Every Saturday, I feel so incredibly blessed for the parkrun love that is so prevalent amongst everyone that takes part - regulars, visitors, volunteers and supporters! There are many, many reasons that people get involved with parkrun and often exercise is quite low down the list! As with any large event, it wouldn't happen without a huge amount of support behind the scenes. So for our last run report before Christmas, I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to some of the many, many stalwarts who are so instrumental to our event happening every week. This list is by no means exhaustive and if I were to thank everyone who has played an important part, I would still be typing away in 2019 so please forgive me if you don't get a personal mention! Anyway, here goes:
Pebbles on the course are our particular nemesis. What you may not realise when you turn up to run on a Saturday morning, particularly throughout the winter months, is that two particular individuals have spent many, many hours that week sweeping stones off the course just so we can hold our weekly parkrun. We sometimes supplement this when it is particularly bad with Friday night sweeping parties (followed by a trip to the pub) and huge thanks to GoodGym Brighton who hold regular sweeping parties (as they did this week - thanks guys), but our Glenn and David are out there day after day, week after week, holding the pebbles at bay; we would have had to cancel so many times if it wasn't for the back-breaking work that they do for us. Guys - from the absolute bottom of my heart, thank you!
This year, we have found that parkrun angels truly exist! We have a great team of Run Directors who populate the roster, look after the event on the day and process the results. But the bit that most people don't see is the many hours that go in to creating the run reports such as the one you are reading now. A huge thank you to Michelle who, this year, has become our roving reporter and taken this particular task over on a regular basis - what an absolute joy! Thank you for the many, many hours of weekend that you have given back to us and for the fabulous reports that you write!!! Guys - please "like" these run reports when we post them on our Facebook page and comment on them regularly - it makes it all worthwhile when we know that you get pleasure out of reading them!
We have many regular volunteers and I couldn't possibly name everyone who unfailing put their hands up when we "shout out" for volunteers. However, I am going to take this opportunity to name just a couple who have donned the hi-viz of glory regularly over the past year.
Jeff of "Jeff's Junction" fame was cajoled into volunteering at parkrun after he retired by his son Ryan; and now Jeff is there every week, come rain or shine cheering runners along at the west cones. Thanks so much Jeff!
We're not supposed to have favourites but who could fail to adore the fabulous Archie of "Archie's Ace Place" fame. Archie is volunteering as part of his Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award and is found every week jumping up and down and whooping loudly even in the worst of weathers to cheer runners on down at the East Cones with his mum, Lynne. Go Archie! You rock!!
Filling the volunteer roster every week can be a very stressful experience, particularly when we get to Thursday night and there are still loads of gaps. But we know that every week, Team Bennett have our back! Karen is a constant at the end of the beach huts and most of us have used Pete's wonderful photos (with publishing tech provided by Carl) as their Facebook profile pic as some stage. Thanks so much guys - you're amazing!
People's parkrun experiences are often shaped by the support that they get out on the course. We have so many regular, and hugely enthusiastic volunteers and today, I am going to give a particular shout out to three lovely peeps: our lovely Julie, Jackie and Anthony - whose names appear on the roster week after week and who I can always hear cheering hard encouraging everyone on. You guys are totes fab!
Also to Alison who embarked on a project of support to encourage newbies and also to train up pacers in the 30+ minute section. You have made a huge difference to so many people - thank you so much!
Volunteering is a key component of the Duke of Edinburgh Award schemes and we are very lucky to have lots of Bronze, Silver and Gold DofE'ers who have done their volunteering with us at the prom. It has been an absolute joy to see how they grow in confidence and step up over the weeks that they are with us. Congratulations - you are an absolute credit to your generation and you have been a huge help to us at the prom!
This list wouldn't be complete without a thank you to Cass and Dennis. Cass has been with us since day one, driving over from Tunbridge Wells to set up the finish funnel then more often than not, pacing and sorting out the finish tokens afterwards, not to mention showering us with gifts and many acts of kindness. There are so many DIY tasks that we always need doing especially with the beach hut, and we always know that Cass is the man to turn to! We pay tribute to Cass's son Jordan, a regular at the prom, who was tragically taken too soon but leaves a lasting legacy with us. Huge thank you Cass for your unfaltering support of parkrun - not only at the prom but around the world.
A huge parkrun thank you to Richard, Oly, Perry, JC and all the wonderful team at the Lawns Cafe - who not only provide us with tea, coffee and lots of yummies every week, but also let us use their beach hut for storage; goodness only know what we would do without that!!
With every team, there is an infrastructure of support that sits behind the scenes to help us. A big thank you to our ambassador Val who has provided many a sanity check (!) as well as to Brockles, who is not only on our core team but also is the South East Regional Ambassador. And to our amazing HQ team - especially Helen Hood and Jo Sinton-Hewitt, who have our backs every step of the way.
And so to the absolute unsung heroes who make it all happen and without whom, our parkrun just wouldn't exist...the Hove Prom Core Team! We have the most amazing team of Volunteer Coordinators and Run Directors who selflessly give their time, week after week, with huge amounts of humour and support, to fill the roster, brief volunteers clear up the beach hut and generally make sure everything runs completely smoothly on the day. You guys are completely and utterly amazing and I feel so privileged to work alongside you to make this amazing event happen. Thank you thank you thank you - a thousand time - THANK YOU!!!!!
At this point, I become quite tearful to mention the ultimate icon of Hove Prom parkrun who has not only been an utter stalwart, but a complete inspiration to all of us: my fellow Co-Event Director Georgia! As many of you will know, Georgia was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year and has been going through chemo - with her last session scheduled for this coming week. Georgia - you are one in a million! You have faced this challenge that life has thrown at you with absolute grace and tenacity. You have raised over £1k for Macmillian and you have opened a conversation about cancer that has given confidence to so many to engage with. I am so proud to stand alongside you at the prom and to call you a friend. You truly are the embodiment of "AMAZING"!
To our amazing walkers, joggers and runners who make this the fabulous event that it is every week. Fast or slow, old or young, small or large - we love the special community that together, we all create. It is amazingly inspirational to watch the speediest amongst us flying past. And we are equally inspired by those at the back end of the field, some of whom are perhaps taking their early steps into fitness.
The biggest myth in parkrun is that you need to get fit before you come down and join in the fun. Most people can manage 5k - and walking speed is completely welcomed. In fact, not only do we have a Tail Walker every week whose job it is to come last, but we also have both a Walking Pacer and a Jog/Walk Pacer to help you on your way. You don't need to do a Couch to 5k course before you start. Sign up, print off your barcode and come on down. Please spread the word to your family and friends and bring them along to join in the fun. Nervous beginners are warmly encouraged but for those who might need a a bit more TLC, point them in the direction of our "Walkers at Hove Prom parkrun" Facebook Group where we provide a safe space to share experiences, ask questions and arrange to meet others at the prom.
Some of our highlights this year have been working with the teams from our new sister parkruns at Lancing and East Brighton. Welcome to the parkrun family! We truly are a city of parkruns!
So this is a great time to remind you about the extra parkruns taking place over the festive period. Christmas Day in Preston Park (note: parking charges apply) at 9.00am, next Saturday 29th as normal on the prom then a New Year's Day Double - 9.00am at Hove Prom followed by 10.30 at Hove Park. We are still looking for volunteers so give us a shout - either by commenting on our Facebook page or by dropping us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help. There are opportunities for speedy runners to do a role after their run.
A quick round-up of this week: 230 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 32 were first timers and 35 recorded new Personal Bests.
A big thank you to all today's volunteers:
Cheryl COSTELLO • Simon BELSER • Adam WALTER • Stephen SCOTT • Clare RYAN • Lynne SWAISLAND • Archie SWAISLAND • Thomas IRELAND • Julie RAINEY • Kathryn MARTIN • Rachel DYSON • Claire NELMAN • Jenny PREECE • Stephen PAYNE • Edward LANDAUER • Jan HERITAGE • David MARTIN • Luke CARTER • Antony BRADLEY • Mark DYSON • Jane TEW • Carl BENNETT • Anna TINLEY • Caroline SHARP • Jeff JOHNSTONE • Peter BENNETT • Karen BENNETT • Stuart BRUMHILL
Congrats to Steffen Conn, Holly Hatfield, Conner Rowson and Chad Burge doing their first ever parkrun. Welcome to the parkrun family guys.
Huge welcome to all our visitors from near and far and well done to Jack Silbertston who achieved his junior 10 milestone this morning - new t-shirt awaiting for you to add to the collection!
Here are the photos from today's parkrun - big thanks to Pete and Carl from Team Bennett.
May I take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a peaceful and healthy festive period. We look forward to seeing you after Christmas; here's to many parkrun adventures in the New Year.
All the very best