#350th Northampton parkrun by Bryan Lewin

You might start to see a regular report on Northampton parkrun from various contributors from now on – but, unfortunately, our first volunteer had another more-pressing writing commitment … so, apologies, it’s me again giving you a personal viewpoint of the most recent event.

Just after 9.30 on Saturday morning, vehicles were heading towards my marshalling spot down St George’s Avenue with their headlights and windscreen wipers on – and I was clapping the final parkrun athletes wearing my gloves; you won’t need reminding, therefore, that this week’s weather was gloomy, cold, windy and damp! So, well done to every single one of you that walked, jogged, ran, pushed a contraption or led a pooch round the Racecourse for Northampton parkrun #350. Our 555 brave athletes were part of another record UK parkrun weekend with 180,746 participating – lots of new individual parkrun records, obviously, including 354 at our nearest neighbours, Sixfields Upton.

Milestones celebrated this week included Dean Shears (150) and Richard Boyes (50). Christine Ayres (VW 60-65), who is mentioned later, was running her 150th parkrun at her 36th different venue; her time of 25.37 warranted her an 80.35% on that Age Grade thingy; and she’s done her fair share of volunteering, including frequent stints as Run Director. We had even more Northampton first timers than last week (64 compared to 41) … (and 43 (last week 33) were taking part in their first-ever parkrun anywhere). A number were obviously parkrun tourists. Our Facebook page featured interviews with David and Christine Ayres (from Rushmere) and Emma and Elaine Vaughan (from Maldon Prom), all of whom were adding Northampton to their considerable lists of single-visit parkruns. Three Massey Ferguson RC runners were making their Northampton debuts, but were definitely not first-timers to parkrun - Angela McKay (her 285th), David McKay (his 284th) and Sonia Karamat (her 163rd). And Tony Cronin chose to explore the Racecourse for his 208th parkrun. Some of our regulars were competing elsewhere, too – including Mark Bonner (joining 1,294 others at Southampton – the UK’s second biggest this week, after Bushy Park), James Cushing (at Norwich),John Bates (at Gorleston), Rachel Iilsey and Rosie Clifford (Conkers).

 

Despite the conditions, 58 athletes sped round to achieve ‘New PB!” against their name in the results. Again, too many to name individually, but Dom Carlisle (VM45-49) followed up his 32.18 first ever parkrun last week with 25.29!!. Neil Lantsbery (four PBs in last four runs), Kate Wilde (JW 11-14) in 25.06 and Claudia Terrell (JW 10) in 26.28 are also well worthy of mention. Those I know, sort of, included Andy Goldsmith, who registered his fifth successive PB; Darren Berkshire (two PBs on the trot); Adam Wright who was 10th in 19.21 and Steve Boyce (VM 60-64) with an impressive 25.07. I couldn’t help but comment to our first finisher, Mark Hill, as he dashed by me initially, that he would be struggling for company – he eventually finished in 16.33, over a minute in front of the chasing pack. When I looked at the results, I wondered whether our first finishing female, Karen Smith (in 20.23) had travelled down to support the Cobblers’ opponents that afternoon (as the majority of her previous parkruns were at Carlisle!). At least she had her parkrun performance to cheer her up on the long journey home … (and, if she knew it, the satisfaction of finishing in front of big Cobblers fan, Mark Kennedy, co-editor of the Hotel Enders magazine (22.30) !!).

On my way to ‘that corner’ each week, I customarily exchange “Good morning” with lots of athletes, many of whom I’ve got to know, not by name, only by sight. One such example is a man I now know to be Keith Gee, who, he proudly told me, regularly finishes first in the VM 75-79 category …. because, as he amusingly also told me, as we passed each other on Saturday, he is often the only one in that age group!! (Frustratingly, Keith was two seconds slower than his PB this week). To conclude, Northampton parkrun #350 wouldn’t have happened without the 30 volunteers, under the direction of RD Szabolcs. And one of those, this week’s tail-walker, Lynette Hill-Park, will shortly be the proud possessor of a ‘Volunteer 25’ T-Shirt!

 

#349 Northampton parkrun – Bryan Lewin’s experience

My parkrun day started off when I turned into Kettering Road at the White Elephant corner just after 8.15 a.m., on a decidedly chilly morning, and I spied Craig and Michelle Lewis on a ‘warm-up’ run … little did I realise, at that moment, that I’d be actually be joining Michelle in a gentle jog nearly two hours hence (more later).

Anyhow, it’s Northampton parkrun #349 and I’m on my way to collect my volunteer’s bib to perform my role as a marshal. As usual, the finish area is a hive of activity – the set-up crew have virtually completed their tasks, volunteers are turning up from all directions and RD Hattie is checking them in - and handing out jobs (35 volunteers made it all happen this week). There’s also celebratory preparations underway - cakes, banners, balloons etc - for the special ‘significant’ birthday of our wonderful volunteer Leigh Barker (it was the 262nd occasion that Leigh has volunteered, so you’ve almost certainly been scanned by her at some point!).

The 553 who participated in the 5th January 2019 Northampton parkrun were part of more than 340,000 walkers, joggers, runners and volunteers across 1,650 events in 20 countries this weekend (a parkrun record!). And there were plenty of milestones - Mike Tebbutt (150), Chris Leggett (50) and Louise Flowers-Cohen (50) among them. A handful even managed to achieve PBs on their milestone occasions – Sharon Lantsbery (100), Martin Gibson (50), Richard Monk (50), Lisa Whelan (50) and Ann Worthy (50). In fact, a magnificent total of 53 athletes could have rung the PB bell this week! I can’t mention them all by name – but those I know reasonably well included Andy Goldsmith (four PBs in his last four parkruns); Darren Berkshire (who smashed his previous best time) and Alice Bennett (JW11-14), who was second female finisher in a fantastic time of 20.44. I’m not aware whether the three Mahers (Finn, James and Ethan) are related but the trio all registered PBs – Ethan (JM 11-14) was 6 (six!) minutes quicker on his second-ever parkrun!

We had 41 first timers at Northampton which included 33 who were taking part in their first-ever parkrun anywhere – I’m sure I speak on behalf of the organisers in saying that we hope that you enjoyed the experience and that you will be joining us again next week.

Three runners managed to register over 80% on that Age Grade percentage thingy – Elaine Danby, Chris Bell and Andy Green. Andy’s 18.05 was only four seconds slower than the best ever VM 55-59 Northampton parkrun time, which was achieved by … Andy Green.

It’s not often, I suspect, that we have someone competing who has taken part in more parkruns than our legend, Bob (no surname needed) – it was Bob’s 339th - but I noticed that Len Voralia (a mere VM 75-79) was notching up number 394! … and he clocked in with 29.24!!. At the other end of the (age) scale, Harry Ambery (JM10) deserves mention as he trotted round in an impressive 24.14!

So, I did my usual thing – which simply involves standing, clapping and shouting at people – until our illustrious ploggers/tail walkers reached me for the second time, closely followed by the aforementioned Michelle (who’d done her parkrun and was continuing in order to get a 10 miler in). I joined her in a gentle jog (for her!) round the bottom of the Racecourse and then made my way (via the finish area, to divest myself of three of the fiver layers of clothing that I was wearing) to join an intrepid, select group taking part in the Magic Mile – all of whom, I think, had just done the parkrun. Ann Worthy and Jim Conroy decided to celebrate their PBs earlier by running a further 1,760 yards and Messrs Bell and Green (the 80+ percenters) somehow contrived to finish joint first in 5.32. (I did more than twice Mr Bannister’s famous time).

From the Racecourse it was straight off to Abthorpe to support my grandson, and others, in the County Cross Country Championships … and who should I see, as soon as I arrived? A goodly number from the Northampton parkrun community - including members of the Van Eum family (who’d just volunteered) and Championships MC on the day, Terry Egan.

And that was it … until the next time … apologies for any errors, typos, omissions and, before you comment, yes I do have better things to do!!!

 

Christmas 2018/New Year 2019!

We will be hosting a Christmas Day parkrun at 9am with Matt as your RD. As ever we rely on lots of you volunteering to make this a safe and fun festive pre over indulgence parkrun. Fancy dress is as ever strongly recommended.

If you won't be in Northampton on Christmas day, check here nearer the time for local parkruns that will be hosting a Christmas day parkrun! http://www.parkrun.org.uk/christmas-compendium/

We will also be hosting a New Year's Day parkrun at 9am with Alastair as your RD. However if you can't quite make it that early on New Year's Day, or if you're looking to run a double parkrun to start your year, make sure to check the above link for other parkruns which will be running at slightly later times!

 

SATURDAY 7th JULY – NORTHAMPTON PARKRUN CANCELLED

Unfortunately, we have had to cancel Northampton parkrun on Saturday 7th July.

This is due to the Northampton Town Fair being at the Racecourse on the same day, and the presence of vehicles on the paths will make it unsafe for parkrun to go ahead.

Sixfields Upton parkrun is also cancelled on 7th July.

If you fancy attending a different parkrun, use this tool to check your nearest https://touristtool.mybluemix.net/
Please check http://www.parkrun.org.uk/cancellations/ for any cancellations before attending.

Kind regards
Northampton parkrun team

 

SATURDAY 3rd MARCH – NORTHAMPTON PARKRUN CANCELLED

Unfortunately, we have had to cancel Northampton parkrun on Saturday 3rd March.

The paths around the racecourse look slippery already and it's forecast to get worse. Also we don't feel that it's fair for us to ask the volunteers to stand outside for over an hour in below freezing temperatures with added windchill.

Sorry parkrunners but your safety comes first. Hopefully see you on the 10th.

Stay warm and safe.

Kind regards
Northampton parkrun team

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