Many thanks to regular Matt Brown for this week's run report.
Just after 08:30, people started emerging from all corners of the park. All heading for the regular meeting point at the top of the hill, sat in the shadow of the former stately home.
As the clock ticked ever closer, more and more came, neither of whom were put off by the somewhat dramatic weather. When the clock finally did strike 09:00, we ran, and the multi-coloured crowd moved swiftly down into the trees, kicking up dust as they went.
This is Upton House and it's my home parkrun.
I've been running at parkrun now for about 4 years, but only actually registered as a New Year's Resolution to myself after constant nagging from a friend. When the Run Director calls out for those doing a noteworthy run, I often wonder just how many I've done. I've been lucky to run a few different courses and when I moved here from the capital, I used to run at Poole. In time I got increasingly frustrated by the sheer size of the field and soon after parkruns started at Upton House, I found myself drawn to this undulating picturesque park, set in the grounds of a former stately home.
I love the course here. It's the mix of hills, trees and open spaces that make it a thoroughly good course to run. Its layout allows runners of all abilities to gain victories, no matter how big or small for themselves at each event. In my eyes, it's the perfect place to run.
Today's run (Sat 13 October) was nicely nestled in between two strong storm fronts and apart from some wispy rain at around 08:40, the run itself was dry, albeit a fraction windy.
Early on I spotted Mark. An avid volunteer, he was proudly wearing his new eggplant coloured volunteer shirt and it's often his wife who acts as part of our regular photography team. I'm unsure how, but no matter who is the run photographer, they always seem to capture me at my most 'unphotogenic'. Surely it can't be me, can it?
Mark is many things to me; my target, my competition but above all, my friend. For me, our friendship is what parkrun is about. Friends, challenges and accomplishments all crammed into 30-odd minutes of running on a Saturday morning.
After 2 weeks volunteering, recovering from an ankle injury gained on the afternoon after I matched my PB, I knew I wasn't going to set the world on fire and I just wanted to be there, doing what I could.
I started at the back and took it very steady, settling in to a steady rhythm. All the volunteer marshals were there, cheering us on and if I came up upon a runner who was struggling, I'd do my best to join in the chorus of support as sometimes it's all you need to spur yourself on to achieving new heights and setting that new PB.
As expected, with about a KM to go, the protests from my ankle were too loud to ignore and I had to walk. Walking up that final hill at Upton is normally quite a brutal experience and the culmination of pushing both body and mind to your personal limits. But today, it was literally a walk in the park.
The people sat on the benches still clapped me, the volunteers and my fellow runners still cheered me. I crossed the line and did my best Roger Bannister impression with a huge smile on my face just because. I collected my token, scanned my barcode and thanked the volunteers.
This is Upton House and it's my home Parkrun for a reason.
The event was made possible by 34 volunteers:
Andy WELLINGTON • Michele WHITEHURST • Philip WHITEHURST • Mike BARRON • Denise DAY • Leila WHITTLE • Kevin DAY • Rose CLARKE • Elliot CLARKE • Julie GOSLING • Kate HUGHES • Morag DAY • Liahm YARD • Helen RICHARDS • Karila FAULKNER • Laura ELFES • Philip BENHAM • Graham FORD • Rick BOVILL • Alex BARRETT • Scott WINTHROP • Aileen BARROW • Kyrstie WALTERS • Mark GALPIN • Sarah LANHAM • Robert GRAHAM • Matthew BROWN • Grace MORRISON • Les BONIFACE • Georgia BULL • Tesni DILLON-WHITE • Helen BULL • Chris ELFES • Tom RAWLINGS
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Upton House parkrun Results Page.
The female record is held by Emily HUTCHINSON who recorded a time of 18:57 on 25th August 2018 (event number 63).
The male record is held by Jacek CIELUSZECKI who recorded a time of 16:01 on 29th September 2018 (event number 68).
The Age Grade course record is held by Caroline HORDER who recorded 92.14% (22:41) on 13th January 2018 (event number 32).
Milestones this week: (100) Karen SMITH, (50) Nicky SADLER (new PB), (50) Ian ARLINGE, (10) Ethan FRANCIS.
Highest age grading: VM65-69 David CARTWRIGHT 21:21 (81.65%).
First home this week was Dominic MURRAY, a regular at Shrewsbury parkrun and close to completing his parkrun alphabet.
Upton House parkrun started on 3rd June 2017. Since then 4,611 participants have completed 17,189 parkruns covering a total distance of 85,945 km, including 3,616 new Personal Bests.