It's Love Parks Week!
(it started in a park)
Keep Britain Tidy, are encouraging everyone to visit their local park or green space this week and celebrate all the amazing things that ‘started in a park’. Their website tells us that most people have fantastic memories that started in a park – whether it’s flying a kite with granddad, time spent with friends, teaching our children to cycle, or a hundred and one other things. They say that “Parks, bring people together”.
I think that we can add parkrun to the list. It's probably the most amazing thing that started in a park and it certainly brings people together.
People have been coming together in Hull's East Park at 9 o'clock on Saturday mornings since April 2010. David Walmsley first showed up soon afterwards, on 26th June, this week was his 384th appearance, which together with 16 runs elsewhere gives him 400 parkruns. He is only the fourth parkrunner from Hull to pass this landmark, a fine achievement. Pam Gladwin, reached 300 runs, 287 of them in East Park, dating back to September 2012. The distinctive green T-shirt for 250 runs goes to Paul Ream. Paul first ran in March 2013 and soon began to reduce his times, becoming our most improved parkrunner for 2014. Yvonne Ward recorded her 50th run, with 48 of them in East Park, since June 2016. It has taken David Anderson a little while longer to reach the 50 run mark, he began in July 2010, running exclusively in East Park. Octogenarian Ben Moody is one of the 22 people who began their parkrun journeys this week. Remember that the second run is probably the hardest and that you will always be very welcome.
Not only is East Park a Saturday meeting place for local parkrunners, but a destination for a welcome band of visiting tourists.
At least three of them marked their visits by recording “best anywhere times”. Gaynor Kitchen usually runs at Sewerby, 30:26 is her best by 49 seconds. Paul Thompson from Halifax, beat his previous best by 47 seconds. It was a massive reduction of 1:21 for Daniel Campion from York.
Leigh Martin's home run is Cannon Hill, Birmingham, he has also run at Hega in Stockholm. Daniel Whatmough runs at Heaton, north of Manchester. Charlotte Cait made her first parkrun at Peacehaven, near Newhaven last week, 133 of Tim Fox's 151 runs are made in Scunthorpe. Andrea Thompson comes from Goole and John Ward raced in from Pontefract. Richard Palmer has made 159 of his 162 runs at the spirtual home of parkrun in Bushy. This was his second visit to East Park. Barbara Lewandowski of Ealing Eagles, has 169 parkruns to her name, 101 in Bedford and 62 at Gunnersby in Ealing. (I know where Gunnersby parkrun is, because I've run there).
Ealing Eagles, what a great name for a running club! Noticed that Lee Murrell is a member of Lonely Goat, hope he is happy running with the masses on Saturdays. This prompted a quick search for more evocative club titles. Two members of 100% me have totally completed 5 Hull parkruns. Then there have been Dashers from both Darwin and Datchet. A further two runners have represented Massey Ferguson RC. Do you remember when most large companies had their own sports clubs? Fenner's Flyers springs to mind alongside several others, but I would really like to join Friends that Run.Altogether 522 different running clubs / organisations have joined in Hull parkrun. Unsurprisingly East Hull Harriers lead the way with 268 members completing 19,384 runs. Rather surprisingly, Fit Mums and Friends are next in line with, 250 members having run 4,931 times.
The impact of regular exercise on improving health and fitness is well documented, non more so than in the parkrun results page where some remarkable improvements in 5K times are recorded. Susan Chapman only began parkrunning on 9th June, her 5 runs have seen her time reduce 6 mins 17 secs. Sean Winship has achieved 10 PBs in 18 runs, this week's reduction of 14 seconds made it 6 mins 13 secs overall. Erika and Mark Spight both made their first runs on 5th May. Erika's time is now 6 mins 56 secs faster, whilst Mark is 8 mins 1 sec quicker, with a massive improvement of 1 min 29 secs this week. Junior parkrunners George Morris and Teo Ema, both recorded their best times. George 40 secs quicker at 30;32 and Teo a considerable 1 min 20 secs to the better at 22:08. Sharon Chen has managed 7 PBs in 14 runs, the latest by 14 seconds, down to 26:56. It took Mike Lockwood over a year to improve his parkrun time, then like the proverbial bus, 4 PBs came along in his last 5 runs. This week's improvement of 12 seconds gave a new best of 21:03. Perseverance paid off!. Mark Wannan made his first run back in July 2011, his last PB was in August 2013. Celebrations this week due to a precious 2 second decrease down to 23:39. Andrew Conlon's PB of 28:49 represented an improvement of 7 seconds, his best in just over a year. Katie Wright recorded dead on 24 minutes her best by a hard earned 1 min 14 secs.
Special congratulations are due to wheelchair athlete Georgina Lord, who reduced her time by 1 min 13 secs to 18:34, the best ever recorded in East Park by a wheelchair user.
Just for the record, 515 parkruns took place in the UK with 117928 runners in attendance, supported by 10493 volunteers. Just one new parkrun was added to the list, Dinton Pastures near Reading. 166 turned up, but tourists outnumbered beginners by the tune of 161 to 5.