This week a fabulous 293 people ran, jogged and walked the course (and tackled the ‘mound of opportunity’ 4 times!) at Luton Wardown parkrun on a colder than expected Easter weekend. Well done you to all!
Another great turnout on the morning.
I was asked to write the run report this week by one of the Run Directors as I am running my first marathon in London on the 22nd April 2018 to raise funds for Cancer Research UK, and I’d thought I’d say a little about parkrun and the boost it has given me to my running journey!
I had previously dabbled with running with a couple of charity 5K runs in London in 2006 and 2008, both which ended up in much discomfort as I weighed 5 stone more than I do now and didn’t commit to any regular training. Coupled with a negative running experience with a running club outside of town which didn’t cater for beginners at all, I had totally lost my confidence with running and it fell by the wayside.
Fast forward to 2016, 5 stone lighter, and I had started to run 5k’s on the treadmill in the gym. I really wanted to go outside to run, but lacked the confidence and motivation to do so. Someone mentioned parkrun to me, so I liked the Luton Wardown page on Facebook and watched all of the updates and posts months before I plucked up the courage to go. I finally gathered the courage to come to Luton Wardown parkrun on the 27th May 2016 on a blustery and showery spring morning. I remember walking over the bridge to the boathouse, following all the other runners and walkers, and feeling really nervous, but as soon as I introduced myself and was directed to the new runners briefing I was made to feel really welcome. One parkrun later I was hooked, and it became my new Saturday morning habit! I soon encouraged my sister, brother in law and nephews to come along too and by June we were all taking part each week and loving it – I’m also really proud of their achievements.
Getting to the top of 'The Mound of Opportunity'
What I love about parkrun is the sense of community, that everyone is welcome regardless of if you want to sprint round, run, walk, Jeff or just have fun and be active. I’ve taken part in parkrun 38 times now in all weathers, 34 of these at Luton Wardown, once at Milton Keynes (up the famous zig zags) but have also taken part in parkruns on holiday in Poole and on New Years Day in Houghton Hall, and on Christmas Day on Stevenage. I hate mornings, so it is a real testament to parkrun that I get up early on a Saturday morning to take part, and on bank holidays too – that’s how much I love it! I’ve also volunteered 21 times, and help most weeks set up at Luton Wardown, but have also tail walked and marshalled and love encouraging others on.
Thanks to a pacer week I finally made my long awaited goal of running a 5k in under 30 minutes in December 2016 (thanks Kim for pacing) and motivated by other parkrunners I have joined Stopsley Striders running club which I would never done without the encouragement. I have made some great friends and I have also discovered the joy of post run cakes at Leeroy’s café in the Cricket Club each week!
Buoyed by the enthusiasm and sprit of parkrun I entered the ballot for the Virgin London Marathon on a complete whim, and was beyond shocked when I received a letter telling me I had a ballot place in October 2017. I realise I am extremely lucky to have the ballot place on my first attempt for the London Marathon and decided to run the marathon for charity so some good could come from my efforts and choose Cancer Research UK. I have been training since January and parkrun has often been the start of my weekend long runs and has given me a smile to take with me for the rest of my long run – although I am looking forward to coming back to the café after the marathon is done and enjoying cake. If anyone would like to sponsor me my link is here.
There are also many other fellow parkrunners running marathons this spring, some of which are for charity – please do consider giving them your support (some of them have fundraising activities in the Cricket Club afterwards) or a good luck wish!
So, enough about me, and onto your amazing achievements!
Of the 293 people who ran, jogged or walked the course 27 were first timers, 16 of whom joined parkrun for the very first time, and 40 who recorded new personal bests. A massive congratulations to those with a new PB (I hope you treated yourself to some cake afterwards) and a very warm welcome to the first timers – I hope this is the start of a new Saturday morning habit for you too. The famed ‘mound of opportunity’ or slope which we get to enjoy 4 times each Saturday was not too slippy this week, Spring is on its way!
There were three milestones to celebrate; many congratulations Krisztina Czirbesz and Neil Wootten for joining the 50 club, and many congratulations to my own sister Jennifer Avis who joined the 25 volunteer club!
This week was a chase the pacer week, well done to all the pacers who made PB’s possible for their fellow parkrunners and the other volunteers (of which there were 39 in total) who made parkrun at Luton Wardown possible this week. A massive high five to our high viz heroes.
Kate pacing with her usual 'there's a camera' face. Editor's Note - she obviously didn't write this comment.
There were lots of bunny ears out on the course this week, "Guess the jelly beans in a jar" at the Cricket Club (also running next week) and a multi-coloured tutu, outfit and hair worn by Thomas Darby (which was the inspiration for the title of this run report) who ran a cake sale in the Cricket Club afterwards to fundraise for HemiHelp who he is running the London Marathon for. You can find out more about at Thomas’s fundrasising page here.
Thom in his finest regalia
Until next week, for more parkrun fun!
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
14th April - our 3rd birthday! Mad Hatter's theme followed by cake in the Cricket Club
28th April - Chase the Pacer