The predictions of wintry conditions for this Saturday’s parkrun certainly came true, and at 9am the Esplanade was unusually less busy with runners than in previous weeks. Due to the falling snow a course inspection was carried out, and the 252nd Greenock parkrun was given a green light.
As the runners made their way along the Esplanade towards the boat club they didn’t feel the full effect of the driving snow and wind, but as they turned back towards the yellow pole the blizzard like conditions made running difficult and skiing goggles would have been helpful!
Surprisingly there was 1 PB - Kevin McFadden managed back to back PB’s and knocked 6 seconds off his time from the previous week. Of the 52 runners, 1 was taking part for the first time at Greenock. Pippa Goldie was also completing her 50th parkrun. Also running in his 50th parkrun was Kenneth Ferguson.
First over the line this week was Steven Campbell, closely followed by Alan Callan and Marc McColl and all managed to stay under 19 minutes. Clare Monaghan was the first female this week with Lynne Harrison not far behind.
In conditions like these running really is the easier option so a big thank you and well done to all the volunteers this week. Hopefully once they reached the James Watt their fingers would have thawed out and they could enjoy their breakfast.
The event was made possible by 12 volunteers:
Alan OROURKE • David CARRUTHERS • Rhonda WHITE • Andy CAMERON • Stephen REID • Marianne MCKAY • Eddie DEVINE • Stephen HANLEY • Elizabeth RANKIN • Aileen WILSON • Erin MCELENY • Cheryl THOMAS
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Greenock parkrun Results Page.
The male record is held by Jonathan GLEN who recorded a time of 15:03 on 25th December 2015 (event number 85), and by Peter AVENT who also recorded a time of 15:03 on 26th November 2016 (event number 132).
The female record is held by Unknown (F) who recorded a time of 17:21 on 22nd September 2018 (event number 225).
The Age Grade course record is held by Andrew WHITE who recorded 90.12% (16:22) on 23rd February 2019 (event number 249).
Greenock parkrun started on 17th May 2014. Since then 2,955 participants have completed 21,000 parkruns covering a total distance of 105,000 km, including 3,389 new Personal Bests. A total of 308 individuals have volunteered 2,827 times.
The dreich March conditions failed to deter 113 park runners including 6 first-timers from taking part in the 251st Greenock event held on Saturday 9th March.
Paul Monaghan was first home in 17.28 closely followed by the ever consistent Alan Callan and Ross McClement.
First lady home was Abi Hammerman in 20.24 ahead of fellow junior runners Iris Paterson and Ava Beaton.
The winter weather certainly wrecked havoc on many personal best attempts with the morning being hit with wind, rain, sleet and to top it off hail stones. As a result only 11 being achieved this week. Despite a 40 year age gap, young Connor Campbell and Niall Brennan came home joined at the hip to both score PBs with young Connor chopping over 2 minutes off his previous best, a feat also achieved by fellow junior Kirsten Campbell.
Gillian Clark came along with her family and earned a PB running alongside her dad Stewart. Lorna Mitchell, Mary Paterson, Alexander Donald, Lynsey McAlees, Steven Kerr, Jodie Nelson and Kevin McFadden rounded off our Personal Besters this week.
The hardy bunch of volunteers could hardly wait to see tail-runner Andy Cameron come home a good 5 minutes quicker than usual so they could jump in their cars and make a beeline to the James Watt bar for well-deserved hot drinks and breakfast.
Interesting fact – Park-runners have now ran a total of 104,740 kilometres at Greenock parkrun since the event began.
We still can't quite believe that there have been 250 Greenock parkruns! On our first day we welcomed 110 runners, and for our 250th we were joined by 210. Awesome! 2,964 individuals have now completed our course and 2,344 people have registered Greenock parkrun as their home event. One day they're all going to come along and terrify that week's Run Director!
It was a record breaking weekend at Greenock parkrun for our 250th event. We now have a new attendance record of 210 finisher! This included 16 parkrunners who were crossing the finish line for the first time. A record number of Personal Bests (PB's) were also celebrated with an incredible 48 improving their best time.
Firstly, me (Erin McEleny) with my trousers on back to front, and my little sister Aimee both improved by approx 30 seconds. Well done to all the other junior stars getting PB's: Dylan Crawford, David Docherty, Ava Beaton, Lyall Black, Iris Paterson, Fraser McLaughlan, Calum Brennan, Oscar Boyce, Ronan Erskine, David Brennan and Ava Mclaughlan. It is particuarly impressive that the top 3 females to finish were juniors in the 11-14 age category! Fantastic running!
A special mention to Cheryl Thomas who despite getting a huge PB, is still a teensy bit slower than my milestone star mummy! Some amazingly fast times were recorded with more than 20 running under 20 minutes.
There were 2 big milestones with Alex Paterson and Marianne McKay both completing their 100th parkruns, and Marianne's kids also hitting milestones. Aimee completed her 50th parkrun and I achieved my 25th volunteer role.
This week we had Andy back in his regular volunteer role as tail walker for the first time since November, and Event Director Jo was back running for the first time since having her baby. Welcome back!
Thank you to all our amazing volunteers who make the events happen. Barcode Scanning is my favourite volunteer role at parkrun because you get to meet all of the runners and ask how they got on with their run. You get to see all the excited, happy faces after they have completed the parkrun. It's really simple, you just scan their personal barcode then scan their finish token and place it in the pink love bucket. Easy and rewarding.
I've also done a lot of run reports recently and it is a great job if you like writing stories. You can have fun with different styles and have some banter while reporting on all the important news and statistics. It also means you get to run and get a volunteer credit. Best of both worlds!
We've talked for a while about doing volunteer role profiles in the run report, but never really got round to doing it. The core team often come up with great ideas for things to do, but not a lot make it to the Esplanade. That's probably because many of these ideas are dreamed up in the pub. We're still waiting for Emma to go to Tesco and film people trying to scan their barcodes on the self-checkouts, but that's another story altogether. So here we go, this week's run report will be about both the event (which was very busy and the weather very pleasant) and the role of Run Director. A double whammy!
This was my first week back as Run Director after having a baby (AKA future parkrunner). I last did the job back in September. Since then the guys have done a stellar job of holding the fort. George McCallum even promoted himself to Event Director in my absence, which he claimed was a typo, however I'm now on guard for him initiating a coup. In the past 6 months we have recruited George and Stephen Hanley, and we are in the process of recruiting Stewart Anderson (as long as Hanley doesn't put him off with all the initiation chat). We like to have a good pool as being RD is the biggest commitment in terms of parkrun volunteering as it is a regular shift. There's also work to be done during the week so we're always delighted to recruit a newbie (and not just so we can enjoy scaring them with a heightened description of the role expectations, and again the initiation procedure. We have had a lot of fun terrorising poor Hanley).
As RD your work begins on Monday when you start to man the emails. The RD for that week fields all the emails, which are mostly from volunteers (and the odd ones from Nigerian Princes looking for money, poor souls) and updates the roster as they come in. Sometimes life happens and we don't get in to them every day. Some of the team work abroad at times so there can be a delay in replying to volunteers. This can create problems when more than 1 person has emailed in for a role, so in this case we treat it as first come first served. If you don't hear back from us straight away, rest assured you will before parkrunday!
So during the week the RD mans the emails, organises Facebook appeals for volunteers and sometimes sends out emails when things are looking dire. If you haven't already done so, please click on the link to opt in to our mailing list on your latest results email. It means you're in the loop for anything we send out. We don't send a lot of emails, so don't worry that we'll clog up your inbox. We'll leave that to the Nigerian princes.
At some point during the week the RD has to contact the RD from the previous week to arrange to collect all the parkrun equipment. This is a lot of stuff! It fills your entire car boot and takes up quite a bit of space in the home. It fascinates cats and annoys partners in equal measure. We've tried downsizing but it never seems to work. When parkrun sent us a pop-up banner and a flag it meant even more stuff to transport, which is why it rarely makes it to the Esplanade (and as the weather isn't often kind to such objects). It is with this in mind that we declined to buy a selfie board for Greenock parkrun, as much as we would love one. It just wasn't conceivable to add to the current kit due to the size of it.
So with all the kit collected and emails answered the next task is to send the volunteer reminder email once the roster is full, and organise the kit. Friday night becomes charging night. We clear the timers and scanners and charge the laptop, scanners and parkrun mobile. We check that the tokens are in order, there is paper on the clipboard for tokens that won't scan and we peruse the results for any milestones that may be happening the next day. We take note of the volunteers expected and finally we pack everything up, ready for it to fill our boot (or entire car for David who has a mini).
On parkrunday the RD strives to be on the Esplanade for 9am at the latest. In the winter we get down a bit earlier to inspect the course for ice, and hope that we won't have to cancel. It isn't long before volunteers are arriving and we brief them on their role and hand out vests and equipment. We listen out for any special announcements and do a first timers briefing. We take our position on the bench, megaphone in hand and welcome all the parkrunners who have come along that day.
Once the run starts we have to move everything to the finish line, along with two overflowing kit boxes and a back seat full of Andy's scones. We have the parkrun mobile close to hand and hope that it doesn't ring. We have a defib amongst the kit, ready to react if need be. We are due a refresher, but the majority of the RDs are fully trained on CPR and use of the defib.
During the run we make sure all the volunteers are ok, there are no issues and we step in to assist where required. After the run we have to pack up the car, wonder how it seems like more stuff is going in than came out, and we process the results. Sometimes this is wonderfully straight forward, however things like a runner coming out the funnel before getting their token, or crossing the finish line twice can result in an hours work for the RD trying to resolve the situation. Finally we get to press the submit button and can relax knowing that our shift is almost over! All that is left is keeping an eye out for any emails following the event before we get to hand over to the following week's RD.
So, as I said this was my first week back as RD in months. When I put myself down for 23rd February a few weeks ago it seemed like a magical date in the far future where I would be much more organised. This was not the case. Not a lot of the above happened. I am fortunate that my partner Steven is also an RD and doesn't have baby brain. He was therefore able to keep on top of the emails this week. That car boot full of stuff I talked about? Doesn't really get on well with a boot taken up by a future parkrunners pram. I am therefore fortunate that my Dad is also a RD, and was willing to take the kit in his boot. All I had to do was charge the electricals (easy bit) and get myself to the Esplanade for 9am (I failed), find someone to watch the baby (thanks Emma) and remember what to brief the runners and volunteers (semi-fail). With a bit of crowd participation the starting brief was done and the runners were off. Job done!
This week the Scottish parkrun Ambassador Liz Corbett was in the crowd. Liz is essentially the head parkrun volunteer in Scotland, parkrun Royalty if you will. She was pivotal in helping to set up Greenock parkrun so it was great to have her back with us for the day. If anyone seen George talking to her, let me know. He could have been making his next move...
There was a great turnout this week with 22 first timers...16 of them were doing their very first parkrun. Welcome to the parkrun family! The wind must have been kind out on the course as there were 21 new personal bests, and a new age grade record was set. Andrew White, who recently turned 50 was first finisher this week, set a new PB of 16:22 and now has an age grading of 90.12%. Great running!
Among the first timers this week was junior parkrunner Maria Devine, granddaughter of the "Smiling Assassin" Eddie Devine. Maria and her family came along to help Eddie celebrate his 75th birthday. We are delighted that Eddie chose to come to parkrun as part of his birthday celebrations, and kindly brought lots of snacks for his parkrun friends. We are also delighted that Maria was running this time as in previous visits she has been very focussed on dismantaling our finishing funnel, and was not thrilled when the RD that day kept putting it back together again. Our RDs really do put in a shift.
So that was the highlights of Event #249. Next week is our 250th...where has the time gone? To celebrate we will be having a pacing event and encourage you all to wear green, or a milestone tee. It won't be long until we start welcoming some Greenock parkrunners into the 250 club, and we can't wait!