122 fewer runners this week, and how we mist them

 

The weather forecast may have put a few people off after our bumper crop of parkrunners last week, but the weather sprites were kind to the intrepid 471 who took on and conquered our modest incline leaving them only mildly moist. Perhaps luckily we had no volunteer photographer this week, as they would have struggled to find our parkrunners in the mist.

 

We welcomed 69 (dude!) people to Ashton Court who had never been before, and we would love to see as many of them come back again as possible, if only to have a look at the views that can be available en route in better weather. Of our first timers, 38 of them were taking on their first ever parkrun and we hope to see them again soon as they have now embarked on their parkrun journey.

 

We were also joined by some more experienced parkrunners from across the country trying out our hill for their first time. These included Matt Hattersley who has only run one other parkrun (Exeter) but has finished in position 103 in both; Marie Lochrie whose previous parkrun at Little Stoke was back in 2015 but is back out park running again; Dominic Ashton who is our most prolific first timer completing his 172nd parkrun with us; Elizabeth Leason who was second lady to complete the course and is more frequently seen in Edinburgh so a little far from home; Richard Brown joining us from his usual home of the original parkrun location at Bushy Park; and Sharon Bridge who is being mentioned primarily for being a friend of the report writer and who was visiting from The North and running her 25th parkrun.

 

Whilst 25 is not an official parkrun landmark, we did have 3 parkrunners completing a landmark run today and qualifying for a crisp new parkrun t-shirt. These were Alex Johnston completing his 10th parkrun and qualifying for a white junior t-shirt, and Kyler Phillips and Eddie Smith each completing their 50th parkruns and qualifying for a red t-shirt (I don’t think you can combine them into one black t-shirt to share).

 

At the pointy end of the course the first man over the line and into the scanning queue was Alex Crossland in 17:19 whilst the first woman to get to stop moving and get their breath back was Rosie Hattersley in 19:39. Rosie achieved the highest female age grading of the day with 75.32%, just outscored by Stuart Ellis for the men with 77.14%.

 

There were also a whopping great 75 personal best times set on the hill this week, meaning that if you completed parkrun with us on run number 340 you had an almost 1 in 6 chance of bettering your previous best time, which are pretty good odds. We hope to see everyone back again next week to try their best either on our hill or in the cafe afterwards (today’s report writer set a new personal best in being served). Or maybe you would like to have a different view of parkrun and take on a volunteer role, there are lots available over the next few weeks.

 

Report by Alice

 

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.

As Alice reported, we were without a photographer today, but you can find photos of many of our previous events by following this link (or this one if viewing on an iOS device).

 

A Technicolour Ribbon of Sweat Wicking Fabrics

 

Without volunteers, our weekly parkrun ritual just wouldn’t happen and it’s often the same faces every week who give up their own run. This week, all of the Ashton Court parkrun volunteer spots were filled by members of Southville Running Club (assisted by students working towards their Duke of Edinburgh Awards). We also had five SRC pacers to help runners of different abilities try to reach a new PB. And it must have worked because 88 parkrunners racked up a new PB this week. Bravo.

 

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On the left is Lynn Chadeesingh, running her 94th parkrun, and just ahead, in black, is Sue Jones, running her 10th. In the red shorts is Southville Running Club member Eric Booth, running his 92nd parkrun, and in the middle, in the maroon top, is Julia Townend, about to finish in under 34 minutes for the first time, in her 13th parkrun. Unlucky for some perhaps, but not for Julia (photo: Mark Small)

 

For example, Julia Townend has run here 11 times since June, and last achieved a pb 9 runs ago. Today she broke through the 34 minute barrier for the first time with her time of 33:51. So too did Steven Stone, who finished in 33:24, his first pb for 8 events and 62 seconds faster than before.

 

Ashton Court Park Run - MAS - 13/01/18

In red is Danielle Worgan, about to run 1 minute and 1 second faster than she did the first time she ran with us, last October. Alongside is Victoria Knowles, set to finish almost 3½ minutes faster than before (photo: Mark Small)

 

Victoria Knowles, who had run here 3 times before, with times of 33:22, 34:32 and 34:08, today took a great leap forward, finishing in 29:54! Elizabeth Turner ran her first pb for 10 runs, knocking 58 seconds from her best with her time of 29:45. Also smashing 30 minutes for the first time was one of our juniors, Tommy Bird, whose time of 29:31 was 79 seconds quicker than he'd run before.

 

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Towards the right, in the light grey t-shirt, is Oliver Feighan, all set to run up and down the hill faster than ever before (photo: Mark Small)

 

Breaking through the 25 minute barrier for the first time were Jack Newman - 3 seconds quicker with 24:58 - and Oliver Feighan - down from 26:23 to 24:38, a 105 second improvement. Alex Knight got under 23 minutes for the first time, improving by 64 seconds with 22:22, and Craig Rockliffe ran his first sub-20 here, his 19:31 being 55 seconds faster than before.

 

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Joanne Ashton is in lilac, seen here running hard but about to miss a pb by 2 seconds (photo: Mark Small)

 

Congratulations to everyone who achieved a pb today - I haven't been able to mention you all. I don't know how many of you were dragged round to your new fast times by our pacers, but hopefully some were. And spare a thought for Joanne Ashton, Gordon Breen and Jon Woodward, who all finished 1 second behind their pb.

 

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Smiling on the way up the hill? Whatever's wrong with everyone? (photo: Mark Small)

 

I was at the first marshall point with photographer Mark Small and fellow marshall Eddie Thraves and we were feverishly debating how many runners there might be… they just never stopped streaming past us in a technicolour ribbon of sweat wicking fabrics. However, despite our guesstimate of “about 450”, there was in fact a total of 593 people walking, jogging, running or any combination of the above at Ashton Court today, which is the second highest number of participants EVER at Ashton Court parkrun. Our closest neighbours at Eastville parkrun welcomed 506 parkrunners today, so clearly everyone is sticking to their new year’s resolution to parkrun more regularly.

 

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Flying down to the end of his 50th parkrun is Mattthew Crocker (photo: Mark Small)

 

We also celebrated as some key milestones were reached. Harry Constable is a new member of the junior 10 club having loyally completed all of his parkruns at Ashton Court. The newest recruit to the 50 club is Matthew Crocker, who is also committed to our hill having run all but four of his parkruns with us. Celebrating 100 parkruns is Mike Roberts, who has completed 95 of his 100 runs at Ashton Court. While the appropriately named Ben Swift reached that splendid 250 milestone today, having first run on our course in 2012. Well done to you all.

 

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Wearing green, and about to become the 8th AC member of the 250 parkrun club, is Ben Swift. We don't think the 3 ladies on the right were parkrunning ~ perhaps they'll come along next week instead? (photo: Mark Small)

 

Not every milestone is an official one that earns a t-shirt but they’re still big achievements. Reaching 200 parkruns today were Nigel Robbins and Michael Smith. Nigel has run 195 of his 200 runs at Ashton Court, while Michael is clearly more of a fan of tourism than Nigel as he has ventured away from Ashton Court for 38 of his runs. We’re pleased that both came back to us for their landmark runs today.

 

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Good to see Ian Hopkinson running his first parkrun (photo: Mark Small)

 

Another milestone in any parkrunner's life is their first event. This morning 51 brand new parkrunners joined us at Ashton Court, and we hope they enjoyed the experience and that they'll return soon, and on a regular basis too.

 

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All the way from Falkirk parkrun came Shona Buchanan, who seems to be enjoying her first trip to Ashton Court (photo: Mark Small)

 

There are of course hundreds of other parkruns all over the world, and amongst this morning's crowd of participants were 52 who had run parkruns elsewhere but were visiting Ashton Court for the first time. Having looked at the 20 of them who have now run 10 or more parkruns, we think Shona Buchanan was furthest from her home event, which is Falkirk parkrun. Other contenders included Steve Catterall (home event Crosby parkrun), Victoria Solly (Forest Rec parkrun), Rosie Rose (Bramley parkrun), Giles Corner (Tooting Common parkrun), David Hooper (Reigate Priory parkrun) and Claudia Havranek (Oxford parkrun).

 

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Caroline Hoole follows her four-legged friend down the hill, hiding whoever it is that Sole Sister Wendy Netto is chatting to (photo: Mark Small)

 

Several of our visitors hadn't travelled quite so far. They included Ruth Dorrell and Leona Mills from Pomphrey Hill parkrun. Caroline Doidge, Karen Taylor, Vicky Lovell and Samantha Carpenter all usually run at Chipping Sodbury parkrun. Still looking for a home following the demise of Little Stoke parkrun are Jonathan Bower, Joanna Dobbins, Wendy Netto, Jenny Dalby, Megan Read and Edward Bryan.

 

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Rosamund Mogg was one of the 2 Sole Sisters to achieve pbs this morning (photo: Mark Small)

 

Many of those listed above are amongst the members of North Bristol Sole Sisters, 19 of whom came along today. Some had run here before, and 2 - Rosamund Mogg and Donna Abbott - achieved pbs, no mean feat bearing in mind that having finished they then ran back up the hill on their way to complete a further 7½ miles!

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These Mums Run - Diane Kurylo on the right, running with someone we don't know. Just behind is Emma Cordeaux (photo: Mark Small)

 

Members of This Mum Runs also came along today. Only three - Rachael James, Lucy Dymond and Diane Kurylo - show in the results but there were many more than three This Mum Runs t-shirts in the throng this morning. Two other clubs were well represented - 30 runners are members of Bristol & West Athletic Club, and another 21 belong to Great Western Runners. I'm proud to be one of the 41 Southville Running Club members who either volunteered or ran here today.

 

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Four more of These Mums Runs ~ Rachael James and Gina Jennings in front, nattering with Caroline Lambert and Ruth Drury, who were both running their first parkruns (photo: Mark Small) 

Volunteering at parkrun is a really easy but rewarding thing to do. None of the roles are difficult and you don’t need any experience. It will be clearly explained what you need to do and everybody is friendly. Plus, you get to bask in the glow of making hundreds of parkrunners happy AND you will be thanked more times in one hour than you ever thought humanly possible. If you’d like to find out more, please email ashton-courthelpers@parkrun.com. Thank you!

 

Ashton Court Park Run - MAS - 13/01/18

A quiet morning in the park, with the Deer Park to the right ~ and here comes the technicolour ribbon of sweat wicking fabrics! (photo: Mark Small)

 

Report by Jane Duffus, Southville Running Club

 

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.

We had Southville Running Club member Mark Small taking photos for us this weekend, and you can find his great set of images, together with our entire photo archive, by following this link here (or here if viewing on an iOS device).

 

Enlightenment, Revelation, Epiphany

 

I’m going to start my report the same way as we’ve done the last two briefings at Ashton Court: with an appeal. Or rather, with two appeals.

Appeal number one: could all parkrunners please keep on the left-hand side of the path throughout the run. We do ask you to do this in every briefing, but it hasn’t worked the last few times. Please respect your fellow-runners and leave them enough space. Run in single file or at most 2 abreast; and if you’re averse to puddles, skirt them to the left.

 

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Our volunteers set off to their marshal locations . . (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

Therefore, appeal number two: could all parkrunners please support each other by not just warning of approaching bikes but also by alerting people around you to approaching runners. It would be great if shouting something like ‘Runners ahead. Keep left!’ became as much an automatic reflex as shouting ‘Bike!’ has become.

 

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Niall suggests there may be some slopeyness out on the course as he chats to our first-timers and visitors . . (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

Now, some stuff to celebrate, a barrage of numbers, and some names:

The number-crunching machine at parkrun HQ produces a thing within seconds of our results being submitted called the ‘journalist report’. It always ends with a salvo of statistics. Here’s this week’s: ‘Ashton Court parkrun started on 23rd April 2011. Since then 16,082 participants have completed 93,645 parkruns covering a total distance of 468,225 km, including 16,563 new Personal Bests.’

 

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Linda reminds us all of those things we need to remember during parkrun (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

So that reminds you when we will be celebrating our 7th birthday; it shows we’ve collectively run to the moon and part of the way back (the one-way journey is 384,400 km); and it throws up a statistic that Ashton Court’s numerologist-in-chief Rich Kenington is embarrassed to have missed last week. In his defence, his brain was probably addled by the cold and wet. Mine was this morning, but more of that later.

 

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then suddenly, the ones at the front begin to move . . quite quickly too, we were told . . (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

That amazing number is the 16,000-and-a-bit one. That’s sixteen thousand different people who have plodded, sprinted, walked up that hill and down again. Almost exactly the entire population of Nailsea. Well, the equivalent number – though I’m sure there were a number of actual inhabitants of the one-time glass-producing town there today.

 

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Despondent at the loss of her audience, Linda resorts to singing! Quite by coincidence, those at the back began to run more quickly too! (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

There were 523 different people there today. 25 of them were volunteers, and the 498 runners were there voluntarily as well – at least I hope they were. Two of the runners weren’t very different, in name at any rate. They were both called Sarah Jones. The Sarah who’s a member of Great Western Runners chalked up her 100th parkrun today, whereas Sarah-not-in-GWR achieved a less round but equally creditable 31st run. Other Sarahs were also available: there were 11 of them in all, as well as 11 Pauls and 10 Davids and a Dave. Incidentally, I like to call out names of fellow runners whether I’m running or watching, and I find that, if there’s a patch where I don’t recognise anyone, it’s fairly safe to shout ‘well done, Dave!’

 

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Slowly, the throng begins to thin out . . (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

The other centurion today was Martin Gillett, who also achieved the best male Age Graded score of the day; he was supported by sons Joe and Will. Between the three of them they’ve now done 426 parkruns.

 

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It's a bit hazy, but can you see? There's already runners coming down the hill! And that's why we need to keep left up there . . (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

Two of our regulars also reached 150 runs. They are the same but different: one is called Stuart (O’Connell), the other Stu (Rutherford).

 

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Leader of the pack ~ Moe Soe (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

There were two runners qualifying for membership of the 50 club and (one day) a red shirt: Alexander Whittaker and Mary Ulicsak.

 

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Here we see a few parkrunners approaching one of our bespoke running shoe cleaning stations . . (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

These adults achieving landmark runs have done most of their runs at Ashton Court, but have done their fair share of parkrun tourism too. The two juniors who reached their 10th run today, though - Freya O’Neill and Gabriel Conway - have been loyal Ashton Courtiers.

 

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Less need to keep left perhaps, now the Tail Walker's gone by ~ but we still need to look out for people coming towards us (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

Back to that 498 figure. We thought the recent arrival on the scene of Eastville parkrun would mean a reduced attendance at Ashton Court – and that’s normally been the case. Today they had a humungous 551 finishers, and as the morning progressed we worked out why: the events at Pomphrey Hill and Chipping Sodbury had both been cancelled because of the weather. (Cue frantic car chases across Bristol to alternative venues).

 

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Approaching the turn around point ~ one of the best bits (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

Today’s run directors Maggie and Linda had to contend with cold fingers and feet, as well as human error from one of the most inept volunteers of all Ashton Court’s history. Yes, reader (is there more than one of you?) ‘twas I. I shan’t go into detail, but it’s just as well the rest of the timekeeping team (Andrew Archer and Caroline Potter) were so efficient.

 

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Only 1,000 metres still to go . . (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

There’s next week to look forward to now: there’s another club takeover, with Southville Running Club providing nearly all the volunteers. Expect a sea of green shirts under the hi-vis. I’m hoping for a couple of degrees more in temperature, stress-free two-way traffic on the hill and a round number of runners, for heaven’s sake! What sort of a number is 498 anyway? editor's note: it's an even number, Niall, and because it can be expressed as the quotient of two integers, ie 498 / 1, it's also a rational number

 

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Our run reporter this week, Niall (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

Report by Niall

 

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.

One of the morning's tail runners, Rich Kenington took a handful of photos this morning. You can find them, together with our entire photo archive, by following this link here (or here if viewing on an iOS device).

 

Drowning in Numbers as a New Year dawns

 

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).

 

Limbo and some fancy footwork – but no dancing!

 

Limbo - as well as being a dance for the very flexible, it’s also defined as ‘an uncertain or intermediate state’. It’s a bit like being in suspended animation, this time between Christmas and New Year. Not everything is back to normal, some people clearly don’t really know what day it is (at least until parkrunday comes along) and we won’t for a while because we’re soon going to have another burst of festivity and the exciting prospect of an extra parkrun, or even two.

 

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Alice addresses the waiting throng (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

So this last parkrun of the year was a relatively quiet affair: there was no-one in fancy dress, for one thing. During run director Alice’s briefing we even wondered whether there’d be any runners doing landmark runs: she kept calling names out, and began to sound slightly desperate as it seemed many of the likely candidates had taken one look at the dark skies, heard the howling wind and gone back to sleep!

 

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On the left is Sally Marsh, about to become the 7th Ashton Court parkrunner to complete 250 parkruns, and alongside Sally is Kathleen Sart, who is just 6 runs behind her (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

Fortunately for Alice’s peace of mind, and the welfare of all those who were expecting cake, two of our regulars were there to mark important events. Tail walker Sandra Tanner reached the 200 mark, all but 7 of them at Ashton Court; but even that tally was eclipsed by Sally Marsh who achieved 250 today. Sally is a veteran of 224 runs on her home turf (tarmac, gravel) and was here at our very first event: she’s also run at exotic locations (Barry Island) and parkrun HQ (Bushy Park). Supply chains permitting, Sally should get her green shirt in 2018, at which point we’ll all be green with envy.

 

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One of the many joys of parkrun is watching the youngsters growing with the event - here's one taking part in a parkrun for the first time, and another who's well on the way to 50 parkruns (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

Having completed 10 parkruns might not qualify you as a regular but if you're a junior, it certainly counts as a landmark. Two of our juniors reached this particular landmark - Daniel Kelly, who probably gets up to something else in term time as we only see him in the school holidays, first ran with us in July last year, and a more recent recruit, William Philip, whose first parkrun was in June this year. Well done boys, we hope you'll be able to wear your white parkrun t-shirts soon.

 

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Cannon Hill parkrun's Jonathan Mould saw the old parkrun year out with a bang, completing his 50th parkrun (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

There was another landmark run to celebrate, though we didn’t know about it at the start: Jonathan Mould, visiting from Birmingham, made his second visit to Ashton Court and completed his 50th parkrun. His first visit was 6 years and five months ago to the day, when Ashton Court parkrun was still a toddler with a grand total of 122 runners!

 

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Wearing the best bobble of the day is first time parkrunner, Kelly Phipps, seen here just behind one of our team of Run Directors, Linda Woodburn. Were there a prize for colour co-ordinated clothing, Kelly and Linda would be in the running. Alongside them is Lucy Davies, who finished in 300th place last week and this week, with times just 5 seconds apart (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

We had 60 first-timers with us including 7 juniors. Just wait till the New Year resolutions kick in! Our attendance will probably go back over four hundred (there were 380 of us all together today). I expect there may be a higher proportion of PBs than today - 21 out of 356 runners is probably a tribute to the amount of chocolate and cake consumed over the festive period.

 

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The return of marshals 2, 3 and 4 - Steven Parsons, Sue Myers and Jay Harvey - Steve having benefitted from a mud path on the way down (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

If you’re reading carefully and/or still awake, you’ll have spotted the apparent discrepancy in numbers in the last paragraph – of course, it’s the volunteers! There was every chance some of them could have blown away today: marshal point 3 being especially windswept. But Sue Myers returned to the finish on foot, so she must have been OK. It’s the classic sort of weather though where volunteering is NOT the easy option. Your shouts of thanks are all the more welcome then!

 

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We didn't count them all out, but there were more than we thought . . (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

The headwind as we climbed the gravel path was quite a challenge for the runners today, and the water jumps were massive! I’m one for ploughing straight through, but there was quite a lot of fancy footwork as people avoided the water by skipping left and, unfortunately, right. Now, we do make the point at the briefing every time, and runners also help by reminding others to keep left; but today there was a near-collision and a show of bad temper at one point. It’s thankfully rare in parkrun, and especially at Ashton Court, but it cast a shadow over proceedings. Let’s all remember that it’s a run, not a race – and surely we wouldn’t act like that in a race either, would we? It’ll help if we all take responsibility for warning those around us of approaching runners as well as bikes.

 

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Some of the team who timed them all in . . (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

Having got that off my chest, I’d like to say a big thank-you to everyone who makes ours such a special event even among parkruns. Visiting runners often comment on the warm welcome they get, on the number of folk who stay on to clap finishers, and on the good vibe around the start area and the café/courtyard area afterwards. I’d also like to thank Isie and Janet our volunteer coordinators; ambassadors Geoff and Rich; as well as all the other people who’ve been run directors: Maggie, Alison, Martin, Roger, Linda, Liz, Paul, Andy, Marie, Tony, and David. Everyone who has volunteered deserves a pat on their hi-vis-clad back as well. So do all the runners who come along and make it all worthwhile – that’s you!

 

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One of the morning's visitors was Adrian Field, a veteran of 238 parkruns, most of them at Winchester parkrun (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

We’ve had another great year of parkrunning, with some changes, one of the most noticeable being the appearance of 2 new parkruns nearby. We’re heading into 2018 in the best possible way, with an extra event on New Year’s Day at the usual time. If you get your skates on (or use a car – probably better) you can then go to Pomphrey Hill in time for their 10.30 start. We’ll be back again on the 6th, and every subsequent Saturday. We’ll be delighted to see you – and even more so if one of your resolutions involves volunteering once or twice!

 

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We end the year with a wave from Vanessa Redmond and two contrasting examples of how to clear those speed bumps - with Victoria Knowles hurdling them, and Laura Davies not lifting her feet any higher than necessary (photo: Rich Kenington)

 

Report by Niall

 

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.

We had Rich Kenington back to take our photos this weekend, and you can find them, together with our entire photo archive, by following this link here (or here if viewing on an iOS device).

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