It was a chilly start to the 3rd Ashton Court parkrun of the decade, with temperatures a little above freezing, but that didn’t stop 640 of you lining up at the start line. After a great run briefing delivered by our youngest ever run director, Poppy, we were off!
A chilly briefing . . (photo: Rich Kenington)
Despite the blue skies and sunshine, the paths at the beginning of the course were really icy, so lots of parkrunners hopped onto the grassy section to avoid slipping and sliding. As soon as we had passed the giant stone head, the sun had melted the ice so we had a more straightforward path up to the top.
Furthest from home today was Ray Wales, seen here alongside Punyawee Dulyayangkul. Ray's home event is Sandon Point parkrun in Wollongong, a little way south of Sydney. Ray has run 175 of his 192 parkruns at Sandon Point, while Punyawee has run all her 32 parkruns here at Ashton Court (photo: Dan Jones)
My favourite bit of Ashton Court parkrun is just after the turnaround point. Firstly, you know it’s downhill practically all the way back and secondly, the view! It’s days like these that remind me how lucky I am to have Ashton Court on my doorstep. The view at the top of the hill today was absolutely beautiful and you could see for miles. I have to say that as far as beautiful views go during a parkrun, Ashton Court is definitely in my top 5! My other notable parkruns for views are Penrhyn, Eden Project, Swansea Bay and Pegwell Bay.
Alex Hamblin, Duncan Hamilton and Rhys Smith, who would finish 1st, 4th and 2nd. All 3 achieved pbs: Alex beating 18 minutes here for the first time, and both Duncan and Rhys going under 19 minutes for the first time.
To confirm Fran's remark that you can see for miles, there's a plume of smoke in the left centre of the photo, and above it on the horizon is a line of trees. From where this photo was taken to those trees is a little over 17k! Just beyond the trees is, appropriately, Freezinghill Lane, one of the roads between Bath Racecourse and the A420 road (photo: Dan Jones)
Our first male finisher of the day way was Alex Hamblin who crossed the finish line in a PB time of 17:53. A further 56 of you achieved parkrun PBs today, pretty amazing considering the icy conditions, so who knows which speedy PBs you will get without the ice! Our first female finisher was Claire Hammett in a time of 20:21. A special mention must also go to our 44 brand new first timers. We hope you enjoyed it and we look forward to seeing you all again!
On the left is one of the morning's 44 brand new parkrunners, Michelle Verity. On the right is one of the results' 88 unknowns. Hope we see you both again soon, and both with barcodes! (photo: Dan Jones)
Many congratulations to the following parkrunners who all achieved their 50th parkruns today; James Saget, Graeme McAllister, Tracey Vincent and Nic Mansell. We hope you enjoy wearing your new red 50 t-shirts! Although not an official milestone, congratulations also go to Catriona Scott who achieved her 150th parkrun today.
In the middle of the photo with the yellow trim to his shorts is James Saget, enjoying his 50th parkrun (photo: Dan Jones)
It seems that come rain or shine, Ashton Court parkrun just keeps on growing. January is usually the busiest time of the parkrun calendar for obvious reasons and Ashton Court is no exception. In fact, since Ashton Court started nearly 9 years ago, the attendance records for the third Saturday of the year has nearly quintupled from 130 in 2012 to 640 in 2020. The graph below shows how much our wonderful parkrun has grown in popularity.
Paul Jefferson has run at Ashton Court on the 3rd Saturday of the year on 6 occasions. This morning was the 250th time Paul's run here at home. Paul's just behind Evan Griffiths, running his 23rd parkrun and his 9th at Ashton Court (photo: Dan Jones)
A huge thanks to all the lovely volunteers who made sure that our event could run today and thanks also to the tail walkers who made sure that we all made it back home safely.
Tail Walkers Michalis Sanidas and Rich Kenington with some more first time parkrunners, who unfortunately didn't have their barcodes with them. But we know they will next time! (photo: Dan Jones)
Report by Fran Upshon, p457
Here's run report writer Fran Upshon on the right, in her 252nd parkrun, alongside Sara Vajda, who was parkrunning for the very first time (photo: Dan Jones)
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.
Don't forget to follow us on these news pages, on Twitter (@ashtonctparkrun) or on Facebook (Ashton Court parkrun) for the latest news and information. You can also find us on Instagram too, where we try to post something a little different from time to time.
This week’s full results are at the top of the table here with links to all our age group records and heaps of other statty stuff.
Dan Jones took some wonderful photos of today's brilliantly bright parkrun, and they're on our Flickr pages. You'll find them, together with all our other photos, by following this link.