4 - 3 - 2 -1
After last week's disappointing but necessary cancellation it was great to have our first Exeter Riverside parkrun of 2018.
For some of today's 341 finishers, this was their 4th parkrun of 2018: bagging two different ones on New Year's Day (the only day of the year that you can be credited for two parkruns!), one somewhere else last Saturday, and one with us today. For others who've also done a bit of parkrun tourism, today was their 2nd or 3rd. Whether today was number 4, 3, 2 or 1 for you, I wish you every success in achieving whatever parkrun goals you've set yourself for 2018.
Today we used our alternative two-lap course avoiding the University Playing fields which are still drying-out. We plan to continue to use this course for the whole of January and will then liaise with the University to decide when the field is dry enough for our runners to use again. Even though we are temporarily not using the University field, we will continue with our policy not to allow dogs at our parkrun due to the level of congestion on the course. Apologies for the miscommunication at today’s parkrun and for the inconvenience this caused to several runners with dogs.
As today's Tail Walker, I got to see the impressive spectacle of the various contra-flows and over-laps around the course. Well done to today's marshals and all of our joggers, walkers and runners for making this work and being respectful towards other users of the shared paths.
We continue to reiterate that under 11s must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times during the parkrun. Sadly we witnessed several young children running alone. Responsible adults were spoken to after the parkrun as child safeguarding is one of our major priorities.
341 participants was our highest turn-out for 7 weeks which makes the logistics all-the-more challenging. While we're using the alternative course we need a couple of extra marshals each week. If you've not volunteered for a while, please take a look at our volunteer roster http://www.parkrun.org.uk/exeterriverside/futureroster/ and put yourself down for a session or two. There are lots of different roles and it's good fun (even on a cold morning).
There were 30 unknown runners this week, people who either didn't want their time recording or forgot their unique barcode so couldn't have their time recorded. Make it your New Year's resolution to secrete multiple copies of your barcode in your car, gym bag, cycle helmet, jacket pocket, trainers, wallet, phone case and anywhere else that you can think of so that you'll never experience the horror of finishing in a personal best time or reaching a parkrun milestone but never seeing it recorded because you couldn't find your barcode.
Congratulations to Jacqueline Moore who reached her 100 parkrun milestone (and remembered her barcode!) today on her first time with us at Exeter Riverside.
Like Jacqueline, 63 people with recorded times were also completing our course for the first time, 34 of which were doing their first parkrun anywhere. I hope you enjoyed the experience and will want to come again.
Today's first male finisher and first finisher overall was Oliver Thorogood in 17:26. Georgina Westwood was the first female finisher in 21:09. Four runners achieved an age grading over 75% including: Peter Monaghan 84.77%, Karen Cook 83.19% and Corinne McWilliams. Thirty-five people achieved a personal best (PB) time; well done to you all.
To my great disappointment we didn't have anyone finish in a time of 20:18 to celebrate the new year. The closest we came was Roger Atkinson in 20:16; just 2 seconds too keen!
So after a false start, we're off. Can we beat last year's (and our all-time) attendance record of 422 people, the 15,784 finishers, or the 78,920 km we completed in 2017? I'm feeling confident.
Happy New Year.