New Years Day parkrun
I usually like to give it a day or two before writing up the run report. With parkrun usually falling on a Saturday, I like to enjoy the rest of the weekend with the family, watch the footy etc.
However today was a truly special day, and I’m still feeling buoyant at the end of it – enough to (at least) start writing this report while the remainder of the festive TV is on in the background. And after some new years day fun with the family, of course.
New Years Day 2019 saw event #133 take place at Linford Wood, and with it being the first day of the year, we had the honour of being first for those wishing to do ‘the double’ – completing two specially moved events in one day. Our near neighbours Milton Keynes parkrun moved back to 10.30am, to allow people the opportunity to complete Linford Wood (or several other local events) first.
Conditions were perfect first thing, with glorious sunshine meeting those that ventured outside early enough to make the journey. The volunteers gathered nice and early for check in and marshal briefing, and at first just a steady stream of people began to show up.
The Linford Wood core team had been preparing for this event for a couple of weeks. The last New Years Day event attracted our record attendance at the time, and we’d had guesses at how many we thought would attend this time round. It would not surprise you in the slightest that we all under-estimated our amazing turnout!
A new course record of 640 people turned up and made their way round! Those gathered that could hear the pre-event briefing were told of the usual rules, regulations and to look out for the Linford Wood horse. I can’t say I saw it today, but I nearly stepped in several bits of ‘evidence’ of its being there on the way around.
As you’d expect, we had a heck of a lot of tourists and first timers. Those that made themselves known at the start include people from the likes of Aylesbury, Didcot, Brentford and Grantham. A glance at the long finishers list shows club representation from places such as Abingdon, Ackworth, Bicester, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, London, Northamptonshire, Coventry, Staffordshire, Pontypridd, St Albans, Kent, Winslow, amongst many others!
The majority of our tourists made up the 144 people that joined us at Linford Wood for the first time today. There were however six people that were joined us for their first ever event! Well done to MARTIN QUILL, GEORGINA INNES, MATT JARRAD, BENJAMIN CARTY, JOHN CARTY and doing their first senior parkrun, KAYDEN QUINNELL! A day I’m sure you’ll remember for many reasons.
There are usually at least one or two official milestones in our regular number of finishers, but quite remarkably, I believe we only have one to celebrate. Well done to TIKITA PERALTA on finishing your 10th parkrun as a junior!
(It should be noted that with a record number of attendees, we’ve probably had a record amount of emails afterwards querying results. Hopefully these have all been dealt with by now, but please let us know if there is something wrong. As such, we may have missed a milestone or two)
After briefing, the masses made their way to the start, which looked quite remarkable with all those people! It looked like we were going to have our first timekeeper stampede casualty at Linford Wood! Thankfully, everyone made their way from the start safely, and the first parkrun of 2019 was underway.
There was an expectant and exciting atmosphere at the start, and that continued on the way around the course. There were a fair few more pedestrians, bike riders and dog walkers to avoid than usual I thought, but there were also a great number of runners at any point around the course. Saturday mornings usually see the course getting a bit sparse as people separate the further round they go, but there just seemed to be one long line of people all the way round.
Where this came somewhat painfully evident, however, was at the end! Something I’ve never seen before was a finish funnel that actually started before the finish line. As mentioned earlier, we had been preparing for this for a couple of weeks, but even our best estimates on turnout were beaten, and as such, our longer-than-usual funnel just couldn’t cope.
We certainly weren’t the only ones caught out by this, but hope it didn’t dampen anyone’s mood. I sincerely hope everyone made it through in good enough time to get on to their second parkrun if that was your intention.
One of the best aspects of parkrun for me is the volunteering, and it was particularly amazing witnessing just how everyone pulled together in the finish area to join in and help. I’ve never seen so many finishers join in with post-finish duties, be it additional funnel managing, barcode scanning, or just helping point people in the direction of where those barcode scanners were.
There has to be an honourable role for this week created just for the ‘cutting out finish tokens’ at the end of the funnel! We’d printed around 250 extra finish barcodes but not cut too many as we weren’t sure if they’d be needed. Thankfully an extra pair of hands (and scissors) were available to assist dishing out these tokens – unique in the sense you got to keep them if you were lucky enough to get one! There was also at least two run directors nearby nervously making sure the first aid kit wasn’t needed!
All our volunteers this week deserve a special mention this week, though. Marshals were super supportive. Arwen has taken a vast number of pictures available on the Linford Wood flickr page here - https://www.flickr.com/groups/linfordwood-parkrun/pool/. Rob arrived extra early and made sure the course was laid out and scouted for the masses to make their way around safely. And everyone in the finish area pulled together to cope with our record turnout. All expertly corralled by Barnaby. A special mention must also go to JIM, who forfeited completing the parkrun and stepped in to replace a Marshal at late notice.
Your complete list of volunteers on New Years Day were
Andrew SANGSTER • Annette SMYTH • Arwen WILCOCK • Barnaby NORMAN • Carol AUVACHE • Dorothy YEATES • Geoff NEW • Greg SCOTT • Helen BRETT • Jenny EVANS • Jim EASTMENT • Karen TURNEY • Kassia GARDNER • Kelly ROBERTS • Lorayne MACFARLANE • Matthew DICKS • Michael YEATES • Nick FAIRBROTHER • Nigel RAVILIOUS • Rachel EVANS • Rachel GAINES • Rob WATSON • Simon KINGTON • Steve BEECHEY • Steve DICKS • Thierry CHEW • Warren GOODLAKE
With a record attendance, there was a large number of fast finishers that kept the finish area setup crew on their toes!
First gentlemen finishers this week were BEN FAIRHALL in a new Linford Wood PB of 17:20. Not far behind Ben was PETE MACKRELL in a time of 17:40. Hot on Petes heels was MARK PALSER, completing a trio of PB’s with a time of 17:43.
First lady finishers this week were SOPHIE OLEJNIK in a Linford Wood PB of 21:58. SAMANTHA GRAINGER wasn’t far behind her, also beating a PB time of 22:24. Our third lady was JULIE LOXLEY with a time of 23:13.
The age grade top 3 for this event were separated by only on half a percent! MARY MCKINNEL achieved the best score of 80.26%. JOHN LOXLEY was next with a score of 79.91%, followed ever so closely by SIMON COOMBES on 79.87%
Club representation was exceptional, as one would expect. A lot of our local clubs saw a record turnout at Linford Wood, with Redway Runners leading the way with 220 participants. Other local clubs well represented include Sweatshop Running Community, Shenley Striders, MK Lakeside Runners, Milton Keynes AC, and fitmk Outdoor Gym. Some good representation from slightly further afield clubs include the likes of Bedford Run Club, Desborough & Rothwell Running Club, Leighton Buzzard AC, Silson AC, South Midlands Orienteering Club, Ware Joggers, Wellingborough & District AC and Wootton Road Runners!
We also saw FOUR age grade course records being broken, in the VM45-49, VW65-69, VM80-84, and our first ever finisher in the VM85-89 category JOHN BUTCHER! John went on to complete Milton Keynes parkrun afterwards, and more can be read about his achievements on their run report.
After what seemed like a crazy half an hour of activity in the finish area, it all of a sudden got eerily quiet. Many people set off en masse by foot to make their way to nearby Willen Lake for Milton Keynes parkrun. Even as I was driving between the two a bit later, there was a steady stream of people jogging in the same direction along the redways.
Whereas they aren’t the closest two parkrun geographically in the world, it has been confirmed that Linford Wood to Milton Keynes was the most popular double event IN THE WORLD! Out of 640 finishers, it has been calculated that at least 490 of you made the short journey to Milton Keynes straight afterwards! Additionally, just to be different, there was one person who each went to Bedford and Bicester! Well done to HAMISH GALLOWAY who did the Linford Wood & Bedford double..
I’m sure everyone will take great pride in being part of a record-breaking part of parkrun history, and one that makes me and the rest of the core team extremely honoured that so many have chosen Linford Wood to start the day. It’s also worth pointing out that in addition to this, there were several people doing a volunteer double. There aren’t too many parkrunners who can say they had a run director at one event then scan their barcode at a different event an hour later!
A lot more of the events of the day will be covered in the Milton Keynes run report, which I’ve also written, and can be found on their website here - http://www.parkrun.org.uk/miltonkeynes/news/
That’s not to say there wasn’t a heck of a lot more to take in at Linford Wood, but this is already the longest run report I’ve ever written, and has taken several days to put together. And to take everything in would be quite a task. We’ve already seen lots of tweets, facebook posts. Instagrams and otherwise from people that took part, but please get in touch via the links below to share your story – we’d love to read them.
The usual Saturday parkrun is back this weekend, and as ever we appreciate volunteer assistance to be able to stage the event. If you are interested in volunteering this or on future weekends, please take a look at our future roster page http://www.parkrun.org.uk/linfordwood/futureroster/ and consider joining in the fun.
Finally, there are some quite remarkable stats to report on:
Our new record attendance of 640 puts us into the top 64 of all attendances around the world
Between all finishers, there have been well over 50,000 parkruns completed.
More people ran ‘the double’ that had ever attended a Linford Wood parkrun before!
Several age grade records fell this week!
There were over 1550 finishers at Linford Wood and Milton Keynes parkrun combined!
Out of 640 finishers, only 12 (at the time of writing) didn’t have their barcode scanned!
Thanks again to all the finishers and volunteers that made this event happen. See you again soon!
flickr: Linford Wood parkrun flickr group