#220 - It's CHRISTMAS....
Santa really delivered the goods for me this Christmas Morning with a delightful parkrun for me and my family in Corby.
For two days a year parkrun HQ gives parkruns the chance to put on an additional run. So depending on park availability and very importantly VOLUNTEERS willing to give up a little time with their family to help out, Christmas Day and New Year's Day see extra parkruns.
Running a parkrun on Christmas Day has become something of a family tradition - in fact my wife ran her first ever sub 30 minute parkrun on Christmas Day (Even when dressed as a Mrs Claus!) It allows you to feel less guilty about the extra slab of Fruit Cake or branch of Yule log that somehow creeps onto your plate in the afternoon...
Corby parkrun has been on my soon to be completed event list for a while - I have a list in Google Sheets with the parking postcode, travelling time (calculated from a time estimate from Google Maps as an average over 3 different Saturday morning at 6am) for a twenty parkruns wish list - mainly parkruns in the East Midlands region I have yet to run. In fact Corby has long been one of three emergency parkruns! Saved for if I ever wake up late and still feel the burning desire for a new parkrun venue that is within an hour's drive.
Unlike a normal parkrun day - where as a family we spend the time after a parkrun chatting to runners and then enjoying a rather leisurely coffee (or even better full breakfast or cake - we aren't that fussy!) in the cafe afterwards - Christmas Day had a time limiting factor - we needed to be back for a Christmas Lunch so Corby was the obvious choice, with the added bonus of a slight lie-in.
Popping the postcode into the SatNav we soon arrived at the carpark - just before 9 (In fact we could have made a normal Saturday run briefing (My average timings obviously didn't account for less traffic!) - and much to our delight Start / Finish and course markers were easy to see - no panic to find the course and then the start.
After taking our usual picture with parkrun frame (Yes my daughter and I are daft enough to have made one to take with us) we waited as runner after runner arrived - thankfully many like us took the opportunity to dress up, lots of Santas and Elves, a few reindeer but only one Brussel Sprout!
A huge crowd gathered around this morning's Run Director, Emily JAMES, to listen to the New Runners briefing many being the tourists and 9 first timers - getting in before the New Year jump - so welcome to:- Sean TAYLOR, Benjamin FREESTONE, Steve JONES, Jordan GIBSON, Alister COLEMAN, Stella COLEMAN, Sophie HARRIS, Laurie COLEMAN, Trish ROSE, I hope that you enjoyed your first run and we will see you at many more. I am sure that you will find out that parkrun becomes very addictive; even if you are away from home staying with family over a holiday like the 21 other visitors (or maybe they are also fanatical tourist) if a parkrun is nearby and you have your barcode you don't need to miss out; you can turn up and enjoy the fun.
A very proud Run Director (Mum) announced two new members of the 100 parkrun club today, Oliver JAMES and Nicholas PARTRIDGE. Kettering parkrun regular (42 runs) Phil BRIGDEN completed his 50th milestone run today at Corby. Well done for reaching those milestones, hopefully in the new year the new supply of milestone shirts will be able to be ordered and you will be able to wear them with pride.
On the dot of 9:30am the parkrun started and 194 parkrunners, ran, jogged or walked the course - the 2nd highest number of participants ever at Corby.
Very quickly over the course of the first half lap the runners spread themselves out like brightly coloured tinsel decorating the park, our Hi Viz Heroes, rather than flash like Christmas lights, gave cheery words of encouragement as we passed.
I soon realized that my choice of running outfit that kept me delightfully warm at the start despite the slight breeze meant that it wasn't just the turkey that was being roasted. Faux fur, felt and cotton are not normally on an athlete's normal choice of clothing for good reason.
At my pace on a three lap course my aim is to just be starting my final lap before the first finisher was across the line so despite my daft clothing choice I felt positive that on a two and a half lap course and running reasonably well - I could gasp a thank you to the marshals as I ran - I was almost certain to manage this. But passing the 3 mile marker (just before the pavillion and the start of my final lap the first finisher stormed passed me!) possibly so fast he didn't even manage to get his barcode scanned (or did he keep the number 1 token as a souvenir? This is a joke! PLEASE RETURN ALL FINISH TOKENS EVEN IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE SCANNED) As I started my final loop along the woods I saw the 2nd finisher Belgrave Harriers' Sophie HARRIS (SW20-24) cross the line as first lady at her first ever parkrun in 17:26 (and from checking the event history I think taking the course record for the fastest female!) what great first parkrun!
Despite this being a busy day for Corby and no pacers 15 parkrunners saw those wonderful words on their results text today - New PB so well done:- Nicola ROBINSON, Emily MONTGOMERY, Tyler MOXAM, Karen STONE, Samantha SAUNDERS, Vicki STEVENSON, John ROWLATT, Nicola MCCANN, Martin ALLINSON, Ben BAILEY, Andrew CLUTTON, Todd COLEMAN, Richard VATER, Stephanie MOORE and Christine HENSHAW.
Despite being lapped (all be it only just) I pushed on - I needed a decent bit of pace work in my training and that came courtesy of a runner I have never met before and may never meet again. Such is the joy of parkrun is that it can be so many different things to different people; the start of a road to improved fitness, a personal challenge, a training run, social event or even a race - and not just at the sharp end. During a run you can pick people out to catch or use to pace from or even in that last 400m speed up (or even a sprint finish for that lower finish token!) Coming regularly to one event you may not know the person's name who is your target but you recognise them and maybe they recognise you!
Coming back into the park and up to the final stretch across the top of the park I could sense the presence of another runner of a similar pace; actually just a touch faster as I could feel them closing in on me, so I sped up fractionally, not wishing on the last half mile to lose another place. My competitive streak had been tweaked. Fortunately for me they also sped up! At the 3 mile marker, just before the uphill (okay maybe incline is a better word but doesn't sound as impressive) finish we both increased our pace to power over the finish line and try and claim that earlier finish token and a friendly hand shake. That bit of speed work was just what I needed so thank you Dean HAYLETTT for that push and good luck with your milestone 50th run shortly.
After gathering the family back together for the drive home - difficult when the lure of sweets at the scanning tables as well as a fantastic Corby Xmas Day medal for the children was on offer I had a quick scan of the roster to check for a role I like to try and do - Report Writer. When I am organised I like to e-mail in the offer but sometimes - disorganisation or the last minute possible change of plans means I have to ask the run director on the day. One of the main reasons on all my parkruns that I like to offer to write the run report is to offer thanks to the marshals who make these events possible. On the first mile I just about manage to gasp a thank you but after this and especially if I managed to get pushed to running a little faster I am lucky if my signed thank you gesture is recognisable. So a huge thank you to :- Steve ASHMAN, Charlene BENNETT, Andrew BENNETT, Kate BRUCE, Robin BRUCE, Sarah DAVIS, John EALES, Ruby GARDINER, Jackie HUMPHREYS, Paul HUMPHREYS, Isabelle JAMES, Emily JAMES, Jodie JOHNSON, Alan MUTCH, Matt ROBEY, Katie ROBEY, Rachael ROBINSON, Charli ROBINSON, Billi ROBINSON, Toni ROBINSON, Neil SHARMAN, Teresa WARE, Susan WATT, Jenny WILSON-BENN, Peggy WILSON-BENN, Libby WILSON-BENN who made this event possible. As with parkruns around the world if you fancy giving scanning a go, fancy being the time keeper, marshalling and encouraging others or are happy to help out in any role please look on the roster and e-mail - email@example.com
As the volunteers closed down the course and packed the course away ready for this Saturday the drizzle started. Thank you to everyone at Corby for being so welcoming to me and my family. Happy parkrunning.
Daniel Connolly (A58845)
Coventry parkrun tourist.
As always a full set of today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Corby parkrun Results Page.