Basingstoke parkrun #563 1st December 2018 Run Report by Peter Chiverton.
"Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary".
(From The Rainy Day by Henry Longfellow).
As we entered the final month of 2018, the dark and dreary day seemed to be sending gloom rather than a welcome to Basingstoke’s parkrunners as we returned to the winter course. A good job that decision was made – with the amount of rain this week, let alone this morning, the grass would have been very cut up by all those footmarks digging deep. Although Basingstoke parkrun has been taking place since 2008 we’ve only been using the three lap winter course since 16th January 2016. My personal opinion is that with our typical attendances now between 450 – 550 each week, using the summer course through the winter is just not an option – the lovely park grass would take such a long time to recover for the summer – so it’s great we have this alternative for the colder and wetter part of the year. As it was, the paths on the winter course were in part turned into ponds.
This was reflected by the reduced number of just 292 - not surprising with the conditions in the couple of hours approaching time for the run. Today's hardy parkrunners must be congratulated as they opened the first doors on their Advent calendars, headed out of their own front doors, shuddered as they almost headed back inside but had instead braved the conditions and met with their parkrun buddies in War Memorial Park, complaining to one another “who said it never rains on parkrun day?”. The lack of rain on parkrun day truism of course only applies during the event itself and not in the time leading up to the run. If you were one of those who decided “Duvet 1, 5k run 0” today, you may not be best pleased to hear that the rain ceased (of course) at about the time as we set off around the park from in front of the Council offices on the three and a bit laps anticlockwise round our familiar War Memorial Park.
David Picton was Run Director today – this year he has to deal with course reorganization complexities galore when he has been in charge, but today he had no chilli festivals or steam fairs to engineer a modified course through. But if you think you need to be pretty hardcore to drag yourself to the park to run on a day like today, I hope you’ll have called out plenty of “thank you”s to the volunteers who each had to stand out in today’s weather to marshal, scan, hand out tokens that stuck together in the wet, click buttons to record times and all that without the chance of moving around the park to keep warm. I echo those thanks to all those who made yet another parkrun happen. At this time of year it would be wonderful if we could all consider giving some of our time to volunteer and make a parkrun happen for others as an Advent gift. Just have a look at the rota for the upcoming weeks at http://www.parkrun.org.uk/basingstoke/futureroster/ and then email email@example.com to let us know when you can help. You don’t need to wait to the last minute to volunteer – those who volunteer a few weeks ahead makes the life of the volunteer co-ordinator so much happier!
So what happened at today’s three and a bit lap run?
As we have already said, 292 parkrunners completed the course today. Seven of those braved today’s conditions to do their first parkrun anywhere, so well done to David Summers, John Huitson, Louise Pierce, Martin Matthewson, Chahat Vijay, Catherine Morgan and Melissa Poulter – we hope you enjoyed your first parkrun today and also hope that you come and join us again very soon, to experience the park in different conditions! We also had ten first time visitors to our parkrun today, and it’s great to see where they have come from to get to Basingstoke – welcome to Helen Poole from Newbury, Joseph Brown (Andover), Nicola and Jack Hudson (Reading), Natalie and Sebastian Latacz (Bromley), Sarah Davis (Orpington), Matt Wright (Alice Holt), Bradley Scholtz, who has done most of his parkruns at the splendidly named Piggly Wiggly parkrun in South Africa, and finally Lewis Rendell who has run all his four parkruns at different locations, so not sure where he counts as his home parkrun! We hope you’ll come back again to run with us very soon. The conditions today contributed to just 14 PBs being achieved so a huge well done if you were one of those people.
First finishers today were Tom Harding for the men and Kate Towerton for the women.
Congratulations to those who reached milestone parkruns today: Adam Hallgarth and Gyan Gurung both achieved their 50th parkruns and Chris Pearson and Sam Hidson completed their 100th parkruns.
Mini stats section.
I can’t compete with Matt Pillinger in terms of statistical analysis of aspects of our run, but I have been interested to see what’s happened to our parkrun’s growth over the years (especially when we get a day with a reduced attendance like today). The graph below shows average attendance at our parkrun for each quarter it has been operating. This shows that our attendance has continued generally to climb from the start, with notable drops when comparing Jan-Mar 2012 to the same quarter 2013 (prolonged bad weather occurred in the latter of these) and the same pattern comparing Jan-Mar 2017 to Jan-Mar 2018 (ditto). There was also a very large increase comparing Apr-Jun 2016 to Apr-Jun 2017 – the latter saw the course attendance record beaten four times including our highest attendance ever – and the same quarter in 2018 didn’t reach the same heights (maybe because of a mixture of first unseasonably cold followed by amazingly hot weather in 2018?).
Meet the parkrunner – Vicky Hamblin.
Another chance to get to know one of your fellow parkrunners better!
Vicky is a member of Chineham Park Running Club and has completed 198 parkruns including 55 at Basingstoke.
Vicky (right) in 80s themed costume at Queen Elizabeth parkrun
Tell us a bit about your running history?
I decided to start running back in 2013 as a way to keep fit over the summer and did Couch to 5k. I was doing this on the treadmill at the gym having not run outside since I was at school. As I got towards the end of the plan I thought I had better find a 5k to run and started going to parkrun. I joined Chineham Park Running Club a couple of months later.
How did you find out about parkrun?
A friend of mine is a regular runner and volunteer at Coventry parkrun. When I was looking for a 5k to do I thought maybe Basingstoke had one too and sure enough it did!
When and how did you start parkrunning, and what did you think of it at that first run?
My first parkrun was in June 2013 and was the same day that the 2 Andrews did their 250s! I remember thinking I would never do that many and how busy it was as well as being in awe of all the people with milestone T shirts! (Editor note: Andrew Mason and Andrew Wyeth who are Basingstoke’s most prolific parkrunners, have both now done well over 500 runs; Andrew Wyeth has done all his runs at Basingstoke – the individual who has run the most parkruns all at a single event anywhere in the world!)
What is your favourite thing about parkrun?
That I can turn up at any parkrun in the world and run for free with no strings attached
Has parkrun changed your running and if so, how?
I found my running club and have also met some great friends through parkrun.
Any memorable or funny parkrun moments you’d like to share?
Running Wormwood Scrubs parkrun in cops and robbers fancy dress for Kerry Monaghan’s 50th parkrun, doing Bushy parkrun on the 10th anniversary, my 40th birthday on Valentines Day at Valentine parkrun and Basingstoke parkrun in the snow earlier this year are a few of the really memorable ones.
What is your favourite volunteer role?
Barcode scanning or finish tokens – I get to say well done to everyone at the end!
Are there any volunteer roles you haven’t yet tried that you would like to have a go at?
No – I’ve done most roles, even timekeeper that I had always been too scared to try until an Event Director ‘friend’ put me down for it!
You seem to like visiting different parkruns (you did 20 different parkruns in just over a year when you started parkrunning and you’ve now run at 126 different parkruns). What’s the attraction of touring to different events?
I’ve got a great group of parkrun friends - my parkrun family - and we always have a giggle on our trips to different events! I like that each event is different yet has the same routine and I’ve run at some lovely venues because of parkrun.
Vicky and Basingstoke parkrun friends on tour at Bushy Park parkrun
What running do you do outside of parkrun?
I run 3-4 times a week depending on what I’m training for. I’m on the Coaching Team at CPRC and am currently the parkrun Representative for the club so organise trips to different events as well as the volunteer takeover at Basingstoke parkrun the club has done.
What are your running highlights so far?
For parkrun, doing my Cowell (100th different parkrun – named after Basingstoke event’s Chris Cowell who was the first parkrunner to achieve this feat) at Cassiobury parkrun last November with lots of my parkrun friends. Other than parkrun I love trail running, the South Downs Way 50 has to be my highlight so far!
What are your future running goals?
Improving my 10k and half marathon times
Do you have any running experiences you’d care to forget?
Newbury parkrun on New Year’s Day 2014! We had already got wet and cold at Basingstoke, it was raining and the wind was howling over Greenham Common and I thought I would never get warm again!
We also travelled to San Francisco a couple of weeks ago but Crissy Field parkrun (with views of the Golden Gate Bridge) was sadly cancelled due to the forest fires in California affecting the air quality. We still managed to get photos at the parkrun as the event team had set everything up in the hope they would be able to run but it wasn’t to be, we’ll just have to go back again!
What’s the most valuable piece of running advice you’ve ever been given?
Rest and recovery is just as important as the running!
What are your other interests?
Cooking & eating, skiing, reading when I get time
What is your occupation/where do you work?
I’m a project manager
Does your family share your enjoyment in running?
My Dad was a decent 800m (well 880 yards in his day) runner. Sadly I didn’t inherit the speedy gene! He was a coach and I can remember him taking his runners out on long muddy, hilly runs on a Sunday morning when I was little. Mum and Dad still go for a run together every Sunday but I don’t think they would ever do parkrun as they love the peace and quiet in the park they go to! My husband, one of my sisters and one of my nieces have done parkrun with me and I managed to persuade my boss to give it a go a couple of years ago. She’s now a regular at Salisbury. The in-laws all think I’m a bit nuts going off running all the time!
And finally – on this day in history – a quite interesting fact.
On 1st December 1990 (28 years ago today) the tunnels dug from England and France for the Channel Tunnel first met 40m below the sea bed. The Tunnel finally opened in 1994.
See you back at War Memorial Park next week - maybe for some improved weather!