An amazing day for parkrun, locally and nationally, with 150 different events recording record attendances. The day began for me, helping out at Whinlatter parkrun’s 9:00am start. It was busy - out of all proportion to Whinlatter’s usual standards, with runners arriving in a constant stream. The run brief was crowded, and as soon as runners began arriving it was obvious that we were dealing with a big one. New Year’s Resolutions, and fantastic lake district weather, perhaps?
I continued to help out around the finish area, managing the funnel, and then bar code scanning as things got very busy. I left as they were giving out tokens in the 250s. For Whinlatter, this is a huge new attendance record. I couldn’t help noticing another stream of runners and cars all heading down the hill towards Keswick, possibly for the 10:30 start of Keswick parkrun.
I arrived at the start of Keswick parkrun at 10:00 where our volunteer team had already set up bunting, banners, flags and a cake stall. Shelley was selling coffee as fast as she could serve it from her Bean on the Fell van and the whole start area was very, very crowded.
The atmosphere was fantastic as I wished the crowd of runners a happy new year and the run got under way in bright sunshine, with at least 160 runners having come down from Whinlatter to complete a once-a-year parkrun double, and many others having come from Carlisle to do the same.
I knew this was going to be a big event, in fact, we had combined with Whinlatter and Carlisle to make it so, but this looked huge. I had a big volunteer roster, but this one looked like it was going to test us out. We are also only equipped with 400 finish tokens. Our largest ever attendance of 307 meant we should have been covered, but we had prepared to give out post it notes, and even write finish positions on runners’ hands, should we go past 400.
The first runners arrived, with Carl Bell coming second to Luke Bowen, having just finished first at Whinlatter. Bertie Houghton of Doncaster AC was third. Warrington’s Jenny Evans, DH Runners’ Anni Stumpf, and Keswick AC’s Jenn Mattinson made up the first three ladies.
And they kept coming! We were into the busiest part of a normal parkrun after a few minutes, and it took no time at all to pass our previous attendance record of 307. In fact, that period felt nearly as busy as the middle of a standard run. We gave out the last official finish token at 400, with extra volunteers being drawn in from everywhere to help man the finish area, as we wrote finish positions on post-it notes. In fact, rather than feeling like a crisis, it was hugely positive as everyone came together to make the event we love function something near normally. People’s capacity to help each other for nothing and work together as a team always impresses me, and in that sense, this was our best day yet. I wouldn’t plan for it, though! Our stop watch holds 500 times, so as runners continued to come in past 480, we set up a back up timer to record the last few. It was with a sigh of relief that we pressed the lap timer for the 500th time as the tail walker came though.
I spent a little time with other runners enjoying the cakes that Mike and Maureen, two of our regular runners and volunteers, had provided, but I really wanted to get back to see if we could process the results. Every runner after the 400th had to be entered into the results by manually typing in names, a process which is normally complete in five minutes took around two and a half hours. My wife and I were number blind, but still on good terms by the end. Thank you Peggy!
I followed this up today by dealing with the influx of enquiries. I think we manually entered something in the region of 180 times by the end. Our first event was attended by 113 runners, for the record!
Social media was alive for the following few hours, with many event directors discussing what they would be sitting down to drink at the end of a landmark day for parkrun.
Thank to you all the volunteers. Thank you to the volunteers who had planned to volunteer. Thank you to the runners who volunteered - by sitting on the cold concrete and sorting tokens, or the visitors from Edinburgh who suddenly became the results team, or the runners who went to get extra pens and paper. I could go on. Well done to everyone who ran one parkrun, two parkrun, or those who just got involved somehow. 2019 should be a great year for parkrun and the friendship and camaraderie we find here should serve us well.
I’ll say it again. 500!?
This week 500 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 161 were first timers and 55 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 90 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 19 volunteers:
Barry DAVIE • Julie GRAHAM • Pete SCOLLS • Andrew SELBY • Claire SELBY • Adam CAMPION • Peggy CAMPION • Paul TITLEY • George SELBY • Benita LAPTHORN • Kathryn CLARKE • Nicola EDWARDS • Kevin ROBINSON • Aisling BOLGER • Tom CHAPMAN • Duncan BOOTH • Daniel CROOKS • Megan EDWARDS • Evie ROLLS
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Keswick parkrun Results Page.
The male record is held by Sam STEVENS who recorded a time of 15:29 on 27th August 2016 (event number 117).
The female record is held by Hayley CARRUTHERS who recorded a time of 17:22 on 1st September 2018 (event number 221).
The Age Grade course record is held by Janet KENYON who recorded 89.24% (20:17) on 25th July 2015 (event number 69).
Keswick parkrun started on 5th April 2014. Since then 10,778 participants have completed 34,079 parkruns covering a total distance of 170,395 km, including 5,312 new Personal Bests. A total of 352 individuals have volunteered 2,549 times.