New Year Resolutions?
It couldn’t continue! The Richmond parkrun attendance of 546 people on Christmas Day 2018 beat the previous Christmas Day turnout by a long way. New Years Day saw the highest ever attendance, with an astounding total of 575 people completing the course. Both totals were boosted by local parkruns (most notably Wimbledon Common) not operating, with a large overspill to Richmond. The first Saturday of the New Year traditionally attracts large numbers, with a hefty dose of New Year Resolutions coming into play. This year “only” 525 people embarked on the 5k course. To put that in context, the 500 threshold was first exceeded in 2017, and only on three occasions, followed by 6 times in 2018, with three of those 6 in January. Both our 2019 parkruns so far have attracted over 500 participants and that number starts to put pressure on resources.
This week Run Director Andy Caie introduced two innovations. The first was a start whistle, which was very favourably received by those who like to set their watches and often have difficulty hearing a shouted “go” over the excited barking dogs.
But much more importantly, Andy started the pre-run briefing by asking us all to raise our left hand into the air. No, this was not the start of a mass hokey-cokey to get us all warmed-up on a slightly grey and chilly January morning. It was an introduction to a Richmond parkrun innovation, called “left hand out please for the finish token”.
The biggest pinch point at parkrun comes at the finish funnel, at the point of handing out the finish tokens. Applying “lean” methodology, it is obvious that making the finish token stage more efficient will speed up the whole process through the funnel. If we all hold out our left hand to receive our finish token we can help to speed up the funnel and avoid bottlenecks. Many of us managed our task quite well as illustrated below!
The other strain on resources is of course the number of volunteers needed, which increases as the number of participants swells. We are lucky at Richmond as we do not need to have marshals positioned along the course. It is difficult to get lost on a simple one lap course, with a lead bike, large number of participants, and a tail walker. But the more people who take part, the more volunteers are required for other tasks: token sorting for one. So if the numbers continue to increase, the number of people who volunteer must also increase. Have you volunteered yet? If not, why not?
So a big thank you to this week’s volunteers: Andrew RAE • Andy CAIE • Carol AIKIN • Christopher COOPER • Edward FRANCIS • Ela SLONINA • Esther BLURTON • Euan LEES • Gordon BARNES • Hadi KHATAMIZADEH • Jackie BRADMAN • John CHEAL • John GRAHAM • Juliette COOPER • Lucy WESTENBERGER • Mabel CROSSLEY • Nicky ALLISON • Patricia AINLEY • Peter LOWMAN • Peter MCCLOSKEY • Phillip DAVIES • Rosie LEYDEN • Serge LOURIE • Simon CLARKSON • Simon MORSE • Sonia KOHOL • Steve THOMAS • Suzanne BAKER • Suzie RYLATT • Val LOWMAN • Wonderbrawn BROWN.
Here are our volunteer token sorters busy at work:
Now for the statistics:
First male finishers: Dan Higgins (VM40-44) in 17.01, with Paulino Macias (VM45-49) in 17.29 and Hamish Waring (SM30-34) in 17.43.
First female finishers: Celia Waring (SW30-34) in 21.12, closely followed by Alison Waters (SW30-34) in 21.23 and Propella Woodward Gentle (SW25-29) in 21.44.
Best age grades: bucking the usual trend, three of the top four age grades this week, all over 80%, were males: Paulino Macias on 81.70%, Martin Owen (WM55-59) on 80.44%, and Dan Higgins on 80.22%.
Number of participants: a lot: 525 to be precise.
Number of first timers at Richmond: 91
Number of people completely new to parkrun: 45. Well done for joining us and please come back.
Number of PBs: 48, including Simon West with a PB on parkrun number 135 (5 at Richmond) and Jennifer Koontz on run number 131 (40 at Richmond), right down to many (too numerous to pick out) running their second or third parkrun. In what looks like a family PB, we had Martha Ground (JW10), Alex Ground (VW40-44), and Matthew Ground (JM11-14) all achieving a PB on run number 6 or 7. Well done the Grounds! As for age, there were several more PBs for 11-14 year olds, many 50-55 year olds, and Wilma Roest (VW55-59) on run number 36.
Landmark runs: three people joined the 50 club this week: Sarah Bruce, Samuel Ratzer with a new PB, and Jim Lorimer. Jim actually ran his 50th on New Year’s Day, but forgot his athlete bar code. He is one of many grateful to parkrun for getting him off the couch, and also encouraging his son to start running. And a big shout for two tremendous achievements: Tim Collins on run number 300 (216 at Richmond) and Lesley Helen Foote on run number 100 on foot (!). Many will know that Lesley regularly volunteers as lead bike; she has 153 credits on wheels, including one already in 2019. Thank you from us all.
It being the first Saturday of the month, we had pacers. This is one area where there seemed to be plenty of willing volunteers, and the number of PBs may have reflected the invaluable help the pacers provided to their fellow participants. What is the preferred pacing technique? Should pacers target finishing exactly in their pacing time, or aim to be a little faster,on the theory that this helps those targeting the magic figure to get a time inside their target? This week’s pacers did a great job, and some were scarily close to their magic number. So thank you to all. Sadly for me, the only time I saw the 26 minute pacer was in the queue for barcode scanning!
Finally for this report, a plea from our Run Director: please note that is against park regulations to secure bicycles to park furniture: the wooden frames around trees included. Bicycles must be left against the railings close to Richmond Gate. Visitors will often not be aware, so please do pass this on if you see any before the start.
Richmond parkrun began on 20th October 2007. Since then, 21,458 runners have completed 160,217 runs, from 970 different clubs, with an average of 7.5 runs per participant. Between us, we have completed 801,085km and we have run for 8 years, 119 days, 31 mins and 16 secs. That is a lot of running.
So let us look forward to a healthy 2019, and adding to the totals next week. See you then.