Peterborough parkrun #261 – At last its 250

1. Pre-Event

a. Although approaching 69 I awoke today like a kid at Xmas and duly arrived at parkrun a little after 7.00am with my usual flask of coffee to have before the run. Something about the long days and the beauty of Ferry Meadows always enthral me at the tranquil times before many people arrive. Shortly before 8 the warden opens up the equipment store and with the help of the other members of the setup team we get out and transport all the equipment off to the area just outside the café. Under the guidance of Roy Young the team move off to perform their various tasks. Mine is normally to help transport equipment up to the finish area for lay out of the funnel, cones and yellow flags. Twenty minutes later and we are all back and reporting into the volunteer co-ordinator who is now busy assigning tasks to the other volunteers. In fact to the other parkrunners this is just another Peterborough parkrun.

b. Put on the ‘doctored’ 50 shirt with numbering sourced by Paul for us both to wear and applied by my wife Anne to reduce air pollution that otherwise occurs if such a job left to me. Meet and greet fellow parkrunners smiling and talking of our achievement. Start to get worried as Paul Stevenette not there by nearly 08.45am.

c. Anxiety lifted as Paul, in matching red, but more upmarket Adidas version, arrives and introduces me to his band of family and friends and, of course, the 3 numerical helium balloons. Paul takes charge and we move over to the parkrun flag where photographs of us together sharing the event before start are taken.

d. Paul seeks out his ‘pacemaker’ Phil Neacy, who will attempt to make the day even more special by achieving a PB. I seek out Martin Shelbourne, who despite injury says he would like to share the event and run round with me like we did in 2013 before his problems started

2. The Run itself

a. Paul runs well for a large part of the run only to ‘run out of steam’ late on and miss out by a few seconds. My journey with Martin ends at 3k when an attempt to slightly accelerate by slowing participants leads to a severe calf pull and he has to walk. I get steadily worse but continue on to finish which was my only target today.

3. Post-Run

a. Get scanned. Pass pleasantries as usual with fellow finishers and the volunteer team. Accept and enjoy the acknowledgement of the others on today’s achievement. Move over to Paul and his entourage to discuss today and have photos taken of us together after the run. Paul and group go off home and reiterate that can come round as soon as volunteering duties completed to share ‘Brunch’ with them all. With Roy we both have a coffee supplied by Lorna his wife while we complete another Close Down which am proud to say was, for me the, 150th recorded occasion. However this is one job where one person tends to get credit but many hands work together to ensure done quicker as they are great volunteers happy to get a record of helping on the day with just one task but in reality multi-tasking to ensure event goes smoothly. My friend Roy can be no better example. Today our coffee club was reduced by the missing Martin rushing home to deal with his injury and Peter and Sue off on Grandparent duties. After duties complete I bid my farewell and cycle off to Paul’s house.

4. Brunch Celebration

a. I duly arrive and am made instantly welcome as an ‘honoured’ guest and enjoy my food and drink. More photos are taken and discussions about today and various other people from the Parkrun fraternity. A key mention was made of the man who got us all started at Peterborough, Gordon Pearson who elsewhere achieved a tremendous achievement of joining a ‘100’ club…………….those who have visited 100 different parkruns………..Wow. Celebratory cakes are brought out and more photographs of us together. I then have to take my leave as have visitors soon to arrive back home but am pleased to say I shared my achievement and that made it so much more special. Thanks to Paul and family.

5. What it means

a. Today was an historic moment for Peterborough parkrun when the first participant based at Peterborough achieved the 250 parkrun tally and qualified for the green tee-shirt. This honour went to Paul Stevenette but the second to achieve it, Peter Brantom, was only 4 minutes behind as both achieved their target on the same day. These milestones are personal to those achieving them but whereas a 50 equates to a year and a 100 to 2 years this represents the best part of 5 years to achieve and so shows a certain amount of relentless dedication. What it also means is that to achieve in the shortest possible time requires not to give up a run and so goes against the principal of volunteering support. That being said both of the people celebrating today are proud holders of the purple vest for volunteering as both have performed support functions that still enable them to run……………mainly set up and close down.

b. I had hoped to sneak under the radar and celebrate with a few close friends but Paul Stevenette made me realise that it is an achievement that others may well appreciate. You may have seen his friends and family on the course today and we both found their support welcome as too was that from others we don’t personally know. Many thanks from us both. As usual thank you Roy for putting us down in chalk on the start line to help make today even more special.

6. Pauls Journey

a. Our journeys could not have been more different as Paul was someone who really started running with Peterborough parkrun on 26th October 2013 starting with a recording of 27.39 and an age grading of 52.50%. I think he enjoyed the experience for apart from 4 occasions when unable to run because of family holidays he has run at a parkrun every week since. During this time he has recorded 19 PBs with the last being the 22.19 he recorded at the 22nd October 2016 parkrun. That gave him his current best Age Grading in his VM50-54 age group of 66.12%. He has also travelled as a tourist to 19 other parkruns some of which he has multi visited. 175 of his runs have been at Peterborough where he has gained his purple tee shirt for helping on setup but also as a pacer and tail walker.

7. Peter’s Journey

a. My journey has been that of someone who has just been in love with running since a toddler. This love saw me enjoy running at school and college but then stop until reactivated by the first Great Eastern ½ marathon in the early eighties. I then joined PAC so could train to get better and have remained one of their club members ever since. Was nearly 64 when fellow club member Kay Gibson told me about parkrun at Ferry meadows? I duly went and did the first one and told my wife that it seemed a good one and could do occasionally. In the first 20 I missed 8 so was not yet completely hooked. Being 13 stone and not training much I was more than happy to run 25.09 in an age grading of 65.47% on my first run. In the early days I developed a rivalry with a well-known ‘retired ‘ pole vaulter and decathlete who used to compete for NVH …………..that being our celebrated volunteer Martin Shelbourne. Our competitiveness resulted in bringing my weight down, my time down and a number of PBs for both before his long term injury stopped him being competitive. I ‘soldiered’ on alone and was able to reach my final PB on 5th April 2014 with my 22.46 and Age Grading of 72.99%. From that point on have been beset by injury problems and changed my emphasis from being competitive to completion of a run. Of my tally 212 have been done at Peterborough with the other 38 at only 10 other venues some of which have multi visited. Like Paul I have really enjoyed pacing, tail walking and setup but my main volunteering role has always been close down.
The Normal Event

With the closure of Rutland today expectation was that maybe 700 might descend on our run but that was not the case and it was slightly lower at 557. We had 41 first timers today with 24 doing their first ever parkrun. Hope you enjoyed the experience and will come back again soon. A massive 109 happy people got a brand new PB

There were lots of other important milestones today with the ‘official’ 50 achieved by Tony Daniels of PACTRAC and the ‘official’ 100 achieved by Dawn Friend from Yaxley Runners & Joggers, Neil Wade, Rob Van Duyn from Werrington Joggers, and Shane Goldsmith from Bushfield Joggers plus the ‘unofficial’ 150 achieved by Petro Bartozyk from Yaxley Runners & Joggers

On the age graded sort 25 athletes got over 70% and one was over 80%. The top 3 were Morag O’Brien with 82.01%, Phil Martin with 77.92% and Chris Bevan with 77.01%.

In the run itself I was saddened to see that ninth over the line we had an Unknown runner. Throughout the 557 participants were a total of 33 who will have no record of the days run and reminds all #DFYB.

First over the line today was Chris Bevan in 16.45 from Phil Martin (PAC) in second and Brian Corleys from Bushfield Joggers in third. The ladies were led home by Steph Parker in 19.54 in 17th place overall followed in second by Laura Whitton from Vegan Runners in 41st position and Matilda Manning in 55th position with her new PB of 22.06.

A recent initiative on the results page is the publication of those who have received the purple 25 volunteering milestone tee-shirt. It was interesting to see that of the 557 participants’ today 29 have achieved this. A breakdown of this shows 3 also have a 250 vest 19 also have a 100, 6 also have a 50 vest and 1 has only this vest so far. Unfortunately this statistic does not show the full story as we are not aware how many of the volunteers manning tasks that don’t allow a run as well have also achieved this superb level of event support.

If you too would like to help then please email peterboorughhelpers@parkrun.com, or check out the. If you’re not sure what positions are available then you can check the roster on http://www.parkrun.org.uk/peterborough/futureroster/ for up to 6 weeks in advance. Let’s see if we can fill up some of those spaces nice and early.

Peter