Whiteley’s 54th parkrun saw an incredible 280 runners complete the course on Saturday 14th April - with 54 first timers. After last week’s great first birthday, today did not disappoint either. This was only my second time running the Whiteley course, and my 5th run at any parkrun. I’ve volunteered so many times purely as an excuse to avoid the run, but today was a really nice run and I managed to have the team’s very own Hannah Mitchell cheer me on as we ran the course together.
A big thank you to those who were up early to set up the course: Geoff Collins (who’s never had a lay-in since the beginning of parkrun), Ian Pierce, Jack Goozee, Jon Leigh and Hannah Mitchell. Today’s Run Director was everyone’s favourite Event Director Martin de Wied, welcoming everyone warmly and congratulating our regular group of volunteers and the core team, Danielle Cranstone (token sorter for the day), Richard Jacks (on finish tokens), the iconic father and son duo Scott & Harvey Spafford (timekeeper and barcode scanning) and also Natasha Cowan (timekeeper) and Lucy Collins (also on finish tokens) and Lisa Collins (Scanning). Today’s First Time Briefing was done by Helen Benson who also marshalled at the turning point with her son Kieran.
The first person to cross the line was Mark Chamberlain who finished in an incredible 18:00 and managed to confuse everybody by presenting his young sons barcode and obtaining a world record time for an under 10 year old! The first lady was the great Nikki Roebuck of Stubbington Green who finished in 20:06.
Big thanks to Nikki’s daughter Freya Roebuck and dog Rocky who cheered everyone on at the finish line as everyone was finishing their first and second laps.
We started exactly at 9:00am and luckily by then the fog had gone away and the course was clear. Everyone started well including tailwalker Hazel Whiteland (a RunVerity member like me) alongside her son Thomas Whiteland. A big thanks to all the marshals including Liz Roberts and Sue Smith, and especially our mate Kieran Benson who is a regular junior runner at parkrun and did a great job with his mum.
It’s sound to see how many families run this course and how many junior runners there are, as well as junior volunteers. My dad Del Granger ran with a buggy holding my younger siblings Jake (age 2) & Skye (age 4) Granger, managing to achieve a time of 27:26.
Whilst Martin was introducing the “parkrunners on tour” from other parkruns (whether they be Netley Parkrun or somewhere not so local), a good mate of mine Harvey Spafford and I jokingly put our hand up to point out that we’d travelled all the way from Caraway and Lovage Road (roughly 100m away). Whilst this was a joke, we are very lucky to have such a popular and family-friendly 5K right on our doorstep.
Today was a great run and I managed to get my Whiteley PB of 31:27 which I’m buzzing with. After everyone had finished Jack & Rachel Goozee, Geoff Collins and I closed the course down. By the time we’d finished I had to run off to Coast to Coast to grab my bacon butty. Sorry guys.
Well done to everyone who ran today - see you all next week! Ryan!