In today’s society it appears there’s no such thing as an accident, we’ve all seen that ‘where’s there’s blame there’s a claim’ well there’s one man responsible for changing your lives and making you all parkrunners in the Harrogate and Fountains area.
Do you remember the heady days before parkrun came to Harrogate or Fountains – lying in bed past 8.30, fry up breakfast to start the day, children watching cartoons for hours on end...
This was all well and good until 21st January 2012 when someone decided it would be even better to spend the morning running, not once, not twice but three times round the Stray in Harrogate (the middle lap was HIS idea!) and then waste the rest of the morning in Cafe Marconi (or until you make a mad dash for the door as your parking ticket ran out 5 minutes ago!) chatting with people, increasing your social circle – all those new friends on facebook to read about!
This was no happy coincidence but a deliberate act to get people out and about on a Saturday morning, there was ongoing consultations with the council to make sure they were happy to allow parkrun to continue, dog walkers to placate, crocuses to avoid, fun fair’s to reroute the course, mud, mud, mud to try to negotiate! There were days when the results didn’t work (even a manually uploading the results from an iphone in the early days!) tokens to sort, kit to store and clean... the tasks seemed never ending, but still he ploughed on enthusiastically!
But this was not enough, the good Folk of Harrogate may have had their Saturday morning’s ruined but what about those in Ripon, why should they be left in bed rather than running 5k?
And so it was, after a run around Studley, whilst eating cake and drinking coffee, when the cogs started whirring until he looked up like some kind of cartoon character and there was a lightbulb above his head and parkrun logos in his eyes. That was it – we need another parkun around Studley. He then began negotiations with the National Trust and following nearly 18 months of hard work in making sure they were happy, parkrun was happy, health and safety was all adhered to etc etc... Fountains Abbey parkrun began.
The people of Ripon would no longer lay in their beds, oh no, once they had got up, been distracted by the specatular grounds and forgotten about the hilly bit by the time they left the cafe, they’d be back each week – job done!
This man has not been alone in this folly – there have been those who have aided and abetted him willingly...
His right hand woman, his remarkably understanding wife Paula (behind every great man there is a great woman rolling her eyes!) who allowed him out of the house in the first place!
His daughter Emma, who benefitted from all of this by meeting her husband at Harrogate parkun.
His eldest son Will, partner in crime, and the only one who truly knew how all the technical stuff worked at Harrogate.
His youngest son George, who always looked cheerful when wrapped up against the elements on the Stray and then has smiled politely at everyone who tells him how much he’s grown every time they see him!
The Run Directors – those brought on board to make each event happen, given confidence and support by the ‘Mr Big’ Event director – made to believe they were capable of delivering a superb event for everyone to enjoy.
The volunteers – happy, cheery sort of folk, before 9am on Saturday – unbelieveable!
Anyone who has attended Harrogate or Fountains parkrun – turning up has merely encouraged him!
And so, to name and shame – if you are puffing around the middle lap at Harrogate parkrun, slogging up to the barcode bench on the the first lap of Fountains there is one man to blame – Adam Prentis.
Adam is now standing down as a parkrun Event Director, he’s done so much, changed many lives, made so many people smile, created lots and lots of new friendships.
You will have the opportunity to speak to Adam regarding the upheaval of your Saturday morning routine or thank him for everything, since although he will no longer be Event Director he has adopted a new role as a parkrunner and has been heard repeatedly saying “There’s nowhere I’d rather be on a Saturday morning”
Adam, it’s all your fault, thank you so very much!