Christmas day parkrun at Buckingham

Good tidings at Buckingham! Following the success of last year's fabulous festive run, we are going to hold a Christmas Day parkrun again for all our runners! Santa hats and suits encouraged (but not obligatory) and whoever brings chocolates for the volunteer team will run at least 5 PBs in 2016* There will also be our usual Saturday run at 9am on Boxing Day - 2 parkruns in 2 days - what's not to love??!

* conditions apply....possibly involving quite a lot of training and hard work....results cannot be guaranteed :-)

 

The Annual Points Competition

As the awards were given out on Saturday I found myself wondering how many of those present understood how the points competition works or indeed whether they knew it existed in the first place. So here is a bit of an explanation.

Initially the points system was designed to encourage running but it was later extended to include volunteers. This was to make it possible for those who want to run every week of the year to not be disadvantaged when they volunteered and to encourage people to volunteer at least 3 times a year.

Runners are divided by genders and points awarded based on their finishing position. The maximum of 100 points go to the first male and female runners, 99 to second and so on down the list. If there are over 100 male or female runners then everyone from position 100 downwards gets 1 point. The fastest runners may not accumulate the most points unless they are loyal to one event as each event has it's own competition.

Volunteers are rewarded with 100 points up to 3 times a year. If they volunteer and run on the same (e.g. event set up) they only get one set of points, 100 points the first 3 times but run points after that.

The points year starts on the anniversary week and runs until the week before the next anniversary.

 

Birthday Celebrations

What a morning, the sun shone and ice cream was served. We had a record turnout for our anniversary event and fittingly Andy Inchley led home a field of 217 in a time of 17.29. For those of you that don’t know, Andy was very helpful in getting our course approved last year and in providing the backing of AVDC for the new event, he even led the volunteer team at our inaugural. First lady home for the 6th time was Sarah Rendell in 19.40, a great run from Sarah in matching her achievement is being the fastest female in our debut event. In perfect running conditions a whopping 50 people including our brilliant photographer Chris Scadden recorded PB’s, see the link to some of his fantastic shots from yesterday FabPhotos

 

It is always pleasing to see new faces joining us and 18 people enjoyed the parkrun experience for the first time today, welcome to the fold and we hope to see you next week.

 

Ahead of today’s run awards were presented to some of our most regular volunteers and to the winners of our points competitions. The points award is for the most consistent  runners over the past year. The men's award was awarded to Jonathan “the flying” Fox who has completed the Buckingham course a whopping 49 times and volunteered 3 more whilst the women's award was won by Debbie “does marathons” Morris who has either run or volunteered a 45 brilliant times. As the French would say chapeau to both of our winners – could you follow in their (well-worn trainer) footsteps this time next year?

 

Next Saturday we may well have another bumper turnout, word on the street is that a large contingent from Milton Keynes are planning  a pilgrimage along the A421 to the hallowed grounds of Bourton Park. As Deputy Mayor of Buckingham Paul Hirons so rightly said ahead of starting this weeks run, we may not have a premier league football team but we certainly have a premier league park  – here, here!

 

Happy Birthday Buckingham

Next Saturday Buckingham parkrun will celebrate its first anniversary, and what a first year it has been. We set off on a beautiful sunny day last May with a mixture of over 180 tourists and local first timers licking the Bourton Park lollipop for the first time, the following week in monsoon conditions we were down to 50 hardy souls and thought that would be the benchmark for our regular turnout.

Slowly our numbers began to creep up, initially edging towards 100 and in recent weeks regularly knocking on the door of 200. On the way we celebrated Christmas (initially in October) and then again on the big day itself, over 200 people including our first Olympian welcomed in the New Year and who will forget our daffodil run.

As our numbers grew, so did the community spirit of our parkrun family. Our course has been completed by 1511 people including everyone from babies of a few months old (admittedly in a buggy and not under their own steam – but wouldn’t that have been a newsworthy story!), via children as young as 4 up to people well into their eighth decade. Some of our runners have slipped on their trainers for the first time in years, joggers and shufflers  have become genuine runners, others have achieved challenges unimaginable 12 months ago; running the first lollipop, the whole parkrun course, 10k’s, half-marathons, marathons, ultras, even getting out of bed before 9a.m. on a Saturday! Our local running clubs have seen their numbers rocket and there is a noticeable increase in the number of people pounding the streets and trails around Buckingham every day.

Anyone who saw the first episode of Peter Kay’s “Car Share” will have been reminded of the I Ran the World phenomenon of the 1980’s. Seeing his bulging and faded  vintage vest I was prompted to see if we had indeed ran the world over the past 12 months. Checking that fail-safe font of all knowledge (Wikipedia) I saw that the circumference of the globe is 40,000km and that over the past year our collective legs have carried us within 5,000 miles of that milestone. Given our current rate of progress, I venture  we may get there by  the beginning of June.

So what does the next year hold and how high can our running community grow. Who knows, and in many ways it doesn’t really matter, what is important is that firm foundations have been laid for a fantastic free weekly activity for the town and surrounding area. We have recently been given the green light for a weekly 2k junior parkrun on a Sunday morning, so hopefully a new batch of young athletes can have as much fun as we all have this year.

In this quick roundup of our first year, I have been conscious of not singling out any individuals as it is the collective effort, of the core event team, volunteers and runners that has helped Buckingham parkrun flourish.  There is, however, one exception that I would like to make, as without him we would not have got off the starting blocks.  Glen Turner is a volunteer regional ambassador for parkrun and was the driving force in establishing our event last year, over the past 12 months he has been a constant and valued support for the event team whilst also helping over 20 other locations across the region. For this unflinching support, we thank you.

And so next Saturday we turn one, our friends from the Ice Cream Café will be bringing their mobile cart down to the skate park: bring some money, bring your friends and family, bring a cow bell! Hopefully we will see many of you, and remember DFYBC (work it out!)

 

Buckingham Statto

 

Has spring finally arrived?

Last week we had clear skies but a biting wind. Today the wind was still frisky and the skies were grey but the temperature had hauled itself into double figures! Our runners are beginning to shed their winter layers and hopefully we will be into shorts and t-shirts soon.

We had 145 runners this morning of whom 16 were new to parkrun and another 11 new to Buckingham. There were 3 dogs running (and swimming) as well as our doggy marshall at the start of The Loop.

First back (for the 17th time) was Mark Palser in a time of 18:06, followed by Tom West in 18:20 and David Hook in 18:29.

First lady home (11th place) was Emily Bowen in a time of 20:57, next lady (20th place) was Emily West in 22:32 and our third lady back (21st place) was Victoria Broadbent in 22:35.

30 runners recorded personal bests - that's 21% of the field :-)

Easter Saturday next week and there may be a little treat at the finish.