Blown away by parkrun

 
Ok, so I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m getting a bit fed up with the weather we have been having to endure of late…
 
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And off they trudge (our marshals always trudge up the hill), perhaps never to be seen again! Moe Soe, Rich Kenington and Amanda Halford, or M2, M3 and M4 as they were known on Saturday morning (photo: Sarah Jones)
 
Despite continuing high winds and saturated ground in many areas, oodles of folk still turned out on a damp Saturday morning to get their parkrun fix. I love the fact that the good humour that is associated with parkrun still shines through whatever the weather decides to throw at us. This was very much in evidence in the long list of cancellations for 22 February 2020 on the parkrun UK website. They included – “the river Severn has exclusive use of the course!”, “Swans on the course”, “Not enough arks available”, “emergent-sea…”, and my particular favourite – “parkkayak event on at the course”.
 
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Congratulations (and thank you) to Duncan Colquhoun, who finished in 22:02 (photo: Sarah Jones)
 
Given that this bad weather looks pretty set to continue, it is always useful to check parkrun's cancellation page before planning where to spend Saturday morning. Of course some cancellations are not necessarily weather related, and there is already an interesting entry for next Saturday - Eden Project parkrun is already cancelled due to the World Pasty Championships. I kid you not & in fact for all you bakers out there (I just had to google it..) it’s open to both professional & amateur bakers alike with 8 categories to choose from. So, if you are unable to take part in a parkrun next Saturday for some unfortunate reason ….
 
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Well done too to John O'Brien, who finished in 222nd place. Alongside him is Phil Robinson, who managed to finish his 21st parkrun in 221st position (photo: Sarah Jones)
 
Now, back to this Saturday just gone…

The ground underfoot was truly saturated as I discovered en route to the start… I had decided to run over to Ashton Court as part of my marathon training, but was arriving a little later than planned due to my choice of route, so I foolishly decided to take the short cut straight down the hill from our marshal 2 position to the start rather than taking the road route. Given that I wasn’t in my trail shoes, and my well-known propensity for tripping or falling over whilst out running, I am amazed to report that I did manage to stay on my feet as I slid down the hill. Other runners taking this route were not so fortunate and I saw at least two other folks arrive at the tree of information in a slightly less than elegant fashion – Chris Burren was one such who had gone for a slide on her bum, but luckily did not incur any damage!
 
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a runner without a barcode leads Marcus Kropacsy and Jo Temple. Jo was one of the morning's slippers and sliders who fell during the run, fortunately with no ill effects (so far as we know) (photo: Sarah Jones)
 
There were 462 brave souls who completed Ashton Court parkrun along with a great group of 29 volunteers, ably directed by Liz Hill and George Nikou. The course marshals did extremely well to hold on to our course signage and get it into position. I know that Amanda Halford as marshal 4 heroically made it to our furthest point despite much buffeting by the wind, without losing any signs and fixing them in place only to have the wind keep flipping them around. Happily, we have a straight-forward out and back course.
 
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Liz Hill and George Nikou briefing some of the morning's volunteers (photo: Sarah Jones)
 
The wind did it’s very best to slow us down up on the plateau, and lucky for us that Rich Kenington’s favourite marshal position is marshal 3 which was certainly bearing the brunt of the wind. This did nothing to dampen his usual enthusiasm as he cheered us all on. In fact all the volunteers were super smiley and full of encouragement. Thank you to all of them.
 
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Calm before, not a storm, but the arrival of 462 parkrunners at the marshal 3 station (photo: Rich Kenington)
 
Amazingly despite the wind, there were still 31 new PBs. I really don’t know how you all managed that as I felt like I was barely moving at one stage, so congratulations to all of you who managed to achieve a new PB. Just think what you can do in more benign conditions…
 
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Congratulations to Zoe Edney, about to improve her best time at Ashton Court by 1 minute and 59 seconds! Lynsey Robinson is close behind (photo: Sarah Jones)
 
Another rather astonishing figure is that despite this being our lowest attendance of 2020 by some way – we’ve had an a average of 639 parkrunners in the previous 6 events for this year – of those 462, a stonking 98 were first timers completing their first ever parkrun at Ashton Court – that’s just over 21% of you. And of these newbies, 19 folks were taking part in their first ever parkrun. Welcome to you all. We hope you enjoyed it and that you will all be back again very soon.
 
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First-time briefer Alice Doggerell explaining that it is only one hill (and half of it comes down) (photo: Sarah Jones)
 
We should also congratulate those of you who completed a milestone run on Saturday. These were Ross Simmonds, who can now claim a red t-shirt for having completed his 50th parkrun, and Tom White, who doesn’t qualify for a t-shirt, but he does get kudos for having completed his 200th parkrun whilst pushing a double buggy up our hill with his lovely sons Brodie and Dylan on board!
 
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Hanging on tightly to Brodie and Dylan's buggy is Tom White, not far from the finish of his 200th parkrun, 158 of which have been here at home (photo: Sarah Jones)
 
I also like to mention my favourite stat from our results table. This is the Age Graded result which shows the highest age grade for the ladies of 72.75% was achieved by Tanya Chowdhury and topping this week’s table was Eliot Haimes, for the men, with an age grade percentage of 72.75%.
 
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In blue is Eliot Haimes, on his way to 3rd place and the morning's best male age-grade score, with Adam Kula-Przezwanski alongside. Further down the field it was lovely to see Adam's mum Helen once more. Helen was a regular here for several years until moving to Tamar Trails parkrun in late 2017 (photo: Sarah Jones)
 
Better than that though is to be able to mention a story of triumph over adversity which is quite often the theme of stories related by parkrun UK. It was good to see Kim Ingleby back running at Ashton Court parkrun on World Encephalitis Day, a cause very close to her heart. As she explained to our Run Director, George Nikou, not only has she had to deal with personal tragedy since she last ran at Ashton Court parkrun, she was also a former GB triathlete before contracting Weils disease which led to her contracting viral Encephalisitis. Great to see you back Kim.
 
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Great to see Kim Ingleby putting adversity behind her, not to mention 322 parkrunners! (photo: Sarah Jones)
 
Now, we all know it’s Leap Year’s Day next Saturday, so we all get to do a 5th parkrun this February – how amazing is that?

So, as you might know it’s traditional that we ladies can propose to a man should the need arise (some chaps can be a little bit slow at coming forwards in that regard, so will we see any ladies making the most of that opportunity next week??!!) However, in the spirit of that theme, and as one of your Run Directors next week, I shall be making a proposal to the weather gods to bring us some dry weather and to spread a little sunshine for us. Fingers crossed.
 
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And off we go, for the 445th time, up the hill and down again. Towards the left, in yellow, is Grace Neal, running her first ever parkrun, and in the centre is our run report writer Maggie Salter, proudly wearing her recently attained green 250 parkrun club t-shirt (photo: Sarah Jones)
 

Report by Maggie Salter, p148
 

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.

Sarah Jones took some great photos of this windswept parkrun. You'll find them here in our our Flickr group.

 

Your teeth’ll fall out!

 
That’s what my mum would’ve said if I’d had 3 Curly Wurlys in the same morning! In the same week probably! But more of that shortly.

I missed Ashton Court parkrun on Saturday. Did you? Apparently around 50 people turned up there at 9am, so they won’t have missed the place, but I’m sure it seemed quite strange.

It’s only 6 weeks ago that I spent an anxious Friday night in Australia, wondering if the particular parkrun my brother and I hoped to visit would be on or not. The worry was that the air quality in the wake of the awful bushfires would be so bad the run would be cancelled. I’m pleased to say it wasn’t.

This past Friday was similar, as along with hundreds, thousands even, of others, I wondered if the last few parkruns that hadn’t already cancelled would still be standing on Saturday morning. Incidentally there's been some rain in Melbourne since then. My brother had to run through a puddle last week. Sounds dreadful!

Anyway, thanks to the dedication and thermal underwear of 4 teams of volunteers, Burnham and Highbridge, Clevedon Salthouse Fields, Eastville and Somerdale Pavilion parkruns went ahead on Saturday.
 
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the red ones were off (graphic: Rich Kenington)
 
171 UK parkruns were cancelled. Most of them because of the menacing threat of Storm Dennis, although Wyre Forest parkrun cancelled because of Storm Brian, and Preston parkrun because their defibrillator was unavailable.

Apropos of nothing at all, the parkrun formerly known as Doncaster became Sandall Park parkrun yesterday.

I’ve tracked down the results of 197 parkrunners for whom Ashton Court is home, who found a parkrun that wasn’t threatened by either Dennis or Brian yesterday. There will have been others, no doubt, and I know it’s a pretty poor show, but I think 13 sets of parkrun results is more than enough for anyone’s weekend, and so I’ve drawn a line beneath them. Apologies if I’ve missed you.

96 of the 639 finishers at Eastville were from Ashton Court, as were 59 of the 277 finishers at Clevedon Salthouse Fields, 15 of the 331 who took part at Burnham and Highbridge, and 13 of the 111 at Somerdale Pavilion, and I’ve found another 14 Ashton Courters at 9 other different events.

21 Ashton Courters achieved pbs, and another 39 of us were visiting our chosen parkrun for the very first time.

(A list of all the results I've found is at the foot of this report.)

I don’t suppose Jordan Griffin and David Caple, the first parkrunning in France and the other in New Zealand, were quite as concerned as the rest of us about our storms.

I’ve just given away the fact that this week’s parkrunner furthest from home is David Caple. This was his 364th parkrun – almost one for every day of the year – and was at Millwater parkrun, a little way to the north of Auckland on New Zealand’s North Island.
 
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Millwater parkrun - all done and dusted before Friday had finished here in the UK (graphic: Rich Kenington)
 
We’ve a 3-way tie for this week’s “What took you so long” award (no prize, it’s just for fun). Liz Hill, Craig Brown and Sean Gregory had each streaked for 9 consecutive Ashton Court parkruns before taking their barcodes to Somerdale Pavilion, Clevedon Salthouse Fields and Eastville parkruns respectively.

Incidentally, connoisseurs of streaking can expect some big news on the subject in a fortnight’s time!

I made my way to Somerdale Pavilion parkrun, along with Caroline and Liz, where we soon met the handful of Ashton Courters who had also selected mud and dizziness. We played with the frame, did the parkrun, some of us had coffee and biscuits and then we went home. Except that ..

Somerdale Pavilion parkrun isn’t quite as simple as that. For one thing, as you may have heard, the course is bonkers. No other adjective really comes close to describing it.
 
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All lined up and off we go, with a turn to the right and a turn to the left. Was this a Rocky Horror Show Time Warp? (photos: Rich Kenington)
 
According to Strava there was absolutely no elevation on the course at all. Which I don’t think is entirely accurate. The course was described as “2 and a bit laps, including 3 curly wurlys” and we were advised to follow the one in front, unless we were the one in front. At least I think that’s what Run Director John Peake said, it was difficult to hear because of all those who had presumably heard it all before talking at the back. Grrrrrr!!!

It turned out where we were briefed was where we would start. All we needed to do was take a turn to the right, John shouted “go” and we went.
 
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And then .. a maelstrom of parkrunners awaits (photos: Rich Kenington)
 
We ran in a straight line for a little bit, then turned sharp right and almost doubled back on ourselves, then turned sharp left (unless it was another right) and then before you know it we were running around in ever decreasing circles (like a Catherine wheel) until I almost tripped over my own feet on a very tight corner and the circles became ever increasing. After that, best not to ask really. It’s very confusing at ground level and I’ve no idea. So I’ve included this jolly helpful course map below, and you can work it out for yourself!
 
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What could possibly go wrong? The Strava flyby trail looks even "better" (graphic: Rich Kenington)
 
I lost count of how often I saw some people, and gave up wondering which way they were going and what lap they might be on, and yet I didn’t see some of my friends at all. They insisted they’d run the same run as me but I can’t help having doubts .. perhaps the forces generated by all the parkrunners revolving around the curly wurly trap some of them in an invisible cosmic vortex?

That’ll be why I didn’t see everyone I knew during the run. (Everyone I knew who was there, that is).
 
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Three "befores" and one "how did I get here?" (photos: David Taylor and Rich Kenington)
 
I think it was close to the end of the second lap when a marshal told me to take care because I was approaching “the muddy bit”. Now by this point I’d barely stepped on a blade of green grass, so I wasn’t entirely convinced it could be any muddier here than elsewhere, especially as it hadn’t been “the muddy bit” on the previous lap (or two?). We had a laugh about it and then I waded on.

Finally, after about 40 minutes, I escaped the vortex for the 3rd time and found my way to the finish line. I was so pleased to see it that I even ran the last few metres!

My dreams of then going on to complete a lap of honour were, sadly, thwarted by the 110 parkrunners who had selfishly finished in front of me. One day ..

I loved this parkrun. Of course I did – it’s a parkrun! I’d’ve preferred a slopey bit somewhere to help rub the sleep from my eyes but you can’t have everything!

Together with Geoff Keogh I’d been involved in the initial discussions with Somerdale Pavilion’s management about setting up a parkrun there (they’d approached parkrun, which took the pressure off). I also met up with members of Bitton Road Runners and Fry Club Joggers, describing to them what else was needed to put a parkrun local to them in place.

I really enjoyed going to Somerdale Pavilion parkrun for the first time since those initial discussions and seeing what has become of those early aspirations and plans. The people who took up the challenge have done a fab job, with a course quite unlike any other parkrun that I know of, and certainly one that’s on pretty much every parkrunner’s to-do list. And just like everywhere else in the parkruniverse, there’s an amazing team of enthusiastic volunteers there who help make sure their parkrun happens every Saturday. Thanks to them all for Saturday’s parkrun.

I spent some time as I wandered around the course wondering what the Romans would have thought about what we were up to. There’s a villa underneath a nearby cemetery, and another buried beneath the chocolate factory. I don’t suppose they’d have understood volunteering, they had slaves after all. And they’d never have got a chariot around the curly wurly!

I didn’t only run a parkrun on Saturday morning. I also took a trip down Memory Lane. There was someone there who I knew when I was a member of the old City of Bath Athletic Club in the 80s, and several from when I ran with Bitton Road Runners in the 90s. I hardly spoke to any of them but it was heart-warming to see them still getting out for a run, whatever the weather, and enjoying being cold, wet, muddy and smiley.

Then there were a number of people I know from other local parkruns as well – it was lovely to bump into them once more. It was a little bit spooky to talk to a couple of people who knew of me but who I didn’t know. Spooky in a good way though. And of course; great to be with Carol, Caroline, Colin, David, Gordon, Isie, Jenny, Joe, John, Kieran, Liz, Lorraine and Pete from Ashton Court, our home from home!

And because it really wouldn’t have felt like a proper Saturday without visiting Ashton Court at all, meeting up with Elena, George and Louise Nikou for lunch there was a joy, and great fun too!

I hope you had as much fun as everyone I spent Saturday with did, and I hope we can parkrun at Ashton Court once more on Saturday. It’d be great to see you there too, but if you can’t make it, then wherever you may be at 9 o’clock on Saturday morning, may your barcode be with you!

Report by Rich Kenington, p105, Somerdale Pavilion parkrun

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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.

 

International Women’s Day parkrun, Saturday 7 March 2020

parkrun’s research shows that, across the world, women are less likely than men to take part in parkrun. Despite the fact that females make up 54% of registrations, they are less likely than men to take part in parkrun and to continue participating.

parkrun want that to change and are organising a global female-focused parkrun celebration on Saturday 7 March 2020, which is the day before International Women’s Day.

International Women’s Day parkrun is a fantastic opportunity to encourage more women and girls to participate in parkrun events all over the world. In England, International Women’s Day parkrun will support the This Girl Can campaign created by parkrun’s partner Sport England.

All local parkruns are being encouraged to participate in International Women’s Day parkrun, and we’re delighted to say that Ashton Court parkrun will be doing so.

We hope that all the morning’s volunteers will be women and girls (although there may be one or two familiar males on the team that day).

We’d like everyone to wear purple – that’s the colour suggested by parkrun for the day.

We’ll have a special selfie frame available which we want to see used as much as possible – please use the hashtag #IWDparkrun

So, please put our Ashton Court International Women’s Day parkrun in your diary or calendar and come along and join in the fun.

Men and boys are welcome too – and all they’ll need to do is turn up and run, jog or walk! And maybe eat some cake afterwards. It’s a tough life!

 

“Invigorate the bodies and nourish the souls”

 
I was recently asked by someone unfamiliar with Ashton Court’s parkrun course how to describe it. I felt it fair to say its wasn’t the kind of parkrun you’d want your daughter to bring home for tea. A big burly thing, with a brute of a hill and at times an unforgiving headwind to battle through. Not like some of the others I’d seen, gentle flat things that would scarcely have you break a bead of sweat. Indisputably a proper parkrun.

Unperturbed, 587 hardy souls took up the challenge of Ashton Court parkrun this week.
 
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The first-timers' briefing on the right, with everyone else milling around, getting ready to parkrun (photo: Pete Davey)
 
So this was officially the 443rd of Ashton Court’s parkruns. But thanks to some exhaustive historical research it seems Ashton Court could quite legitimately claim to be the first parrun ever. Pre-dating Bushy Park by the small matter of 130 odd years, Ashton Court resident Sir Greville Smyth did, with typical mid-Victorian zeal, establish a “park perambulation” around the 1870’s. He sought to “invigorate the bodies and nourish the souls” of the workers on the estate, their families and local villagers by taking weekly “vigorous” exercise around the estate. Indeed the 24-furlong course followed much the same path as the modern day course we enjoy so much each week. Sir Greville Smyth did also boast to have completed the course in the fastest time ever. Astonishingly in a time well under 10 minutes. Although the fact that this was in fact completed on horseback was quietly ignored by polite society at the time.
 
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Leading the way here, with her pink rain jacket around her waist, is Chela Pieruz, who having run 274 parkruns elsewhere (most of them at her home event of Workington parkrun) takes away this week's "What took you so long" award (no prize, it's just for fun) (photo: Pete Davey)
 
So fast forward some 150 years or so and this week’s run director Mike “Megaphone” McBeth (as he has never before been known) gave one of the finest examples of loud hailer usage in some time and was quick to point out that February could potentially provide us with the opportunity for no less than five parkruns. Furnished with this knowledge the throng were sent on their way dizzy with expectation.
 
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Here's Lissie (in pale pink) and Gabbie Rand (in green), who both ran their first-ever parkrun here last week. 8 of last week's first-timers returned as soon as possible, and we hope Lissie and Gabbie's pbs (improving by 4:12 and 3:14 respectively) will encourage them to keep on coming back (photo: Pete Davey)
 
Our roving reporter on the course met up with of the runners along the way. Nick Orchard whose home parkrun is Somerdale Pavilion was running for the first time with his wonderfully intemperately named dog “Merlot”. A beautifully full bodied and roundly crafted finishing time of 25:00 minutes is one they should both be most proud of. Cheers!
 
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Did you notice a running race took place shortly after we finished? There was a 5k and a 10k, and 5 of our finishers took part in the 5k, and 4 more, plus 1 of our volunteers, ran the 10k! On the left here is Kate Hoffen, our 11th female finisher with a time of 24:02, just 22 seconds shy of her pb, and then finished 5th overall and 2nd female in the Winter Warmer 5k in 25:36! Wow! Alongside Kate is Matthew Bambery, running his 38th parkrun and finishing 1 second quicker than last week, missing his pb by 6 seconds (photo: Pete Davey)
 
Such is the heady nature of parkrun these days scarcely an eyebrow is raised when it is your 60th birthday and three members of your family jet in from Ireland to join you to help celebrate. So, Many (slightly belated) Happy Returns to Vanessa Redmond who completed her 332nd parkrun and first as a sexagenarian. She was joined by her cousins Pauline Blair and Bernie Donahue. Although tragically Bernie forgot to bring her barcode and joins the very short list of people who have travelled from one country to another to run a parkrun and don’t have their event recorded for posterity.
 
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Happy Birthday sweet sixteee! Vanessa Redmond's been with us since day 1 when she volunteered at our 1st event. Bet she never imagined then that she'd've run 331 parkruns before she was 60! (photo: Pete Davey)
 
Along the course I met the winner of this week’s award for most obedient dog which went to Bailey who trotted along most obligingly for owners Emma and Ed. Having run on several occasions with a far less ruly hound and one that is highly prone to enjoying performing roly-polys at the top of the hill I looked on quite enviously.
 
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We don't see Helen Clark often enough at Ashton Court parkrun, this being her 14th run here since she first came along in April 2017. So it was great to see her achieve her highest female finish position of 3rd, and reduce her pb by 85 seconds to get below both 23 and 22 minutes on our course for the first time, finishing in 21:57! (photo: Pete Davey)
 
Heading up to the turn I caught up with eight-year-old Brennon Elphick, his Mum Jennifer and their dog Richard. Brennon has completed an impressive 15 parkruns, 10 of which are Ashton Courters and an eye watering 57 junior parkruns. A strong headwind put pay to his quest for a sub 30 minute run this week but I won’t be betting against him achieving this goal very soon indeed.
 
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Always a warm welcome at a parkrun finish line (photo: Pete Davey)
 
parkunners may not be aware that there is a weekly award for “Marshall of the Week”. Virtually every week this is handed to Bill Lawrence for the several hundred high-fives he manages to provide for runners on the downhill stretch. But quite remarkably this week this most prestigious award goes to Hugo Stramrood who fulfilled the role of “loneliest marshal” at the turn. Not unlike Alan Tracey in Thunderbird 5 who in every episode of Thunderbirds was stuck out in space all on his own for months on end, Hugo was marooned some 2½ kms away from the start and the rest of civilisation but took up his role with gusto. We must ask ourselves where would we all have ended up without Hugo’s vital assistance in making sure everyone turned around and went back down the hill?
 
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No sign of Steve Zodiac but here's Alan Tracey Hugo Stramrood stationed at the end of the world! (photo: Pete Davey)
 
I then had the pleasure of meeting Martin Kay from Cheddar. Now I made a point of talking to Martin mainly because he was wearing a very heavyweight woollen hat which although not completely unseasonal must have raised the temperature inside his hat to an uncomfortable level. But this didn’t seem to perturb Martin who then proclaimed this was his 50th parkrun. He travelled all the way up from Cheddar to run today and was this week's sole representative of the Lonely Goat Running Club. I was slightly disappointed to learn that this club didn’t consist solely of people who each owned a single goat. It is actually an affiliated running club for those who don’t necessarily have the time to join an organised running group but still wish to be part of a thriving community. Praise be to them.
 
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It doesn't seem so long since Lorraine Cromwell ran her 50th parkrun, and yet this was her 70th! Close behind is Lonely Goat Martin Kay (photo: Pete Davey)
 
Now every runner it seems has a parkrun story. Mary Ryan completed her 179th Parkrun and she gleefully informed me that she has Uppsala parkrun in Sweden on her cv. Surely not a claim that could be made by any other runners at Ashton Court. She finished in a very commendable 30th place that day, 513 places higher than she did today. Uppsala, Uppsala and away!
 
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Uppsala, Uppsala and away! It's Mary Ryan! (photo: Pete Davey)
 
The other man called Martin who ran today, one Martin Riddiford, now has 319 park runs to his name. Today he crossed the line in 49:13. There is not a parkrun I can recall where I fail to notice Martin steadily making his way round. I liken him to the ravens at the Tower and the apes at Gibraltar, no Martin at parkrun and surely the Empire would crumble. Martin’s story is actually quite incredible and I hope he won’t mind me sharing this with you all. Back in 2003 he suffered a brain haemorrhage and had to learn how to walk again after months in a wheelchair. Up until that point in his life he was a bit of a marathon runner. In Martin’s words parkrun gave me the opportunity to run again and that is why I’m always at the back enjoying the fact that I out there running! Sorry to all the marshals!”

No apology needed Martin, this is one of the many reasons we all absolutely love parkrun.
 
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Martin Riddiford - now we know why he's almost always smiling (photo: Pete Davey)
 
Also I cannot conclude without a mention to the Thomas family who had three generations running today; David, Andrew and Lucy all ran as part of Andrew’s 50th Birthday celebrations.
 
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David, Andrew and Lucy ~ 3 generations of the Thomas family, celebrating Andrew's 50th birthday! (photo: Pete Davey)
 
As you know parkrun is always a delicious feast for numerophiles and thanks to Rich for providing these great numerological nuggets;

We celebrated a number of milestones today and our new marvellous milestone parkrun club members came across the finish line in the following order:

Peter Kennaugh-Gallacher was first, crossing the line in position 103 to complete his 50th parkrun. Peter’s approximately the 730th one of us from Ashton Court to have run 50 parkruns.

We’re unsure how often Bryan Walsh has pushed his child and buggy up and down the hill but the 3 of them crossed the line in 190th place, at the end of Bryan’s 100th parkrun. Bryan’s our 314th member of the 100 parkrun club.
 
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Bryan Walsh hangs on to that buggy in the wind (photo: Pete Davey)
 
Next in was a junior – Ruby Thorn in 305th place, who in 15 weeks has gone from not running a parkrun to having finished 10 of them and is the 131st of our juniors to achieve this.

The 388th finisher was Martin Kay who was visiting us for the 5th time from his home at Street parkrun. Martin’s another new member of the 50 parkrun club.
 
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In the red is Rita Davies, on her way to her 200th parkrun and her 100th here at home. Hannah Susorney, cheerful as ever, is alongside (photo: Pete Davey)
 
And in 449th position was Rita Davies, who simultaneously finished her 200th parkrun anywhere and her 100th parkrun at Ashton Court. Rita’s the 87th to achieve the 1st milestone and the 176th to achieve the 2nd. Which leads us nicely to the morning’s other Ashton Court only landmarks:

Finishing 62nd was Andy Young, who became the 77th one of us to have run here 150 times.

The 144th finisher was Trevor Johnson, just ahead of James Holbrook in 153rd place, the 419th and 420th to have completed 50 Ashton Court parkruns.

Rowland Monk became the 78th of us to finish 150 parkrun here when he finished in 222nd place.

Finally, 489th over the line, Roy Baker was the 177th one of us to finish 100 parkruns here at home.

Congratulations on your wonderful parkrun achievements, you should be very proud of yourselves! Some of you have qualified for new parkrun club t-shirts and the rest of us are looking forward to seeing you showing them off when the weather improves!
 
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A cheerful wave from report writer David Milne (photo: Pete Davey)
 
Report by David Milne, p352
 

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 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 here in our Flickr group.

 

Alices in parkrunland

 
The Takeover

Back in August last year we were asked by Alice James if it might be possible to organise a volunteer takeover of one of our parkruns by staff members of the North Bristol NHS Trust. How could we say “no”? Today saw Alice’s idea come to fruition, and what a great success it turned out to be!

North Bristol NHS Trust is the largest hospital trust in the South West. The Trust provides acute, specialist, maternity and outpatient services at both Southmead and Cossham Hospitals. Providing all these services requires a huge number of people, all with different skills, interests and abilities, who all have one common passion – our health and well-being. Where would we be without such people?

Over 20 of them volunteered to help make today’s parkrun happen, and all of us at Ashton Court parkrun are grateful to them for doing so. Many of their colleagues and friends came along to take part. Lots of these volunteers and participants had never been to parkrun before and I hope that some of them at least are inspired to make parkrun a regular thing.
 
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Ivan Kisyov hands out finish tokens with a big broad smile, as Alice James and Olivia Donnelly look on (photo: Pete Davey)
 
Alices in parkrunland

Our Run Directors this morning were Alice, Alice and Alice. We’ve seen 89 different Alices take part in our parkrun, although it wasn’t until our 25th event that we saw the 1st one. The 5th Alice was Alice Doggrell, who joined us at our 75th parkrun and has now run here 236 times. Alice James was the 7th Alice to come along, to our 80th event. Alice J has run here 5 times, a number which will begin to grow now that she’s made her home here in Bristol. Our 11th Alice, Alice Irwin, first came along to our 153rd event. Alice I has run here 35 times now, having also – like Alice J – spent a lot of time since that first visit away from Bristol.

Last week at our 441st parkrun we welcomed Alice number 89, Alice Hall from Cardiff parkrun. Today no Alices took part in the run, nor (to my dismay) did anyone visit us from Alice Holt parkrun.

Meanwhile, devotees of AA Milne may like to know that although we enjoyed the company of 4 Christophers and 2 Robins this morning, Christopher Robin was not amongst our finishers. Which was probably just as well because by the time our Alices had wrapped the results up, the guard at Buckingham Palace had been changed for the day.
 
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One of the morning's 4 Christophers is on the left - Christopher Elliott - not on the way to Buckingham Palace. Neither was Ben Jefferson alongside him (photo: Pete Davey)
 
Association Football news

4-4-2 was the formation we deployed today and up front we were led by Gavin Dale and Claire Hammett, who both achieved pbs.

Our swashbuckling midfield comprised debutant David Pudner in the 347 shirt, Peter Burns (wearing 351), Kathryn Ayres (352) and Neville Taylor (353). Excellent performances in particular from Kathryn and Neville who also both achieved a new best time.

The back four did particularly well, given that they were a makeshift quartet put together at the last moment. I was one of the four and Tail Walker 2, Emma Stanley, another. Emma had made one appearance while on loan to Eastville parkrun a fortnight ago, and this was her first time at her home event.

Between Emma and I were Sarah Jane Tucker and Laura Kate Steward, and we’re grateful to Walsall Arboretum parkrun for lending Sarah and Laura to us this morning and hope they enjoyed their away day. You’ll have noticed that I’m the odd one out of quartet as my name doesn’t end in ‘a’.
 
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Sarah Tucker and Laura Seward, on loan from Walsall Arboretum parkrun (photo: Pete Davey)
 
Staying with Association Football, a number of us were concerned that the appearance of a pirate ship in the sky so close to Ashton Gate might be seen as a little provocative, especially given the amount of hot air that accompanies footie these days. Fortunately, Captain Morgan’s rise and fall passed without incident! (For those unfamiliar with the area, Ashton Gate is home to Bristol City. Their rivals Bristol Rovers are sometimes known as “The Pirates”).
 
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Here's the pirate ship Captain Morgan in flight, with Bristol City's home of Ashton Gate in the left background (photo: Rich Kenington)
 
The parkrun

We’ve never had so many pairs of feet cross our finish line as we did today. Before today our largest number of finishers was 678 – now it’s 698! Of those 698, 62 were taking part in their very first parkrun. Another 84 had run a parkrun before, but this was their first time at Ashton Court. Unfortunately, 98 finishers didn’t have a barcode with them, and of the remaining 454 who did have a barcode, 108 finished faster at Ashton Court than they ever had before.
 
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Now we know what 698 parkrunners looks like (photo: Rich Kenington)
 
Rosie Hattersley’s personal best was especially significant, because her time of 19:11 moved her up from being the 29th fastest ever female here to the 15th.

I’ve already mentioned 1st female finisher Claire Hammett’s pb. Despite improving her time Claire remains our 9th fastest female, but her Ashton Court pb is now equal to that of four-time Ironman Triathlon World Champion Chrissie Wellington. Now there’s an incentive for Claire to chip at least another second from her pb!
 
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This is Rosie Hattersley, on her way to becoming our 15th fastest female ever (photo: Pete Davey)
 
I can’t possibly mention all the pbs, but I do like Steve Dyke’s style in reducing his best by just 1 second! But imagine the anxious moments waiting for the results to be published!

Joe Butler has run so many pbs in recent months that I almost don’t need to check. I don’t know how Joe spent his summer holiday but since August 31st he’s run here on 12 occasions and has achieved 10 pbs. Today saw an 8 second improvement down to 20:36.

Tom Farman celebrated his 99th parkrun with a significant pb, beating 20 minutes for the first time, improving from 21:17 to 19:27.
 
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In the middle of this synchronised trio is Tom Farman, flying to his pb. Tim Ginns leads the way and James Leith is close behind. When they finished their order was reversed, and James had also beaten 20 minutes here for the first time. Gerard Watson is on the left in the 250 t-shirt, taking part in his 50th Ashton Court parkrun (photo: Pete Davey)
 
Emily Tanner moved from 33:25 to 32:56, and Arusha Preece improved from 27:22 to 26:07, while Paul Turner took his best down from 22:27 to 21:58.

One of our juniors, Ishmael Bradley, improved from 20:33 to 19:30 and in fact it’s great to see so many juniors improving. Dylan Peters, Luca Salt, Martha Harrison, Luke Staddon, Ffion Allen, Ruby Priscott and Arthur Allen are all juniors who achieved pbs today.
 
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Pb-tastic Arusha Preece is all in grey, on the right (photo: Pete Davey)
 
We enjoy milestone runs at Ashton Court just as much personal bests. Today we saw Isla Shipway, another of our juniors, run her 10th parkrun. Sally Derrick completed her 50th parkrun, and Jennifer Griggs her 100th. It takes at least 5 years of park running to complete 250 parkruns, and 3 parkrunners did so today. Maggie Salter, Sean Gregory and James Hawke all reached the magic 250 parkrun mark, while Marie Malloy finished her 350th parkrun exactly 350 days after her 300th!
 
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Jennifer Griggs is on the right, running her 100th parkrun, Sally Burns is to the left with Amelia Jephson in-between. Katriel Costello is following (photo: Pete Davey)
 
Mike McBeth ran his 150th Ashton Court parkrun, and Gerard Watson ran here for the 50th time

Congratulations to everyone who achieved a new personal best or completed a milestone run. Now on to your next one!
 
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Going a little bit bonkers in the middle of the shot is Maggie Salter! And why not? It's not every day you run your 250th parkrun after all! (photo: Pete Davey)
 
While I’m patting people on the back, how about those 62 brand new parkrunners? From 5th finisher Nick Pestell to Kath Kaboutian in 693rd, they all came along and tried something new on a Saturday morning. Having kept Kath company for the final kilometre I know how much she enjoyed herself, and I hope the other 61 newcomers did so too.
 
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First time parkrunner, and first time volunteer - tail walker Kath Kaboutian had a great morning (photo: Pete Davey)
 
84 parkrunners visiting us for the first time would be a lot on a summer Saturday morning, so to see so many in January came as quite a surprise.

For example, Owen Spacie, Simon Hughes, Felicity Brooks, Danny Corder and Tomos Rees popped across from Cardiff parkrun. Newport parkrun’s Chelsea Dennison and Peter Olivier weren’t quite so far from home.

Anna Lord, Claire Fleming and Lucy and Robbie Chandler came along from Lydiard parkrun (the parkrun formerly known as Swindon). Jo Kingston and Sam Cliffe came to see us from Bushy Park parkrun, where it all began.

As an East Yorkshireman I have to mention our first ever visitor from Beverley Westwood parkrun, Benjamin Blacker.
 
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Here's Marie Malloy after 349½ parkruns. Baby Alice, sleeping soundly in her papoose is probably the youngest person out on the course, while close behind is Jan Moody, the 2nd oldest participant, in her 25th parkrun (photo: Pete Davey)
 
Furthest from home was Madeleine Woods, all the way from Sydney’s St Peters parkrun, and the winner of this week’s “What took you so long” award (no prize, it’s just for fun) is Akshay Kumar Joshi, from one of my favourite events, Bedfont Lakes parkrun, who had run 211 parkruns elsewhere before coming along to Ashton Court.
 
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Mike McBeth's the one in the 100 club t-shirt, running here for the 150th time. In the Bristol 10k top is Nicola Stephen, on her way to a 5th pb in her last 6 runs at Ashton Court (photo: Pete Davey)
 
Finally, it was nice to meet and have a brief chat with Leonie Roberts and Andre van Mierlo from Cwmbran parkrun. Andre is a Dutchman, this was his 1st parkrun, and of course later this year (29th of February in fact) the Netherlands will become the 22nd country in the parkrun family.

And what a family we are! Full of smiles, full of surprises, full of encouragement and compassion. Thank you everyone who came along today and helped make our parkrun number 442 so successful.
 
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Another look at the Captain's stern, and indeed those of many of our first-timers as they listen to Poppy's first-time briefing (photo: Pete Davey)
 
Have a great week, and wherever you are at 9 o’clock next Saturday, may your barcode be with you.
 

Report by Rich Kenington, born in the NHS
 

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.

Pete Davey took a load of great photos on his way round the course. You'll find them here on our Google Photos pages. We also have a library of our parkrun photos here in our Flickr group.

 

Slip slidin’ away . .

 
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!
 
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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.
 
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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.
 
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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!
 
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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.
 
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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.
 
2020-01-18 441 graph

(graphic: Fran Upshon)
 
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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.
 
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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
 
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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.

 

It was a grey, dull day but there was still lots to smile about.

 

A grey and blustery morning didn’t put off 635 walkers, joggers and runners from turning out at Ashton Court this morning. It’s actually the lowest attended parkrun of the 2020s – but only by 6. And it’s the fourth highest ever attendance, so it’s not too shabby!

 

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Definitely a grey day and plenty of wind to contend with, but as you can see from Rachel's photos, that didn't deter this determined bunch of runners, joggers & walkers! (photo: Rachel Forbes)

 

111 people were doing Ashton Court for the first time, and 36 of them were doing their first ever parkruns. 90 people got PBs, but we should all be proud of ourselves for turning up! Well done to everyone.

 

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It was a particularly large crowd of first timers and visitors to Ashton Court paying full attention to Liz Hill's first timer briefing. And well done to all those folks getting a PB - sadly too many to mention here but I (Editor!) was particularly pleased when handing out finish tokens to hear the whoop of delight from Emily Tanner as she crossed the finish line! Well done all.(photo: Rachel Forbes)

 

I volunteered as a Tail Walker this morning – the first time I’d ever done that role, after a handful of marshalling stints in the past. It was the first time I’d ever walked a parkrun, too, and I can thoroughly recommend it. You get that much longer to chat to and cheer on your fellow parkrunners, and to soak up all the wonderful parkrun vibes. (Top tip: If you like the parkrun vibes you get from running, you’ll love the parkrun vibes you get from volunteering.)

 

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We are always very grateful to all our wonderful volunteers and special thanks to Tom Moriarty for tail walking as well as writing the report this week. Sadly we don't have a pic of Tom, but here is a lovely photo of the other tail walkers, David Braithwaite with one of our fabulous young Duke of Edinburgh volunteers (fortunately, we don't think you normally grow your own tail if you carry out this role as many times as David has!!) (photo: Rachel Forbes)

 

And when you walk you get more time to appreciate your surroundings, too - I’ve done nearly fifty different parkruns in the last couple of years, but Ashton Court is no doubt one of the most scenic. (My home parkrun is Eastville, but as lovely as the lake is, it doesn’t quite compare.) I run through Ashton Court quite often, and usually take it for granted that I have such a beautiful place on my inner-city doorstep. Not so today!

 

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We can see for miles and miles even on the greyest of days. (photo: Rachel Forbes)

 

Congratulations to Cathryn Butler and Katie Richards, who were both running their 50th parkruns. Edward Maule and Max Fullman ran their 10th parkruns– well done! All four of them now qualify for t-shirts. They don't get a t-shirt, but congratulations also go to Jennifer Owsley and Pete May who both ran their 200th parkruns today!

 

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Here we have Cathryn Butler clearly enjoying her 50th parkrun in the centre of the photo with Sandra Tanner to her right and apologies to the unknown runner on her left.(photo: Rachel Forbes)

 

James Nutt was our first finisher. He came past me well before I reached the top of the first hill, looking very comfortable. A minute or so behind him came Craig Pilkington and Nathan Wilkins, Tanya Chowdhury, Jo Temple and Kerry Firth were the first three female finishers. Anne Dockery topped the Age Grade rankings for the second week running.

 

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I'm afraid our male front runners were a tad too speedy for our photographer but she managed to capture Tanya Chowdhury making her way up our lovely hill. (photo: Rachel Forbes)

 

My fellow Tail Walker David Braithwaite swept us all up in 53:44. Thanks to Dave for taking me under his wing (or should that be tail?) and showing me the ropes of the role. Thanks to all the 30 lovely volunteers for keeping us safe, for keeping the tokens sorted and for making sure that we were all able to get our Saturdays off to the best possible start.

 

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Here we have a number of our fabulous volunteers still clearly having a great time waiting for the final few parkrunners and the tail walkers. Thank you (from left to right) Sally Marsh, Emma Coles, Bill Lawrence and Tony Myers (photo: Rachel Forbes)

 

Report by Tom Moriarty

 

Many thanks to the fabulous team of volunteers who made this week’s event happen. Although AC 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 tablehere with links to all our age group records and heaps of other statty stuff.

Rachel Forbes took our photos this weekend, and you can find them, together with our entire photo archive, by following this link (or this one if viewing on an iOS device).

 

It started at the white line………

A new year, a new decade and 103 parkrunners new to Ashton Court this morning, 43 taking part for the very first time.
641 parkrunners, 33 volunteers and associated supporters happily congregated, chattering away, smiling, laughing and greeting each other with the affectionate New Year enthusiasm that embraces friends and strangers alike.

Run directors Paul Hodges and Elena Nikou delayed the briefing to ensure that everyone held up in the car park managed to get to the start. There were murmurings amongst the volunteers of perhaps a record number of parkrunners, however it was just the third biggest attendance at Ashton Court!

With the whistle going and everyone beginning their journey up the hill, the extra long finish tunnel was assembled in haste. There was a slight feeling of trepidation but also excitement amongst the volunteers around the finish area with the thought of the masses descending back down the hill and stampeding towards the finish line!

With everything ready there was a little time for a bit of fun and frivolity amongst the volunteers. This is what makes volunteering so worthwhile, meeting, talking and laughing with people, whilst helping to stage an event which benefits all - what better way to begin the weekend!

Timekeepers were poised and ready to click as runners crossed the finish line. One of these three were tasked with operating the photo stopwatch, an asset invaluable when it comes to producing accurate results.

There was a short period when the funnel became very congested, however runners were patient, timekeepers kept clicking, funnel managers kept people in order and finish token hander-outers could not have been any quicker. Barcode scanners completed the procedure and everyone was happy!

What was so very heart warming was to have some of the regular AC parkrunners finish their run and then step straight into a volunteer role to keep the process moving - thank you all!

Exactly 52 minutes and 19 seconds after the start, tail walker Karis Higgins crossed the line to become the last finisher at position 641.

How amazing that this weekly event run by volunteers is organised, assembled and packed away without trace in less than three hours. A parkrun? Where? Nobody would ever know!

Apart from the white line.........

In other news.........

First finisher was Arthur Dickson Bell finishing at the front for the third time in his third parkrun at AC but also achieving a pb of 17.30 knocking 5 seconds off his previous best time here!

Naomi Aylwin was the first female to finish in a time of 21.06.

Stephen Bartlett on his first visit finished third in a time of 18.26 also achieving the best age grade of the morning with 81.28%.

Anne Dockery fresh from her 50th parkrun here last week, returned to achieve the highest female age grade with 80.50%.

Congratulations to Wilfred Middleton on his first ever parkrun finishing in 32nd place in 20.50.

Just behind Wilfred in 34th place was Joseph Butler in a time of 20.54, equalling his pb of the previous week. In his last 9 runs at AC he has achieved 7 pbs!

Junior runner Lee Clementine on her first ever parkrun finished in 116th place with a time of 24.00.

Valerie Gates wins this weeks ‘what took you so long’ award (no prize, it’s just for fun!) visiting AC for the first time and completing her 324th parkrun in position 326 in a time of 28.28. Most of Valerie’s runs have been at Brighton and Hove parkrun.

With it being the first parkrun of the year I was hoping that someone would finish on 20.20, thank you Jon Higgins for delivering that wish!

Parkrun is all about inclusiveness and it is amazing how many families come along each week to take part together, whether by running or volunteering. One such family being the Stuart Hunts. Mum Fiona and daughter Ottilie both finishing with a time of 29.08, closely followed by other daughter Olivia at 29.13 and Dad Alastair at 29.14. The family are accompanied by their enthusiastic dog!

Robert Brown a regular AC runner and volunteer will be delighted to achieve a pb on his 121st parkrun in a time of 26.00.

I hope Rosie Pike and Kennedy Meredith both enjoyed their first visit to AC and first ever parkrun finishing together in 41.03 and will be back again soon.

Congratulations to Hugo Stramrood who not only was volunteering for the 25th time but as a tail walker swept everyone along efficiently and in doing so achieved a new pb of 52.18 taking off 51 seconds from his pb of last week!

Many thanks to all the RUNNERS who took part - without you the VOLUNTEERS would not have so much fun!

 

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There wasn't a photographer this week, but here is a lovely shot of the start from last week! (photo: Prem Chadeesingh)

 

Report by Louise Nikou

 

Many thanks to the fabulous team of volunteers who made this week’s event happen. Although AC 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 tablehere with links to all our age group records and heaps of other statty stuff.

We did not have a photographer this weekend, but you can find our entire photo archive to date, by following this link (or this one if viewing on an iOS device).

 

It’s parkrunday again…Already!! YAY!!

 

At least it was not raining for Ashton Court’s 438th parkrun this morning. It was a bit chilly but 466 runners braved the run after the Christmas festivities of eating and being merry. We saw visitors from South Africa, Jersey and North Wales.

68 runners were undertaking their first ever parkrun, we hope they weren’t put off by the hills and hopefully they will return for their second parkrun soon. Amongst the 466 runners there was a collection of dogs and buggies who were all eager to get up the hill.

Congratulations to the landmark runners; Hayley Fitzgerald (happy birthday Hayley), Dan Hooper, Alexander Matheson, Michalis Sanidas and Anne Dockery were celebrating their 50th parkrun. Rebecca Law and Victoria Hine-Haycock were celebrating their 100th parkrun, Greg Turner his 150th parkrun, Andrew Archer 250th and Ben Swift 350th parkruns. Well done to them all by achieving a fantastic amount of parkruns.

It was surprising as not long after the whistle blew, we could see the first pack of runners on the brow of the first hill. This wasn’t surprising as Conor Kissane-Wood came in first at a whopping 16:38 his own personal best and I think could be the fastest we have seen at Ashton Court with David Eagon just behind on 16:43 again another personal best. Nick Shasha was third at 18:03. Well done to the front runners.

In fact, Ashton Court this week had 51 personal bests so well done to all of you.
The first junior was Matthew Cooper who was 36th past the line. Matthew was running his 4th park run with a time of 20:57 which was his personal best.

There was some family rivalry at the finishing line as adult runners were jostling to beat their mum, dad, sister or brother. About 5 or 6 runners tried to get through the finishing line all at once. Not great news for the time keepers trying to photograph them! Whilst dads and mums eagerly spurred on their kids to run to the finishing line and allowing them to beat them was heart-warming to watch.
This morning we also saw two babies cocooned to their mother’s chests in a baby harness, too young to have their own barcode but their mothers did well to cross the finish line.
Well done to everyone who finished, hope there wasn’t too many puddles and see you all in the New Year.

 

Editor's note: Congratulations to Conor on his PB and a super fast finishing time however he does have a little way to go yet to match the current male record holder for Ashton Court which is still Jarlath Mckenna in a very fast time of 15:46.
We should however mention Caroline Lavis who runs in the VW70-75 age category and that she ran a new PB on Saturday of 25:40 and has set a new Age Grade record for Ashton Court of 91.23%. Congratulations Caroline - that is just awesome!!

 

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We didn't have a photographer this week unfortunately but thought we would add one of Sarah's lovely photos from last week with all our runners listening patiently to the briefing before the off! (photo: Sarah Jones)

 

Report by Ann Hobbs

 

Many thanks to the fabulous team of volunteers who made this week’s event happen. Although AC 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 tablehere with links to all our age group records and heaps of other statty stuff.

We did not have a photographer this weekend, but you can find our entire photo archive to date, by following this link (or this one if viewing on an iOS device).

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