Good day to all you lovely people
Before we go any further I would like express my heartfelt thanks to all our 25 volunteers for this Saturday. They. Where. Brilliant. Then again our volunteers are always brilliant. They are the heartbeat that gives Guildford parkrun life. Next time you go running show your appreciation to these wonderful folks and give them a cheer & a thanks.
Every week at Guildford parkrun is different; different stories for the runners, different motivations & goals, different personal experiences and different situations arise. Guildford parkrun, like all parkruns, is a continually evolving narrative of thousands of people – and that’s what makes parkrun so engaging, so warm and so beautiful. People. People who volunteer, people who run and people who spectate & support their loved ones.
06:53 and dark. A lonely figure shuffles around Stoke park depositing bits of brightly coloured plastic. He hopes they resemble some meaningful order, provide guidance & instruction even, or at least line-up with each other! But it’s dark and difficult to tell. ‘Ah well’ he thinks, ‘I’ve done the best I can and can only go back & forth so many times before I forget what I’m supposed to be doing’ and plods on. Beneath his feet the ground feels, unexpectedly, not too muddy, nice & firm with just the right amount of give. Lucky runners. As dawn breaks the solitude is broken by a very cheerful lady arriving and asking ‘What can I do to help?’. ‘Cool’ he thinks, ‘let’s talk finish tunnels’ he grins. Better make it quite long as the weather is perfect, the time of year still within touching distance of making those pesky resolutions, and no G3 event so there might be a good crowd of runners today!!
08:46 and the sheer lack of people leaves him confounded. Realising he clearly doesn’t have a pulse on, well anything really it would seem. So much for his guessing on a good crowd, he delays the first timers briefing because, well they simply haven’t seemingly arrived yet.
08:54 and by gosh there’s a lot of people here. What happened!!
09:03 and they’re off!!!! All 614 runners. Wait. What. Did you say 614 runners at Guildford parkrun? That’s right ladies and gentlemen, a new attendance record for Guildford parkrun, beating the previous record by a whopping 64!!! It was magical watching this huge mass of people set off in a riot of colour and happiness. A tsunami of intent and enthusiasm (the grim determination was obviously due to set in latter!!).
09:17 and a blur of committed happy faces goes past dazzling us. Some, incredibly, completing their 2nd lap, others just starting theirs and maybe another new first for Guildford parkrun; an unbroken, continuous line of runners right around Stoke Park. From the finish area a full line of runners could be seen disappearing just past Wild Wood, back on to the grass and over the hillock, while simultaneously runners where re-appearing on the London Road footpath, again as a continuous line of runners all the way back to the finish area. It looked glorious, definitely awesome and made one Run Director giggle a little. That’s the power of parkrun!
09:26 and by heck the finish area is busy. We’ve drafted in additional Barcode Scanners (who very kindly stepped-in) to help with the queues and at peak we had 6 Barcode Scanners on Saturday – another Guildford parkrun record. All around was the buzz of achievement as runners basked in their success, sweaty bodies and happy faces surrounded by loved ones. The finish line also became a little congested so we apologise for that, but lots of encouragement to keep the runners moving down the finish tunnel as quickly as they could helped matters.
09:53 and our 2 smashing tail walkers come in. Thank you ladies as always.
10:21 an empty silence has descended on Stoke Park, as the Run Director looks around he realises once more, that he is alone with his thoughts, a solitary but contented figure. Another great Guildford parkrun (record breaking in fact) but how odd it all seems, a little over a hour since the run started, and now there is no one. 25 volunteers, 614 runners and perhaps another 60 odd people who came to support friends & family. 700 people rocked up, did their thing and then poff – gone – just like that. Many of course off to the Daisy Chain Café to enjoy coffee/tea/cake or something more, swap stories of personal bests, of running daring dos (and perhaps daring don’ts) and celebrate what they have, individually & collectively, achieved that Saturday morning, 12th January when records were set. What a perfectly smashing way to start a weekend
Speaking of celebrations and records we must mention some fabulous milestones and massive congratulations to the following for their very own personal record and achievements:
Virginia DE SANTIS and Stephanie FERRO for both reaching their 50th parkrun milestone this Saturday. Very well done to you both.
Robert FELTHAM: an inspiring gentleman who shows us all that age is simply a mental attitude reached his 100th parkrun milestone.
Anna MACLEAN: technically a tourist but her 1st parkrun, her 50th and now her 100th have all been at Guildford. She also managed to talk her lovely Mom into baking a lot of very tasty fairly cakes which she very generously gave out to runners and volunteers alike. Thank you so much Anna’s Mom (who is most welcome anytime ). It was delightful to see Anna so well supported by (at least) two cousins, a sister and a Mom & Dad.
Congratulations and very well done. You should all be very chuffed with your marvellous achievements. Wear your t-shirts with pride and lots and lots and lots of joy
Mr Reindeer, who was not able to make this Saturday, is currently being much loved by the HOUGHTON family (who adopted him on Christmas Day). Mr Reindeer reports to being very well but wishies he could overcome his slight bout of laziness!!
I thank the lovely, the wonderful, volunteers once again who did us all so proud. Please take a bow you incredible individuals - you rocked it. A roll call of honour for Saturday:
Monica ALONSO • Keith HARRISON • Jeremy Paul HUTCHINS • Andrew FLANAGAN • Isabel THOMAS • Pauline HASTINGS • Wendy SCOTT • Alastair HESLOP • Stephen OSBORNE • Jan SPENCER • Jane FOSTER • Mary MANNING • Jody GREEN • Henry FORREST • Maria TITCOMB • Liz WILLANS • Sian WILLIAMS • Maddie HESLOP • Paul TATLER • Saira BLOOMFIELD • Gemma MEAD • Wayne SMITH • Joshua SMEETH • Joanna TICEHURST • Nicholas GOLDMAN
For those that like facts and figures:
Runners: 614 - have I mentioned this is a Guildford parkrun record attendance...?
Personal Bests: 67 !!!! - very well done to you all
First Timers: 71 !!!! - we hope you had a smashing experience with us, we loved having you
Distance Ran: 3,070 KM - 5KM x 614 runners. Yes that is a lot!!
Energy Used (VERY approximate): 310,000 calories. Yes, again, that is a lot!! For those interested an assumed ~ 500 calories per runner.
We hope you thoroughly enjoyed yourselves, we certainly did. We’d love to see you again sometime and until then, happy running, happy loving.
Guildford parkrun Team