By Anne NORMAN
So it’s still the start of the New Year, and another very busy parkrun this morning with 522 parkrunners and lots of pacers to help the new parkrunners along. Although some of you may have already discarded some 2018 New Year resolutions hopefully you are all carrying on with the resolution that resulted in you coming to parkrun for the first time. Whether that was to get fit, improve fitness, lose weight, drop a dress size or any other reason – hopefully you have enjoyed it so far despite the effort of getting up early on a Saturday morning to walk, jog or run 5k. And hopefully some of the “walk2run” parkrun newcomers are enjoying the experience and will continue with this wonderful Saturday morning activity.
It was good to see so many people at this morning’s parkrun and so many new visitors engaging in the “Walk2Run” initiative – I could tell by how busy the car park was when I arrived that there were going to be lots at parkrun this morning.
Having read last weeks run report from Liz Roberts, which was full of really useful advice for runners, new and old, I thought I would write about how I have just about managed to keep on with my parkrunning. I started parkrun to try to get fitter as I approach retirement. Apart from walking my two whippets; most of my work time is spent sitting at a desk staring at a computer screen and at home not a lot more active. So I thought it would be good to get up and start doing some exercise.
A number of my work colleagues and friends have been talking about parkrun for a couple of years – and I had absolutely no idea what they were talking about nor any interest in finding out. When I found out that it involved getting up early on a Saturday morning to run round for 5k I thought that that would be something I would absolutely never consider. Ever! But following some friends ill health issues caused by lack of exercise and staring at dumpy old me in the mirror and feeling my clothes gradually shrinking, decided maybe, just maybe – I would give it a go! Also meeting up with a long standing friend – Vasen that would be you – and being encouraged by him to come to Salisbury parkrun to give it a go provided some more inspiration to turn up.
So one Saturday morning last July, I set off for parkrun – making it a day when I knew some of my friends were off somewhere else and couldn’t see me panting round – or tell me off for not turning up! So got up really early for a Saturday to walk the whippets before setting off, feeling very unsure of exactly what I was getting myself into. But I thought that I could always walk past everyone and head back to the car park if I really, really didn’t like the look of this. But I got there and then had the first timers briefing by a lovely and very friendly lady (I think it was Lisa) who said “Three times round” several times, so I got that! Then we did a bit of stretching exercises and some chat and cheering for the various milestones that people had achieved from the Run Director and we were about ready for the off.
I made my way to about the back of the pack (definitely the place for me) and off we went. As I hadn’t done any preparation at all for this except to worry and think of excuses not to do it, I managed to jog a bit (about 100 yards) and then walk and jog and walk jog – repeat, repeat, etc. etc. till I got to the bit where I realised I had been round once – only 2 more to go. But after really struggling round the second and third laps, thinking I was never going to make it, I finally managed to get to the funnel, gasping, and managed to keep hold of my token, get to the token sorter with my bar code and get scanned for the first time. And several hours later, I received my first email congratulating me, letting me know that my time was 41.24 and my first Personal Best and a great sense of achievement too, that I had actually been and done this parkrun thing! Didn’t make me a runner but did make me a parkrunner!
However, I did chat to a lady who mentioned couch to 5k – so later that same first ever parkrun day, I downloaded the app to my phone and thought – I can do this. So over the next few weeks I gradually worked my way through the running events on the app. Carried on going to parkrun and managed to run a bit further every time until I actually managed to run round one lap without having to walk once. That was a great sense of achievement! I kept up with the Couch to 5k work which was quite daunting when I realised I had to run 20 minutes without stopping but again – felt great when I had managed it. But each parkrun I would always come to a point where I thought that I would have to stop, and it was a struggle to keep on going. As someone said to me, “parkrun never gets easier, it just gets faster”. But as you run towards the funnel and get your token, it does feel so good to have completed the run.
As I have a reputation for doing no exercise whatsoever, at work my boss offered me some encouragement by promising me a bottle of wine if I achieved a sub 30 minute parkrun. At that time I think I was doing parkruns in about 35 minutes, so that gave me further inspiration to get fitter and faster. So towards the end of September I joined a local running group – Sarum Sisters – which was and is great fun. I never thought I would ever join a running group, and shocked myself by actually turning up at Salisbury Five Rivers Leisure Centre at 6:20 on a Monday evening to take part in my first session. But thanks to all the lovely Sarum Sisters, Linda, Lou, Liz, Denise, Elly, Ali, Petra, Christine and everyone else there for such fun, support and encouragement. So I kept on parkrunning and Sarum Sisters sessions and my parkrun times started to come down until I had a fantastic time on the last parkrun of 2017 with some help from the marvellous runner and pacer – Terry Brown – and managed a time of 29.59!! Thank you very much – that wine was now mine.
So a wonderful end to the year and none of it would have been possible without parkrun. I cannot believe what an inspirational movement parkrun is. From one simple timed run 13 or so years ago in Bushy Park, to what it is today – it is truly awesome and has helped so many people achieve their goals. I wish I had started several years ago when I first heard about it.
Parkruns also wouldn’t be possible without all the efforts of the volunteers. So after a few parkruns I volunteered for some token sorting at Salisbury, which takes place at Starbucks on the Southampton Road, next to Next, sorted out by Denise who keeps us all on track.
There are quite a few volunteer roles – pre event set up and post event take down, time keeping, barcode scanning, token sorting and marshalling. Plus volunteer organising, first timers briefing and some others. I have so far volunteered for token sorting, marshalling, post event take down, tailwalking (and on Christmas day had fun tailwalking with my little whippet Ellie who dressed up as a whipelf for the occasion) and this is my first attempt at run report writing. They also have some wonderful pacers, Terry Brown being one of them but so many others – especially this morning with power walkers, and many different timed walk and jog pacers. Plus a 22 minute pacer who lapped me of course!
Salisbury seems to be very lucky with volunteers and we are also fortunate that we have Vasen as our volunteer Social Secretary who organises our social calendar which has so far included the Christmas meal, several Christmas drinks socials, and some social runs. With much more planned for 2018. This morning there was discussion over post parkrun tea and coffee of a visit to the new wine bar in Salisbury – Maul’s – so already looking forward to that. So if you are interested – visit the Salisbury volunteer page and volunteer.
So – this is my first run report effort – next time I may talk about what my whippets get up to when I go off to parkrun or the various tourist parkruns I have been to and compare the relevant parkrun cafes!
This week 522 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 58 were first timers and 58 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 21 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 41 beneficent volunteers:
James MILLS • Elizabeth ROBERTS • Elly MILLS • Jef HUTCHBY • Linda ROBSON • Jeanette HARDIMAN • Alison HOLLOWAY • Freya SAUNBY • John SOWRAY • Mark COLE • Lisa MILNER • Lizzie GUASCH • Vasen MOODLEY • Kathryn DREYER • Tim FRIEDLANDER • James BALLARD • Ali THEOBALD • Clare CLIFFORD • Terry BROWN • Lu YARWOOD • Lee SYRETT • Guy MITCHELL • Steven MITCHELL • Michael WINTER • Karen CRADDOCK • Maryke HILL • Edward MCPHERSON • Fiona KLEIN • Craig BURROWS • John DUFFY • Denise VON RORETZ • Christine ROMANO • Molly MAKIN • Madeleine QUIN • Veronica BOWMAN • Iris CHISHOLM • Alexander CHISHOLM • Alice DAVIES • Graham ROGERS • Valerie ROGERS • Anne NORMAN
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Salisbury parkrun Results Page.
The male record is held by Adrian MUSSETT who recorded a time of 15:23 on 8th August 2015 (event number 10).
The female record is held by Beatrice WOOD who recorded a time of 17:21 on 2nd September 2017 (event number 120).
The Age Grade course record is held by Beatrice WOOD who recorded 92.03% (17:21) on 2nd September 2017 (event number 120).
Salisbury parkrun started on 6th June 2015. Since then 6,583 participants have completed 47,398 parkruns covering a total distance of 236,990 km, including 10,091 new Personal Bests.