After a mild Christmas and New Year more familiar cold temperatures returned to put a seasonal chill in the air. It was a grey day but no frost, no rain and so the ground was reasonably firm and conducive to running without churning up. It was noticeable that the motivated and speedier runners wore traditional running gear while at the more leisurely end of the pack there was an abundance of jackets, scarves and portable heaters (ok no portable heaters).
Run Director Robert opened the proceedings with some New Year messages of encouragement, key announcements and two pleas for assistance. Firstly, tribute was paid to Michael Lee who reached the rare, but extremely welcome, milestone of 250 volunteering stints on New Year’s Day. Everyone attending showed their appreciation to Michael with an enthusiastic round of applause.
The two pleas for help were in respect of financial support for Eastleigh parkrun and for volunteering support throughout 2019:
a) Robert reminded us that parkrun is, and always will be, a free event in which to participate. However, in order to keep the event running smoothly funds are needed for equipment and materials. These costs have to be met from local sources. Please see the donation tab on the website (it’s the furthest to the right after the ‘results’ tab) and support the event if you can. One idea for consideration is to convert savings from ‘dry January’ and donate the value of a bottle of wine to the cause. That way you can improve your health by abstaining for a month and get fit doing parkrun at the same time!
b) Alternatively, please consider volunteering to support your local parkrun. Looking at today’s stats the ratio of volunteers to runners was 11%. Let us each consider the number of runs we have completed and see if we have volunteered for 11% times that number. If not then perhaps it is time join the volunteer roster. Volunteering is a rewarding experience. January is a typical month for looking at the calendar and thinking about holiday dates. This is also an excellent time to plan volunteering pledges for the year ahead!
Robert also reminded runners about the Post-Christmas/New Year party. This takes place Saturday 12 January at the Eastleigh Bowl’s Club – though you’ll have to be very quick of the mark to snap up any remaining tickets.
An opportunity to make good on all those New Year’s pledges encouraged 334 runners plus buggies and doggies to take to the course. There were 53 first timers to Eastleigh of whom 29 were running their inaugural parkrun; an impressive 30 personal bests were set and a remarkable 32 running clubs were represented. One park runner from Queensland, Australia was in the field today winning the imperceptible award for furthest tourist traveller.
As for milestones congratulations to Thomas TILYARD (a junior) on completing his 10th, Sue TRUE on completing her 50th and Iain CROSS his 100th parkrun today. Again Michael LEE gets a special mention for completing 250 volunteer credits: upon being asked to recount his stand-out moment from attending so many parkruns Michael said there were too many to mention, however, top of mind was a young lady who did cartwheels across the finishing line. Now that is how to complete a park run in style. Beat that if you can!
Finally, well done to all those who took part; runners, amblers, volunteers, cheerleaders and especially the organisers.
H John Duckworth
We are very grateful to the volunteers who made this event happen: Rob BENTLEY, Karen BOLTON, Nickie BOWEN, Robert BRYAN, Susan BUNYAN, Claire DEACON, Harold DUCKWORTH, Lottie DYER, Kerry FOLGER, Kim FOLGER, Christine FULLER, Yvonne GRANDON, George HAMS, Emma HAWKINS, Russell HAWKINS, Lauren HEADS, Pauline HERD, Paul KEMP, Michael LEE, Jenny LEE, Brett LYONS, William MARRITT, Katie RAWLINSON, Peter ROBBINS, Ian ROBINSON, Amanda SAYERS, Paul SIDAWAY, Matthew SPRACK, Lucy SPRACK, Sarah SPRACK, Ron TRODD, Linda Mary WEBB, Ray WEBB, Laurence WILKS, Jacob WILKS, Sandy WRIGHT