This was the last parkrun of 2013 and the last one in the run of 6 for Lucozade’s #chasetheplace competition. Very best of luck to anyone who is still in with a chance of a VLM place.
Finally the weather was more on our side than it has been. In fact the grass sections of the course were positively dry, relative to recent runs! 80 runners were gathered for Run Director Ian Durrant’s briefing, including 19 first timers at Guildford – 10 of whom were brand new to parkrun. 5 runners improved on their personal bests, so very well done to them. I did the opposite, and ran my slowest ever time but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it may even be one of my favourite parkruns ever. At the top of the tarmac hill with the sound of the wind gusting around me (my MP3 player had just conked out so I had no music), I was suddenly aware of a real sense of freedom and enjoying being out in the fresh air. Fingers crossed for more runs like that in 2013 and thank you to Stefan Klincewicz (SM40-44, 30:17) who was close behind me and spurred me on over the last quarter of the course.
Ian announced in the run briefing that in January the start and finish will move from the current locations to the top of the grass hill that is the first straight at the moment. This is on firmer ground, and has the added benefit of toilets at the rear of the buildings. We will also be able to scan barcodes undercover in bad weather. We’ll announce the date that this change will be effective in due course so please listen out at future run briefings and keep an eye on our news page.
I was struck this week by how many families we had running parkrun together, which I think is lovely. We had lots of students home from university for Christmas, people engaging in parkrun tourism while visiting relatives, and a large number of brilliant junior runners (8 x JM14, 3 x JM15-19, 4 x JW14 and 2 x JW15-19), some of whom run with older siblings or parents.
I was speaking to Edward West (SM20-24, 25:49) as he waited with his sister to cheer their mum Ann West (VW55-59, 40:02) to the finish. Edward was running his second parkrun but told me he has signed up for the Cambridge half marathon next March so he will probably be doing more parkruns as part of his training. Ann was the final person to cross the line but did so, as she always does, with the biggest smile. Well done Ann!
One of the other families running together this week (there were 10 altogether), was the Aldreds. Tom Aldred (SM30-34) was back at Guildford for the first time since setting the course record in April, and finished first again in a time of 17:41 ahead of Toby Aldred (SM35-39, 18:53). Dad Anthony Aldred (VM65-69) finished 26th, in 24:38.
The third finisher was Mark Hadley (SM30-34) who crossed the line in 19:16.
In the women’s results, Claudia Lance Jones (JW14) was first over the line (8th overall) in 21:43 in her first ever full parkrun having previously run Junior parkruns at Bushy.
Susanna Harrison (VW45-49) was second (16th overall) over the line in 23:35, ahead of Claire Thornhill (SW30-34) who was third (24th overall) over the line in 24:10. Looking at the info on the results table, I think Claire was with Tom Aldred and his family.
As usual, I’d like to say huge thanks to this week’s volunteers – especially since they stepped up at the last moment when we had a real shortage. While we were chatting by the finish, one runner (sorry, I didn’t catch your name) asked whether volunteering is very onerous. This week’s scanner Nicky Hack, who was volunteering for the second time, reassured her that it isn’t at all, and in fact Nicky said it is fun! Honestly, none of the jobs are difficult and everything will be explained, so if you’d like to take a turn to keep the event going please get in touch. If you have any questions about what’s involved in any of the roles please feel free to email or just ask either before a run, at the finish, or in Costa when we’re having coffee afterwards. We’d love to hear from you.
I hope to see you for a freedom run* at 9am on Tuesday, but if you are partying too hard the night before then Happy New Year and I’ll see you 5th Jan for the first parkrun of 2013 when juniors Douglas Craig and Edward Hellyar could both join the 10 Club.
*Freedom runs are not timed, or marshalled, and don’t count towards total runs but you can record your own time on the parkrun website by following the personalised link from one of your results emails.