Run Report #198 – 9th February 2019 by Roger Pangbourne

 

I didn’t used to know anyone who was blind.

Or even anyone with any kind of what you would call a ‘visual impairment’.  But I still remember my first Run Director meeting when Brian (our original Event Director) raised the topic of ‘PROVE’ (parkrun; Running or Volunteering for Everyone) and whether anyone wanted to help investigate some training as a Visually Impaired (VI) Guide.

I’ve thought about it and I don’t really know why guiding a blind or visually impaired runner interested me, but it did.  Perhaps it was fascination.  Perhaps it was admiration.  Perhaps it was because I was used to pacing and this seemed something else new to try? It certainly wasn’t any thought that it could be such a rewarding activity.

Roll forward around 15 months and this weekend I was guiding for the 10th time.  In that time I’ve guided 4 different VI parkrunners, some completely blind and others with different visual impairments.  Three of these are now regulars at MH (Wiki, Vanessa and Jan) and the other was Haseeb, the blindfold ironman triathlon world record holder (thankfully he was coming back after an injury when we ran together as Haseeb is quiiiiick!).  2 of those 10 guiding experiences have been with First Timers (Haseeb and Jan) and I’ve hopefully had a hand in 4 PBs (Wiki x 2, Vanessa and Jan) – certainly more PBs than I’ve achieved on my own of late!!

Now pacing is rewarding and the thanks that those who finish just before or just after you is wonderful – all I’ve usually done is shouted at people (maybe not at them!) all the way around the course, but VI guiding is something else…

Guiding has delivered probably my most emotional parkrun experience:  I was guiding young Jan for her first parkrun experience.  Jan is in the ‘VW 65-69’ age category and following her instructions, we were fast-walking around the course.  It was our last lap and on the return from the Turnaround Trees I asked if she fancied a little jog.  We jogged for around 50 metres above the river stretch.  We returned to a walking pace before saying ‘hi’ to Austin again and Jan said to me:  “That’s the first time I’ve run … since school.”  !!!  Wow! It makes me well-up every time I tell the story.  We also jogged down the finish straight that day on our way to a time of 56:38.

Today should have been Jan’s 10th parkrun, but she had forgotten her barcode!  After a little period of illness Jan had once again given me the instruction to only walk, but this time we probably managed 6 or 7 jogs before finishing in 55:25.  A way off Jan’s current PB of 46:21, but she was delighted to still be quicker than her first outing – even if she won’t receive the run credit for today.  (#DFYB!)

Since our first VI guiding trials with blindfolded parkrunners, we have now welcomed 8 different VI runners and have a wonderful team of VI Guides.  Some have attended official training events (there’s an excellent ‘Sight Loss Awareness and Guide Running Workshop’ run by England Athletics) or we have trained many of our own local parkrunners.  Essentially once you have donned a blindfold yourself and run a few laps around Welland Park with a VI Guide, you are very well prepared to be a VI Guide yourself.  A number of our regular RDs are also trained VI guides so can answer any queries people may have and the VI Guide team is currently led by Jo Raine.

VI Guiding now, compared to my first time at MH is a wonderful thing.  Not only for all of the stuff I’ve mentioned above, but also because you wonderful parkrunners know only to overtake us on the right-hand side and it’s great when we hear a shout out of ‘passing on the right’ or something similar when you’re overtaking (we’re often too busy nattering to hear you coming otherwise!).  Market Harborough parkrun has truly embraced VI running and we thank all of you for helping make this happen.

My VI workshop was also attended by a blind runner called Netty.  She told us that she used to be casual runner and when she lost her sight, the biggest thing she missed was running.  So finding some people with whom she could run and act as VI Guides was life-changing for her.  I’d add it can not only be so rewarding for VI runners, but also for the VI Guides.

If you’re interested in joining our team of VI Guides, we’d love to hear from you – just pop us a note on Facebook, an email or come and chat to us at parkrun one day.

I now know several blind people and others who are visually impaired.  My life is warmer and fuller as a result.

 

Roger Pangbourne

 

 

Run Report #197 – 2nd February 2019 by Nicola Mirams

This run report threatened to be the shortest in parkrun history as icy weather meant a 7.30am course inspection had to take place, with the possibility of the parkrun being cancelled. Kudos to the core team who braved the cold conditions (it was 0C outside, with a ‘feels like’ temperature of -5C) to proudly declare that parkrun #197 was going ahead, in beautiful sunshine.

I headed to Welland Park early and spoke to some of the other volunteers for the first time. I am new to the area so I am slowly getting to know people. I chatted to Liz, who I had admired from afar for her cookie monster running leggings and festive trainers. She told me about an event she is taking place where participants get rewarded with chocolate depending on how far they run. Sounds like my kind of event! I also spoke to Alice – a friend of the family who I’d not seen for several years – and her guide.

I’d persuaded a friend to try the parkrun for the first time so we headed to the start line together for the usual announcements. Among the achievements this week was a gentleman volunteering for the 100th time (our very own RD - Kenny!!) – wow!!   In the first Harborough parkrun I’d run in January someone had come from Israel to take part – this time our most intrepid runner came from the wilds of Northampton!

We counted down to the start and it felt good to get moving and to start to defrost. Despite the weather and lures of a cup of tea in bed, 323 runners had turned up, with the marshals as usual providing great motivation and enthusiasm. A highlight of my lap is always a hi-five with Austin as you come back from along the river. As someone who is around the 30 minute mark, I inevitably get lapped by the faster runners.  I am giving it my all but they are something else - inspiring. During my lap two a man called Stewart ran past on his third lap – the lady in front and I encouraged him to find his second wind as he zoomed towards the finish.

I first encountered parkruns in 2013, when I ran the Braunstone parkrun three times. Six years later on the first Saturday in January I was sitting in the Commons car park just after 9am when I saw hundreds of runners – they just kept coming. I was cheering them on from the car. I knew it probably was the parkrun and then publicly said on the Facebook group I’d come the next week. I was nervous but I was so glad I did as I have been there every week since. It’s now become my priority on a Saturday. In that time I’ve gone from finishing 289th on 12 January 2019 to finishing 222nd on 2 February 2019, and I have cut my time down from 31:17 to 29:42. I’m unable to come next week and I’m already feeling sad about it.

My other target is to look happy in the parkrun photos. Currently the only parkrun photo is attached - I promise I was enjoying it more than I look! A fun fact is that in my first fun run for charity I dressed as a flamingo (it’s come out several times since then) - see second photo . Maybe it’ll grace a parkrun! Say hi if you see me.

I have also discovered that lots of Nicola’s do the Market Harborough parkrun. Having only encountered a couple in my life, there are often several on the results list and two on the core team!

The thing I love most about the parkrun aside from the friendly atmosphere is how good I feel after: on top of the world, with my mind and body nourished. What an amazing thing to have done before 9.30am on a Saturday. I don’t get this feeling running on my own so I relish every moment of it. I love reading so after the parkrun I always go to Market Harborough library, select my books for the week, and head home to read them alongside a cup of tea.

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Nicola Mirams

 

Run Report #196 – 26th January 2019 by Patricia Morris

Another great parkrun, a little warmer with no rain, ideal running conditions.

We have a three lap course winding around the perimeter/edge of Welland Park with the River Welland flowing through it. The course is challenging as it is narrow with a lot of runners, 384 this week, especially challenging for the visually impaired runners and their guides.

What’s good about parkrun is it gets reluctant runners like myself to take part. There is always fantastic encouragement from the volunteers and other runners. You don’t need to worry about being left behind or coming last as you have the support of the tail walkers.

I first heard about parkrun from my daughter Beth who started parkrun at university. She got her dad to take part in the Harborough parkrun when she come home during the holidays. I stayed at home as I was never very good at running at school.

My parkrun journey started December 2015 when Beth signed me up for Christmas day. I said I would only do the one, 104 parkruns later and I’ve definitely got the parkrun bug! I also love to volunteer and have earned my 25 volunteering shirt. You can still take part in parkrun if you cannot run, like I did while recovering from knee surgery. I helped by marshaling until I was able to walk slowly round the course.

Today, I walked parkrun, still recovering, and I came 12th in my age category, there was probably only 12 in VW 55-59, if anyone would like to check!

I have made some great friends along the way and it’s great to catch up in the cafe after parkrun. parkrun isn’t just about running, it’s the social and community atmosphere that make it feel like a family.

Many thanks and appreciation to all 38 of the core team and volunteers who made Market Harborough parkrun #196 possible this week.

Patricia Morris

 

Run Report #193 – 5th January 2019 by Roger Pangbourne

A Happy New Year to everyone and welcome to the first Run Report of 2019.

After last week’s bumper-filled stats edition, a somewhat slimmer Run Report this weekend!  But any statistician cannot ignore when a record is set, so let’s start off with that:  On Saturday, with a chill in the air, but no signs of any rain or snow, a record attendance of 415 parkrunners completed Market Harborough parkrun.

It’s nearly a full year since the previous attendance record was set:  The first weekend of 2018 didn’t quite set a record (361), but the second weekend did at 394.  This record stayed in place throughout 2018, the second and third highest attendances being in May (381) and June (378).  So 415 is a great way to start 2019 and we look forward to many similar sized attendances through the year.  Here’s a little chart of our record attendances at MH parkrun:

Attendance records

 

Starting with event number 1 (111).  After dropping to the lowest ever attendance for event 2 (92), we then had 5 record attendances in a row, growing from 118 to 179.  A month later, saw the 200 mark exceeded for the first time (203 in July 2015) and then a break until January 2016 (209).  April 2016 saw the record broken twice, once at the start of the month (227) and then on the 4thSaturday of April, MH parkrun’s first birthday (a massive 295).  The first weekend of 2017 was the next record (342), nudged up in March to 375.  Then came the above mentioned 394 in January 2018, which stayed on until this past weekend.  So the big question is:  Will 415 be our attendance record for the rest of 2019 and if not, how many weeks until this is broken again?!

Records apart, we welcomed 39 First Timers to MH parkrun this weekend, 23 of whom were completely new to parkrun.  And we congratulated 48 parkrunners achieving PBs to start 2019 in fine style.

Up front, it was a close battle between Steve TURVEY and David STAFF all the way around.  Steve kept trying to drop David, but David determinedly stuck on and then kicked on past Steve in the last km, picking up his 4th ever First Finisher at MH, this one by some 10 seconds.

First junior through the finish was Ben WOODING, 7thoverall in a cracking 19:34.  First Female Finisher was Erin BILLINGTON, setting a PB at 21:04.

Congratulations again to Anne DAWKINS for her 50 parkrun milestone – please be patient with the T-shirt order Anne! :)

Otherwise congratulations to Julie LAKE who became our record breaker yesterday in position 395 and our Tail Walkers in positions 414 and 415 – along with all the team of 37 volunteers.  We couldn’t do it without you, so thank you once again.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and week ahead and here’s an idea:  Why don’t we all do it all over again next week?!

Happy parkrunning.

 

Roger Pangbourne

 

Run Report #192 – 29th December 2018 by Roger Pangbourne

Well that was 2018 folks, another year over and new one just about to begin.  So pop the kettle on, grab something nice to nibble and huddle up for a (largely statistical!) review of 2018 at Market Harborough parkrun!

But first, it is a Run Report, so let’s hear about event number 192 from Saturday:

 

Jo was up the RD stepladder and overall a silky-smooth event ensued.  Thank you to our wonderful 34 volunteers who made the event happen.  It was a windy at first 9 degrees and the dry skies brought out 353 people to run, jog and walk the course.

We welcomed a large number of First Timers (36) – of whom 19 were tourists and 17 were completely new to parkrun (obviously feeling the effects of too much Christmas chocolate!).  We hope to see you again and again through 2019.

Despite the headwind into the Bowls Pavilion straight, 45 of you managed new PBs – congrats to you all.  Particular congratulations to the PBs from:

  • David STAFF, who knocked 5 seconds off his PB to record a fantastic 17:50 on his 114thparkrun (110that MH), but was pipped to be the first finisher by one second by Benjamin HAINES, a tourist from Burnham and Highbridge.  That must have been an exciting finish sprint!
  • Paul GRANGER, another PB after 135 parkruns (all at MH) – great to be still hitting PBs after so many parkruns!
  • Patsy WILSON and Wiki SOLLY, both of whom recorded PBs on their 50thmilestone PBs – Well done!

Otherwise on the day, up front was a good three-way tussle with David and Benjamin mentioned above and young Adam BARBER.  From what I saw Adam did much of the hard work towing the other two around for most of the 5k until wisdom took over and David and Benjamin fought in out for First Finisher.

The top 10 all finished under 20 minutes; you have to run under 25 minutes now if you want to appear in the top 100; around 29 minutes may see you into the top 200 and depending on the turnout, around 35 minutes will see you into the top 300.  Everyone completed this weekend’s parkrun in under an hour and the kit was soon stashed away, with thanks again to the volunteers who help with this essential end of event task.

In the café, much talk about the previous fabulous Christmas Day event and the forthcoming ‘New Year’s Day Double’.  Market Harborough parkrun chooses to participate in the Christmas Day event, but not the NYD event, meaning there are plenty of tourist opportunities for those wishing to try out a couple of new parkrun courses.  But we’ll hopefully see you back in the New Year on 5thJanuary for event number 193!

 

Now, what about that 2018 review?...

 

Well due to some bad weather in the first couple of months and an August Food Fair in the park, we had 2 fewer events than in 2017.

2018 RR1

 

But overall you wonderful parkrunners completed 1,200 (7.7%) more parkruns this year than last.

2018 RR2

 

There were 201 more unique parkrunners to Market Harborough in 2018 (+7.3%)

2018 RR3

 

Here is a little table showing our most frequent parkrunners through 2018:

2018 RR4 Most Frequent

 

And a fabulous 264 more total volunteers (+16.0%)

2018 RR5

 

Provided by 62 more unique volunteers through the year (+17.9%)

2018 RR6

 

We love our volunteers and thank them for helping deliver this wonderful event every week – a special ‘heart’ to all those who have volunteered on at least 10 occasions this year:

2018 RR7 Heart

 

Combining parkruns completed with volunteering credits, gives us some interesting stats on who has attended the most consecutive events in 2018.

2018 RR8 Consecutive

 

We still had plenty of PBs, although the more events parkrunners complete, the more difficult it becomes to reach out for PBs, so we did see a drop in the overall number of PBs (-7.8%):

2018 RR9

 

And here’s the roll of honour for the most PBs in 2018:

2018 RR10 PB

 

We had a few fewer First Timers in 2018 – still plenty each week to fully occupy our First Timers Briefing volunteer, but overall down 119 (-7.3%)

2018 RR11

 

All of this meant we had a great average of 334 parkrunners at each event (up 36 +12.1%), supported by an average of 38 volunteers (up 6 +18.8%):

2018 RR12

2018 RR13

 

You may be aware that parkrun HQ have a stated aim to gradually increase the average time at parkrun each year.  This isn’t as odd as it sounds.  As many PBs continue to be recorded, we also continue to reach out to the community and welcome more and more people to participate in a safe, free, weekly timed 5k walk, jog or run.  This inclusivity is great to see nationwide and Market Harborough has continued to support this trend, this year increasing our average time by 35 seconds:

2018 RR14

 

That said, there have been some great time improvements this year, take a look through this little lot! (minimum of 5 completed parkruns in 2018 to qualify for this table):

2018 RR15 Time

 

Some of our Age Grade % records have also been beaten this year – here are the top 2018 performances, shown in amber if they set a new MH record in 2018:

2018 RR16 Age

 

On our website the top 1,000 Age Grade performances are shown  (http://www.parkrun.org.uk/marketharborough/results/agegradedleague/).   To qualify for this list, you’ll currently have to achieve an Age Grade rating of around 66%.  To give you an idea, these are the approximate times for each Age Grade category you’ll have to hit to make this list:

2018 RR17 Age target

 

There is also an overall ‘Fastest 500’ list (http://www.parkrun.org.uk/marketharborough/results/fastest500/). Those quickies up front now need to beat 20:39 to appear on that list!

 

Finally on the stats report (are you still awake?!) we have had plenty of milestones achieved and announced each week at the RD briefings. It’s a little difficult to extract this data, but I reckon we have had:

  • 31 junior 10 milestones achieved (white T-shirt) – congratulations those below:

2018 RR18 jnr10

  • 137 50 milestones achieved (red T-shirt)
  • 43 100 milestones achieved (black T-shirt)
  • And 22 V25 volunteer milestones achieved (aubergine T-shirt) – congratulations to those below:

2018 RR19 V25

 

Well I think that about wraps up the statistical review of 2018.  Looking at other happenings through the year, we had:

  • Ice, a flood and a food fair leading to 3 cancellations.
  • A record turnout (394) on the second event of the year.
  • A first first finisher who was female (Chloe FINLAY in March with 18:58).
  • A new female Course Record in July (17:36).
  • A few fallers, but thankfully nothing too serious - thank you to everyone who helps out anyone who is ever in any trouble at parkrun.
  • An amazing response to our fundraising appeal – thank you again, allowing us to supplement the first aid supplies, buy radios, pacer bibs and a few other essentials that keep the wheels turning.
  • A record number of volunteers at an event in December (51).
  • We’ve had a hen do, a few parkrun romances (I won’t embarrass anyone by mentioning names), a few weddings are due in 2019 and we’ve had a few babies and returning mums.

 

What a year!  On behalf of the whole Core Team, it has been our pleasure to look after the wonderful thing that is Market Harborough parkrun.

 

Happy New Year to one and all.

 

 

Roger Pangbourne

 

Run Report #191 – 25th December 2018 by Louise Dicicco

I really look forward to parkrun every Saturday, and even more so when there is an extra run on Christmas Day.  What better way to start the festivities than to meet up in Welland Park for a run / jog / walk with your friends and like-minded people.  There was a sea of Santa Hats and other festive costumes today.  This was my third time for running at parkrun on Christmas Day, and over the last four years, the numbers attending on Christmas Day have gradually increased, while at the same time the average numbers attending each year have also increased:

 

Year Average Weekly Attendance Attendance on Christmas Day
2015 144 124
2016 210 151
2017 298 184
2018 334 325

 

LD RR pic

Today, there were 325 who joined the parkrun, supported by 26 wonderful volunteers.

 

The most popular runner's name today was Andrew / Andy (11 in total) - this brings us to our first milestone - Andrew Shrive - congratulations on completing your 50th run.  Also joining the 50 club were Becki Shiers-Clarke, Chris Burleigh, Debbie Brown and Kate Flexi.  Rekha Kamat completed her 100th parkrun and Sean McAuliffe completed his 200th parkrun.  Well done to you all.

 

There were 35 first-timers at Market Harborough parkrun today, and of those, 10 were completely new to parkrun - a perfect day to start your parkrun journey.

 

My parkrun journey started in May 2015 - I've now completed 158 at Market Harborough, and 161 in total.  If I'm not running then it's usually due to volunteering, holiday or because of illness (although thankfully that's not very often!)

 

Where will your parkrun journey take you to in 2019 and beyond?  My plan is to complete my 200th parkrun by the end of next year, complete a few more tourist runs to tick some new parkruns off the 'parkrun Alphabet', try and get the last three numbers in 'parkrun seconds bingo' - apparently it would take a runner 281 runs to ensure they have a finish time for every second, so I could be trying to complete my bingo card for a while yet!

 

Whatever your parkrun goals are, I hope you achieve them.

 

 

Louise Dicicco

 

Run Report #190 – 22nd December 2018 by Haylea Smith

Saturday morning brought some lovely running weather (if a bit damp underfoot!) and I, along with 342 like-minded people, made the weekly pilgrimage to Welland Park for parkrun.  The event was supported by 51 volunteers including 18 pacers – as ever, enormous thanks to these hi- viz heroes without whom parkrun couldn't happen.

It was fabulous to see so many people donning a hat to participate in the 'Bunnetrun' ... it gave many of us an opportunity to bring out the festive headwear!  It's hard to believe that Christmas is only a copy of days away and, as we crossed the start line on Saturday there were only 9 days of 2018 left.  This time of year always makes me reflect on the year's events, so in addition to my usual mental running commentary (I love running!  I hate running!  Why do I do this to myself?  What would I do without this?  Have I really only done one lap so far? etc. etc.)  I spent some time thinking about my parkrun 'journey'.

My first parkrun was at Harborough in July 2017.  I remember how terrified I was as I arrived. I'd had an absolute aversion to exercise my whole life and arrived at the park overweight, unfit, convinced that everyone would laugh and stare and certain that I would come last – you will never know how happy I was when I learnt about the tail walkers!  This weekend was my 52nd parkrun; I've run at 9 different parkruns across three continents including Boston USA, San Francisco and Phillip Island, Australia (that one is a little hot in January and it's where I learnt what 'undulating' means when it comes to running i.e. flippin' hilly).

Every parkrun I have attended has the same characteristics: a warm welcome, friendly non-judgemental people who don't care how big, small, fast or slow I am and an atmosphere of support and encouragement.  parkrun helped me to realise that if you put on a pair of trainers and give it a go you are 'a runner' and you don't have to wait to achieve a certain pace or distance to earn that title; that realisation gave me the confidence to go and try other events.  In the past 18 months I've participated in many 'races' including 5Ks, 10Ks and Half Marathons.  January 10th to 13th I'll be in Orlando taking part in the Dopey Challenge as part of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.  The Dopey Challenge is 5K, 10k, Half Marathon and Full Marathon run over four consecutive days – I won't be fast, and it won't be pretty but I'm really looking forward to it!

No matter where I run, coming back to Market Harborough parkrun feels like coming back home.  The routine is the same every week (including my non-runner husband always being the first customer in the café, although he's a bit gutted as when I first started he would have time for a full fry up and a second cuppa ... now it's a pain au chocolate), the familiar smiling faces, the awesome marshals (who doesn't love a high five from Austin?!) and the beautiful environment that we are fortunate enough to run in.  It's always amazing to see new people join the parkrun family and watch their journey as their confidence and fitness grows.

As well as a time for reflection on the past, it's a time to think of goals for the coming year.... my parkrun goal for 2019 is to give more back to our fantastic community by volunteering more, as so many regular volunteers are frequently giving up the opportunity to run. What's yours?

 

Haylea Smith

 

Run Report #188 – 8th December 2018 by Amanda Sawford

Apologies for the delay in getting this written; it was a busy weekend with preparations for my eldest son’s 18th birthday later this week, busking with the Scout and Guide band, Christmas shopping and 2 visits to the Market Harborough parkrun course, the second being for the Santa Run.

And the Santa Run 3 years ago is what kick-started my running career. When my sons’ Explorer Scout Leader suggested the group signed up for the run to fundraise for local charities, my son and I entered the run, and, both non-runners embarked on the Couch to 5K programme together. I say ‘together’, but there wasn’t much running side by side as very soon as I was being left for dust. On completion of the 9 week programme I did my first parkrun, followed by the Santa Run a week later and continued as a regular parkrunner. My son returned to his Saturday morning lie-ins.

Soon I was hooked on the buzz of running and of the community and camaraderie that is parkrun. Each milestone or volunteer opportunity a goal to meet a sense of satisfaction on which I thrive. Since then I am proud to say I have earned my black ‘100’ and purple ‘25’ t-shirts and am now regularly joined by my husband, 2 sons and dog Luna.

So this week I completed Market Harborough’s parkrun number 188 along with 264 other runners, run/walkers and walkers. Some of us (including myself and my son on his debut at 23 minutes) were pacers helping others towards their own goals. Some got a Personal Best. Some were just glad to make it to the end. Many other parkrun volunteers fulfilled their varied roles to enable the event to happen for us runners.

parkrun has made me fitter, friendlier and more fulfilled - what has it done for you?

Whatever your parkrun history, celebrate where you are and what you have achieved.

 

Amanda Sawford

 

Run Report #187 – 1st December 2018 by Liz Almond

Market Harborough parkrun Run Report for event 187.

By Liz Almond (one of the slower runners making you faster ones look good, you’re welcome).

Did you open your advent calendars? That bit of chocolate will give you some much needed energy. Probably helped those 53 parkrunners who got PBs. I wonder what a parkrun advent calendar would look like?

It always amazes me how many new parkrunners we get at parkrun every week who stand there at 8.45am for the briefing. If they keep coming each week it doesn't take long until they're part of the parkrun community making friends and improving their runs each week. Some brand new to parkrun and some new to Market Harborough. While they might be a little nervous at the start they're soon smiling and laughing at the end.

As we all get to the start line to listen to the parkrun Run Director, this week Nicky and join up with friends, family or simply by ourselves setting our watches and clapping to thank volunteers or cheering on milestones it's fantastic to see the sheer number of people waiting for the off. Ok not so many this time, the drizzling weather putting people off or perhaps you were Christmas shopping. We had a good number though 271 parkrunners this week.

Well done Neil Wilson, Ben Wooding and Frances Cavanagh for completing your 50th parkruns; also to Brian Reid and Amanda Sawford on your 100th parkruns. We also had 12 first timers today braving the weather.

Thank you lovely volunteers all 36 of you and a special mention to Austin who comes rain or shine and gives the best high fives. Often I hear about other parkruns who never get as many enthusiastic volunteers as we do. Some parkruns just don't happen each week. Can i just say don't just stand there, don't be shy give us all some encouragement as well as shouting "stay on the left!"

Having a bit of encouragement is what powers some of us on to the finish line, thank you to the volunteers and some of you parkrunners encouraging the slower ones too. parkrunners who finish please give those haven't finished some room while you're walking on the paths.

Remember you're never last. Even if you walk it you're still beating the person sitting on the sofa thinking they wished they'd run and trumping those who sit on the sofa with no intention of ever running. We always have a tail walker bringing up the rear, thank you to Mike and Treacle this week. Everyone is improving their health each week by running, even if it doesn't show on the outside it will be improving your health on the inside. So keep up the good work.

A lot of parkrunners with dogs and while it's great exercise for our pooches you're still not keeping them on a short enough lead. I recommend keeping on the left and letting them stay to heal on your left, they'll enjoy running on the grass so much more and there won’t be any accidents. After all you wouldn't want your dog injured or even to injure a parkrunner because your dog got in the way. A safe parkrun is what we all need each week and we have enough obstacles to tackle with non-runners enjoying the park like we are.

To all those with goals to tackle by the end of December for example those wanting to get their 250th parkrun or simply their 100th or a smaller goal of wanting to run it instead of walk it. You can do it, keep going. Celebrate how great each and everyone of you are over Christmas and New Years when you've reached your goal.

As we get to the finish line there's nothing better than a nice hot beverage and maybe a cooked breakfast at the cafe what a lovely treat after all that running. And we'll do it all again next week come rain or shine!

Just remember that bit of chocolate from the advent calendar first, might get a PB next time!

Liz Almond

 

Run Report #186 – 24th November 2018 by Stuart Beard

So it’s my turn in the report writers chair again and spoiler alert, there will be stats!

 

Let’s start by saying well done to all the runners and volunteers in the wonderful parkrun community that continue to make this a special part of every weekend. Of our 318 runners, 21 were first timers, of which 10 were parkrun virgins. 56 PBs were set. Congratulations to Graeme Rolfe who joined 29 others running in the 100 club. Maxine Mawby and Haylea Smith joined 84 runners in the 50 club and Tim Andrews who, unannounced joined the 250 club joining 2 others. A special shout out to Adam Barber who, as first finisher, broke the 18 minute barrier for the first time.

 

I have spent some time trying to fathom why parkrun is so special and the simple answer is that parkrun is just a mechanism to bring people together and it is people who are special. However, what parkrun manages to do, almost uniquely, is to offer an activity that is valued and appreciated by all tiers of the running / walking community. That parkrun draws, week in, week out, very strong athletes to compete with middle aged plodders like myself and people maybe running for the first time is an incredible achievement and it is my hypothesis that we all derive the same challenge from parkrun whether we are trying to break 20 minutes or 35 minutes. I decided to test out my theory…

 

I am very much in the middle of the running pack, a PB of 25:03 in 73 parkruns at Harborough and despite improving my time getting into the top 100 seems to be more and more difficult. In fact, my PB would have been good enough for a top 100 spot in all bar 6 of the first 2 years of MH pr. In 2018 it would only be good enough once every 3 runs. I wondered if that was applicable for other positions? Only one way to find out, mash a spreadsheet with 46598 rows of data!

 

First step was to check whether the parkrun HQ claim that the average parkrun time is increasing, I wanted to compare that with the average times for positions 100,200 and 300. In doing so I found that some people like round numbers; Sharon McCarthy has been position 100th three times, Lee Boddy similarly likes position 200, but Anne Dawkins has been 300th finisher 4 times.

 

For ease of reading I have only shown trendlines on the graph below, but they clearly show that yes, average parkrun times are increasing, yet the quality within the centenary bands improves at every level.

 

SB Run Report graph

 

Looking at it another way, the times in the table below are the averages for MH parkruns sampled across the past 120 events:

 

  parkrun 56-65 Parkrun 116-125 Parkrun 176-185
100th 26:26 25:17 24:50
200th 34:22 29:51 29:08
300th - 36:37 36:21
Average 27:51 28:13 28:53

 

So my conclusion is this, whether you have lapped me by the tennis courts, or you’re are still running while I queue for a flat white and a croissant, we share the same basic issues. parkrun is a tremendous tool that brings people of all ages and backgrounds and abilities together, people you may never ordinarily meet. I think parkrun is good, but it’s the people who are great.

 

N.B. We rarely get a report writer from the rarified air at the front. It would be great to hear the perspective of a sub 20 minute runner.

 

Stuart Beard

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