300th parkrun special run report

Wow, what an event that turned out to be!  We had a record busting 528 runners and a near record 24 volunteers, including Mayor Dave Hodgson, who started off the morning’s run and marshalled at the finishing straight. Big thanks to him for coming along to help out and to cheer on our runners yesterday.  Our 300th run coincided with April 1st, so of course it’s the perfect opportunity to turn up in fancy dress, and to celebrate all that parkrun has meant to our runners in the 300 runs since June 2011.

Many congratulations to Simon Hunter and to junior runner Niamh, who were our first finishers at our 300th run-  Niamh even chose our event to knock out a PB in the process!   A number of our runners took a more leisurely or creative approach to running, and completed the course in a variety of crazy costumes.  The first finisher in a costume went to a pretty speedy traffic cone!  We’ve got a number of pictures of our run to share with you on our Bedford parkrun Flickr pages.  If you've got some pix of the day, we'd love to see them, so use the Flickr site to showcase your photos; you can navigate to it via our webpage here. 

We asked parkrunners for stories about Bedford parkrun.  Our very own Event Director, Ian Williams, was at the first event at Bedford, finishing in 40th place, and regular parkrunner Jenny Wilson also ran on that day.  On Saturday, Jenny ran as a VI Guide for Emma McCrossan as part of her training for the London Marathon, raising funds for Guide Dogs.  Linda Payne has been with us from the very beginning, running the first event with 16 other runners from Bedford Harriers- nowadays, she runs and volunteers whenever she can.  If you have a little look at who ran alongside these parkrun pioneers, you’ll also spot current Run Directors Noel Jones and Kate Barnard- it seems once you join parkrun, you’re hooked!

We have some great stories to tell about parkrunning at Bedford Park.  Jenny Freer got in touch to say that she ran with a buggy when daughter Tilly was 2 weeks old, which must make her the youngest participant! Along  with Gary, all of them can participate as a family, although Gary is apparently a bit faster- just wait until Tilly is a bit older, Gary!  Claire Keir joined us in Feb 2016 and is near to claiming her 50th run T shirt.  She joined with her sister Lisa Wright, who was our tailrunner on Saturday (did you spot ‘Where’s Wally? Well it was Lisa!)  You’ll also know Lisa from her London Marathon preparations, running this year for Stroke Association.  Claire and Lisa now run along with their sons, Sam and Olly, who love parkrun as much as their mums do! Daniel Hawking posted that he’s on a challenge to run 3 miles every day in April, and would be starting off with our 300th parkrun.  Let’s hope that was a great start for you, Daniel J

It was April Fool’s Day on Saturday, so of course we should expect the unexpected.  A stopwatch malfunctioned right at the end of the event, resetting the times for the first 250 finishers- eek!   A brilliant team of behind-the-scenes Bedford parkrun volunteers  (Bev, Noel, Ian and Kate) deserve massive thanks for working during the afternoon and evening to get the results as near accurate as possible by putting a shout out for running watch times and manually adjusting the affected results.  By this morning, the results had been resubmitted and there were 41 new PBs to add to the celebratory haul.  We are so grateful to the team for their efforts, and to all the volunteers – without them, we simply don’t have a parkrun.  Huge thanks to everyone who supported Saturday’s runners, and a big thank you for all the volunteers over the 300 runs who have helped us grow into such a popular event.  We’d love for you to join us as a volunteer two or three times a year, so go on, get into hi-viz very soon!

Next celebration will be on June 10th when we’ll be marking our 6th anniversary in the Park- but we’ll see you next week for our weekly run, walk or jog.

Happy parkrunning.