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”.
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 ….
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!
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.
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.
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…
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.
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!
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%.
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.
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.
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.