jim Fryatt is usually found at Birkenhead parkrun. And to round off the list, Mike and Jenny Dimmick were both proudly wearing their Woodley parkrun apricot t-shirts!

 

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Mike Dimmick, from Woodley parkrun and visiting us for the first time (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

We saw several landmarks reached by Ashton Court parkrunners yesterday. Christopher Elliott and Michael Gorely (with apologies for having left Michael off our list) both ran their 50th parkruns. One of our juniors, Eddie Jones, ran his 50th parkrun at Burnham and Highbridge parkrun.

Other achievements also came in threes. Caroline Potter, Rowland Monk and Neil Miller all ran their 150th parkruns, and Jane Colman, Gill Atwill and Denise Williams completed their 200th parkruns.

We also saw Tamera Jones become the 347th parkrunner to complete 50 events at AC, David Taylor become the 62nd to complete 150 at AC, and Emma Bassett is the 23rd to complete 200 AC parkruns.

Finally, Carl Keenan flew right under the radar and in his role of barcode scanner was volunteering for the 25th time. Thanks for helping to make so many parkruns happen, Carl, sorry you didn’t get a shout!

 

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Rowland Monk, on his parkrun number 150, with Jane Colman (on number 200) a little way behind (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

Congratulations to all who turned up yesterday morning, regardless of whether you ran faster or slower than ever before, or whether you reached a landmark or not, or were running your 1st parkrun or your 315th. And special thanks to our volunteers - that wasn’t a morning for standing around and you all did a fine job, just as we’ve come to expect at Ashton Court.

 

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A fine and sensible array of headwear being sported by volunteers Carole Kluth, Tim Jenkinson, Maggie Salter, Fran Sherriff and Emma Hogbin Westby (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

Have a great week. Keep warm and safe and wherever you find yourself at 9 o’clock next Saturday morning, may your barcode be with you.

 

Report by Rich Kenington p599

 

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.

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 week's full results and course records are here.

We're very grateful to Sarah Jones for braving the cold to take photos of us all, and you can find them, together with our entire photo archive, by following this link (or this one if viewing on an iOS device).

 

Never parkrun on a Thursday

 

It's the one day of the week we've never had a parkrun at Ashton Court. And we shan't be until 2026 at the soonest, unless we take that year off, in which case it might not happen until 2032. Or 2037. Or even, maybe, not until 2043!

But never mind all that! Happy New Year! And Happy New parkrun Year too. Although we “only” had three parkruns taking place in the Bristol area today, those three events were enjoyed, we hope, by 1,994 finishers. So, with some big numbers flying around, we must all be very grateful to the fabulous teams of volunteers we're all blessed with. 34 of them at Eastville, 29 at Chipping Sodbury and 25 at Ashton Court. Here at AC we’d anticipated a large crowd and asked 6 volunteers to scan barcodes (instead of our usual 4), in an effort to clear the queues more quickly and give those who wanted it the opportunity to get to Eastville parkrun in plenty of time. It looked as if it worked.

 

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Just a few of the amazing volunteers we're so fortunate to have at Ashton Court parkrun (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

Here at AC, 565 parkrunners took part in our 388th event. 291 of them, plus some of our volunteers, then disappeared across the river to Eastville parkrun, to take part in their second 5k of the year. Up north in Chipping Sodbury, where parkrun started at the same time as we did, there were 488 finishers, and then the 10.30 event at Eastville was completed by a whopping 941 parkrunners, the biggest ever attendance at a parkrun in Bristol since 679 of us enjoyed Eastville parkrun’s first event in November 2017, and the 3rd highest attendance in the UK today!

 

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Here's why we ask you to stand opposite the Run Director during the briefing. It's a struggle to hear the megaphone if you're outside this zone (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

97 of our participants were visiting Ashton Court for the first time, with 23 running their first ever parkrun and the remaining 74 being visitors from other parkruns. 32 of our first-timers were also first-timers at Eastville parkrun. 32 is too many to list individually, but a special parkrun welcome must go to Mel Kee, Martin Ross and Kellsey Thomas, who ended last year having never run a single parkrun between them and have now each run 2 already! Taffy Long, who usually runs at Minehead parkrun, also gets a mention because he’s the first Taffy to ever cross our finish line here at Ashton Court.

 

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Sarah Bogg came to see us for the second time from her home at Eastville parkrun, which is where she went as soon as she'd finished here, with Martin Ross, one of our small group who had never run a parkrun before but who ran twice today. Martin is also the first member of Skegness Coasters Running Club to have run at Ashton Court parkrun (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

At Ashton Court we saw 77 pbs achieved, and 6 of those pbtastic parkrunners then went across to Eastville parkrun and recorded a second pb! This super six are Andy Bush, Doug Ward, Jenny Chakravarty, Peter Barber, Sarah Pugh and Will Bristow – double congratulations to each of you!

 

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Here's the first ever Taffy to take part at Ashton Court parkrun, Taffy Long (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

Sadly no-one managed to run the same time at both events, or not according to our timekeepers anyway, and they’re the ones that matter! However, 22 of you did manage to run times that were no more than 10 seconds apart, which is almost as good, especially amongst the large crowds you were part of.

 

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Here's the 22 runners whose times were no more than 10 seconds apart (graphic: Rich Kenington)

 

If there were a prize for this, Dan Hooper would receive it, having run 21:25 here and 21:26 at AC. Paul Hodges, one of our RDs, ran 26:19 at home and 26:21 away, Ross Anderson also had a 2 second split with 26:26 and 26:28, the latter an Eastville pb, but my favourite is one of our juniors, Ishbel Bird, who finished in 25:39 and 25:42, dragging her mum Lucy round in 25:40 and 25:43. Amazing consistency by everyone – well done all!

 

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Dan Hooper is this New Year's Day's Mr Consistency, with Tim Ginns treating us to one of his flying waves just behind (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

Andrew Nortrop employed a different model, finishing in 22:44 at AC and 24:44 at Eastville. That’s got to be difficult to achieve!

 

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Second placed finisher Tom Kabala, with John Cox (3rd) and Matthew Robinson (4th) chasing after him (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

Praise too for another junior, Alex Parsons, who finished first at AC in 17:12, and first at Eastville in 17:31. Alex finished 68 seconds ahead of Tom Kabala, our second finisher, and 11 seconds ahead of second placed Fred Hawker (another junior) at Eastville. All the first 3 at Eastville (Matt Langdon was 3rd) were taking part there for the first time.

 

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Sean Gregory certainly enjoyed his 200th parkrun (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

This was Alex’s 2nd run at AC, and he achieved a pb this morning, 3 minutes 48 seconds quicker than when he first visited in September 2015. 2nd placed Tom Kabala was also running here for the 2nd time, and also ran faster than before, beating the time he ran in June 2017 by 38 seconds. John Cox was our 3rd finisher, the 5th time he’s finished in that position.

 

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Our 1st 1st female finisher of the year, Emma Kiernan, with Matthew Grimwood to the left and Adam James Muir, who ran a pb, to the right (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

Our 1st 1st female finisher of 2019, running here for the 1st time, was Emma Kiernan, who usually runs at Longrun Meadow parkrun in Taunton. 2nd placed Lucy Ellis’ time of 20:58 took her under 21 minutes for the first time since June 2016, and a second visitor from Longrun Meadow parkrun, Caroline Norris was our 3rd female finisher, with a time that was 99 seconds quicker than on her previous visit.

 

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Age grades remind us of birthdays, and Gemma Portis prepared for hers the following day with a parkrun. No better way, surely? Happy Birthday Gemma! (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

Age grades – our usual suspects in this category weren’t with us today and so there’s a new look at the top of this table. 4th finisher Matthew Robinson’s time of 18:29, when combined with his age category of VM50-54, gave him a score of 81.79%. In complete contrast, the 2nd best score was achieved by Estelle Lowe (of whom more in a moment or two), who as a JW10 couldn’t be in a lower age group. Estelle’s time of 21.34 gave her a score of 81.38%.

 

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Matthew Robinson, who finished 4th and scored the top age grade of the day (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

Right behind Estelle, and 3rd in this age grade thing, is Tracy Allan, scoring 81.19% with her time of 22:36 and her category of VW55-59. Our 1st finisher Alex Parsons is 4th, with a score of 80.91%, and to complete the list of those achieving more than 80%, the 5th best score belongs to VM80-84 Michael Coupe, who finished his 50th parkrun in a time of 26:54.

 

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Running his 50th parkrun and achieving the morning's 5th best age grade - Michael Coupe (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

Joining Michael in our list of landmark achievers today were Jennifer Griggs, who also ran her 50th parkrun, and celebrated with a pb, and Sean Gregory, Tim Neal-Hopes and Fran Upshon, who all ran their 200th parkruns. Tim ran his 150th parkrun on the same day last year, also at the first run of the double. I think we might all hazard a guess when he hopes to run his 250th! Fran is our contact at one of the GP practises now associated with AC parkrun, and always gets a mention in my reports ever since I discovered that her first parkrun was on the same day as my 100th! And now Fran’s only 50 behind me, how did that happen?

 

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Congratulations to Jennifer Griggs, not only for her pb, and for completing her 50th parkrun, but also for coping so well with not being in the initial results on such an important morning! A subsequent delve deep into the data showed that Jen's barcode hadn't scanned properly, and we were all able to breath a sigh of relief! (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

Well done the five of you. No new t-shirts for Sean, Tim or Fran but at least you know the next one’s just a year or so away! Fingers crossed that red parkrun t-shirts are in stock for Jennifer and Michael and that we can admire them soon, and of course, you two too are just a year or so from your next t-shirt!

 

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Tim Batchelor ran his 49th parkrun here today. Less than 2 hours later he'd finished his 50th! (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

Now, with the option of 2 parkruns that count towards t-shirts on the same day, this statty business could get a little bit messy! But I think we also need to congratulate the following: Tim Batchelor, who ran his 49th and 50th parkruns ~ Steve Speak, who ran parkruns number 149 and 150 ~ Ashton Court homer Martin Dunne, who did the sensible thing, had a lie in and then popped down to Eastville to run his 250th parkrun ~ and finally, one of our pioneers, Michelle Edgell, who ran in our first ever parkrun. We didn’t see Michelle today as she ran at Chipping Sodbury before Eastville, but today Michelle completed her 200th parkrun. Congratulations also therefore to Tim, Steve, Martin and Michelle.

 

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Bravo Tamsin Lock! First ever parkrun and flying! Come back to see us again soon! (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

We saw the old year out on Saturday with a new age category record in the VW75-79 group, Linda Masters bringing the best time in that band down to 38:41. How appropriate that we start the new year with an age category record from the opposite end of the age spectrum. Estelle Lowe’s time of 21:34 being 59 seconds faster than the previous best, run by Ellen Hakam-Grey in June last year. I love the coincidence that the holder of the best time in this group at this time last year, Lottie Livesey, ran her 100th parkrun just last Saturday.

 

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Hannah Parton enjoyed being back home, and why not - she got inside 25 minutes for the first time here. We hadn't seen her since July, and since then Hannah's run in parkruns in Italy, France, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Nottinghamshire! (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

It's said that this time of year is a time for families to get together if they’re able to, and for many of us parkrun feels like family. So it’s been great to see so many family groups including parkrun as part of their Christmas and/or New Year routine – it’s just what we do isn't it? Again, there are far too many different groups to mention but one does deserve inclusion here, because we had 4 generations of one family take part this morning. I use the term “take part” a little loosely, because as we’ll see, one of them was propelled in her buggy, but I’ve no doubt she played her part in navigation and steering.

 

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Lucy Davies with tantrum free Nora having a great parkrun morning (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

Let’s begin with Great Grandma, Patricia Burgess, who together with her daughter (aka Grandma) Karen Macey, was taking part in her first parkrun. Karen’s two daughters, Charlotte (aka Auntie) and Lucy Davies (aka Mum) were also running, not for the first time, and Mum pushed 19 month old Nora up and down the hill, and Nora stuck to her new year resolution and didn’t have a hilly tantrum at all! It was great to meet you all, do come back again when you can please!

 

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Grandma, Great Grandma, Mum, Nora and Auntie Charlotte (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

I wonder what the 74 parkrunners who’d never run here before thought of our course. It’s a hill, which seems to put some folk off, but only half of it goes up so those of us who can’t imagine not running here don’t see the problem. I suppose it comes down to your views on hills, and I love the view from ours! Many of the 74 were from elsewhere in the Bristol area, and with only a choice of 2 to choose from at 9 am and Ashton Court being closer to Eastville than Chipping Sodbury, they came, saw and at last, conquered!

 

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Ed Nelms started coming to parkrun last year and seems to be making a habit of it! Today was his 10th event. To the right is Rosie Schultz, running here for the 10th time, in her 16th parkrun (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

Where did our first time visitors come from, and from how far away? Well Dan and Lindsay Frater had the longest journey home, with their home event at Druridge Bay parkrun being 449k away as the crow flies. Tristan Featherby’s home event, at Heslington parkrun in York, is 364k away, assuming it’s the same crow. The next furthest homeward journey awaited Alison Bennett, whose Holkham parkrun home is 289k away, up at the top of Norfolk, just around the corner from the Wash, and finally, in terms of really long drives home, is Clare Evans’ journey back to Folkestone parkrun on the south coast of Kent, 267k away.

Please note that no actual crows were employed or exploited to make these calculations.

 

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449k from home is Lindsay Frater, with David Guest and Andrew Holliday close behind (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

Five first time visitors came down from Cheltenham parkrun ~ Gary Smith, Mike Smith, Stephen Wade, Rachel Fargher and Charlie Haward. A quorum of 4 popped in from Bushy parkrun (you know, the one where this all started) ~ Danny Norman, Hannah Albrow, Aviva Stein and Alastair McGeoch-Williams. Brett and Rose Baker came from Bexley parkrun, Steven Ramek and Beverly Gow from Kingston parkrun.

 

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One of two first time visitors from Kingston parkrun was Steven Ramek (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

Kate and Norman Driskell travelled from parkrun number 2, Wimbledon Common parkrun, to join us, Mick Brown came from Raphael parkrun, Darren Roberts from Seaton parkrun, Alice Clilverd from St Albans parkrun, Heather Impey from Thurrock parkrun and Mark Galpin from Upton House parkrun.

 

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Alice Clilverd, from St Albans parkrun, and Hannah Albrow from Bushy parkrun, both visiting us for the first time. They crossed the finish line together here, but not at Eastville parkrun (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

One last thing about visiting other parkruns and new year doubles. Some of you have perhaps read about the Scandinavian double that was made possible this morning. The first event was at Denmark’s oldest, at Amager Fælled parkrun in Copenhagen, which began at 9 am, followed at 11 am by Malmö Ribersborg parkrun in Sweden. Copenhagen and Malmö are connected by the Øresund Bridge and the Drogden Tunnel, an amazing engineering feat, consisting of an 8k long bridge and a 4k long tunnel. The start times were set so that it was possible to use public transport to get from one to the other.

 

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Regular readers will know that each week we have a "What took you so long" award (no prize, it's just for fun), and this is Danny Norman, who had run 622 parkruns elsewhere before coming along to experience Ashton Court! A record that's unlikely to be broken very often, if ever. And whilst we've seen plenty of blue t-shirts on the hill before, we've never seen one with "500" on the back before. Something for us to aspire to, or dream of, perhaps? (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

Three Ashton Court regulars ~ Marie, Andy and Matthew Malloy ~ made the journey to Copenhagen and made the most of this opportunity. Marie finished 11th overall, and 3rd female, in both events, with times of 20:13 and 21:16. Andy finished 15th overall, and 12th male in 21:12 in Copenhagen, and 17th overall and 14th male in Malmö. Matthew, in his buggy, will have finished just in front of Andy.

 

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Who can resist these smiles? Alice Irwin, running her 131st parkrun, Dawn English, running her 3rd, and Emma Withers her 313th showing what they think of the new year so far, as well as giving those of us who like the coincidence of those run totals something to cheer. And there's more: Dawn finished in 27:33, Alice in 27:55 and Emma in 28:00 (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

As a postscript to this particular tangent, the second female at both these Scandinavian events, Katrine Louise Svane, was once first finisher at Ashton Court, when she was a student in Bath and ran at Bath Skyline parkrun most Saturdays.

 

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Desmond Jones goes into the New Year having run every single on of our 2018 parkruns. He's the only one to achieve that, and indeed, he ran the last 40 events of 2017 too. Des' current streak therefore stands on 92. The nearest current streak we can find is Shaun Pople's 14 events. On the right of the photo is Fran Upshon, in her 200th parkrun (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

Back to our event today. I apologise to the visitors I’ve not mentioned by name - it was just as good to see you as it was everyone else! Thanks for coming to run with us, I hope you enjoyed our parkrun and that we see all of you again before too long. After all, now you have a target, you need to know if you can beat it!

Which brings me back, at last, to the morning’s 77 personal bests. We can’t all get one each week of course – what would be the fun in that – and indeed 345 of you didn’t this time. But let’s spare a thought for Jane Blazeby, who missed a new best time by 1 second. In other words, Jane equalled her pb. Next time Jane, next time!

 

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Enjoying some pb consolidation, here's Jane Blazeby (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

Back to those who did run faster than ever before here on the hill. There are far too many to mention, which is a nice problem for me to have. Eddie Jones, 15-17 junior, reduced his best by 26 seconds to 19:29. In the same age bracket, Seb Bird took his time down from 21:50 to 21:31. Mary Ulicsak beat 25 minutes for the first time with a great run, moving from 25:10 to 24:44. Beating 26 minutes for the first time was Anna Pleasance, who dropped from 26:48 to 25:33 in one big jump!

 

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Mary Ulicsak finds time to wave on the way to her fab new best time (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

Rachael Hill, visiting for the 8th time from Burnham and Highbridge parkrun, was on tenterhooks in the café afterwards, not knowing if she’d achieved a pb or not. And she did! Rachael shaved 6 seconds off her previous best with her 33:23 finish time. Currently one of the tiniest of our parkrunners, Bori Farkas-Kiraly took part for the 6th time today and achieved her first pb! Bori finished 58 seconds faster than before in 37:39. And however Brian Crumpton chose to celebrate New Year’s Eve it didn’t slow him down. In fact, quite the reverse, as Brian moved down from 32:03 to 30:16 with a great run.

 

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Rachael Hill came along and beat her pb by 6 seconds, and brought her brother Christopher with her, all the way from Florida! (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

Congratulations to everyone who achieved a personal best. How you managed it in that big crowd I’ve no idea. And really, congratulations to everyone who made the effort to come along and start the year with us at Ashton Court. It was great to see you all, and what a fab start to the new year we enjoyed!

 

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One of the best views of Ashton Court parkrun, whatever the weather or time of year (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

I’ll post a look back at some of 2018’s AC parkrun numbers in the next week or so, but before then, it feels right to look ahead and anticipate what might take place over the next 12 months. We’ll do our best, weather and other events permitting, to bring you 50 more parkruns. One of them will be our 400th parkrun, and another will be our 8th birthday. On a personal note I’m looking forward far more than I thought possible to wearing my 250 parkrun t-shirt for the first time on Saturday, to being at heaps more Ashton Court parkruns and to running some more Australian parkruns later in the year. Fortunate me. Good luck with your goals and aspirations, I do hope you achieve them and that parkrun continues to play a significant part in all our lives.

 

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Paul Jefferson ran his 250th parkrun on December the 8th. Great t-shirt, Paul! (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

Enjoy the rest of the week, and on Saturday, wherever you may be, may your barcode go with you

 

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This is me, almost forgetting to scowl for the camera! (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

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.

Geoff Keogh found a great way to start the new year, taking photos and being at parkrun! You'll find his fab photos, together with our entire photo archive, by following this link (or this one if viewing on an iOS device).

 

Running out with the old year!

 

The Saturday of “Twixtmas” saw 517 people walk, jog or run the Ashton Court hill, the highest number since the first week of May.

 

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The volunteers discuss their roles as the parkrunners begin to arrive (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

Appropriately for the season, several of these had “traversed afar”, with visitors from Cumbria, Aberystwyth, Birmingham, Huddersfield, Bradford, Birkenhead, Middlesbrough, Bromley, Maidstone, and Norwich, with a cluster from Hampshire (Lee-on-the-Solent, Havant, Basingstoke, and Southampton). A number of our visitors (Lisa and Dan Woodburn and George Margesson) run most of their parkruns in France (across the border from Geneva, and Paris, respectively), and the furthest travelled of our visitors appear to be Theo and Bev Nel, who run most of their parkruns on the outskirts of Johannesburg.

 

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On their way to the start . . (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

These were amongst 64 people who ran at Ashton Court for the first time, having previously completed at least one parkrun elsewhere. Another 43 people completed their very first parkrun, and here I’m going to shamelessly exploit my position as report writer to give a special mention to Liam Ryan, who accompanied me on the course on his first parkrun.

 

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Beginning to become busier but still little sign that we would see 517 finishers (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

On an average Saturday, around 10-15% of participants at Ashton Court record personal best times, but this week only 37 people did so (around 7%), allowing us to speculate on whether it was the headwind on the plateau which slowed people down, or a surfeit of Christmas pudding. In the circumstances, then, it’s special congratulations to Rachel Spencer, returning to Ashton Court for the first time this year, and knocking nearly 4½ minutes off her previous best time, set in 2015; Charlie Sharpe, who went under 27 minutes for the first time; and a clutch of people who beat personal bests that had only stood for one week: Jonathan Andrews, going 35 seconds faster than last week; Elena Chapman, who beat her previous best by 43 seconds; and Hannah Nice, who beat last week’s pb by 69 seconds.

 

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There's some runners coming our way . . (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

A number of people reached parkrun milestones. Junior runner Charlotte Warren completed her 10th parkrun; Dan Woodburn returned to his spiritual parkrun home, on his birthday, to run his 50th parkrun; Lottie Livesey (also a junior), Greg Turner and Andrew Burton all completed their 100th parkruns; and Sandra Wintour-Graham, Jerry Stuckes and Alice Doggrell all completed their 250th parkruns.

 

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(photo: Rich Kenington)

 

Anne Dockery missed a personal best time by 5 seconds, but still recorded the day’s highest age grade score of 84.08%, with Shirley Clegg scoring 81.19% and Carol O’Leary scoring 79.08%.

It was nice to end the year with one new age category record, set by Linda Masters, who runs in the VW75-79 category and finished in 38:41, beating the previous best age time by 2 minutes 20 seconds. Before today Linda had never taken part in a parkrun further south than Southport. 114 of Linda's 121 parkruns have been at Albert parkrun in Middlesbrough.

There may have been a Masters family gathering in Bristol this week, as Linda was joined by Chris, Ali and Zoe. This was Chris's 3rd parkrun, having also joined us the previous week, while Ali and Zoe were running their first parkrun anywhere. I hope you all enjoyed your Ashton Court experience, and that we see you again soon.

 

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And then, when all the runners have been and gone, it's time for our marshals to return to civilisation (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

On this last Saturday of 2018, the first finisher was Tim Batchelor (for the 3rd time this year), with an unknown runner second, and James Williams scoring a 28 second personal best time to finish third. The first female finisher was Marie Malloy (for the 17th time in 2018), with Bethan Everson second on her first visit to Ashton Court, and Charlotte Warren third for the second week running.

 

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In time to see the final few finishers of 2018's final parkrun (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

See you in 2019!

 

Report by David O'Connell

 

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.

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 week's full results and course records are here.

Although we had no photographer this week, Rich Kenington took a few photos when his marshalling responsibilities allowed, and you can find them, together with our entire photo archive, by following this link (or this one if viewing on an iOS device).

 

‘Tis the Season to Wear Holly

 

What to say about a parkrun just three days before Christmas? Well, to start with, it was great to see 437 up and ready when they could have been braving the crowds and doing Christmas shopping. Come to think of it, they were possibly at Ashton Court to get away from all that: it was festive and busy certainly, but it was all about getting into the outdoors and running, walking, volunteering with friends new and old. The queues were a lot shorter than in Sainsbury’s, too (editor's note: other yule queues are available).

 

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The queue to see what was at the top of the hill was a long one. But whatever it was can't have been very interesting as everyone was back again within the hour (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

There were celebrations, as there are every week. 60 people achieved Personal Bests, including our second and third finishers, and one of today’s landmark runners. Andy Holliday was doing his 50th parkrun, and his fastest. Lynn Dunbar also qualified for a red shirt: she and Andy have both done most of their parkruns here. Tim Carr, who reached the even greater heights of 150 parkruns, has done half of them here; and Chris Day, who notched up his 200th today, has done a third of them at Ashton Court. In the 11-14 category, Oliver Thraves reached a total of 10: that made three Thraveses (plus their very festive-looking dog) out on the course today. Oliver’s elder brother Eddie is one of our Duke of Edinburgh stars, with more credits for volunteering than for running at the moment! On the celebration front, Lucy Bird celebrated her birthday today.

 

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Catherine Horwood-Darby seems to agree that it's a little early for a rummage in Santa's sack of goodies, but Sharon Eaves goes ahead and rummages anyway (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

As well as being a family time, Christmas is a time for visitors, and there were a good number today, from Northern Ireland and South Africa as well as from closer to home. In panto season it was good to see a visitor from Peter Pan parkrun too (editor's note: oh yes it was! And despite being Unknown on this occasion, this wasn't one of the Lost Boys as he's run with us heaps of times before).

 

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from the left; Donal Conway, Nic Mansell, Caroline Potter, Jack Walker and on the right, beaming brightly on her first visit here from Bushy parkrun, Ashleigh Ferris (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

There were some very impressive costumes! It was just as well there were no stewards’ enquiries over results, as the finish line photos gave no clue at all to who was under those Santa suits. Event Director Maggie was fairly effectively disguised too (I hope photographer Geoff caught her! oh yes he did!). While we’re on nativity-related matters, you’ll be relieved to learn that we had 4 Marys and 2 Josephs (as well as a Joe) out on the course, as well as some babies.

 

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Co-Event Director Maggie giving elfs (elves?) a bad name ~ or maybe not! (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

Christmas greetings flew back and forth at the finish – partly because Rich Kenington was combining funnel manager duties with his usual trick of recognising most of the runners coming in! The good cheer carried on, too: a lot of people were able to spend some time in the courtyard afterwards, sharing food and in some cases coming away with a raffle prize. It did seem that the winners included a lot of run directors! We were delighted to have some of Alex Rotas’ wonderful photographic calendars of masters athletes as prizes. Thanks Alex!

 

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It's always great to see kids of all ages enjoying themselves at parkrun ~ Jason Eames is the big daft kid here (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

I mentioned at the beginning that it was great to see 437 souls on the hillside today. Of that number, 25 were volunteers, and 412 took part in our parkrun. Our previous parkruns before Christmas have seen 110 finishers (in 2011), 136 (in 2012), 202 (2013), 253 (2014), 283 (2015), 420 (2016) and 379 (2017). When we had 420 two years ago there was no parkrun at Eastville, Thornbury, Severn Bridge or Somerdale Pavilion, so attracting 412 parkrunners to AC this year when there were another 684 parkrunners at those 4 events shows us how quickly parkrun is growing.

Other little numbery things include this week's winner of our "What took you so long award" (no prize, it's just for fun), who is Simon Mulcahy. Simon's run 59 times at Little Stoke parkrun, and 51 times at Chipping Sodbury parkrun, and had run a total of 126 times elsewhere before coming along to Ashton Court.

The 386th finisher of our 386th parkrun was Vilma Boyles, who managed to finish in 38:37, which in its way isn't so far from 386. Sally Stone finished her 79th parkrun, and husband Steve finished his 97th. Lee Tancock finished his 24th parkrun in 24th position, a feat almost emulated by David Murray Milne, who completed his 142nd parkrun in 143rd position. And further down the results, Ness Collenette (in 371st place) and Tracie Davey (in 373rd) both completed their 166th parkruns. In between them, in 372nd place, Kathryn Stewart finished her 16th.

 

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Vilma Boyles, the 386th finisher of our 386th parkrun. Jill Tavener, visiting us for the first time from Eastville parkrun, and Sally Derrick are close behind (photo: Geoff Keogh)

 

Today’s directing duo had a bit of work untangling the results today – special thanks to Andy and Alice. Gratitude too to everyone who has helped out through the year - particular thanks today go to Clare McLachlan who didn’t run because she was under the weather, but came along to support and then stepped in as a scanner-wielding volunteer! It’s things that like that, and the folk who stay around to clap finishers, and the ones who encourage others out on the course, and the cake-bakers, who, added to the runners and the amazing park, make Ashton Court parkrun the best place to be (editor's note: other best places to be may also be available).

 

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Steve, Teresa, Amanda, Craig, Daniel, Károly, Christopher and Carole ~ just 8 of the many people who together help make our parkrun a special place to be (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

Report by Niall Hoskin oh yes it is!

 

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, weíd 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.

Geoff Keogh took some photos whilst parkrunning, and Rich Kenington took some while standing still, and you can find their photos, together with our entire photo archive, by following this link (or this one if viewing on an iOS device).

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