Run report – 12 January 2019 – a tourist write up

Many thanks to this week's Run Report writer, Jenny DIMMICK from Woodley parkrun, near Reading.

It's hard to believe that it's the 4th parkrun of 2019 for many parkrunners. A very impressive 717 parkrunners wound their way around Finsbury Park in this, the 150th year of the Park. According to Wikipedia, whilst the plans for the park's creation were ratified by an Act of Parliament in 1857, it didn't open until 1869, which by my maths is 150 years ago. So that's a double reason to celebrate: a significant birthday year for the Park and record attendance! [Ed's note - look out for more on 150th anniversary park later this year].

I must admit that I didn't know much about Finsbury Park until turning up this morning. The parkrun website had told me that it was 2 laps, on tarmac paths and that's about all I knew. There are a large number of parkruns in London and we choose Finsbury parkrun as it was off the Piccadilly line and as we were staying close to that underground line and someone (apologies, I can't remember who) was extolling the virtues of the parkrun fairly recently in the UK parkrun tourist Facebook group. Indeed, we found it very easy to locate. A sign outside the station pointed us in the direction of the park and soon we saw plenty of folk in running gear heading in the same direction, so we followed them! One thing I wasn't expecting was the hills/slopes. This I must admit is due to poor research by myself. If I'd realised that the Park had hosted anti-aircraft guns during the second world war, then I'd have realised that there was a hill! I'm not saying that Finsbury parkrun is hilly, if you compare it to say Mole Valley (Surrey), Parke (Devon), Alice Holt (Hampshire) amongst others, you'd think that it is flat. However in my experience, all London Parks that I'd been to and parkruns I've run (Bushy, Tooting Common, Crane Park, Beckton and Victoria Dock) have been flat, so it was a bit of a surprise. In the queue in the cafe afterwards, I was informed that Ally Pally parkrun is much hillier and close by. Maybe I just need more experience of London parkruns?

The route started off with a nice downhill (which was when I realised that there would be some up!). I started at the back of the pack and the closed barrier was a bit of a surprise! The route otherwise was lovely and wide to begin with, which is just what you need to give the runners space to spread out. I was impressed with the number of amenities that we ran past in the park, it must be a lovely one to live close to. I wasn't expecting a running track (again, poor research!), the lake (which I had seen on the course map) looked as though it could be fun to hire a boat on in the summer, the playground looked to be well equipped and the outdoor gym equipment was actually being used, which is a rarity! There were a number of other folk using the Park, including groups doing some running and exercise class. I must say though, that the instructors seemed encouraging and even encouraged parkrunners as they went by. After my two laps (with a downhill finish!) I got given a raffle ticket.

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^ What happens when we run out of tokens? Some of our final finishers became the first people ever to be handed raffle tickets at Finsbury park, as we broke another attendance record this week.

A raffle ticket? At the first-timer's briefing today, Mark JEFFORD, today's Run Director explained to the 147 people new to parkrun, as well as the tourists, that when you cross the finish line, you'll get handed a finish token. However, today, there were more finishers than Finsbury parkrun had finish tokens. This was handled very well by the use of raffle tickets and a sheet of preprinted barcodes, for those folk who finished in positions greater than 670. The previous record was 608 parkrunners, only last parkrunday. An increase of over 100 parkrunners in one week is very impressive.

Welcome to the parkrun family to all of those new to parkrun today. In fact, well done too to all 717 parkrunners who ran Finsbury parkrun today. Running or walking 5k is an impressive feat, especially on a cold winter's morning when others are in bed. 105 parkrunners achieved a new Personal Best (PB) today. Wow! John RANDALL celebrated his 50th parkrun today. Well done. John started his parkrun career 8 years ago and has run 38 runs at Finsbury parkrun and at 8 other parkruns over the years. Hopefully he'll be donning his red 50 tee soon. Dave H earnt his black 100 tee today. He has run at Finsbury parkrun 61 times and has run at 20 different venues, including my home parkrun, Woodley. In 2018 Dave ran 48 parkruns, which is very impressive. Tim BAVISTER was celebrating an arbitrary milestone of 300 parkruns today. That's a very impressive feat, which has taken him 8 years to achieve. Tim has run parkruns not only in the UK, but in Ireland, New Zealand and the USA! In fact, today was his 250th run at Finsbury parkrun. That's reason for celebration. Tim's also a keen volunteer, having done over 10 different roles, including tail walking and run directing. He's even been responsible for time keeping 35 times and barcode scanning 25 times. Thanks Tim!

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^ Over 700 hundred parkrunners! No tapes yesterday due to issues getting into the shed. As I'm sure you can imagine, having this many people run down the hill at you can be scary. Please stay off the pavement on start hill and the first corner.

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^ please do listen to the pre-run brief each week - you often get to admire the winter sun while you do! Were you up early for parkrun on Saturday? Did you catch the beautiful pink sky?

parkrun wouldn't happen without volunteers like Tim. Many thanks to all 25 volunteers for today: Mark JEFFORD, Adam MITCHELL, Alexander SWEET, Carl HEAP, James MCCAGUE, Tom BEDWELL, Frederick S GORDON, Becky DARNILL, Sarah MOORE, Patrick LUONG, Duncan RAY, Jon KNOX, Duncan MINTY, Katie BELKIN, Isabel GARROOD, Jenny DIMMICK, Andrea COLEY, Annabel LITCHFIELD, Serafina KILADIS, Quick Kasia KILADIS, Daisy VEITCH, Zachary WEISZ, Liz ADAMS, Isobel MURRAY and Katharine ELLIOT. Volunteering is as much fun as running, if not more! Why don't you email finsburyhelpers@parkrun.com and offer your services next week or whenever convenient? If you analyse my stats, you'll see that I've hardly run at my home parkrun. When there I can often be found volunteering. I celebrated my arbitrary milestone of volunteering at 100 events on New Year's Day. parkrun changes lives, whether you're a runner, a runner who volunteers or whether you enjoy volunteering so much that you don't run (yet).

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^The essence of parkrun: sorting every token Finsbury parkrun owns, fuelled by cake and good conversation.

Anyway, that's enough from me. Hopefully I may bump into one of you at another parkrun, somewhere!

Jenny (from Woodley parkrun)

 

Run report – 5 January 2019 – record breaking!

Fantastic news - if you made it to Finsbury parkrun this morning, you're a record breaker! A total of 608 people walked, ran or jogged their way into the new year, beating our previous attendance record by 97 runners!

!There were some scanning problems for the faster runners - if you claimed token 1-20 please double check your time and position and email finsburyoffice@parkrun.com with any errors!

61 people completed their first ever parkrun this morning - welcome to the club! As in previous years we'll be keeping a quiet eye on our New Years runners: keep your ears peeled for a special shout-out if you manage to stick with the parkrun habit. A stonking 71 people recorded Personal Bests today, what a brilliant way to start the year.

Four people completed their 50th event today - congratulations to Andrew BROWN, Alex Owen, Rob BURGESS and Robert TUNNINGLEY. Two Finsbury park regulars - Tomas MALTBY and Rajiv RATAN both ran their 250th elsewhere over the holidays - fantastic persistence from both.

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^Some of our record breaking runners - the first ever to be given tokens from the 600s at Finsbury parkrun.

We're delighted to welcome so many people to parkrun, but as the event grows please be mindful of other park users. At the start stay inside the tapes, leaving a channel for any pedestrians/bikes. As we set off, stay on the nice wide carriageway: do not use the pavement to overtake as we leave that space for other park users. As you're running round give way to other park users and smile and thank any that give way to you - maintaining good relationships around the park helps us ensure the long-term future of our event.

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^Please remember to stay inside the tape at the start - we share the park with lots of other people and this is one way we try to minimise our impact.

The smooth running of today's bumper event was made possible by 23 fabulous volunteers. With the extra numbers we need more funnel managers and scanners to keep the results as accurate as possible. If you're free to help out next week or anytime over the next month drop us an email on finsburyhelpers@parkrun.com or comment below. See you all next week!

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^Our fab volunteers getting ready at the start.

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^An extra long funnel for a bumper turnout. Thanks everyone who had their hand out flat for a token - it really helped us stay on top of the bigger numbers.

 

Run report – 29 December 2018 – who can help in 2019?

We had 266 people who ran, jogged and walked the course on the final parkrun of 2018 - even at the end of the year we had 41 first timers. Welcome to parkrun first timers, we hope you enjoyed and see you in the new year. In the New Year why not bring a friend to parkrun who hasn’t been before? We also had tourists from Australia, Durham and Clapham visiting us today.

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^this week's start area

A dearth of milestones for the final parkrun of the year - just Leo BARRAN getting to 50 runs this morning. We welcomed back to Finsbury parkrun local runner Tom BEDWELL, who challenged himself by running 54 different parkrun events this year (making excellent use of the Christmas Day and New Years Day events). Welcome back Tom, an excellent return to Finsbury park with a 2 minute PB! Tom was one of the 29 runners achieving a personal best today. He’s giving back by volunteering for us 3 times in January, talking of which...

Volunteers
A huge thanks to all of the 16 volunteers who made today’s event possible. Your cheers helped around parkrunners and the good cheers back on the start line shout out showed you are all very much appreciated.

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^some of this week's volunteer team near the finish

Reflecting back on 2018 - statto corner (including plea!)
It’s worth us looking back at our 2018 runner and volunteer stats today, as we near the end of the calendar year. We had 16,928 runners this year, so a total of 84,640km ran in total - well done to all, regulars and tourists. We exceeded 500 parkrunners at an event for the first time this year - 511 on 21 April 2018. Our average attendance increased to 376 this calendar year, up from 321 in 2017 and 243 in 2016. In 2017 we had 400 or more parkrunners in only 3 events, but in 2018 this number increased to 19 events. We put on 45 events in 2018, down from 47 in 2017 and 50 in 2016.

All this is very impressive growth and we appreciate all those who take part, but you may have guessed where this is going. We simply cannot put on Finsbury parkrun without the help of the volunteers. We need them there if it is raining or foggy, shining or snowing. This year’s parkruns at Finsbury were brought to you by a wonderful 918 volunteers - we applaud each and every one of you for stepping up. Whether it is because you have a niggle, a race you are resting for or just want to give back please do consider volunteering next year if you haven’t yet done so.

A specific shout out to our top 10 volunteers for this year, which were Katie BELKIN, Isobel MURRAY, William SUTHERLAND, Andrew WOODING, Duncan MINTY, Rebecca MITCHELL, Lorna STEVENSON, Carl HEAP, Marcus LLOYD and Sandra LLOYD.

But a #BigThankYou to all our 2018 volunteers, and we look forward to seeing fresh volunteering faces in 2019.

Please email us on finsburyhelpers@parkrun.com if you can help at any point in 2019, but first few weeks particularly as we are expecting a usual January “spike” in numbers. If you still aren’t sure about volunteering do come and speak one of our RD post run, or any high-vis hero in the the cafe after parkrun.

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^The Cafe was full of parkrunners yesterday

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^this week's first finisher didn't remember their barcode! #DFYB

Dedicated tourist - a mini-write up from marshal Bill!

“Rex TOOL of Poole AC 70-74 Age Group drove all the way up from the South Coast to arrive around 8 am. He is a very well travelled tourist parkrunner having taken part at over 200 venues. Yesterday he completed his 402nd run clocking an exceptional time of 25.42 in 123rd place. In fact the previous week he completed Highbury Fields parkrun and I met him by chance doing some checking of our course as he intended to come the following week. How’s that for dedication!”

 

Run report – 25 December 2018 – Xmas Day!

RD James, quiz-master extraordinaire, is very rarely wrong about things. And he wasn't wrong in his prediction that this might be the year we broke the 200 barrier for Christmas Day attendance. But none of were expecting an amazing 326 of you to turn up! A massive Christmas Day record - thanks to everyone who made a visit the parkrun family part of their Christmas traditions.

Amongst the sea of Santa hats there were 18 people doing their very first parkrun, 43 parkrunners visiting Finsbury park for the first time and 40 people giving themselves an extra Christmas present of a new PB!

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Finsbury parkrun # 448 - 25/12/2018
^ James giving the first timers briefing on Xmas Day

Some people decided to make the day extra special and completed a milestone run today. Congrats to Hongbin GU and Siobhan Annie BURKE on their 50th and Eugenie DENCHFIELD on a Christmas century. It was their first time at Finsbury park but Arwen WILCOCK, in position 322, took us to a total of 80,000 parkruns completed since Finsbury started a little over 9 years ago or 400,000km run.

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^somewhere in amongst the Santa hats is parkrunner 80,000 at Finsbury!

We are always grateful to our volunteers, but particular thanks must go to the special 17 people who made this morning's run possible: Mark JEFFORD • Tim BAVISTER • James TAVERNER • Alison ROSE • Ian Gordon JACOBSBERG • Jenny BERRISFORD • Chris DENNIS • Jon KNOX • Manraj BASI • Jaime DE BARROS • Nilesh GOSWAMI • Katie BELKIN • Ben JONES • Rebecca MOORE • George STEFANATOS • Maria MURGUIA • Yasmin CHINA. Some are Finsbury parkrun regulars, some we see once a year when they get "volunteered" to help out in exchange for Christmas dinner, but they're all fab in our eyes.

We'll be back on again on Saturday 29th and then on the 5 January 2019. We would like to get the roster filled for Jan 2019 as it is looking pretty bare. Email finsburyhelpers@parkrun.com if you can help out. See you on Saturday 29th for our normal parkrun service, and don't forget your barcode!

 

Run report – 22 December 2018 – Carols, #RunEqual, Milestones

Jingle bells, jingle bells, milestones all the way, oh what fun it is to ride the carol-singing sleigh!
It was multiple milestones and carol singing in our last parkrun before Christmas. An amazing 348 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 36 were first timers. There were 44 who recorded new Personal Bests set today.

Milestones!
We had 5 milestones this week, with Jonny FORSYTH, Tim ANDERSON and Dan S WILLIAMS all reaching 100 runs and Ian NICHOLSON and Naqi RIZVI both reading 50 runs in total. Milestone T Shirts for all of these, but you will all probably have to wait until Santa’s been this year until you get these!

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^Milestoners on the start line

Carol singing and mince pies!
Some of us were in full voice this week, with carol singing accompanying a group of parkrunners - all donned in their Xmas style outfits. We hope those near the singing enjoyed the Jingle Bells, Hark the Herald, Last Christmas and many others. Who joined us in the cafe for cake and mince pies this week - we’re there each week (not on Christmas Day though!) so do come along and say hi if you haven’t before.

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^the start line with some santasuit-donned chief-carollers

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^The carol singers rounding the corner before the hill!

#RunEqual
This week a group of runners sporting their Run Equal T Shirts descended on Finsbury parkrun as a chance to meet and discuss all things equal. Everyone is welcome at parkrun and its just the one distance here for all - 5k - run, jog or walk you’re all welcome! If you want to read more about the Run Equal movement then there’s a few links below:
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/the-running-blog/2018/jan/12/different-race-lengths-for-men-and-women-its-time-things-changed
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/uk-cross-country-gender-inequality-calls-athletes-petition-a8156481.html

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^photo from the finish of some of those sporting #RunEqual tops today

Extra Events
We’ve previously mentioned, but in case you missed it, we are running on Christmas Day but not on New Years Day. More details available here, including suggestions of potential double on NYD which some of us will be taking part in:
http://www.parkrun.org.uk/finsbury/news/2018/11/08/xmas-yes-new-year-tourism-news/

Volunteers
It was a bit milder today, but it still wasn’t warm by any stretch. As such a huge thanks to all of the 19 volunteers from today - all very much appreciated. Most of our volunteers stay until the end and the support they provide to each finisher is very much appreciated by all. We’ve had 272 different volunteers so far this year, and there’s a chance to be included in these stats still - we have 2 more parkruns this year on Christmas Day and 29 December. We are still looking for a few for Christmas Day and also need a roster for 29 December too - email finsburyhelpers@parkrun.com if you can help!

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^a couple of photos of this week's lovely volunteer team

Fast tourist - a mini-write up from marshal Bill!
The tourist First Finisher this week was Mark JENKIN – Bideford AAC – 40-45 Age Group scored an outstanding time of 16.05. This represents a new Age Category Record at Finsbury for VM40-44 - great running Mark! Did you know that Mark was 75th in this year’s Berlin Marathon in 2.27.55? Some 44389 runners took part representing 133 countries which was a record number of participants for the International event in its 45th year. The outstanding Winner this year was the New World Record Holder from Kenya Eliud KIPCHOGE in 2.01.39 no less.

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