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