So today for the first time I took pen to paper to write up the report for Bognor Regis parkrun number 160. I am in a wheelchair paralysed after a nasty cycling accident . I come to parkrun quite regularly and I take part for the pure fact that I can. I consider myself so lucky that I am not bedbound or really ill or poorly in a hospital somewhere and that I can get out and be active.
Today therefore I decided for my parkrun run report that I would ask other people what motivated them to come to parkrun on a Saturday morning too. As I wheeled round to the start of the event, already I could see a brightly coloured mass of people eagerly awaiting the start. Bognor parkrun is renown for it’s community spirit and this is very apparent straight away in the atmosphere that surrounds the happy throng of people chatting and laughing together as they wait to start.
I wheeled towards the crowd and over to Juliet who was the 24 minute pacer this week and asked her “Why do you come to parkrun” Juliet replied with a big smile that she liked sharing the banter with like minded people . She enjoyed helping others get round and maybe get a PB and she said it was a lovely way to start the weekend. Paul came over to join us and say hello so I asked him the same question. He paused for a moment to think what his motivation was and then answered saying that he loved the vibe and found it very friendly. He also said it was as challenging as you wanted it to be.
The next person I spoke to was doing parkrun for the first time. He had come along with two friends and said he was here because it was something to do on a Saturday morning. Charlie his friend told me that he was trying to keep fit but it wasn’t about a PB and Jordon informed me as he had the day off work this Saturday he thought he would come along too.
Keith Hardwell a bit of a parkrun regular and the 25 minute pacer this week chatted to me telling me it helped him keep fit and meet lots of lovely people. At that point Ben Bowers the parkrun Director began the parkrun introduction speech so I stopped my interviews.
Bognor parkrun is held in Hotham park , Bognor’s largest and most central green area which was established in the 18th century by Sir Richard Hotham. In 1998 Hotham Park Heritage Trust was formed to help and improve the park as it had become quite neglected. On a Saturday morning the park is anything but neglected as it is filled with runners, volunteers , supporters and family members coming along to join in the fun. The park is a hive of activity. At 9am the clock tower which incidentally is the oldest clock tower in West Sussex chimed 9 times and shortly after parkrun was under way . The sound of pounding feet filled the air as the runners rushed by creating a gentle breeze as they went. At that moment It made me feel very proud to be part of such an event that draws hundreds of people to it all over the world week after week after week.
I waited at the finish funnel for the first runner home with a view to asking them why they did parkrun too. The first person home was James Baker who is quite a well know runner in the running community. James was still catching his breath when I pounced on him. He was glistening with sweat and it was very apparent that he had run really really hard. He told me that he had a very different reason than most people for coming to parkrun. He would go round the country trying to break all the parkrun course records. Today he was hoping to beat the course record at Bognor he had set two and a half years ago. As we chatted he received confirmation that indeed he had broken the record by one second and finished in 16. 11 minutes . Needless to say he was very happy. James also told me that he usually liked to keep himself to himself and get away really quickly after he had finished. I was very grateful that he had stopped and taken the time to talk to me though and share his passion for running and his parkrun incentive. He also told us a top tip for a fast parkrun was to eat chocolate croissants and jaffa cakes before the start. This is most definitely a tip I will bear in mind the next time I do parkrun.This was such a contrast to all the other people I had interviewed so far. I even interviewed one lady who said she didn’t come for the run as she could do a 5k anywhere, she had come to meet up with friends. James had completed the parkrun and beaten the course record . He hadn’t come to socialise or pootle round like many others but the brilliant thing about parkrun is that it accommodates all people from all walks of life with all different passions and interests . It caters for the young and old and people of all different abilities. parkrun on a Saturday morning is a little place in the world where we can all come together for whatever reason we want and be ourselves and go home feeling good about what we have done. With the events that have been happening in our country over the past few weeks parkrun is a prime example something very positive and something as a community we can be truly proud of. Parkrun is one of the things we have in our lives that makes the world a better place.
This week 294 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 53 were first timers and 63 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 21 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 31 volunteers:
Duncan STEPHENSON-GILL • Ben BOWERS • Julia COPELAND • Cheryl LAING • Bradley SMITH • Neil PACEY • Debbie PACEY • Derek WINSLOW • Thomas COPELAND • Raymond BLACKWELL • Keith HARDWELL • Anita WATKINS • Heath LEWIS • Tony HOLCOMBE • Laura BAGNALL • Alison GILBERT • David SKIDMORE • Ian RUSHMER • Carl BRYANT • Brenda GLENDENNING • Kirstee PORTER • Alan COOMBS • Mark ALDOUS • Gervais WARD • Dean CLEGG • Juliet STALLARD • Sarah PRIESTLEY • Lyndsey BRYANT-NICHOLS • George BRYANT-NICHOLS • Helen BISHOP • Claire TARRANT
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Bognor Regis parkrun Results Page.
James BAKER (VM40-44) of Chichester Runners & AC, was first over the line in 16:11 - 13th time in 13 appearances.
Oliver THOROGOOD (SM20-24) of Aberystwyth AC, was second over the line in 17:07.
Callum ALDOUS (SM20-24) of Chichester Westgate Triathlon Club, was third over the line in 18:55 - has been first to finish on 5 previous occasions.
Laura SHEWBRIDGE (VW35-39) of Colchester Harriers AC, was first (4th overall) over the line in 19:10 - first appearance.
Alice COX-RUSBRIDGE (JW15-17) of Chichester Runners & AC, was second (7th overall) over the line in 20:13 - has been first to finish on 8 previous occasions.
Natalie MCCREATH (VW45-49) of Eastbourne Rovers AC, was third (9th overall) over the line in 20:31.
The three highest age grades were recorded by:
James BAKER (VM40-44) – 84.35% for the time 16:11 (first overall).
Natalie MCCREATH (VW45-49) – 78.15% for the time 20:31 (9th overall).
Laura SHEWBRIDGE (VW35-39) – 78.00% for the time 19:10 (4th overall).
The female record is held by Rebecca MOORE who recorded a time of 00:17:25 on 25th June 2016 (event number 108).
The male record is held by James BAKER who recorded a time of 00:16:11 on 1st July 2017 (event number 160).
The Age Grade course record is held by Jane HARROP who recorded 90.95% (19:54) on 13th August 2016 (event number 114).
Bognor Regis parkrun started on 24th May 2014. Since then 4,348 participants have completed 28,013 parkruns covering a total distance of 140,065 km, including 5,503 new Personal Bests.