parkrun is back
Can I firstly echo what our Run Director Amanda said this morning. In these winter days, there will be times when the track is icy and parkrun is cancelled. I know this is not always popular, but, as runners, we must remember that the Director and Core Team have responsibility for all of us. The decision to cancel is not taken lightly and we must respect it - it is taken in our best interests.
That said, parkrun was on today. And how. Sleet was tumbling down as I pulled on running gear, set my watch and started out. Up the gentle slope of Bradford Road under a sky of thick gun metal. The air was fresh without too much sharpness and droplets of water fell from the trees. Two horses watched sleepily as I ran by. In the distance, a church bell seemed to peal. On into the car park, round once to make up the mile, the sleet still falling. Past dog walkers, fellow parkrunners and walkers, past the playground and down the zigzag. Joie de vivre and joie de courir - lust for life and joy of running. Maybe the French are on to something.
Up to the start, where I bumped into Chris. We chatted, stretching and warming up, before I left to see a lone gentleman by the barn.
“Nice day for it”. He said nothing, but rolled his eyes in mock exasperation, as if to say, “What on earth am I doing here?” His story was a little unusual. He quite liked parkrun, but not as much as his wife, who’d bribed him to come. Still, he was here because he needed it and though it was too cold in winter and too hot in the summer, we did establish that parkrun, by and large, was not too bad.
I wished him a good run, before wandering off to bump into Shaun, the running artist whose talented pictures have enlivened many a social media page. Back from injury, it was good to see him.
Calls for newcomers brought a large group, mainly dressed in luminous lycra to the barn for the First Timers Brief, then it was on to the start, where Amanda welcomed tourists from Meltham, Skipton and Milton Keynes. Three, two one and we were away.
I’d set my watch for 26 minutes - five seconds in and I was 15 metres off the pace. But that changed as we ran up the lane, past Jason and a group of marshals and turned down to the mud of the bridle path. I must say that the marshals did a sterling job. Standing in the teeming rain, they were vocal in their encouragement, which for me was marvellous. Jason in particular, shouting, “You’re flying”, was as potent as any nutritional boost.
I ran with a man and his two children. At first, hearing him say, “Come on, Julian”, I thought he knew me, though I couldn’t place him. Maybe he’d seen the name on my tee shirt, but then it also occurred to me that one of his children may have had the same name as me and he wasn’t talking to me at all.
All three overtook me on the last lap, where I was now 200 metres off the pace. It’s funny, but wearing your club colours is sometimes really a help. I was wearing those of one of the best running crews in the north of England and somehow I just had to keep going. It worked. Sprinting for the line in a last desperate lunge, I was just ahead and clocked a season’s best of 26:00 exactly.
Good but not as good as my friend Tracey’s 22:42, duelling with Carly who came in at 22:48. Elizabeth Taggart, the first woman across the line was even faster (21:10) and honourable mention too to the first gentleman to return, Mr Josephs, whose 19:09 would probably have left scorch marks if the ground had been drier. I’m also very glad to say that my running chum Kelly got a new PB, as did 28 others.
Finally, a big welcome to the 40 first timers at Oakwell. It does get drier, sometimes! And to the volunteers, what can I say? No volunteers = no parkrun, so thank you all. You set a fine example of what parkrun is all about and I for one will very soon be following yourexample. In the meantime, good luck and good running to all.
Oakwell Hall parkrun
Event number 176
17th February 2018
This week 205 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 40 were first timers and 29 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 21 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 30 volunteers:
Julian FARRAR • Amanda WALKER • Lauren TROMANS • Keith KING • Lynne METCALFE • Max METCALFE • Natalie SAMPSON • Shaun CAMPONI • Mira MILEUSNIC • Jessica WALDEN • Sienna HAYNES • Sue GRAY • Jason SAVILLE • Michelle SAVILLE • Phillip WALKER • Ann BOGUE • Philip BOGUE • Lynn POULTER • John POULTER • Matthew KEYWORTH • Irén BODROG • Roberta MANN • Hazel STONES • Kate DALY • Liam SAVILLE • Megan GRINSILL • Luke RYAN • Jayne TROUT • Chris WILDING • Hayley RYAN
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 5,447 participants have completed 31,734 parkruns covering a total distance of 158,670 km, including 6,917 new Personal Bests.