Ashford parkrun celebrated it’s 300 event on Saturday 1st September with 278 enthusiastic participants running, jogging and walking the 5k course around Victoria Park.
There were 13 first timers registered in the results, (although many more at the first timers’ briefing), and we welcomed some visitors from other Kent parkruns, as well as tourists from Surrey and Sussex, and a couple who travelled further afield from Liverpool and Guernsey.
We had 165 male runners this week and 113 ladies, although this included 21 unknown runners.
A whopping 29 of you celebrated running a new PB, that’s over 10% of Saturday’s runners!!!
This week Ben Williams was first to cross the line in 17:22 with Janusz Latala just behind in 17:39. Jonathan Rutland took third position in 18:06. First lady home was Jenny Wilton in 23:06, followed by Karla Larnder in 23:44 and Pippa Scott-Haynes who took third place for the ladies in 24:35.
Gordon Steadwood of Ashford AC and junior runner Molly Clark celebrated their 100 milestone runs and Joe Brewer of 26.2 RRC notched up his 250th parkrun. Well done to all of you!
It is really good talking to new runners and tourists at our First Timer’s briefing and telling them about our course at Ashford. It’s great to be able to tell them all that the course is generally flat and on pathways through the park and that we all start with a nice gentle downhill stretch, to the lovely fountain – which I discovered during marshalling near it on Saturday morning is actually called the Hubert Fountain and originated in France. It arrived in Ashford in 1912 when it was eventually bought by a local art dealer George Harper and installed in the park by Ashford Urban district council.
My description of our parkrun course continues for our first timers and I enjoy telling everyone that we run along the Stour pathway to the “far point” where they will find plenty of trees to offer them a little shade in the warmer conditions. However I have also noticed from taking the briefings that when I mention “The Hill” their expressions change somewhat… especially when I then give everyone the good news that they have to do it all over again!
One of the things that makes Ashford parkrun so special and that has helped achieve the milestone of 300 runs is our amazing team of volunteers. It’s great to run but it’s also great to be part of the high-viz heroes and I really enjoy cheering everyone on, and especially seeing the faces of those who were at the First Timer’s briefing when they cross the finish line at their first ever parkrun – the sense of achievement and pride is fantastic.
If you’ve ever thought about volunteering but haven’t got around to it so far then I’d encourage you to speak to one of the team and give it a go! There are plenty of roles to choose from and you can even do more than one if you like – I managed 4 this week with the First Timer’s briefing, marshalling, sorting the finish tokens and writing the report. Phew!
And of course everyone is welcome to come across to the Picturehouse afterwards for coffee where we do the result processing and token sorting each week – why not come and join us!