Event number 50
It’s Saturday morning, still dark with most sane people in bed and the sleet is hammering down. It must be parkrun day! Let’s be honest, my first reaction on Saturday morning was to doubt my own sanity as we set off for Stanley Park. Fortunately, by the time we arrived at the Sports Centre, the weather had dried up a little and there was a bit more light in the sky.
First thing was to dash round on the bike dodging the many puddles, shifting the larger lumps of tree deposited on the paths by the overnight weather and dodging the Inuit like dog walkers trudging their way round. Happy the course hadn’t been washed away it was time to let the set up crew head out with the trusty wheelie bin to put up signs, lay down dog toys erm cones and generally make the course magically appear.
Virtually as soon as I got back to the clock tower I was introduced to Cecilia Woods who was marking a milestone with us at Blackpool. Cecelia was running her 50th parkrun as a tourist in as slightly strange coincidence at the 50th Blackpool parkrun. I’m pleased to report Cecelia made it safely round the course, posting a very respectable position and time. As an extra lucky coincidence Cecelia’s home parkrun in Bolton was cancelled on Saturday.
One of the best bits about being Race Director (other than hopefully not doing much while pretending to be important) is getting to meet parkrunners and especially the first timers. I had the pleasure meeting two gentlemen on Saturday who were both having their first go and explaining what happens with the barcodes, how the course works and all that stuff. What was apparent though is as we do more and more parkruns we become more and more comfortable in the way it all works and forget it can be daunting to those who are new. This became apparent to me as I said about going to the left of the finish funnel on the first lap and a look of confusion began to appear. The solution was to take a little walk and introduce them to the finish funnel and explain with it in sight. That really brought home to me how as RD, volunteer or participant we all have a role to play in helping new and relatively new parkrunners make the most of their experience and to know what is going on. By nine there was a fairly large number of people shivering round the clock tower, stretching and doing other weird stuff to try and keep warm which could only mean it was run brief time. Briefing went slightly better after I turned the shouty horn thing on! First timers, milestone runners and visitors acknowledged we did the housekeeping and headed off to the start. Even taking the short cut there were lots of eager runners waiting and filling the path. Having located the tail walker, not obvious in bright orange and in an act of totally selfish self preservation before sinking in the mud, we had a nice quick start and Blackpool parkrun 50 was go!
The team reassembled at the clocktower and did all the odd things they do waiting for the field to reappear. (If you want to know what strange things happen you’ll just have to volunteer.) Watching carefully through the tennis courts for the leader it was obvious something different was happening, we had a lady in the lead. Certainly something we had not seen before. The field made their way through in the wonderful way they do and very soon the leaders were coming through to finish their final lap, the lady runner was sill leading the field and managed to secure first place. It was only later that we discovered our heroine of the morning was another visiting runner called Carla Davies and she had not had the smoothest of races with a couple of hiccups along the way. Difficulties aside, Carla is still the first ever female winner of Blackpool parkrun and she was only 9 seconds outside of the female course record. Carla has already signalled her desire to return and give it another go and we looking forward to seeing her again.
The rest of the field made their way in over the next few minutes with all the reactions you would expect. Fortunately we didn’t have any incidents and everyone arrived safely back at the start. It’s safe to say it’s always a privilege to see the emotions and triumphs of many as they finish the run. Even nicer are the little thank yous from so many, both local and visitor which help to make all the work put in by the whole Blackpool parkrun team feel all that much more special. Speaking of special people as ever there needs to be a hearty vote of thanks to all the volunteers who all froze a little bit on Saturday morning to make parkrun happen. We so often say ‘No barcode, no time’ but don’t forget the lesser used phrase ‘No volunteers, no parkrun’.
This week 155 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 19 were first timers and 30 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 18 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 24 volunteers:
George KENNEDY • Robert MASSEY • Graham JONES • Catherine FLETCHER • Vikki WRIGLEY • Naomi SINGLETON • Jane WADE • Chris WADE • Matisse BRIGNALL • Owyn DINSDALE • David BARKER • Fiona LITTLE • Kyle LITTLE • Paul WHITE • Sarah BROWN • Alexander SHAW • Tracy SMALLEY • Zachary SHAW • Martha BROWN • Michael MCSHANE • Clare CLARKE • George WALKER • Harrison CARDWELL • Hugo MACE
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Blackpool parkrun Results Page.
The female record is held by Amelia BEAMAN who recorded a time of 18:39 on 8th April 2017 (event number 9).
The male record is held by Joseph MONK who recorded a time of 16:06 on 7th October 2017 (event number 34).
The Age Grade course record is held by Maureen LANEY who recorded 90.83% (21:59) on 11th March 2017 (event number 5).
Blackpool parkrun started on 4th February 2017. Since then 2,745 participants have completed 9,032 parkruns covering a total distance of 45,160 km, including 2,120 new Personal Bests.