What a morning!!! Today we had the pleasure of celebrating our 4th birthday run. It's so hard to believe that 4 years have passed since that very first morning. It was a dreary January morning in 2015 - I had just finished a night shift and I rushed across town at 8am to set up a running event for the first time, genuinely not knowing if anyone would show up over the next hour. That morning 262 people blew me away and we knew right there that we were on to something.
That was 4 years ago. Since then, we have averaged 135 runners per week and have seen 4,337 different runners do an average of 7 runs each to cover an astonishing 146,125 km (the hill has been climbed almost 30,000 times!!!). However, in 214 events, we had not got close to that all elusive attendance record ---- until today!!!
This morning we had 2 sets of Spice Girls, Wham!, the Beach Boys, the better half of Abba, Kiss!, Bananarama, Adam Ant, Ozzy, Elvis and James Dean Bradfield (he's from the Manic Street Preachers - I know I'm the only one that knew that), as well as a plethora of fan shirts, headbands and guitars, and they all clubbed together to give us a new attendance record of 267! Also contributing to this number, we had representatives of 24 different running clubs, 30 first timers to the event (12 of whom were doing their first ever parkrun), while repeat visitors/regulars managed to put in a whopping 30 PBs among the mayhem.
Among our first timers we had Linda Albone who power walked her way around, crossed the line, waited in line to be told her finish position and have it written down (we had run out of tokens - schoolboy error!!!!), and was suddenly thrust into the ears of all BBC Radio Leicester listeners to report on her first experience. That doesn't happen every week so I hope she isn't too scared off by it. Radio Leicester have run a fantastic piece on Rupal Rajani's weekend show (Listen again here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p06w24l8 at around 01.12 and 02.13) in which her reporter Rob interviewed quite a number of our regulars who were all more than fothcoming with stating how great our event is and why we put ourselves through it every Saturday morning.
Regarding the running out of tokens. We have got up to position 400, but didn't have the second batch with us. Massive congrats and thanks to Mark for keeping cool and manually processing around 40 extra results.
The massive cake was courtesy of the wonderful Sugar Shamrocks in Melton who have supported us from the start. A great local business that can make cakes that good is always worth supporting.
As ever, it is impossible to talk about a great morning at parkrun without discussing the volunteers that help to put it on. This week we were wonderfully hosted and handled by:
Conrad GRAY • Catherine BALL • Nina SNOWLING • Emma SHARKEY • Trevor WADE • Brian WALKLING • Nicola DRAGE • Mark ASHMORE • Rory MAPLETOFT • Christopher FOODE • Flynn WALSH • Val DRAGE • Carly HILLS • Leah SCALLON • Hannah NUTTER (and her dog, Sherlock) • and Ben SANDILANDS
Since we started the event 4 years ago, 403 volunteers have filled 3,076 volunteer slots and we should thank every one of them for what they have done in making our event what it is.
Over the event's history, I have seen numbers increase and waistlines decrease, friendships and relationships form, plans being made for holidays and tourism stints, fancy dress, cake, pregnancies start and finish (soon to be followed by "baby's first parkrun), achievements from PBs based on times and age-grades through to the first time someone has been able to run up that hill on the second lap. We've seen photos, photographers, and we've seen the whole community come together in memory (#thankyouray). I would like to sign off this epic run report by thanking you all for humbling me each and every week since that morning when I didn't know if anyone would show or not.