by Stephen Wilson
When I asked at the briefing how many people were doing their first ever parkrun, probably half a dozen hands were sheepishly raised. Checking the results, we had 52 people doing their first ever parkrun. Which is a fantastic number! You’re a shy and modest bunch. Anyway we are so pleased to have you and welcome you to a whole new world of running. We hope that you’ll keep up the park running, chase those PBs every week, make new friends, huddle round after being scanned and chew the fat on how the run went, try some volunteering and do some tourism – it’s astonishing how many parkruns there are around the country and around the world.
Schools’ Christmas holidays are now over, if you’re not back to work already, you probably are on Monday. So it’s back to normal after some serious over indulgence during the festive period, and I’m not talking about food, sweets or alcohol, but 5 parkruns in the last 2 weeks, or 6 if you did the NYD double! Not sure about you all, but if you told me 8 years ago I’d be doing something like that, I’d think you were mad.
The numbers over that time have been incredible: 445, 648, 515, 656, 638. It’s a lot of people poised to parkrun at the start area.
After the start it’s a quick march across the Knavesmire for the volunteers, if you are to get back to the finish line in time to see the front runners come flying through the funnel for the first time. It’s an incredible sight, standing on the finish line, watching the never-ending stream of determined but smiling faces come around on the first lap. Intently following pacers, breathing heavily, shedding jackets and tops, thanking volunteers, high fiving family and friends, checking their pace – 1 lap to go. Marshals clapping and directing as the runners leave the home straight and when you pass the sandy mountain at the 3k mark.
Eventually the large clusters stop, the runners passing thin out and, as the tail walker approaches, we see the front runners haring down the home straight, putting every last bit of effort into a Usain Bolt type sprint for the line, PB in mind. Come on Robbie, come on Chris, come on Laurence, you can catch him :-). Come on Heather, you’ve got it! The timers are pressing button B ever more rapidly as many pairs of legs come hurtling over the line. The funnel managers imploring exhausted runners to keep moving through the funnel, to stay in order, when all they want to do is come to an abrupt halt, check the watch and either feel the glory or chalk it down to progress for next weeks attempt. Most of the funnel managers aren’t sadists, they just need to make sure the queues for tokens don’t back up to the finish line. Hopefully just before it’s about to back up, it’s time to start a second funnel queue and direct runners to the left or right of the finish line – letting one side clear before letting the other side through. The volunteers with the position tokens are dishing them out as quick as they possibly can, “there you go”, “well done”, P001, P002, …, P007, P101, …, P256, …
Behind them the bank of barcode scanners, scanning your crumpled pieces of paper, laminated cards, plastic tokens, black, purple, grey, pink, orange, green and white wrist bands. Giving you back your parkrun ID for next week and taking back those hard-earned position tokens.
If the barcodes don’t scan it’s through to the “unscannables” volunteer to write down your details for manual processing.
All being well, all of the data from the timers and the scanners can be uploaded and then processed on the parkrun web site and eventually you get a time and a position. However, with the sheer volume of runners things can go awry. Funnel duckers – someone who runs over the line, gets a timer click, but evades the funnel managers and doesn’t take a token, as immortalised in that old Wurzels song “I’m not a funnel ducker, I’m a funnel duckers son and I’m running ducking funnels till the funnel duckings done”. This means we have more times than runners in positions, and the person behind them will get the duckers time. Or maybe there was a bunch of 6 runners coming across the line at the same time, and the timers have to ask themselves one question, “Did I click 6 runners or only 5, do I feel lucky, well do I punk?”. So we may have 1 less time than runners, and subsequent runners would get what should have been the time of the runner behind them. This and other things can happen more than once. This is why we have a third timer independently writing down times of around twenty runners they recognise, which we can then use to check for discrepancies in the main results and if need be make adjustments as best we can. All of the volunteers are what make parkrun happen, so many thanks to this weeks 33!
Now to the runners. 638 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 113 were first timers and 58 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 38 different clubs took part.
First home for the men was Robbie Brown in 16:02, and for the ladies it was Heather Corden in 20:01. Well done to them and all of the other runners who followed.
There were a few milestones this week. Lynn Stannard reached 300 runs, the first of those who started parkrunning at York to reach that number. Kevin Armstrong did his 100th run. Paul Hodgson (our course measurer), Paul Foster, Carl Wain, and Dave Turnbull earned their red t-shirt with 50.
Don’t forget it’s a milestone for York parkrun itself this coming Saturday the 12th January – it’s the 7th anniversary of it starting. Wohoo!
The event was made possible by the following volunteers.
Jane LAWSON • Clare MOFFATT • Stephen WILSON • Michael MCGRATH • Nick GRIFFIN • John REEVELL • Adrian STIPETIC • Laura SCHOFIELD • Andy HEPPELL • Richard PENNY • David CHRYSSIDES • Kirsty HENDERSON • Stuart LESLIE • Barbara GRIFFIN • Camilla GRAYLEY • Liz PIPER • Linda GREWER • Graham WALTON • Pauline REEVELL • Alex LEWRY • Aoife BURKE • Alan WILKINSON • Ellie PAGE • Graham ROBERTSON • Jonathan SMITH • Mervyn LEWIS • Laura BOOTLAND • Dominic MANTLE • Paul FOSTER • Jonny REEP • Daniel ROWLEY • Eoin JAMES KILBANE • Elaine DANBY
Anyone who would like to help can let us know on Facebook, or e-mail (email@example.com), or by chatting to the run director at parkrun on Saturday morning. Volunteering genuinely is as much fun as running, and if you want to help we’d love to have you.
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the York parkrun Results Page.
The female record is held by Laura WEIGHTMAN who recorded a time of 16:12 on 12th March 2016 (event number 190).
The male record is held by Graham RUSH who recorded a time of 14:37 on 19th August 2017 (event number 253).
The Age Grade course record is held by Angela OLDHAM who recorded 97.59% (21:25) on 17th November 2018 (event number 308).
York parkrun started on 14th January 2012. Since then 17,339 participants have completed 112,114 parkruns covering a total distance of 560,570 km, including 19,133 new Personal Bests. A total of 861 individuals have volunteered 6,947 times.