parkrun ~ a well that never runs dry

 
parkrun is many things to many people - indeed, to more and more people each week. It may be an opportunity to spend time outdoors after a busy week. It may be the chance to meet up with friends, or make new ones, and meet interesting people from other parkruns. It could be an opportunity to try to run or walk faster than last time, or to visit somewhere new.

It’s a chance for youngsters from the age of 4 upwards to rub shoulders (figuratively at least) with grown-ups and to share in physical activity with family members and friends. Increasingly, it’s being seen as somewhere positive for people who might be struggling with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem or loneliness.

How did we manage before parkrun came along? And who remembers what they used to do on Saturday mornings?
 
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Some of the morning's fab volunteers sporting the very latest in parkrun raspberry hi-vis tops, trying unsuccessfully to hide behind our pop-up banner, in use for the first time! (photo: Sam Rodda)
 
And parkrun gives something else too. Each week there’s a constant stream of numbers which some of us find irresistible! Not everyone realises that numbers, once you’ve got to know them, love playing little tricks. I’ll give one example before describing today’s parkrun.

Today was our 444th parkrun. And it was the 100th time that we’ve seen 444 or more finishers. Numbers, if you can hear me – I thank you! More numbers anon.
 
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the morning's smiley start line (photo: Rich Kenington)
 
After the excitement and fun of a fortnight ago with our North Bristol NHS take over, and the shenanigans last week with a second running event starting an hour after we did, it was a relief to enjoy a normal Saturday morning when most of the excitement revolved around our introduction of our new pink hi-vis volunteers’ tops and the debut, at long last, of our pop-up banner.
 
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Emily and Nick, our fabulous first time finish token hander outers (photo: Pete Davey)
 
We had 4 parkrunners who’d never volunteered at Ashton Court before, for our 444th event. Emily Strathdee and Nick Lowry were anxious about being asked to hand out finish tokens, but they did so with aplomb, as we knew they would, and were justifiably pleased with themselves afterwards.

By that time 633 parkrunners had crossed our finish line. 440 of them had run here before, another 83 didn’t have a barcode, 60 were already parkrunners visiting us for the 1st time, and 50 were taking part in their 1st ever parkrun.
 
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Things people do to avoid getting up early to come to parkrun, number 444: Ella Campbell, on the left, is off to Uganda for a few months, and she goes with our best wishes for a great trip and a wonderful experience. Alongside Ella are Georgie and Henry Dodd, in their 1st and 3rd parkruns respectively (photo: Pete Davey)
 
6 of those visiting for the 1st time have registered Ashton Court parkrun as their home event and had already run somewhere else before coming home.

Conversely, 11 of those running their 1st ever parkrun don’t have Ashton Court as their home event. They include the morning’s 1st female finisher Dunya Ansems, whose home is Greenpoint parkrun in Cape Town.

Coincidentally, Andrew and Vikki Thomas, who ran with us last week on Andrew’s 50th birthday, were in Cape Town this morning at Zandvlei parkrun, a little over 20k away from the event at Greenpoint.
 
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We had a Hen Party, all the way from Liverpool! The Blushing Bride-to-be is Charlotte, but because she and her Hens forgot their barcodes that's all the information we have! Best wishes for your special day, Charlotte (photo: Pete Davey)
 
Of those 440 who had run here before, 108 – almost a quarter – ran faster here than they had before. 3 of those 108 – Eleanor Smith, Julia Mortimer and Tom Dabin - beat their previous pb by 1 second, and another 2 – Kieran Headon and Claire Lyon - by 2 seconds.

Contrariwise, Phil Widdington, who ran a pb of 25:55 last week, ran the same time today (and was the only one to do so this week), while Anna Hulbert finished 1 second behind her pb.
 
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Did we mention the rhino? We didn't mention the rhino! Inside the suit is Andy Humphries with his wrangler Paul Rooker alongside (photo: Pete Davey)
 
There’s a feeling amongst those who understand these things that the more often you run at Ashton Court, the more difficult it becomes to achieve a pb.

So many congratulations go to Andy Thompson, for beating 21 minutes for the first time in his 97th run here. Likewise, Edward Burke reduced his pb by 9 seconds, down to 18:39, in his 92nd home parkrun, and Katriel Costello, who improved her fastest time from 27:16 to 27:02 in her 65th parkrun at Ashton Court.

31 finishers today are aged under 18, and 7 of them achieved pbs – well done Thomas Eames, Eddie Colquhoun, Liam Osborne, Matilda Knox Cartwright, Ruby Priscott, Roisin Bodley and Florence Wagstaffe.
 
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Edward Burke, on his way to his 20th Ashton Court pb in his 92nd run here, his first since April last year (photo: Pete Davey)
 
All the 1st 3 male finishers achieved pbs. Stuart Barlow improved from 18:26 to 18:11, David Langston from 18:29 to 18:26 and Michael Kearney from 18:41 to 18:33.

I’ve already mentioned Dunya Ansems, the 1st time 1st finishing female. Our 2nd female today was Jo Temple – who ran exactly the same time today as she did a fortnight ago, last time we saw her. Immediately behind Jo was Orie Amadi, visiting us for the 1st time from the parkrun in beautiful Wendover Woods.

The top 3 age grades were scored by Alison Engledew (79.35%), Derek Gray (79.24%) and Jonathan Taylor (77.33%). It was great to see Alison and Dave Engledew back on the hillside – they are 2 of the 12 parkrunners with us today who took part in our 1st parkrun back in 2011.
 
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This was a 1st pb since November 2018 for Katriel Costello (photo: Pete Davey)
 
Very well done to Jane Duffus, the 47th Ashton Court parkrunner to have completed 250 parkruns! Emma Coles completed her 150th parkrun, and Les McAllister and Rob Campbell their 100th events (Rob’s another “survivor” from our 1st event).

2 juniors, Thomas Eames and Oliver Dent-Young, finished their 50th parkruns, Thomas with a pb as we’ve already seen. They’re the 27th and 28th Ashton Court juniors to have finished 50 5k parkruns.
 
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Queen for the day! Jane Duffus just might be enjoying her 250th parkrun, and quite right too! (photo: Pete Davey)
 
Returning to our fist-time visitors: Barbara Tanton, having run 295 parkruns elsewhere before coming to see us, takes this week’s “What took you so long” award (no prize, it’s just for fun). Barbara and her husband Byron (51 runs behind Barbara) usually run at Bushy Park parkrun, where it all began, and where they’ve both run over 200 times.

Having mentioned one South African visitor, I mustn’t forget a 2nd – Jenni Hammon, whose home is Boksburg parkrun, a little way east of Johannesburg. Jenni’s run 132 times in South Africa, and twice here in the UK, once at Hilly Fields in London, and here today, making Ashton Court the westernmost parkrun Jenni’s visited!
 
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here's Jenni Hammon, all the way from Boksburg in South Africa (photo: Pete Davey)
 
It was nice to meet Wai Meng Au-Yeong (a Run Director at Leavesden junior parkrun) and her friend Annette Howard. Their home event is St Albans parkrun and I know they enjoyed their day out in Bristol.

I also enjoyed a quick catch up with Chris Amy, who has visited us at least once every year since 2012. Chris’ home event is Medina I.O.W parkrun.
 
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She's having a great time really! Wai Meng Au-Yeong from St Albans parkrun (photo: Pete Davey)
 
And so it took a little over 32 minutes from first finisher to last – that’s at least 19 finishers every minute. In fact, the busiest minute was the 32nd, when we saw 51 of you cross the finish line. Thank you to all the volunteers in the finish area, for keeping things moving along as smoothly as possible, and to all the runners too, for your patience waiting to have your barcode and finish token scanned.

Mustn’t forget the marshals on the course, who once again did a great job, and well done to my co Run Director Amanda Halford, who did the shouty bit for the first time, and did it very well! I’m sorry I forgot to mention beforehand that you needed to tell the runners and walkers when to go!
 
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We've never had anyone named Fizz at Ashton Court before so Fizz Armstrong is the 1st! Good to see Rich Miller back after illness and injury got in the way (photo: Pete Davey)
 
Now back to that number 444. The 1st ever 444th finisher at Ashton Court parkrun was Jill Noyes, Tail Walking at event #202. And although that’s the only time we’ve ever seen exactly 444 finishers, it’s not the only time Jill’s finished in that position, because she repeated the feat at event # 323, albeit this time with a further 52 finishers behind her.

Jill’s the only one of the 60 females and 27 males who’ve finished 444th to have done so more than once, assuming that the 12 unknown 444ths are 12 different individuals.

This morning’s #444 is Lewis Long, and he's the 87th different parkrunner with a barcode to take that finish position.
 
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The first parkrunner to finish 444th once, and twice! Jill Noyes (photo: Pete Davey)
 
Staying with the number 4 (this is too good an opportunity to miss after all!). Looking at all the 4th female and 4th male finishers, 410 different parkrunners have filled those 2 positions, 184 males and 226 females. 274 of those 410 have finished 4th once, and 61 have done so twice, while Tanya Chowdhury has finished 4th 28 times, and Paul Jefferson 18 times.

Meanwhile, the highest placed 4th female overall is Jen Woolfson, who finished 14th in event #023. We only saw Jen twice after that. 2 females have finished 99th overall when finishing 4th female. The 1st was Ella Halcrow at #246, on her only visit here, and the second was Fleur Cockley, who before today had run exactly ⅓rd of her 63 parkruns at Ashton Court.
 
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In the middle, in the red and black, is Lewis Long, today's 444th finisher (photo: Pete Davey)
 
I'll resist the temptation to look at the many different parkrunners who’ve finished 44th male or female as I need to finish this before our next parkrun!

Only 2 parkrunners have run in our 4th, 44th and 444th parkruns. Geoffrey Morgan, who was 50th male, then 65th male and today 282nd male, and Wendy Price, who was 12th female, then 41st female and this morning 254th female.

This morning, Wendy’s finish position was skewed somewhat because Wendy was Tail Walking. And having mentioned a Tail Walker, it’s time to close.
 
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Wendy Price and Geoff Morgan, the only parkrunners to take part in our 4th, 44th and 444th events (photo: Pete Davey)
 
Thank you everyone who was involved in this morning’s parkrun one way or another. Congratulations to those Milestone Marvels and the speedy ones who ran faster than they ever had before. Those of you who were visiting – thanks for popping in, it was good to see you. I hope you enjoyed your day out and that you come and see us again sometime.

And to those who hadn’t run a parkrun before, welcome to the family. I’m delighted to see that 8 of last week’s first-timers returned to Ashton Court yesterday and I hope that we see many of you from today come back very soon too, if not to Ashton Court, then perhaps to another parkrun elsewhere.

Have a good week, and wherever you are at 9 o’clock next Saturday morning, may your barcode be with you.
 
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More of the morning's fab volunteers (photo: Pete Davey)
 

Report by Rich Kenington, Run Director
 

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.

Once again Pete Davey took some great photos of today's parkrun, parkrun as he ran around the course with you all. You'll find them here on our Google Photos pages. We also have a library of our parkrun photos in our Flickr group.