No.238 – 1 and 100!

The weather was a bit grim when we arrived for early set up but as always (nearly always), it brightened up as the runners arrived for their weekly fix of free, 5k positivity. We welcomed a few milestoners on Saturday including Graeme Selwyn who was running his 100th. Perhaps by coincidence, his son Rondo placed 1st on the day, so completing a great double family achievement!

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The hi-viz heroes arrived and took to their tasks and VC Claire was there to cheer us all up with her smile and make up for the inadequacies of this particular RD’s result processing skills! We really can’t do this without volunteers, so why not offer your support one week? Just have a look on the future roster page and email us with what you want to do and when. You can even shadow someone if you want.

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In all, 354 of you walked, jogged or ran with 28 first timers, tourists from Fittleworth, Maidenhead, Frome, Reigate and 29 of you went home with a shiny new PB!

Awesome!

Paul and the team

 

The One That Never Happened!

I never really thought I would be writing this run report last week….

Even though the weather had turned Wintery the omens for Saturday were that the light dusting of snow would have gone and it would not be cold enough for ice, we were so nearly right…….

As Claire and I went out to set the course out leaving Martyn to set the finish area, what we initially saw made us confident enough to post that we were ON but as we got to the area where the paths split to go up the hill I feel a worrying sensation under my feet…….. we quickly wanted to ascertain if we could reroute onto the grassy area if the patch was just isolated but alas it spread all the way to the small bridge we run over. What about the hill? We could bring back the hill! But no that was even worse…… it was in that gut wrenching moment I knew for only the third time in four and a half years we would have to cancel. A quick deletion and repost on social media and it was done. I felt sad because even though I wasn’t running I get a parkrun buzz just watching and being part of our wonderful community.

We got back to the start area and I said to Martyn he could zip off if he wanted to get to another run but he said he would stay and help us inform runners as they arrived. A big big thank you to him and the other volunteers who helped when they arrived and a huge thank you (and a big sorry!) to everyone who turned up to run, thank you for being so understanding, I did not hear one grump from anyone about missing their run. In fact, we had our own little impromptu parkrun down the Downs Link to Copsale! As Claire and I ran along we saw so many of our runners just getting out there for a run and one of our runners even invited us all back from breakfast!

It was reflecting on that later on that I felt I wanted to record this run even if it never happened. In these days of parkrun present where some seem to be obsessed with run counts, how many different events we can do, alphabet challenges and the like, yes it was shame that we couldn’t officially parkrun, but we ran, we smiled, we laughed and it didn’t matter! No one got a run credit and even our marshals and the volunteers who helped in the week leading up to Saturday didn't get a volunteer credit. The fact is parkrun is so much more than just a run in the park (and a number by your profile)!

Wherever you parkran i hope you had a great day and don't forget our selfie competition will now be next Saturday!

Have a great week and hope to see you all next Saturday (weather permitting!)

Phil and Team

 

Better late than never…..

So my first stint as RD in Southwater, proved to be eventful, but more of that later. I love being up early, before the majority of the world are awake and setting up the course in Southwater Country Park was really special. As I was walking round to the sound of the dawn chorus, I was treated to the site of the 5 strong family of swans stretching their wings. BEAUTIFUL! It is such a privilege to be able to witness the natural world waking from its sleep.

On returning to the café and the meeting point, the finish area had been all set up beautifully by one of our lovely volunteers, Nara, and Phil, who was the volunteer Coordinator today, was ready and waiting for our cohort of Hi-Vis heroes who were going to facilitate your run for you.  Phil also kindly stepped in to deliver the Run Briefing, as I was still struggling with my voice, to ensure that you could all hear it, before finally taking part himself this week.

By 8:45am it became clear that numbers were going to be high again as we heard about parking struggles. Unfortunately, the overflow car park in Stakers Lane was locked and sadly, will be for the foreseeable future. However, please note that there is a large car park for Dinosaur Island, which is on Mill Straight and we strongly recommend that you park here, or on the road leading to Lennox Wood Business Park. Both have paths leading down to the Country Park that are no further than 5 minutes’ walk from the café. Therefore, please plan your journeys and car share, walk, jog, or cycle if at all possible.

The weather was perfect, but as we made our way up to the start, there was some confusion as to where the ‘starting tree’ was, but we got there eventually and I finally had the pleasure of setting you on your way. I walked back with the timekeepers and Tailwalker and was really surprised to see our front runner return to the Downs Link, just as we had reached the end. We were obviously walking very slowly…….or was it that he was really fast?

There has been a lot of feedback on our post and Krystal’s family clearly would agree that we want everyone to continue to strive to achieve your own Personal Bests (PB), whilst remaining mindful of all other parkrunners and members of the public. We could all learn a lot from their values and strength. We are all equal and have as much right as each other, to feel comfortable and confident whilst partaking in parkrun, whether your PB is 15 minutes or 65 minutes. We know that 99% of our parkrunners are supportive and encouraging of others, even our faster runners, including our parkrun record holder and we thank you all for continuing in this vein.

When we thought numbers were high, we still couldn’t have imagined how high……a new Southwater record of 467!!  32 of you ran with us for the first time today, 18 of whom took part in their very first parkrun. Congratulations, welcome and we look forward to seeing you again. Amazingly, 46 of you recorded PBs, including Krystal, and we hope you all continue to strive to be the best that you can!

THANK  YOU also to our wonderful band of Hi-Vis heroes, who allow us all to enjoy a weekly fix of parkrun fun!

Claire and team

 

The New Year parkrun after the New Year parkrun!

As the title suggests, this week was the first “proper” parkrun after the New Year special and it was great to see so many hands shoot up when I asked if this was the first ever time you’d been. You are all very welcome and if you’ve made a bet with your mates or a promise to your partner or even a New Year’s resolution that you will get fit and healthy this year, you’ve taken the first and biggest step towards and healthier lifestyle! But don’t take my word for it, have a look at the parkrun website, blogs and even the national media and you’ll see that there is mounting, real evidence that a free, weekly timed run is good for the mind, body and soul!

The weather wasn’t as severe as forecast and, with our winter course being very simple to set up, we were ready and waiting for the volunteers and runners to arrive in good time, and arrive you did! Over 400 of you took part with 31 first timers and 40 PB’s to boot. We had tourists from Dorking, Haywards Heath and France and our hi-viz heroes did us proud as usual. We also welcomed Gareth Hines to the 50 club!

A couple of things that made me chuckle; 1) How long it takes to get highly focused and slightly cold runners to walk to and form up on the start line. Perhaps we need to jog to the start as a warm up and then we can get going closer to the advertised 9am start time? 2) Watching perhaps the first ever handbag to complete two laps of the lake while attached to its owner’s wrist. If only handbags could have a barcode, we could set up a whole new group on Strava!

Anyway, Happy New Year and we look forward to seeing you again this weekend.

Paul and the team

 

The most stressful 30 minutes of my (parkrun) life………Happy New Year!

I am sure you have all heard the quote “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times” well this New Year’s day parkrun was definitely “A Tale of two Cities”. What ended up as the worst of times as the title of this report states, certainly ended up being a fantastic day at our temporary home of Southwater Country Park. It had all started so well…….. With a lie in due to our late 10.30am start! The course at Southwater is very easy to set up so we were ready for the arrival of our runners in plenty of time, but that was when the fun started……..

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I had been a bit uneasy in the preceding days about this event, the size of the park and the amount of people taking advantage of upping their run count by 2 on one day was, I felt, a recipe for potential incidents with the general public and also for complaints from the council who kindly let us use the park free of charge every week.

So just after 10 the cars started arriving and boy was there a lot of you, car parks full and queues building as we approached the start time I was still out on car park duty directing traffic! Thanks to my fab Volunteer Coordinator Claire, marshals were deployed to free me up and also to stop any unauthorised parking.

Karen had given the first timers/tourists briefing and when I asked her about tourists to add to my run briefing, guess where most were from? Erm………….Tilgate?! Not far to come but you were very welcome all the same.

The run briefing was as short as I could make it but we had to award our “Runner of the month” trophy and I was delighted to give it to our Core Team member Roger Johnson who on top of delivering a fabulous Christmas Day event complete with sweets, mince pies and mulled wine (bacon sandwiches for the volunteers?!!!!) kept Horsham parkrun run ticking over during Christmas while others were away. Well done Rog, you’re a star!

We finally got started about 10.40am and after the initial burst of 453 of you engulfing the Downs Link the field spread out and no incidents occurred. The day completely turned round after that with so many lovely runners thanking us for putting on the event and all the volunteers, including a few extras who jumped in at the last minute, doing a fantastic job of keeping runners and public happy. A huge massive thank you to all our hi viz heros.

The café did not know what hit them after the run but I think they were happy as we all drifted away to contemplate, for many, the impending return to work.

The good news is that its only 3 days till parkrunday!

It has been an amazing period for parkrun all over the UK with massive numbers turning out, especially on Christmas and New Year’s day and with the impending new year’s resolutions I feel we are about to enter another huge spurt in parkrun growth.

Here’s to another amazing year............. Horsham parkrun rocks!

Phil and Team

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