After the successful launch and deployment of the temporary course last week, the Arctic temperatures had relented somewhat, but murky skies Burgess parkrunners on Saturday monring. Led by Burgess parkrun's most flexible and yoga-rific RD Alison, the largest team of volunteers ever seen at a Burgess parkrun rapidly set up the finish funnel, dispersed onto the course to marshal, gave briefings and started the stopwatches, hoping the rain would hold off.
Gloomy skies over Burgess
Spoiler alert - it didn't. But, fortunately, it was neither especially heavy or prolonged, and a lucky few may even have beaten it to the finish. A jam-packed start indicated a large field, and eyes didn't deceive as 251 runners completed the course, ranging in age from 11 to 73, and in times from 17:08 to 55:26. This made Saturday's run the third largest in Burgess parkrun history, including 50 first timers and 30 PBs (congratulations to all). And, a big welcome the 19 people who completed their very first parkrun - we hope you're all back again next week!
Joining milestone clubs this week were Jerusha Tonge and Matthew White, who both completed their 50th runs, while Alex Akom joined the 100 Club, 99 of which have been done at Burgess. The historians have got together and are pretty confident that nobody has completed a higher percentage of their first 100 runs at Burgess than Alex, so a massive well done to him, and extra kudos for the loyalty! It was also fantastic to welcome a small party of local GoodGym-ers - and their red t-shirts fitted in well the Chinese New Year theme. Back in September, parkrun joined forces with GoodGym, a running community that combine exercise and helping in local communities, and the shared goals will only continue to make communities stronger, better and healthier.
The run, this week, was brought home by our fabulous regular Josephine Ocaka, who fulfilled the role of tail runner for the third time. Since the turn of the year, it has become compulsory for all parkrun events to have one, so we're definitely on the look out for volunteers to take on this role in the future. Having a tail runner is extemely important, not just from a safety point of view making it easy to identify the last runner, but also from a social/engagement aspect, as you can really support the person who probably needs it most. Throw in the fact that it means nobody ever finishes last, other than by choice, and it really does help break down so many barriers to exercise.
Chatting with Felicia Adjarho at the weekend, who finished 250th, the importance of this encouragement was incredibly apparent. In the 4 weeks she has been coming to Burgess, she has got faster and fitter each week, taking off 2 minutes from her first time, not to mention attaining a huge reduction in her BMI. The personification of parkrun.
Huge, huge thanks to all the volunteers that helped out this weekend. They're all runners who have wanted to give something back, and without volunteers, none of this would be possible. It would be a massive help if as many people as possible could opt in to receive volunteer appeals - it's really easy to do and can be done by clicking the link to your profile from a Results email. And, after the run, everybody is welcome to come along and to Fowlds and help with results processing, token sorting and chatting!
Coffee and Token Sorting @Fowlds
Burgess Stat: Only twice has the number of finishers matched the number of the run taking place - 97 finishers on Run 97 and 163 finishers at Run 163.