Course Announcement

Exciting times at Cheltenham parkrun as we look to make the first significant changes to our event after more than four years of wonderful success.

When we first brought parkrun to Cheltenham we had limited expectations, in fact we all remember discussions quoting 150 runners as a really exceptional turnout! The people of Cheltenham (and the many wonderful tourists we have hosted over the years) have really taken to our event and we now see incredible numbers every Saturday morning. The passion for parkrun in this town is something to be proud of and we want to see that remain and even grow in years to come.

Unavoidably though, success brings challenges. You may remember the old days of anticlockwise runs which became impossible as 400 runners approaching a small bridge all at the same time would have been carnage! We have tried over the years to make the event as safe and enjoyable as possible for the high numbers of participants by making small adjustments to the course and the run rules. As it looks like participant numbers are only ever going to rise though we have to think about some larger changes to protect runners, protect the park and protect the volunteer team that make parkrun happen.

With that in mind your Core Volunteer Team have been working hard behind the scenes, covering every inch of Pittville Park, testing and retesting alternatives…and we’re really pleased to say we have found one! As of Saturday 22nd July we will be following a new route around Pittville Park which starts in a similar location, avoids some of the current obstacles and is only 2 laps so limiting the amount of overtaking necessary. We will be using the same parts of the park with some additions and moving some corners too. Nothing too radical but definitely a new and exciting challenge. We will reveal full details in the week prior to the new course being launched.

We appreciate that many people are fans of the current course and with any change of route there is an impact on times, but with 400+ runners every week change is inevitable. As a team with experience of over 100 other parkrun venues around the world we believe our new route will still be one of the best and after many hours of toil we’d really appreciate your help in making the transition as smooth as possible.

In the meantime we hope to see many of you on 15th July as we say goodbye to the old course and, as always, feel free to bring cake!

Yours excitedly, the Core Volunteer Team.

 

Cheltenham parkrun # 220 – 29/04/2017

Milestone Motivations!

My last run report was about the “Tales of Tailrunning” and on the day of my 250th parkrun I wanted to talk about parkrun “Milestone Motivations”.

What motivates us to get up on a Saturday morning every week! For a lot of runners, it might be the fact they want to get fit, meet new people, beat a PB, volunteer their time or just be surrounded by lots of likeminded people. For those of us that have been around parkrun for a number of years it is a wonderful mixture of all of those things.

One thing is missing from that list…. Milestone T-shirts.

These are a wonderful way of keeping us all focussed and getting us up and out on a cold, rainy morning in December when we could stay in bed. I did a Christmas Day run one year with the worst torrential rain I had ever run in just because I was approaching my 100th run, and wanted to keep my stats up. I was the last runner in (45 of us braved it!) and I honestly thought nobody would be there when I got to the end because I was about 5 minutes behind the next runner – low and behold I was greeted by all the other runners who had stayed behind to make sure we all got in safe (even though the finish funnel was nearly washed away).

I think It is wonderful to look out over the start line each week and see the vibrant colours of so many people hitting 10, 50 or 100 runs and wearing their t-shirts with pride. The core team really make a fuss of these achievements and everyone is recognised equally. I loved wearing my 250th cape, hat and glasses and receiving all the positive comments from people as they dashed past, run alongside or shouted congratulations from behind me!

250 is just another number, It’s my personal belief that to truly understand the parkrun phenomenon the most important t-shirt of all to aim for everyone is the 25 Volunteer t-shirt, I wear this with more pride than any of my other milestones, because this is the one that really makes a difference. That milestone is one that serves my community, friends and means we get a parkrun every week. I have probably worn my 50 shirt 2-3 times, my 100 t-shirt maybe 10 times but my Volunteer one must be over 50 times by now. I will certainly wear my 250th t-shirt with pride, I am not a fast runner, but a plodder! It doesn’t necessarily get easier the more you do, but it is still a fairly small group of people worldwide who have hit this 250-milestone target (a little over a thousand) which is a nice feeling.

One thing I want everyone to think about is - What if there were no more t-shirts? I would hope that It wouldn’t make any difference. I might have to wait another 6-7 years to get my 500 but even if it didn’t exisit by the time I got there it wouldn’t change a thing. I would still go out and run parkrun!

When I look back at all my parkruns up and down the country over the last 6 years I want to add my sincere thanks to every single volunteer I have had the pleasure of meeting. You all make a huge difference and the only reason I will get to enjoy a milestone is because you gave your time for others. Thanks parkrunners!

Thanks,

Kev

 

Run Report 210 – 4th Anniversary

It was a special parkrun day on 18th Feb, as we celebrated 4th birthday at Cheltenham parkrun.

Great to see parkrunners dressed in fancy outfits to celebrate the birthday. Superman, Connect 4, 4 candles, 4 clove leaves are few of them. For 27 parkrunners, all these celebrations are new as it was their first ever parkrun.

4 Candles

4 Candles

We missed the presence of our Event director – Malc Smith as he was not feeling well. Rich Walklate was RD, while James Clay delivered a fantastic run briefing to mark our 4th birthday. James also did the first timer’s briefing to introduce first timers to parkrun. Andrew Jack & Catherine Daly joined century club by wearing Cheltenham parkrun’straditional centurion cape & helmet.

Centurions
Centurions

The following parkrunners joined 50 club
• Martin Foster
• Neil Penny
Chris Thomas was awarded runner of the month for January.

RotM - Jan Chris Thomas

Chris Thomas holding Runner of the Month award

As it was anniversary, few awards were given out, one of them was yearly points table winner Andrzej Konior (Male) & Alicia Hall (Female). Also following volunteers were chosen as volunteers of the year who helped Cheltenham parkrun throughout the year across different role.

Female Points winner
Alicia Hall & Andrzej Konior – Yearly points table winner

Our Volunteers of the year!

• Cheryl Clay
• Danny Carroll
• DavidChittock
• Emma Dooley
• Mike Jarvis
• Neil Dooley
• Paula Brewer

There were 18 tourists who tried Cheltenham parkrun for the first time, they were from different parkruns the closest being Worcester & the furthest being from France.

In the last 4 years, Cheltenham parkrun managed to organise 209 parkruns, with 68201 runs, runners from 597 clubs were included. In these years 4774 volunteering roles, served by 776 volunteers. There were 9835 registrations for Cheltenham parkrun.

Feb 18th parkrun stats - snapshot
Snapshot of 210th parkrun

Happy parkrunning, see you on Saturday.
Kind Regards,
Prash

 

Cheltenham parkrun run report for January 2017

January being the first month of the year, it’s obvious to expect lots of enthusiastic runners/joggers/walkers, especially as part of their New Year resolution. And this enthusiasm was proved when new record for biggest attendance was registered on 1st event of the year on 7th of Jan with 531 runners (30 runners more than the previous record). Also average runners per week for January was 475 compared to 387 runners for 2016. 21st January event was cancelled due to icy condition, giving an opportunity for our parkrunners for bit of parkrun tourism & hence we had 3 events in January instead of 4.

parkrunners for 3 weeks in January:
Cheltenham parkrun Jan 2017 run stats

There were 202 registrations in the month of January, who had chosen Cheltenham as their home parkrun. Among these, 70 runners turned up & did their first ever parkrun. 27 parkrunners visited our parkrun as part of their tourism. 139 runners ran all 3 events, while 163 new PBs registered. 4 runners improved consistently & registered PBs in all 3 events, impressively Oliver Molony registered 3 PBs with an improvement of 1 Min 20 Sec! Most consistent runner is Andrzej Konior with finishing time 19:27 ± 00:03 Sec. In January, 7 Juniors joined 10 club, 9 joined 50 club and 4 enjoined joining century club.

Volunteers are the real heroes behind parkrun events. In these 3 weeks, 95 roles were covered by 65 volunteers. If you ever wondered whether you could volunteer at parkrun, then answer is YES. parkrun needs many volunteers covering different roles like marshals, timekeepers, scanners, token givers etc, but each role is critical in its own way. But remember, roles are simple & straight forward, Run Director will give training to all the volunteers on the day ensuring each volunteer is comfortable in their role. If you are unsure which role would be suitable to you, then just send an email to cheltenhamhelpers@parkrun.com & in the mail, feel free to mention if you have any preferences on the roles, volunteer coordinator will sort it out for you.

In these 3 events, there were 1424 runs, covering the distance of 7120km (4414.4 miles) in 28 Days 15 hr 13 Min 19 Sec. Average duration is 28 Min 57 Sec. Runners from 45 different running clubs were taken part, maximum being 127 runners from Almost Athletes.

There were 1317 participants (that’s excluding 107 unknowns), 581 were females (44.12%):
Cheltenham parkrun Jan 2017 parkrunners - Female & Male

Age Distribution of Female participants:
Cheltenham parkrun Jan 2017 Age group stats Female

Age Distribution of Male participants:
Cheltenham parkrun Jan 2017 Age group stats Male

Looking forward for exciting weeks ahead with new runners joining us along with familiar friendly running buddies including 4th anniversary celebration in February.

Happy parkrunning, see you on Saturday

Kind Regards,

Prash

 

Cheltenham parkrun # 206, 14/01/2017 – run report by Andy Barrell

Congratulations this week to Andrea Hardy  and Susan Low who both did their 50th parkruns.

There were 455 runners at today’s Cheltenham parkrun.

Charlie and I got up early for a stint of parkrun volunteering. Charlie my son is a seasoned pro and has during the past few weeks been doing some extra volunteering for his Cub Scout personal challenge. He prefers volunteering to running although, in this chilly weather I reckon running would be preferable for me.

We arrived on this cold and frosty morning just before 8:30am. Volunteers had already put up signs around the course, set up the parkrun table and, started getting tape and posts out for the finish funnel. As myself and Charlie were in good time we took a few photos and did a live Facebook broadcast.

8:50ish and it was time to head off to our marshalling point. We were given the “Iron Bridge” which I love as we can cheer on park runners on both the outward and homeward stretches. As we arrived at our post we could see hundreds of parkrunners walking down to the start ready for the briefing which was given by Claire Hawes, today's run director.

The runners were soon off and some runners were soon up at the bridge; not long afterwards they were flying back along the other side of the bridge. More moderately paced runners streamed along behind and the flow soon became a raging torrent. I was convinced that we had broken the Cheltenham parkrun most runners record again!

Charlie and myself started cheering and the thankyous from those running was tremendous and so encouraging. It was a cold day and my feet were getting numb, then painful as circulation started to slow down. Charlie I am sure was in much the same situation but it was still great volunteering and the appreciation from parkrunners made it so special. Once runners had spread out a bit I had the chance to speak with someone else who had come with his partner and he told me that he had just started running but not yet at parkrun. A couple more weeks and maybe….

Eventually the number of runner started dying down and we could relax a bit. There were still many runners out on the course though and I have the utmost respect for those runners near the back of the pack. Getting up early on a Saturday morning, getting down to the park and pushing themselves to do a 5km run/walk is a great achievement. It’s good exercise and it’s good to get that fresh air and meet up with the fabulous parkrun community. The tail runner never knowingly leaves anyone on the course on their own. It really doesn’t matter how long the run takes, if you are determined to do the 5km then all the volunteers will be out there routing for you.

The Cheltenham parkrun was superb as ever and Charlie and I finished it off with a coffee and some chips over at Leisure at Cheltenham. We are looking forward to volunteering again this following week and hope to see hundreds of parkrunners again on Saturday.

Take care, Andy and Charlie Barrell.

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