So, event number 402 has been and gone, and for the 16th time our first male finisher was running here for the first time. He is Jonathan Scott, and his time of 17:44 makes him the 115th fastest Ashton Court parkunner. That’s out of the 20,632 of us who’ve taken part here.
First time visitor first finisher Jonathan Scott, from Mile End parkrun (photo: Sarah Jones)
This was Jonathan’s 42nd parkrun. In 2nd place was Jago Betts, running his 4th parkrun; in 3rd place was Leon Chevalier, running his 2nd parkrun and his 1st here; and in 4th place was Stuart Barlow, also running here for the 1st time, in what was his 21st parkrun.
Jago’s previous best finish position was 10th, and he celebrated with a pb by 55 seconds, quite a leap when you’re running at Jago’s pace.
Leon Chevalier and Jago Betts, on their way to finishing 3rd and 2nd (photo: Sarah Jones)
Our first 3 female finishers’ family names all begin with the letter M. Laura Meech finished 1st for the 3rd time, Clare Meraz finished 2nd for the 2nd time, and Alex Moylett finished 3rd for the 2nd time. Oh, and Laura finished in 40th place, Clare in 61st, and Alex in 82nd, which is very neat!
First female finisher Laura Meech (photo: Sarah Jones)
2 of us achieved age grade scores above 80%. Carol O’Leary’s time of 24:47 gave her a score of 80.56%, and Pete Mountain’s 20:12 gave him a score of 80.21%. Pete then ran his customary 2nd lap, overtaking me as I approached the final bend for the 1st time. All 3 of us are in the 60-64 age category – although I’ll be moving up next month.
More 4s and 2s. 19 of us were running our 2nd parkrun, of whom 8 were running at AC for the 1st time. 13 of us were running our 4th parkrun, 3 being 1st time visitors to AC.
Plenty to talk about here! Sean Gregory's smiling really, and behind him Carol O'Leary is about to achieve the best age-grade score of the day, so we can forgive her a bit of a grimace! Next is Louisa Heyworth, enjoying her 2nd parkrun (the first was a week ago) and on her way to running 75 seconds quicker than in her 1st, and giving us a big wave is Sam Dobbie, who was going to get under 25 minutes for the first time in his 17 AC parkruns, knocking 39 seconds from his previous best of 25:25 (photo: Sarah Jones)
5 of us ran our 24th parkrun today, with a special mention for David Bassett, who finished our 402nd parkrun in 402nd place. And 2 of us ran our 42nd parkruns.
The 402nd finisher in our 402nd parkrun, David Bassett, seen here with daughter Anna, whose time of 33:15 was a pb by 2 minutes 22 seconds (photo: Sarah Jones)
There were 2 instances of people with the same name finishing 1 after the other. James Newcombe and James Saddler were in 38th and 39th positions respectively, and Michael Gorley and Michael Coupe finished in 220th and 222nd places, split only by an unknown runner.
co-Run Director Liz Hill prepares to brief some of our wonderful volunteers (photo: Sarah Jones)
Of the 90 personal bests achieved, 3 of them were parkrunners running 2 seconds quicker than before, and 2 of them by parkrunners who were 4 seconds quicker than before. Congratulations to James Brownlie, Nathan Lomax-Cooke, Antonia Gooder, Terry Offer and Rob Adams, and commiserations to Martin Morgan, who missed out on a pb by 4 seconds, and to the 4 of us who equalled their pbs; James Saddler, Robert Phillips, Dan Gingell and Seth Giddings.
No wonder Ruth Davies is smiling, she's about to beat 27 minutes for the first time. No pb since event 303 despite plenty of trying, until last week, when Ruth ran 4 seconds quicker than before, and then this week, when a 20 second reduction took her time down to 26:42 (photo: Sarah Jones)
One of the more eye-catching pbs belongs to Les McAllister. We don’t see Les every week, and today’s was his 70th parkrun here since our 86th event in January 2013. After that first visit, Les kept running faster for the next 8 events, achieving a pb each time and bringing his time down from 27:55 to 22:51. That last time was run in June 2013. And that was the only time Les beat 23 minutes, until last week, when he ran 22:45, and then today, when he finished in 22:33.
Ahead of the pack is Les McAllister, on his way to a pb of 22:33 (photo: Sarah Jones)
Antonia Gooder has run here 65 times since April 2015, and has run 8 pbs. At our 277th event she ran 23:14, and equalled that time at our 300th parkrun. At our 307th parkrun, in June 2017, Antonia beat that time by 8 seconds, and then today, at last, ran faster again, this time by 2 seconds, to bring her pb down to 23:04.
It’s always pleasing to write about someone who ran our first parkrun. Isabel Hoskin ran 6 of our first 7 parkruns and ran a pb in 4 of them. Since then Isabel’s run 49 more of our parkruns, with 3 more pbs. 1 was in October 2011, 1 was in January 2016 and today Isabel beat that previous best by 1 second, finishing in 25:28.
Congratulations to Les, to Antonia and to Isabel, and each of the other 87 parkrunners with new personal bests today.
On her way to reduce her pb by 1 single solitary second is Isabel Hoskin. Woo hoo! (photo: Sarah Jones)
I began my parkrun morning by briefing today’s first-timers. 86 of them at Ashton Court for the first time today, and 24 of them had never been to any parkrun before. 13 of our brand new parkrunners are female, 11 male. 1 is under 10, and 2 others under 18. The oldest is aged between 55 and 59 (which is young as far as I’m concerned), 4 are aged between 45 and 49, and 4 more between 35 and 39.
Enjoying her 21st parkrun is Barbara Brailey, with Ann-Marie and Simon Fitzgibbon also enjoying themselves (we hope) in their first ever parkruns (photo: Sarah Jones)
Amongst these brave newcomers was the 1st person called Malwina to run here, the 2nd Jono, the 3rd Stella (who with the biggest barcode number is the morning’s newest parkrunner), the 3rd Alessandra and the 150th Rebecca!
I hope you enjoyed your first experience of parkrun. You could hardly have chosen a better day for it, and of course I don’t think you could have found a better place. We’d all love to see you come back again soon.
Welcome to the first parkrunner named Malwina to visit Ashton Court parkrun, and it was also Malwina Sobińska's first ever parkrun (photo: Sarah Jones)
This brings me to the 2 x 2s, a 4 x 4 and even some 3 x 3s! These are our first-time visitors. I think pride of place should go to Stuart and Verena Eldon, who have now run 199 and 99 parkruns respectively. Their home is Tees Barrage parkrun in Stockton-on-Tees, which has an Infinity Bridge that doesn’t go on for ever! Wherever you run your 200th and 100th parkruns, I hope you have a fab morning.
On the left, from Tees Barrage parkrun, are Verena and Stuart Eldon (photo: Sarah Jones)
Other 2 x 2s included Robert Eagle and James Mochan from Yeovil Montacute parkrun. Ian Bird and Daniel Papura popped across from Swansea Bay parkrun, and Catherine and Graham Cutts are from Southend parkrun, at the opposite end of Wales and England. Jill Ellis and Holly Bagnall are at home at Hampstead Heath parkrun, and Catherine and William Ellis are from Brighton & Hove parkrun (and by the way, Catherine and William managed the very neat trick of finishing in 362nd and 326th places). Martin and Matthew Cowen’s home is Bracknell parkrun, and Ben and Joanna O’Connor’s is Alice Holt parkrun.
Coming in 3 x 3 were Adli, Jamal and Pete Jenkins from Bramhall Park parkrun, and Scarlett and Tynan Parker and Faith Buck from Highbury Fields parkrun. And joining us in their 4 x 4 from Southwick Country parkrun were Ashleigh and Ben Whitbread, Douglas McCrorie and Katie Jones.
This is Ben O'Connor, winner of this week's much sought after "what took you so long award" (no prize, it's just for fun!). Ben ran 270 parkruns elsewhere (224 of them at Alice Holt parkrun) before popping in to see us! Close behind is Ashton Court homie Bevan Dickerson (photo: Sarah Jones)
The furthest from home today were Nick Galpine, from Lonehill parkrun in Johannesburg, and Sheila Baicoianu from Taman Pudu Ulu parkrun in Malaysia. Sheila was missing the climate back in Malaysia.
There were many other visitors, from all sorts of places from Aylesbury to Wycombe Rye (which are only about 15 miles apart). I’m sorry I can’t mention you all. It was lovely to see you at Ashton Court, and please come back and see us again soon.
Sheila Baicoianu had come all the way from Taman Pudu Ulu parkrun in Malaysia, where the sun usually generates a little more heat than it was during our parkrun! (photo: Sarah Jones)
5 of our first-time visitors actually have Ashton Court parkrun as their home event but hadn’t run here before. This isn’t as unusual as it may seem, when the parkrunner concerned has only run a handful of events, as is the case with 3 of the 5, although I must mention Tash Taylor-Miller, whose 3 previous parkruns were all at Albert parkrun in Melbourne, which is one of my favourites and one that has been enjoyed by many of us from Ashton Court in the past. Not only that, but Tash is the first Tash to take part in our parkrun! Two of the others who came home for the first time are William Sorflaten, who before today had run 50 parkruns at 9 different locations, and Emily Russell, who had run 20 parkruns at 6 other events. Welcome home, William, Emily, Tash, Daisy and Bharat.
Here's William Sorflaten on his first run at his home parkrun (photo: Sarah Jones)
In keeping with our Lenten theme at Ashton Court of eating as little cake as possible (you did receive the memo didn't you?) there were just 2 milestones reached this morning. The first of the 2 happened quite early on, when the 6th placed parkrunner crossed the line. This was Edward Burke, and this was his 100th parkrun.
Just over halfway down the field of runners, in 279th place, came Patrick Winstone, who had run his 50th parkrun. As all of these have been at Ashton Court we’ll see more of Patrick in a moment.
About 500 metres remain for Edward Burke in his 100th parkrun, followed here by a runner without a barcode (photo: Sarah Jones)
Elsewhere in parkrun land, two of our lovely Chew Valley Snails completed their 100th parkruns. Caroline Harvey achieved this at Bushy parkrun – what a thrill! – and is definitely the first Ashton Court parkrunner to have run in any parkrun numbered 784! Caroline’s fellow Snail, Lindsey Cox, doesn’t actually call Ashton Court home, but she pops in now and again and has run with us 15 times. Lindsey completed her 100th event at Burnham and Highbridge parkrun.
Something we like to do at Ashton Court is keep count of how often we’ve all run up and down our lovely hill (I say that now, but this morning I had a different adjective in mind!).
Pride of place must go to Wendy Price, who completed her 250th Ashton Court parkrun today, finishing in 348th place. Wendy is the 8th Ashton Courtier to have achieved this.Quite by chance, 50 places ahead of Wendy was Michael Smith, who today ran Ashton Court for the 200th time. Michael’s the 28th parkrunner to have braved the hill 200 times.
Michael Smith will soon be replacing his 100 club t-shirt with a green 250 one. This was his 200th run here at Ashton Court (photo: Sarah Jones)
Steve Hawkins, who finished in 145th position, became the 64th parkrunner to have run here 150 times, and then Patrick Winstone (see above) in 279th place, and Kate Tuck in 472nd place, were the 363rd and 364th of us to have run here 50 times.
These are all achievements to be proud of, well done one and all! Hopefully Caroline, Edward, Lindsey and Patrick will soon have their new parkrun club t-shirts ready to show them off in the summer sunshine!
The 64th parkrunner to go up and down the hill 150 times, Steve Hawkins (photo: Sarah Jones)
Before I close, on behalf of everyone who’s ever run at Ashton Court parkrun I'd like to echo our co-Event Director Maggie Salter’s words about Niall Hoskin, who has just stepped down from his role as co-ED. Niall has been with us since day 1, when he was the 42nd runner to darken our finish line. Since then he’s run with us a further 115 times, and 18 times at other parkruns. Neither total is as high as he’d like it to be, because of injury, but we all hope to see those numbers begin to climb once again soon.
Also since our first event, Niall has carried out 437 volunteer roles at 219 different AC parkruns. He’s Run Directed 102 times, and we’ve read 69 of his run reports. Niall has carried out very nearly every role there is at parkrun, and having been shown as “Other” 11 times, probably some other roles that aren’t in the conventional list.
Niall took on the role of co-Event Director in April 2016, 151 parkruns ago. We’re not going to miss Niall as he’s still going to Run Direct and volunteer, but we will miss his wit and wisdom at our core team meetings.
Thank you, Niall!
Niall on New Year's morning, briefing the timekeepers (photo: Geoff Keogh)
And that’s enough words and numbers from another fab Ashton Court parkrun. Have a great week and wherever you may be next Saturday morning, may your barcode go with you!
Report by Rich Kenington
Many thanks to the fabulous team of volunteers who made this week's event happen. Although our parkrun has a great crowd of enthusiastic volunteers we're always looking out for more people to join the team and spread the load, and if you'd like to sign up as a volunteer, we'd love to have you. Please opt in to receive volunteer emails (via "manage my profile" on any result or newsletter email) and contact AshtonCourtHelpers@parkrun.com to offer help.
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This week's full results and course records are here.
Our photographer Sarah Jones took some beautiful photographs of us all in the sunshine. You'll find them, together with our entire photo archive, by following this link (or this one if viewing on an iOS device).