“parkrun Family - The Movie”
Who, out of all your friends and acquaintances at Oakwell would play the main parts? The Father? The Mother? The drunken son who runs away to sea and rides back with an empire? The wayward daughter, refusing the pale curate, who takes control of the family shoddy mill and takes on the rival mill owner, he of the smouldering dark eyes and unbuttoned shirt? For me, there’s one lady who’d be perfect as the long lost relative. A titled lady, with a mysterious past and a hint of the exotic, who arrives in a hansom cab and shakes up the family home. I’m talking about my good parkrun friend Toni, (My Lady of the Hill) who recently “retired” but who has since made a number of welcome guest appearances at Oakwell. On Saturday, Toni joined the 50 club. Membership of this club is a privilege earned by tenacity and which is justly renowned. Well done, Toni and all those who’ve joined the 50 club, (not to mention the 10, 100 and 250 clubs too).
Yet there’s another lesser known club with perhaps not so many members that’s still pretty important to parkrun. You may have heard of the Volunteer 25 club, which Stephen joined on Saturday, so big congratulations to him. Toni went a little bit further to gain entry to the Volunteer 200 club. Toni, my friend, that is one magnificent achievement. So many times, your encouragement has got me up that last hill, but today, may I, on behalf of Oakwell parkrun, say a huge thank you for all your efforts. Encouraging, tea making, welcoming people, you and all the volunteers make Oakwell the place it is – the place to be on a Saturday morning.
And this morning the family was out in force. Mr Harrison, whose warm up is faster than my sprint finish, Carly’s mum, looking cool and elegant and Mark, who said he was going to run and promptly did. Welcome too to Sowerby Bridge Snails, who added a large splash of orange to the gathering.
I’d agreed to pace Lee’s lad Chris, to try and help him to run round. Lee was adamant that if Chris walked, I should run on and chase my own pb. But so many people have helped me that it was a pleasure to help someone and put a bit back. Besides, Chris couldn’t be a bad runner – he’s been out with Oakwell Runfit!
The plan was simple ; slow start, run when we could, walk if we had to and keep moving forward. The aim was to run one lap, which would be no mean feat. Down to the line, where I saw Stewart. “Going for a pb?” “Always”, he replied dryly. “I just never get one”. This gentleman has style.
“Three…two…one…go”. We were off, jostling up Warren Lane, trying not to get caught up in the excitement of the start. Chris did well to keep the speed down until we reached the top of the lane and it was down towards Keith and the big tree. The phrase “Running well within himself” flashed through my mind, as if we were taking it easy before the big finish. Past the big tree, with Keith in fine voice calling out encouragement. Along the straight, still at the same slower pace, up through the car park and a breather down the zig zag. A short, sharp run up the steps towards the play area and on to the bridleway. Passed by many, it didn’t matter – we were getting there. Up the slope at te top of the lane and I suggested letting legs relax down the hill. Chris took me at my word and slowed to a walk for a count of thirty, before promptly returning to the previous pace – a method used with great success by my running chum Olly on the last Runfit outing. Picking up the pace and allowing for a couple more walking breaks, we reached the top of Warren Lane for the second time, where suddenly, urged on by Lee, Chris unleashed a sprint finish that left me in the dust. (Even so, we passed one or two on the way to the line!).
He’d done it – two laps, not quite a pb, but not far off and run almost all the way. Great run, Chris. Sometimes, as our esteemed run leader Lydia pointed out later, all you need is a bit of encouragement. It’s what parkrun does so well. No matter what your speed or ability, whether running or walking, it really is a matter of “all for one and one for all”. On which note, well done to all 333 runners, every marshal, all who gained a pb, all who ran or walked and all who, like me, love to attend this Saturday morning gathering of the parkrun family.
Happy New Year parkrun participants & volunteers.
So here we go again at Oakwell Hall parkrun #220
A New Year brings new starts and what a start indeed. A brand spanking new attendance record for Oakwell to kick things off. 356 athletes ran & walked our beautiful course, not forgetting the 35 fab volunteers who did us proud out there in the cold.
Cold it was, but the conditions were perfect for parkrunning. So many peeps got themselves shiny new PB's. Congratulations to everyone that did.
Congrats too to the four milestoners. The speedy Richard Greghorn, the smiling Chris Toothill & the cake-bearing Emma Lockwood all now grace the 50 club. Along with young Emily, who finds herself in the famous 10 club. You deserve your T-Shirts and I hope you enjoy and wear them with parkrun pride.
There were tourists aplenty also, many from our neighbouring Yorkshire events, that included a large contingent from The South Leeds Lakers, but also from as far afield as King's Lynn. Hope everyone enjoyed themselves? I am sure you all did.
Around the whole parkrun world it has been an incredible couple of weeks, with many events joining Oakwell and smashing their attendance records recently, but one incredible stat that blew me away was that since December 22nd their have been an amazing 43,685 new parkrunners. How good is that? Even so, I'm sure that number will continue to rise.
It was also amazing that 23 of the 55 first timers at Oakwell were completely new athletes and part of that incredible 43,000. To all the parkrun debutants, welcome to the parkrun family & it is great that you started your journey here at Oakwell. Let's hope you stay here for many years to come.
Before I wrap up, I would just like to congratulate & thank all the volunteers.
Not just the present day folk, who are doing a great job, but also the ones who have shaped Oakwell over six different calendar years. You have all been amazing and to finish off I must raise my hat to four pioneering volunteers who offered their services today and did so at the very first event all those years ago. Big cheers must go to Adam Gallagher, Ann & Phil Bogue and the ever smiling Mira Mileusnic, but not forgetting our very own Amanda Walker who was unfortunately not present this week. You epitomise what parkrun & Oakwell are all about. I am sure I speak for everyone when I say that having you guys as part of the furniture has been a pleasure, cheers.
So there it is, the first Oakwell Hall parkrun of 2019 came & went as quickly as the last one. But who cares it all starts again in less than a week
It's 7.25am on a late December morning and I'm looking towards Oakwell Hall. It's cold, windy, very dark and if I'm honest, more than a little bit spooky. And with it's English Civil War and Bronte connections, there's more than enough scope for the imagination to run riot - especially for a wuss. There are great expectations of the ghost of Christmas past putting in an appearance (I know that's Charles Dickens but you get my drift).
I'm here to meet Chris (Norris), my set-up buddy for this morning - the last Oakwell Hall parkrun of 2018. Chris appears through the gloom and we make our way by torchlight to collect and load our wheelbarrow brimful of parkrun paraphernalia. I put on my parkrun volunteer hi viz vest so we look less like a couple of Victorian body snatchers and we set off up Warren Lane - my buddy driving.
As part of the set-up squad, we need to walk the course looking out for and removing obstacles, kicking away animal deposites, coning and taping off no-go areas, placing signage and opening gates. All this accompanied by a cheery 'good morning' to fellow park users; though this morning, apart from one shadowy figure, people are definitely thin on the ground. So not so much cheery hello-ing going on.
Down and around the bridle way, big tree, pond and cobbles we go busily taping off and chewing the fat. We are nearly half way around the course and once again passing the front of Oakwell Hall. It's getting lighter now, or we're getting used to the dark; so any thoughts of ghosts and ghoulies have thankfully disappeared.
Placing the sign for the Yellow Brick Road, it occurs that this must be confusing for tourists - often seen taking photographs as it's not yellow, it's not brick and is just a path. They probably put this down as a 'localism' often apparent at parkruns. They say there's an 'Ecky Thump Hill' over at Halifax and I came across a 'Tourette's Hill' at Ryde on the Isle of White parkrun last summer. Down said path we go then, like Lewis Hamilton at Monte Carlo, Chris skilfully traverses the zig zags driving the wheelbarrow. Onwards and upwards we go taping, signage-ing, opening and cheery good morning-ing until we emerge victoriously down the home straight and taking the imaginary chequered flag. Job done!
Arriving at the courtyard there's Michelle dishing out the yellow vests, the latest fashion as seen on the streets of Paris, to the arriving volunteers - the Oakwell gilets jaunes - in a good way of course. As I have a dodgy foot, I'm not going to run and as there's a full volunteer roster, I'm walking near the tail walkers Hayleigh and Matthew and with Nicky. More fat to chew.
Runners are gathering in number now. With Fairytale of New York a distant memory and Auld Lang Syne yet to be rolled out, it's that strange time of year that coach tour companies call 'Twixtmas' - a marketing term loosely translated in these parts as neither nowt nor summat.
Run Director Michelle (multitasking as per) is desperately trying to remain upright in the almost gale force wind and manages to announce Laura and Trevor claiming their 50 shirts and young Estelle her 10th. Tourists reveal themselves as being from Cambridge, Shrewsbury (not Dewsbury Michelle) and Glasgow. Also in attendance, surprisingly, is Adam (set up Meister) who is due to marry Tracey later this morning (it must concerning to see your groom pulling on his running shoes shortly before the wedding ceremony), so congratulations to them.
So it's 'timekeepers ready?' And we're off for the final time this year. As a walker, it's an opportunity to inspect our earlier set-up work. It has been known for the tapes to be removed by walkers who see them as a barrier - so not the case. One of the many good things about being about being a tail walker or in my case today, being with the tail walker is that the marshals and particularly the finishing team are usually pleased to see you. As we make our way round on lap 2 dismantling the tapes and collecting the signs, we also collect marshalls. We collect Megan from the big tree (not a very big tree at all. Just ask tourists from Sherwood Pines) and then Susan from the sleepers?? for the final stroll (more fat chewing) down to the finish line once more and for the welcome "well done" from the ever present token giver Mira. With a time of 57.04, this is far from a PW. Then finally, the best part is the brew and cake and more socialising (fat doesn't chew itself). It's the end of the run but not the event. There is still much to do. Volunteers have tokens to sort, results to process, cafe to close up and more volunteers to recruit for next week. I think I'll leave them to it.
Happy New Year!
Stephen Eaglen A1961314
For the record:
Number of runners: 191
Fastest Male: 18.35 Thomas Wilson
Fastest Female: 23.18 Carly Mille
Number of First Timers: 37
Number of PBs: 9
Oakwell Hall parkrun Run Report – event #203
Saturday 1st September 2018
There are the obvious statistics generated at every parkrun event:
- First finisher: Gavin Chalmers in 17:36
- First female: Katrina Ballantyne in 21:16
- 313 finishers on a lovely, sunny, warm morning
- A full set of wonderful volunteers (whom we thank dearly)
- 39 new 'personal best' times
- 59 'first timers'.
There are some less obvious statistics, but available if you are willing to play for a bit:
- 173 finishers took over the average time for Oakwell Hall parkrun (just over 55% of the finishers) to cover the 5 km
- There were 38 finishers recorded as 'Unknown'
- 9 runners set the fastest times for their registered Clubs at Oakwell Hall
- 32 different Clubs had runners at Oakwell Hall today.
And then there are the unknowns:
- How many people benefitted by coming along as walkers, spectators, dog walkers, playground users, café visitors, fresh air samplers?
- How many were making parkrun part of a double of some sort? (such as tourism, a wedding weekend, birthday celebrations, on the way leg stretch to somewhere else eventually...)
- The conversion rate from Doubter to parkrunner.
I sincerely hope that every one of those 59 'first timers' and 38 'Unknowns' enjoyed their experience and found it supportive as well as challenging (because parkrun is). I can assure them all that you do not have to return many times before the 5km becomes a habit and you see and feel the benefits. We hope that all the 'Unknowns' either sign-on to become registered parkrunners or remember their barcodes! Then that all the first timers who did their first anywhere ever parkrun come back and do their second soon, and then their third...
parkrun is right; there is pride in the fact that the average time to complete the weekly 5km is getting higher, not lower – parkrun is becoming ever more inclusive as it continues to grow.
I really enjoyed my visit to the beautiful Oakwell Hall parkrun on Saturday (on my way to Piece Hall, Halifax. I shall sing its praises.
Well done everyone who was there and ran or marshalled or supported.
Oakwell Hall parkrun
Event number 203
1st September 2018
This week 313 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 59 were first timers and 39 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 32 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 35 volunteers:
Elizabeth Isabel INESON • Adam GALLAGHER • David TEGGART • Carole CLIFFORD • Max METCALFE • Natalie SAMPSON • Mira MILEUSNIC • Ian ROPER • Sue GRAY • Adam BROWN • Chris TOOTHILL • Thomas WILDE • Jason SAVILLE • Michelle SAVILLE • Stephen EAGLEN • Ann BOGUE • Philip BOGUE • Irén BODROG • Emma LOCKWOOD • Roberta MANN • Michael ELLIS • Steven CARTER • Jasmine KENNEDY • Sarah MARSHALL • Ebony DYSON • Harrison GRAY • Jason MILLS • Michelle CARTER • Georgia SPEIGHT • Holly RUKIN • Jayne BROADBENT • Hayley INGLE • Elaine JACKSON • Daisy KEYWORTH • Tim JAMES
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Oakwell Hall parkrun Results Page.
The female record is held by Hannah OLDROYD who recorded a time of 19:10 on 18th July 2015 (event number 51).
The male record is held by Joe SAGAR who recorded a time of 17:10 on 16th January 2016 (event number 75).
The Age Grade course record is held by Treena JOHNSON who recorded 87.80% (20:21) on 6th May 2017 (event number 141).
Oakwell Hall parkrun started on 19th July 2014. Since then 6,331 participants have completed 38,276 parkruns covering a total distance of 191,380 km, including 8,043 new Personal Bests.