#100101100 at QE – A Record Breaking Event In Numbers.

Rarely has a New Year been such an exciting event. The stats for the New Year parkrun double this year have been outstanding. So many people got up and out and ran, walked or jogged 5 or 10km in the company of others.

Early indications of a busy run came as we joined the traffic jam on the A3. The barriers were doing their best but three filled car parks later and this was getting interesting. I dropped my passengers, a barcode scanner and an about-to-do-100 parkrunner as close to the gate as possible, donned oxygen mask and climbed.

Coming from another parkrun, Hogmoor Inclosure, where the attendance record had been beaten (by 12) and the first timers briefing seemed to include everyone, it was lovely to see so many QE regulars in the throng. There were *just* 143 current parkrunners visiting for the first time and 13 people trying out their barcode for the very first time. Welcome and do come back: it’s not always this manic.

Often, QE is described as muddy, and last NY, there was epic mud; shoes being sucked off and people slip sliding. 2019 will need to be remembered as the run without very much mud at all, in fact, I was quite surprised afterward to see Freddie WHEELER (one of the six under 10s running and the only one to do the double) with mud on his leggings. Apparently he fell at Havant: honour saved!

Running up the hill in a big pack is always going to slow the times down, and there were a paltry 49 PBs. (Paltry, she says: in the last 300 events, there have been 25 events with 49 or fewer runners). However, conditions were perfect. The temperature was great, there was sun… and a mud factor of 1.5. It was a smile at the surroundings, wear the road shoes if you want, unexpected January parkrun.

Digressing slightly, but keeping the number theme, our parkrunner field today has cumulatively run around the world more than 4 times. A total of 161,615km have been recorded by the field of 408 (less 16 unknown). Given that we *only* do 5km at a time that is stupendous. Well done everyone.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, we have milestones to celebrate. Firstly Coco IRESON who completed her 10th run at QE, and to Jessica BUSH who completed her 10th at Hogmoor Inclosure an hour or so before starting at QE. Well done both of you – the 10 club is very exclusive.

Milestone runs too for Amy GAUNT (50) and to Gareth CLARKE and Hannah JOLLY whose first run of the day was a 50 and QE their 51st. Kevin MCTAGGART completed 99 at Hogmoor Inclosure before chomping down on the obligatory soft ice cream with a flake in time for his 100th at home.

Arbitrary milestones for Matt GILL on his 168th – his parkrun week ‘run’ or one parkrun for every hour in a week, and slightly more conventionally to Alison LAWRENCE (150) and Jenny WALKER-LEACH (200).

Seeing as it’s my favourite celebration, Daniel CRIPPS, James WALKER, Paul CRIPPS and Tony CONWAY have a few days to get their ice creams in before reaching 100 runs on Saturday.

Having looked at the results in great depth, it is also important to note that the most popular name of parkrunners at QE on New Year’s Day was Matthew with 11 finishers, of whom Matthew HANLON also volunteered.

Exceptionally large cheers to the volunteers who gave up their chance of a double, in particular all those who calmly handed out raffle tickets and wrote or took pictures of barcode + position when the tokens ran out. In context, last year the attendance record set at NY was 266 finishers and the 308 QE tokens appeared adequate. Event 300 and the first in 2019 saw a 53% increase in finishers! Well done to RD James LEIGHTON for swiping the raffle tickets from home *just in case* and for being calm as the finishers kept on finishing.

Despite an hour or two adding in some 100 runner barcodes and positions, and unusual late finishing queuing, it was a glorious day and a splendid start to 2019. Happy New Year!

Run report by: Pippa WHITE

 

Event 300 – New Years Day Special

As we are sure you are aware Queen Elizabeth parkrun will be holding a special event on New Years Day. Here are a few notes if you are planning to attend.

1. The start time is 10:30AM not 9AM. There are other events in the area that are starting at 9AM so this does allow you to run QE as the second part of a New Years Day double.

2. We are expecting larger numbers than usual. This will cause congestion entering the park. We advise you to get there in plenty of time to allow you to park and make your way to the start.

3. QECP now operates an ANPR payment system. Your registration plate will be scanned at the entry barrier and you then pay at a pay machine before exiting. We have asked QECP if they can re-configure the barriers to allow two inbound lanes to ease congestion. They will do this for us if they can but unfortunately the middle barrier was out or order at the time of asking and they did not know if this will be fixed in time. They might open the barriers. If this is the case please drive through slowly as it will cause problems when you go to leave if your registration plate has not been recorded correctly.

4. If you arrive in good time or you are not running a double please consider using some of the other car parks. There are five more parking areas within QECP in addition to the main car park and the Gravel Hill car park. There is a car park at Benhams Bushes another at Juniper and two car parks between these two. All are within 1km of the start.

5. Please park sensibly. Last year parkrunners boxed in a horse box so they could neither move or drop the ramp at the back to load their horses. Please show consideration to other park users.

6. The cafe at the visitor centre will be open as usual. They know they will be arriving with bigger than normal numbers and they should have the staff to cope.

We look forward to seeing you all tomorrow. Have a great evening whatever you are doing!

 

Greetings from Glasgow

We visited Queen Elizabeth parkrun for the first time today. There is a legend about the mud at Queen Elizabeth, that we heard about all the way up in Glasgow. So we were not surprised to overhear a debate about trail or road shoes when we arrived in the car park. I opted for trail and in present conditions would say that you could get away with road shoes if that's your preference.

A friendly bunch of volunteers informed us all about the course. A lap and a half of some undulation and just a little incline that goes on for 1.1km! The mud factor today was 2. That put our minds at ease a little and it certainly wasn't too bad underfoot at all. We got the buggy around without too much trouble too.

Well done to Graham Clarke on completing his 100th run and to Katie Mahoney on her 50th run. 6 runners completed their very first parkrun and 6 forgot their barcodes! Don't forget your barcode! 14 of you finished the year with a new pb and there were 39 touring visitors from as far away as California. A great turn out overall.

Also good luck and congratulations to Tim and Anna who are due to get married on Wednesday...you'll be running on new years day as well though right?

The course itself is lovely and challenging. There are km markers to help you keep your bearings. There's apparently a lovely view at the top of the hill to reward your efforts. Unfortunately I was too busy trying to get my breath back to look up! As hard as the big main hill is, I think it's important to warn others of the three undulating bumps in the final stretch home. It had a similar feel to false summits when hillwalking.

Overall a great course and a lovely team. Thanks to all the volunteers and we'll hopefully be back sometime soon.

By Mhairi Gervais

 

Christmas Day Church Service v Park Run

Every year on Christmas Day morning myself and my family have always gone to church. This year I wanted to do something different, so convinced my husband to let me and 2 of our daughters do a park run instead, whilst he and our other daughter finished decorating the Christmas cake. Discovering that my home run wasn't on (Portsmouth Lakeside) meant I'd have to do a more local one, and as QECP is on the doorstep, it had to be that one.

Arriving in plenty of time to park, walk to the start, meet with a friend and listen to the first timers briefing, suddenly it didn't seem like the best thing to be doing on Christmas morning. Being warned about mud, slippery ground in places, hills (or inclines of opportunity!), I convinced my girls (13 & 11) that it was just about being in the beautiful countryside taking in the views and breathing in the fresh air, and finishing times were not important. We were going to complete the 5k together, start to finish and just enjoy spending time together either walking or running.

They seemed to have different ideas and within 30 seconds of the start, eldest daughter had decided she didn't want to run with us, so ran up the first hill, frantically being chased by her younger sister who had just got a Garmin watch for Christmas and therefore considered herself a serious runner who HAD to finish before her older sister! Poor old me, I was trying to catch them up to spend that quality time together that we had planned, but realised that my days of running faster than my children are probably over.

Yes, the course was hilly, it was also muddy but after a while you give up dodging the mud and just embrace it. QECP has a smaller attendance than my home run, but I really enjoyed it. Everyone was friendly and encouraging and happy to chat whilst running.

Youngest daughter did finish ahead of oldest daughter with me lagging behind, but that was ok. The best thing about our run today was when we'd finished and got home. Youngest daughter said 'do you know what, in places it was really difficult and I didn't think I could do it, but I kept on going because everyone had put so much effort into making it happen that I didn't want to let them down, and because I managed to keep on going, I feel really good that I achieved something I didn't think I could'

For me, that's the best Christmas present ever. Thank you to everyone who gave up their time to make our first family QECP park run an enjoyable one. Hope you've all managed to have a lovely day.

From Clare, Caitlin & Imogen Belcher

 

Who took the mud away ? Queen Elizabeth parkrun # 297 – 22/12/2018

Last week, the mud was starting to gloop, parkrunday was dank and it seemed as if winter had really hit the park. This week the facebook page had included dire warnings of possible overrunning works to resolve the drainage issue at the entrance to QE and, as the longest night drew to a close, it was hard to summon up the enthusiasm for a 0700 alarm call.
And what magic awaited. A mild, dry, low mud (mud factor 2 at best), pleasing run. Those who were wearing short sleeves and shorts were in the right rig for running. The dogs that ran were still cheerful and cleanish at the end. There was a bizarre moment with a cut Christmas tree leaning against the bench near the top of the hill. A prize for the best explanation of why… All in all a lovely day to go running.

Just 6PBs again today – the most notable being Mark STEVENS who has an admirable run of three PBs from 4 parkruns and all at QE: four and a half minutes of improvement as we approach the slower times of year. Well done too to Elliot LEWIS and Charlie BRIGGS for finally running faster than they did in October; and to Harry LE SANTO, Steve MARSHALL and Paul STOKOE for their first PBs at QE on their second runs. For the first time in a number of weeks, no official milestones, with just Graham CLARKE to find a soft ice cream with a flake before running 100 next time.

We had some tourists, with 15 intrepid visitors coming for the first time. Do come and see us again and either be delighted that there was little mud or be determined to come back for a proper mudfest.
Thanks to all the volunteers who braved the cold with special thanks to Kevin MCTAGGART who still came to do pre-event setup even though he was feeling proper poorly. There are some spaces left on December 29 and January 1 so drop a line to queenelizabethhelpers@parkrun.com if you can help.
For those who won’t have a Christmas day parkrun pass – may your day be merry and bright. If you do run, then #dfyb and enjoy your new ‘badge’ if you haven’t managed Christmas day before.
By
Pippa WHITE

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