Didcot parkrun #146 13th January 2018
Didcot may be labelled the most average place to live in the UK, but how many other towns can boast not one but two running clubs! So it was that after the fabulous Harwell Harriers take over day in November, Didcot Runners took the chance to give a little bit back to the community and supplied all the volunteers for this week’s event.
This meant we had a new face as Run Director, with Hayleigh Gascoigne taking the chance to welcome all of the day’s athletes, including tourists from Tring, Henley-on-Thames, Maidstone, Reading, Oxford and Harcourt Hill. With over 100 parkruns under her belt Hayleigh was well versed with the intro talk “It was the volunteer briefing I was most nervous about, but as so many of them knew what to do, it was really lots of fun!” she told me later.
Back on the course and there were so many great individual stories. We had milestone runs with Lydia making her 10th event alongside her younger brother George who come along for his first ever parkrun. Local youngsters Blake and Kieran ran their 30th parkruns and at the other end of the scale Anna and Michael came back for their second parkrun to support their mother Oana (who equally impressively hit a new PB). In fact, there were a total of 21 second timers, all making that huge step of returning, great work guys!
The first finisher was Oxford parkrun tourist Sebastian, whose motivation to don trainers on a Saturday morning is in memory of his mother who set up the Harcourt Hill parkrun. It was neck and neck on the line with local Harwell Harrier Stuart edged into second spot.
Peggy was the first of the eight dogs to finish. Shortly following on was Alaistair, the occupant of the first of our prams to cross the line in the Nipper Sport Buggy (other brands are available) tirelessly pushed along by Matthew. Our Didcot Runners timers Geoff and Miranda witnessed plenty of excitement on the finish funnel, with the polite finishers (no, after you), the competitive finishers (dip for the line), the fall to the floor finishers (“but it was worth it for the PB” - Rebecca!) and the push your sister along finishers (shortly followed by the push your mother along too finishers!).
Yet again, it was another fabulous morning to be out on the Ladygrove, with so many smiles and people and sentiments of “I couldn’t do it on my own”. Likewise, we at Didcot Runners share this ethos. Many people believe that running clubs are just for the elites, but at both Didcot Runners and Harwell Harriers, we really look to encourage all abilities and host beginner’s groups with qualified run leaders to make sure the support you get is right for you.
So if you are finding the exhilaration of parkrun is just not enough, or that PB is just out of reach, why not join us and be a part of Didcot’s running community.