Little Stoke parkrun are pleased to announce Meryl Grimshaw as our Sweatshop Monthly Prize winner for November 2013. Meryl has run Little Stoke parkrun 14 times (always with a smile) and volunteered 6 times. In that time she has run 7 PB's and has dropped her time by a massive 22 minutes and 17 seconds since August. Parkrun is very much a family affair for the Grimshaws and they bring great life and vitality with them to Little Stoke Park every week.
Her prize is a pair of trainers professionally fitted at any Sweatshop branch. We would like to thank Sweatshop for their generosity in making these monthly prizes available to reward the achievements of Little Stoke parkrunners.
Please read on to experience Meryl's first outing as photographer last Saturday. Pop over to http://www.parkrun.org.uk/littlestoke/photos/ to see her great photos from Saturday.
A Photographer’s Eye View
Photographer – What I actually mean is me, Meryl, no photographic training only 12 years’ experience taking photos of my children who have almost always refused to sit still! Armed with a nice new camera I pitched up at Parkrun this morning bright and early. Early enough to catch the end of Brad’s marshal’s meeting prior to the final set up of the course. I quickly realised that after years of comments “Oh no, not a camera” and “please only take my good side” my presence was very much expected and I could snap away to my heart’s content! The final corner was lined with cones using willing child volunteers, I wonder if Parkrun HQ will supply ‘mini’ marshals vests for these Parkrun veterans?
As runners and supporters started to arrive I tried to catch those early conversations of folks meeting up with friends they only see once a week early on a Saturday. Some talking about what they were planning to do for the weekend, others regretting the excesses of Christmas parties the night before, all with a determination to run the 3 and half laps around Little Stoke park with a view to blowing away the cobwebs and each chasing the ever elusive PB. Pacers were greeted by Brad with time cards to pin to the back of their shirts, nervously checking watches to make sure they could get round the course as accurately as possible.
After introductions and Race briefing delivered, Brad encouraged the runners to the start line. Snapping as many photos as possible, as the folks surged across the line and scampered along the course I tried to capture the sense of “And they’re off”. As the runners disappeared into the distance I surveyed the course to find a good spot to try and capture as many pictures of folks as possible.
I decided that I would try and keep ‘Mo’ company near Jackie’s corner capturing folks as they re-establish their rhythm along the straight after the corner and little hill. It wasn’t long before the lead runners came streaking through. I was ignored by many with a few waves and some even pulling funny faces my amateur photography apparent as I attempted to capture so many of these brief moments in time.
After I saw the tail runner come through and the lead runners pass me yet again it was time to make a move to the finish line. The lead runner was already on his final straight approaching the final corner, hearing lots of shouts of encouragement Benjamin Haines crossed the line winner of his little stoke debut. From then on I stood next to the finish sign amongst the marshals shouting to each runner “come on, you can do it” and “push to the line”. I stood with timekeeper James Bliss snapping a photo of runners just before he recorded them crossing the line. It was great to be amongst the marshals as it gave a great insight into the organisation ‘behind the scenes’ at a run. Helen stood handing out the tokens and Andrew would scurry back and forth checking that the number runner on the stopwatch correlated with the number on the chip handed out. Between the calls of numbers, the bleep of the stop watch, the bleep of the barcode scanners and my camera quietly snapping away the marshals were still calling out encouraging words to everyone crossing the line, all 169 of them!
Slowly but surely the space between runners grew until the last runners crossed the line. The tail runner appeared armed with lots of cones collected from around the course and it was time to capture the close of the event. Marshals didn’t mind being caught on camera in their high vis vests putting away the flags, stashing the scanners into the bag, storing all the chips in numerical order on the string and rolling up metres of tape. With a call of ‘See you next week’ it was time to come home and offload the camera and hope that I had managed to capture at least one decent photo!