parkrun - it's a people thing
Four years ago when I completed my first parkrun (staggering across the line and muttering 'never again, this is mad') I wouldn't remotely have imagined joining a running club. Running clubs are for "runners" aren't they? And I'm most certainly not "a runner". In fact I look on with something approaching awe at the speed, fitness and endurance of some of the "runners".
After several parkruns, however, the odd solo practice jog/stagger/limp during the week just wasn't the same. There's something uplifting about being with so many other like minded people. So it was with some trepidation (and a lot of encouragement from other Tring parkrunners) that I joined Tring Running Club. There I discovered not just "runners" but "everybody"; people of all ages, abilities, motivations. It was great.
The Clubs aren't perhaps right for everyone, but we enjoy a happy symbiosis. Their "Couch to 5K" and "learn to run" sessions result in more parkrunners, and parkrunners that "get the bug" often go on to great things in the clubs (the wonderful Lynda HEMBURY being a great example).
In recent run reports we've not given much attention the clubs - this week will be different.
Join the club
This week 253 people ran, jogged and walked our Thing Park course, of whom 69 were first timers and 47 recorded new Personal Bests (more on these later). Over a third of the attendees were associated with 30 different Running Clubs (and a fair proportion of these joined clubs after parkrun and not the other way round).
Tring Running Club brought 35 people (we usually have a dozen or so, at least) to use Tring parkrun as the seventh of twelve local, off-road events spanning the year and ranging in distance from 5k to 20k.
They completed our undulating course in times varying from a very speedy Chris BOOTH (19:33) to times twice as long. Any time is better than no time, of course.
A large contingent from Harpenden joined us, roughly half of whom have run at Tring before, with 6 clocking PB times. Notable amongst these was junior Sam CLARKE. He celebrated his 100th parkrun on his second appearance at Tring - his 50th was at Tring too! In addition Sam has completed 26 Junior parkruns, and visited 74 other parkrun venues. Impressive commitment.
Fron Welwyn Garden City we welcomed a large group from the Garden City Runners. We've been joined by runners from this club before, although this week everyone was a Tring first-timer. We liked their website motto "Have fun, make friends and get fit". That's what it's all about.
Our three significant club visits contributed to our 69 very welcome first timer visitors. A special mention to Mark WATERHOUSE, Emily WOOLHOUSE, Rob LAFERTON, Jamie WEST, Chloe TIMMS, Julian ARMSTRONG, Clare TIMMS, Marcus LITTLER, Paul TIMMS, Ed FARROW, Jack FISHER and Bethan STANWAY who all completed their very first ever parkruns, and we hope to see all of them again soon.
We've already mentioned Sam CLARKE (who joined the 100 club). In addition Daniel PUDNER visited Tring for the first time and recorded his 50th parkrun (at his 43rd parkrun venue!).
Junior runners Ben WOODHAMS and Darcey HUDGHTON both joined the 10-club and qualify for their free, white parkrun T-shirt. Ben marked the occasion with a PB too.
Well done to all.
Pacers, PBs and other good stuff
The famous Tring parkrun stat-o-matic is taking a well deserved summer break and so I'll keep the final points short.
We often get a lot of PBs during Pacer weeks (which are the first Saturday of each even numbered month, in case you were wondering). Our Pacer team got to wear our new sky blue pacer bibs - so much easier than messing around with safety pins (not sure why they call them "safety" as they still stab your fingertips!) and laminated pace sheets.
I'm sure that we had many epic PB achievements (the stat-o-matic picks those up normally) but one that got my attention was by Dave LLEWELLYN who also, with 367, had the highest number of parkruns of anyone at Tring. Dave earned a PB after 6 runs at Tring, his previous best time was set at our inaugural run back in November 2014. This week he finished in a time of 24:25 - more than four minutes faster than his last at Tring in December 2017. Great stuff.
James BUIS is also worth a mention; he was both a Tring First Timer and also our First Finisher with an impressive time of 18:18. James has completed 15 different parkruns and has been first finisher in all but 3 (when he was 2nd!).
Yet again our three top age/sex adjusted finish times went to the ladies. Lynda HEMBURY (88.07%), Alison Caroline HARDING (78.21%) and Sheila TURNER (76.69%) respectively.
This week's parkrun was brought to you by
Special thanks to all of our volunteers, including our Pacers. This week they were: John BEVAN, Louise BROOKES, Melanie BROOKMAN, William BROOKMAN, Scott CLARKE, Samuel CLARKE, Andy COLLINGS, Ken DOUGLAS, Grace FENSOME, Dawn FIGG, George FLETCHER, James FOSKETT, Jennifer GRIBBIN, Claire HALLISSEY, Graham HOLLANDS, Angela HOLLANDS, Edward HOPPER, Richard LONG, Jane MARTIN, Rhona MCKEE, Patrick MCLOUGHLIN, Clare MURPHY, Richard MURPHY, Chris NICHOLLS, Christopher QUELCH, Dennis RAFFETY, Charlotte SEVERS, Keith STONESTREET, Ella VAN DE LINDE, Gavin WILD, Victoria WILLIAMS, Katie WILLIAMS, Allison WILLIMENT and Ron YAXLEY