No this wasn’t how I ended up after a Friday evening in town but more how I’d spent my week dealing with my parkrun duties. Since becoming a member of the core team, I’ve begun to understand just how much goes on behind the scenes to deliver your free, weekly timed run. Like most people, I just used to turn up and run, week in, week out. But volunteering has opened up a whole new side to me and obviously it comes with some specific tasks and projects for those who want to participate and bring their skills to the party.
Mine was to solve the problem with shifting all the kit that we have accumulated from the store to the course on a weekly basis. The old trolley had probably completed more laps of the course than most of us and recent adaptations had made it very wobbly and top heavy. So after buying a new one and creating some tasteful additions, Thunderbird 3 was ready for extensive field trials and it passed! So look out for it around the course. It might look like a mobile scud missile launcher but it does the job beautifully!
Anyway, back to the report – 437 of you lovely people arrived to a fresh but gloriously sunny park today and we welcomed 33 first timers and many tourists from Hackney Marshes, Billingham, Ealing, Devizes, Germany and South Australia to name but a few. A contingent from TG Lage (Horsham Joggers twinned club) joined us from Germany and all seemed to have a great time.
So with everyone observing the parkrun rule of listening to the run briefing this week (perhaps thanks to ED Phil’s polite reminder on Facebook during the week?) we were able to form up on the line just after 9am and with a slight pause to let pedestrians make their way off the pavement beside the pond (instead of becoming like rabbits in car headlights!) we were off and all was good. Until that is we had a minor medical issue and reports of cars on the course setting up for tomorrow’s Americana event! The first one isn’t uncommon and was resolved fairly quickly but the 2nd is a first for me, both as a runner and a race director. Anyway, there was no harm done and everyone made it to the finish.
So now for the random stats bit – 97 of you got new PB’s today. It was our 215th Horsham parkrun and our 215th runner across the line was Trevor Scott in a fabulous time of 28:48, so just 48 seconds off his PB! Trevor has completed 88 parkruns with 85 of those being here at Horsham. Today’s date is 30/09/18 and the person coming closest to 30:09 was Daniella Pereira in 30:10 so just 18 seconds off her PB. She was one of 194 ladies to complete our course today vs 243 men. That’s approx a 45% vs 55% split between female and male.
Special mention goes to our sole milestoner, Stuart Cook who ran his 50th parkrun today with 49 of those at Horsham! Also to the hi-viz heroes without whom we couldn’t do this week in week out. Please remember to volunteer if you have the opportunity. Who knows, you might end up trollied!
Paul and the team
500 of you turned up to run and walk our scenic 3 lap, 5k route (slightly amended to help the reseeded area get back to its grassy state).
We said hello for the first time to 29 newbies to parkrun. We hope you will join us again next week!
We also welcomed 12 new tourists to Horsham and you came from far and wide. Cambridge New Zealand, Singapore, Suffolk, Banstead and Haywards Heath!
Congratulations to Niamh Donnelly and Stacey East who both completed their 50th parkruns. A great achievement.
So back to the pacers. Thank you very much to Matthew Anstee Brown (22 mins), Jason Walker (25 mins), Harry Wilcox (28 mins), Tracy Jones (30 mins), Miranda Huisman and Rylee Rothe (32 mins) and Gary Holder (35 mins) who helped others to either achieve a pb or improve their running times.
Whether you were following a pacer or just aiming for a new time a whopping 111 of you got a personal best. Definitely a reason to celebrate!
A big thank you as always to our hi-vis heroes we literally couldn’t run this each week without your support.
We look forward to seeing you all soon and one day I will get you to do a warm up
“Phew…..I’m glad that is over”, was my overriding feeling once I’d given my first run briefing. A huge thank you all, for your patience and silence throughout and for your wonderful support of both Melody, our profoundly deaf parkrun BSL (British Sign Language) signer, and myself. ‘Run Director’ was the one volunteering role I had managed to avoid for four years, but as everyone had told me, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be and it was a real joy to set you all off on your way.
I feel privileged to now be one of 8 core team members and am excited for the future of Horsham parkrun as it continues to provide the community of Horsham with a weekly fix of friendly fun and exercise in our beautiful park. I really can’t think of a better way to start the weekend and it appears that 506 of you felt the same way this SaturdayJ. Out of those 506, 21 of you were at your very first parkrun. Welcome and we really hope you had fun, making new friends along the way and that we see you all again very soon. We also had 19 tourists, visiting from as close as Tilgate in Crawley, to as far afield as Slough and Lincolnshire. We hope you felt welcome and enjoyed the course. The most amazing stat for me this past Saturday was that a massive 93 of you recorded PBs……CONGRATULATIONS!
Now, in a change to the usual, I’m not going to state who came first, second or third, as I’m sure you’re all well able to look at the results and read that for yourselves. But, why the change? Well, at one of our first new core team meetings a few weeks ago, one of our other new Core Team members, Paul Aylett, asked “If parkrun is for everyone and is not a competitive race, why do we always report on who was 1st, 2nd and 3rd? Surely this is irrelevant?” This really got me thinking. Why do we report who was 1st, 2nd and 3rd, when we can all look at the results and see for ourselves? Everyone who comes along and completes the 5k parkrun course, no matter what time, is a winner and comes first in their own individual challenge. None of us can truly know what challenge each of us faces on any given day, be it physical, mental, or both. We are all winners, every Saturday morning we turn up, so congratulations all of you for coming first and thank you Paul Aylett, for taking the blinkers off!! This also applies to each and every volunteer who shows up each week, without whom, we would not have our weekly fix of fun in the park, with a special thank you to Lesley Gregory, who volunteered for her 25th time on Saturday. Please do let us know if you are volunteering for your 25th time, so we can acknowledge this, as it’s difficult to find this out ourselves.
Moving forward, I would like to suggest that we share and recognise those who have more challenges than most, to get through each day and to whom parkrun has helped. So if you, or someone you know, have found that parkrun has helped you to overcome or move forward from a challenge beyond the normal, please do let us know. This week, I would like to highlight Melody Pilgrim, as someone who has had to “shout to be heard” (metaphorically speaking), throughout her life, which is bizarre, when you consider she has been profoundly deaf her whole life. Just imagine turning up at your first parkrun, not knowing anyone, or anything other than a brief narrative on a website, and finding that no one spoke, but instead, communicated via lots of hand gestures to each other. How difficult would it be to find out what to do and where to go? How would you feel? I for one, I find that scenario quite daunting. Melody has to do this all the time, if she is to engage with her local community and contribute to society. You will have seen Melody and been aware that we are trying to spread deaf awareness, with her support. So I would like to say a huge thank you to Melody for her strength and bravery and thank all of you for embracing her efforts, as I see you thanking her in sign language.
parkrun has changed my life considerably for the better, as it has hundreds of thousands of others, with amazing stories to be told. Please share yours by either e-mailing into: Horshamoffice@parkrun.com or write in our little black book that will be on the scanning tables. If not, please ask the RD on the day, who will find the book for you.
Horsham parkrun most certainly rocks!!
Claire & team.
Wow wow wow….. where did that go??!!!! It was quoted again on Saturday just like it was on the very first day, “build it and they will come” and you all have again and again and again!
We were blessed with another glorious day for our 4th birthday and over 100 of you went “naked” for our special event. There were also so many cakes! We truly have some very talented bakers as well as runners out there.
Once again i was Run Director for the day, maybe after four years its time to give someone else the honours on our special day, more on that later……
Martyn Newton and I set the course while Nara Sullivan and Claire did the finishing area and then started greeting our volunteers, taking me back as it always does to when i set that first course while former team member Raff welcomed our first band of hi viz hero's.
We had parkrun dignitaries in attendance in the shape of our Event Support Ambassador Julie Kalsi and Regional Ambassador Mark Brocklehurst and we hope they had a good day with us.
And as it was our birthday we had awards to give!
Our volunteers of the year were Ray & Gill Aylmore, with more than 100 volunteering slots between them this year, there truly was no more deserving recipients, both are always there when we needed them and without our volunteers we quite simply would not have a run.
Our Female parkrunner of the year was Jo Bull, Jo has been there since the start, she helped on event setup and marshalled at our first ever parkrun but despite having a lower A number than me has only done 29 runs! This year though she has discovered her running mojo and is storming back!
Finally, our Male parkrunner of the year was Clive Walker, an ever popular member of our community, currently rolling back the years after turning 60 and again ever ready to volunteer.
The run was great with a 2nd highest attendance of 580 with a smattering of first timers and PB’s. We had some great milestones with Fay Dawson, Ian Moore, Miranda Attwater, Elaine Marshall, Kirsty Howson, Val Purnell and Coral Kennedy all completing their 50th parkrun and James Munden (on his birthday!), Neil Clarke, Andrea Brackenbury and Susie Millbank all completed their 100th! We also had Annabel Von Bergen and James Carter running on their wedding day!
So to the future, our 5th year and beyond…… One event I am very excited about in the coming year occurs on the 14th May. This is the 5th anniversary of our test run, not an official parkrun but a very important moment in Horsham parkrun history where we obtained permission to use the park which was the first part of the jigsaw. About 40 hardy souls came over on a rainy day, some for the first time to a parkrun and some missing their “real” parkrun fix for the day, all for the cause of getting our super parkrun up and running! So in May I want to recreate this photo with as many of those runners as possible and honour them in a special way as they are our pioneers!
Also as I hinted at earlier you may see a little less of me next year (ok don’t all cheer at once…!) we have been putting together a new team and I am confident that Simon Perkins, Lorraine Bulbeck, Paul Aylett, Claire Miller, Roger Johnson, Tanya keeling and Jeannie Burton are going to take Horsham parkrun new heights in the future! They have all grown up with Horsham parkrun and love it (almost!) as much as I do! I have taken on the role of Event Support Ambassador which means I will be going off to support other events. Exciting times ahead for all!
So that was it, thanks to everyone who has volunteered, ran, dressed up, helped out, bought cakes and a special mention to Tim Jones who looks after our Twitter account.
As the New Order song says we are “Here to Stay”……..
Happy parkrunning to you all for many many years to come!
Horsham parkrun rocks!
Phil and Team