By Dr Polly JACOBS
Today Salisbury parkrun celebrated it’s 200th anniversary with 558 runners and walkers crossing the finish line! I remember with excitement the start up of Salisbury parkrun and taking my kids along to the first trials of the route in 2015 before the first official event started. In the beginning, we averaged 175 participants, by 2016 this had grown to 300 and in 2017 & 2018 the average participation number was 450. Although this year, the average turnout is 540, there have been two notable record turnouts of 610 and 617. What an awesome achievement!
It is hard to imagine that in 2004 when parkrun started the average finish time was 22:16. Since then, the average finish time has got slower every single year which I think is one of parkrun’s greatest achievements. By 2017 the average finish time had risen to 29:06. It’s not rocket science to work out that this is because of the inclusive nature of these events and how much parkrun welcomes people who are new to fitness and new to running and the brilliant presence of walkers alongside those running.
Last year, Salisbury Medical Practice became a “parkrun Registered Practice” and I am delighted that 14 members of our staff and their families were part of the volunteer team today. I love the community and friendship of parkrun, I love encouraging my kids to get around the course and I love the joy of a new PB (well done Cameron on your PB of 21:43 today!), but the thing that gives me the biggest high is seeing a patient turn up to parkrun for the first time after I've suggested it to them in a consultation. To be honest, the even greater high is when they come back again the week after, realising I wasn’t lying and that it’s not an event exclusive to seasoned runners! Much as the course can feel busy at times with the need to overtake or be overtaken. I love the opportunity this presents to encourage faster and slower runners on the way around.
parkrun is probably one of my most frequent “prescriptions” and for many people I think the benefit of exercise, being outdoors, friendship and community probably has far more to offer than some drugs, and for those needing medication it is a fantastic add on. I am probably a little biased, but having experienced a few parkruns around the country I honestly think Salisbury is the most welcoming and friendly I’ve ever encountered and there are some incredible unsung volunteer heroes that give their time week after week to create this atmosphere. It’s notable that some parts of our course are even named after the marshals that are almost always at that point in the route. The frequent presence of CoSARC members and Sarum Sisters to pace and volunteer and even yarnbomb the park brings the different parts of our running community together.
Let’s keep encouraging more people to come. Let’s continue to make Salisbury a truly welcoming and inclusive parkrun and let’s get that average finish time even slower this year to prove that we’ve introduced even more people who are new to fitness to this remarkable free event.
Here’s to another 200 Salisbury parkruns!!
This week 558 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 38 were first timers and 73 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 30 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 45 volunteers:
James MILLS • Elizabeth ROBERTS • Elly MILLS • Andy ROBBINS • Jef HUTCHBY • Jeanette HARDIMAN • Polly JACOBS • Michael BECKETT • John SOWRAY • Matthew WHICHER • Lisa MILNER • Lizzie GUASCH • Melody BROWN • Penny ALVIS • Chris COLLETT • James BALLARD • Alison MORRIS • Terry BROWN • Judy BURNS • Michael WINTER • Jackie HASSAN • Katy LEE • John DUFFY • Joseph DUFFY • Andrew WEBB • Denise VON RORETZ • Christine ROMANO • Christine WEBB • Alissa CHISHOLM • Colin MARTIN • Anne NORMAN • Nicola COOMBS • Lorna WILSON • Wendy HERBERT • Katherine HERBERT • Daniel HENDERSON • Robert LANGHAMMER • David HINER • Jane CUTLER • Martin JUHASZ • Katy GILLINGHAM • Hannah HARRISON • Toni CULL • Lisa NEWMAN • Andrew LEE
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 16:56 on 26th May 2018 (event number 157).
The Age Grade course record is held by Beatrice WOOD who recorded 92.81% (16:56) on 26th May 2018 (event number 157).
Salisbury parkrun started on 6th June 2015. Since then 8,874 participants have completed 72,920 parkruns covering a total distance of 364,600 km, including 13,961 new Personal Bests. A total of 653 individuals have volunteered 6,658 times.