A massive attendance record at Shorne Woods on New Year’s Day morning - 449 finishers which is 67 more than the total who ran here on the previous two Saturday's combined, and 75 more than the previous record set on New Year's Day last year. The top four events in the attendance records have all been on New Year's Day. The reason of course is that on New Year's Day Shorne Woods hosts a parkrun for its own loyal crowd, for those from nearby parkruns like Great Lines that don't have a New Year's Day parkrun AND timed to enable runners from Maidstone and other parkruns that do, to do a New Year's Day double - permitted by parkrun HQ.
Thanks to Hannah Perrin, we can see where the parkrunners in Kent went on NYD!
Now for those reading this who weren't there on New Year's Day I will describe the scene for you as the start time of 10:30 approached. Around 450 of us were squeezed together on the path ahead of the start line. The path was firm underfoot…apart from the inch of water between the foot and the firm path. Off the path was different and difficult - at best soft and in many cases downright muddy and treacherously slippery. As Jonathan started to address us supercooled water droplets started descending upon us from the heavens. Our thoughts quickly turned to the café with its hot beverages and bacon sandwiches. This meant that when Jonathan called out for those with an event to celebrate there was an uncharacteristically unchivalrous "Shush - don't tell him Pike" from more than one voice and no one came forward.
But that did get us started and hence back to the café a couple of minutes earlier so hopefully we can be forgiven. HOWEVER A BIG SHOUTOUT here and now to the youngsters Megan BATCHELOR, Yozanne TERRY, Matthew FOOKS and Henry WILLIAMS for running their tenth parkruns with Megan and Henry achieving PBs as well. Amongst the adults Biju SINGH and Andrew WALKER ran their 50th parkruns and John CROCKFORD and Paul MOAKES ran their 100th. Each of those four were doing their second parkrun of the day after Maidstone - see below. Oh and for completeness note that Des EHRICH and Claire GREEN were doing their 101st runs at Shorne Woods having done their 100th earlier in the day at Maidstone. Biju was a first timer here - one of 130 in total (Becky BAXTER and Sian THOMAS gave the First Timers briefing to about twenty of us - "There must be more" they said to each other but perhaps the other 110 were stuck in the mud away from the briefing point). Of the First Timers, 17 were brand new to parkrun - making a fine start on their New Year's Resolutions - hopefully we'll see most of you again next Saturday or a Saturday soon after.
The lead two runners didn't present barcodes at the end. Given the speed they were travelling when they overtook me, just a short way into my second lap, I'd like to think that these were potential Olympians defying their coaches orders by running the parkrun in these conditions - and hence not wanting to get their IDs in the results. Ed PETERS was third in 18:12 (PB) which I think is a very impressive time considering the number of us he must have had to overtake during his second and third laps. Oliver HORNE was first junior in 19:42 and first women and junior was Rebecca BURFORD in 20:31. Top Age Grade was Noel LYONS with 79.50%. 40 runners set new PBs in what were not the best of conditions - another 234 didn't set PBs though some came close – for instance Celia POKE was just one second down on her best and, since that was set a few years ago, she can celebrate setting a new Age Grade best (there are some advantages in getting older!) 163 of the parkrunners at Shorne Woods had already run a parkrun earlier at Maidstone.
Two runners, Daniel Smith and Gary Smith, tried to get me confused on this check - each of them had an identically named runner also running at Maidstone, both Daniels also ran at Shorne Woods! Too many Smiths spoil the broth or at least make the results analysis difficult. Anyway, of the 163 there were 36 who managed to run Shorne Woods faster whereas 127 ran it slower. William JONES was the most consistent running Shorne Woods just two seconds slower than Maidstone. Some parkrunners play a game called parkrun Bingo each calendar year - the aim is to fill in a row or column on a bingo card with the seconds from "00" to "59" from each of your parkrun results. Nick FARRANT, Mick BARLOW and Gavin CRICKETT have got off to a poorer than expected start - their times had the same number of seconds at each of Maidstone and Shorne Woods. There may have been runners who had done a different first parkrun than Maidstone - well done to them and apologies for not mentioning them here but the link between parkruns results has to be done manually so I've only done it for the major pairing - other than for the one additional case below.
The most experienced parkrunner in the field was, well, myself - Roderick HOFFMAN. This was my 281st run, almost 50 more than the next most experienced, and my 225th different parkrun (yes, that's right, I'm not often found in the same place twice). New Year's Day is a particular challenge for serial parkrun tourists like me (there are many of us these days - I'm only twenty first in the all-time list). Last New Year I enjoyed running at Maidstone and went on from there to Canterbury - Shorne Woods was my reserve venue in case there was a delay at Maidstone. This year my first parkrun was at a muddy Castle Park (Bishop's Stortford), my unused reserve was Great Cornard but with a prompt departure I was able to make it to Shorne Woods in plenty of time for the start.
What I love about what I do is that every parkrun is different whilst, at the same time, every parkrun is the same (the same process, the same warm welcome etc.). Shorne Woods is most definitely different but I suspect that, although I enjoyed the experience immensely, I didn't catch it at its best today. In a warmer and dryer month, and with a smaller field, I would expect the parkrun to be different again and better. Sadly the likelihood of me getting an opportunity to run that parkrun is slim - I'm a bit like the Ancient Mariner condemned to sail the oceans and never finding a home port. But I will be looking for the opportunity to perhaps drop in on Shorne Woods for a second, freedom, run one Saturday - say on my way back from Whitstable that I've yet to run. So if in the Spring after a regular parkrun, from the upper floor of the Visitor Centre Café, you spot a lone runner running three times round the course loop - it could be me!
Finally a big thank you from me, and probably all the runners, to Jonathan and his team of 27 volunteers for hosting this event and to the café for serving so many bacon sandwiches afterwards.
With much thanks to Roderick for a fantastic run report, along with all of this week's superstar volunteers, for not only a cracking New Year's day parkrun, but retaining their parkrun spirit throughout the slightly damp & squidgy parkrun!
This week's stars were:
Alex BRAGIN • Amanda Louise CROWLE • Andrew PATERNOSTER • Becky BAXTER • Daniel GOODBARNE • David REID • Dawn GRANGER • Gary GROUTAGE • Graham WRIGHT • James GOSTICK • James MCCAFFEREY • Jonathan CROWLE • Keith RITCHIE • Ken PHILLIPS • Lesley WRIGHT • Margaret ALLEN • Martin FLYNN • Matthew BAXTER • Peter GRANGER • Phillipa VEITCH • Roderick HOFFMAN • Sian THOMAS • Stephen CASON • Thomas ALLEN • Tracy BROOKS • Vicki DENNY • Victoria GILSON
And so to other news........
Other than at Shorne, where can you find us: As well as finding us at Shorne Woods Country park each Saturday @ 9am you can find us on facebook, twitter, and now on Instagram, as well as news & photos on here.
Milestone T-shirt update
For anyone waiting on their milestone tee / and for an update on what's happening with the milestone t-shirts in the future, please see the following announcement.
For those of you new to parkrun, there are different milestones that are recognised with a free (yes free!) t-shirt. For walk/jog/running your weekly 5km parkrun, your 10th (juniors only) 50th, 100th, 250th & 500th all receive a t-shirt, while for volunteering 25 times you also get a t-shirt. And just in case you're wondering, 13 people have run/walked or jogged over 500 parkruns, with the highest at over 640!
Thanks to everyone who joined us for the first parkrun of 2018, you helped make yesterday a fantastic event! Look forward to seeing you again soon.