Year Six began on Saturday 23rd April 2016, 5 years to the day after our 1st parkrun. That 1st event had seen 120 finishers and we saw in our new year with 425 finishers at our 252nd parkrun.
3 - 2 - 1 and away we go, Year Six is under way (photo: Rich Kenington)
First day of the new term
Of the 425 finishers at Year Six’s 1st event, 12 were running their first ever parkrun. 46 had already taken part in parkruns elsewhere and were visiting us at Ashton Court for the 1st time.
Only 1 of the dozen newcomers ever returned to parkrun, although of course there's plenty of time for the other 11 to do so in the future. The 1 who did come back left a gap of 140 parkruns before their return but did take part in 4 other parkruns elsewhere in the meantime and has now completed 14 parkruns overall, 4 of them here with us.
The 1st day of term saw 76 finishers finish more quickly here than they ever had before, and sadly 56 of the others forgot their barcode. Of those who remembered to bring one, 153 were females and 216 were males.
Barcode scanning at event number 252, an experience not shared by the morning’s 56 unknown finishers (photo: Rich Kenington)
We couldn’t have staged any of Year Six’s 50 parkruns without the 304 different parkrunners who between them volunteered on 1,126 occasions. They included 6 Andrews, 6 Davids, 6 Martins, and 4 Rachels, 4 Ruths and 4 Sarahs. At event number 254 3 of the Ruths were volunteering together. There were also 2 Adams but no Eves, if you can believe it!
It was event number 283 on the Saturday before the Saturday before Christmas but that didn’t stop this happy band of volunteers from augmenting their hi-vis with all manner of Christmassy bits and bobs (photo: Rich Kenington)
New friends, new parkrunners ~ the Class of Year Six
We welcomed 715 parkrunners to their first ever event during Year Six, alongside 2,477 whose parkrun home is elsewhere and were visiting Ashton Court for the 1st time.
Of the very first timers, 601 were female and 562 male, and of the visitors, 941 female and 1,088 male.
400 of those 715 returned to Ashton Court as soon as they could ~ the very next week! 194 others came back after a fortnight, and 101 more after 3 weeks.
Here at event number 265 is Christine Hill and her daughter Katherine in the dark pink alongside her. This was the 1st parkrun for them both. Katherine came back the following week and has since become an Ashton Court regular, having run here 63 times and 64 times elsewhere. Christine’s since become a regular at Southampton parkrun and we’ve seen her here a number of times since their 1st parkrun (photo: Rich Kenington)
It took 525 of our first timers over 10 weeks to come back, while 1,695 of the 3,192 are still waiting to return.
One first timer who came along to our 271st parkrun waited until number 441 to return, and has since been to numbers 442, 443, 445 and 448.
Another’s first parkrun was our number 289, their second and third were numbers 440 and 441.
And a 3rd first timer who came along to our 252nd returned for number 307 but hasn’t been seen at a parkrun since.
Another Year Sixter who’s now a familiar face on our lovely hill is John Churchill, seen here enjoying his 7th parkrun at our 299th event. John’s now run here 87 times (photo: Rich Kenington)
146 of our Year Sixters were aged 10 or under, while 248 of them were aged between 11 and 19, and 953 were in their 20s. 855 others were in their 30s, 566 in their 40s, and 327 in their 50s. 90 Year Sixters were in their 60s when they first came along, with 7 more in their 70s. 66 Year Sixters had a significant birthday and moved up an age grade during the year.
1 of our Year Sixters, Henry Sly, finished in the same overall position ~ 3rd ~ 4 times during the year. 5 of them finished in the same place 3 times ~ Harry Kingston, 2nd ~ Liam Tollinton, 29th ~ Theresa Goldstone, 106th ~ Paula Bradshaw, 213th ~ and Paul Skrzypczyk, 3rd. Another 84 of our newcomers finished in the same overall position twice.
On his way to one of his 3rd place finishes is Henry Sly, at event number 283 (photo: Mike Warren)
Jane Faram finished 1st female 6 times, while Olga Vearncombe (16th female), Henry Sly (3rd male) and Chloe Broughton (3rd female) each finished in the same gender position 4 times. 11 Year Sixters finished in the same gender position 3 times, and another 129 did so twice.
Finishing first female for the first time, at her first parkrun is Jane Faram, at event number 287 (photo: Rich Kenington)
866 of our Year Sixters achieved a total of 1,718 personal bests in the year. 438 females ran 819 of them, and 428 males ran the other 899.
Paul Channing ran more of them than anyone else, with 11 during the year. Tim Harris, Tj Jagger and Joe Allen each ran 10, Sarah Dodge, Scott Cornell and Toby Woolf all ran 9 each, and Alex Moylett ran 8.
Paul Channing at his 2nd parkrun ~ our 258th ~ and on his way to his 1st pb. And yes, it's our "B" course (photo: Rich Kenington)
7 other Year Sixters each ran 7 pbs (of course!), 13 ran 6, 36 ran 5, 56 ran 4, 85 ran 3 and 195 ran 2.
George Duggan scored the highest age grade ~ 81.46% ~ of Year Six at parkrun number 254, when he came along for the first time, finished 1st and equalled the course record time of 16:11, aged 19. Incidentally, when George returned, to our 290th parkrun, he’d celebrated a birthday and was no longer a teenager. Once again George finished 1st, in exactly the same time of 16:11, but “only” scored 80.54%!
This is George Duggan, on his way to equalling the course record at our 254th parkrun (photo: John O'Brien)
Our 3,192 Year Sixters amassed a total of 6,826 Ashton Court parkruns during the year.
But which particular Year Sixter finished most Ashton Court parkruns in this, their 1st year? Paul Channing tops this ladder, having 1st come along to event number 257 and finished 37 of a possible 45 parkruns. Steven Stone ran 29 of a possible 40, having first finished number 262, and Kyler Phillips, whose 1st parkrun was number 270, ran 25 out of 32.
Now two very familiar faces at Ashton Court parkrun, this is Steven and Sally Stone at our 262nd event ~ their 1st (photo: Dan Jones)
2 of the above went on to become the most prolific Ashton Court parkrunners of Year Six ~ Paul Channing, who has now finished 158 out of a possible 192 parkruns here, and Steven Stone, with 151 out of 187. Steven is joined on this particular podium by his wife Sally, who also 1st came along to event number 262 and has now completed 129 out of a possible 187 Ashton Court parkruns.
Paul, Steven and Sally are of course members of the unofficial Ashton Court 100 parkrun club. Other Year Sixters to reach this dizzy height are Lucy Avent, who’s finished here 123 times, Naina Burgess (119) and Sarah Dodge (118).
Lucy Avent had run 23 times at Pontypool parkrun before removing to Bristol, and now she's most definitely an Ashton Courter. Here she is at our 298th parkrun (photo: John O'Brien)
There are 21 members of the unofficial Ashton Court 50 parkrun club from Year Six, with Eloise Morton leading the way, having finished here on 91 occasions, followed by John Churchill (87), the newest member being Teresa Cryer with exactly 50 finishes at our parkrun.
Having started at our 266th parkrun, by the time we arrived at number 299 Eloise Morton had got the parkrun habit ~ this was her 18th Ashton Court parkrun (photo: Rich Kenington)
Next to join will almost certainly be Lilla Farkas-Kiraly, who’s currently finished here 49 times.
Looking at the real parkrun clubs, which include participation at other parkruns (apparently there are some), 8 junior Year Sixters went on to complete 10 5k parkruns.
76 Year Sixters are members of the 50 parkrun club, and 27 of them have made it into the 100 parkrun club. 8 of the latter have finished between 150 and 199 parkruns with, perhaps unsurprisingly, Paul Channon leading the rush to 250 on 184 parkruns finished.
The most recent Year Sixter to join the 100 parkrun club was Eloise Morton, who got there at our 446th event, the same morning that Lilla Farkas-Kiraly became the latest Year Sixter to join the 50 parkrun club.
Here’s Lilla Farkas-Kiraly, the newest Ashton Court member of the 50 parkrun club, seen at our 297th event (photo: Rich Kenington)
Year Six ~ all together now
5,387 known parkrunners crossed our finish line during Year Six ~ 2,445 females and 2,942 males ~ and between them, together with the unknown finishers, they completed 21,215 parkruns. 8,085 were run or walked by females, 10,998 by males, and 2,132 had forgotten their barcodes.
Our volunteers recorded 1,824 different time values, from 15:46 to 63:11, and with all sorts of times in between.
The average time was 28:16, the median time 27:34, and the time we recorded most was 26:16, on 36 occasions by 34 individuals. Ben Swift recorded it twice, at events 265 and 285, as did Graham Harrison at events 263 and 269.
On the left at event number 285 is Ben Swift, on his way to his 2nd time of 26:16 of the year, accompanied by his brother Tom, who was visiting from Havant parkrun (photo: Rich Kenington)
There were 10 instances of 2 finishers crossing the line in 26:16 at the same parkrun, and in fact both of Ben’s finishes in this time, and both of Graham’s too, took place when another finisher bagged the same time.
Another of Year Six’s 34 to finish in 26:16 is Dan Jenkinson, here about to finish in that exact time at our 266th parkrun (photo: Jacob Butterly)
Craig Brown succeeded in finishing in 23:39 on 5 occasions; Geoffrey Morgan recorded 32:47 4 times, and Richard Harding also finished in the same time 4 times ~ 29:20.
Craig Brown seems to be enjoying one of his 23:39 finishes ~ this one took place at our 278th parkrun (photo: John O’Brien)
Another 18 parkrunners finished in the same time on 3 occasions.
One of the 18 Ashton Court parkrunners to finish in the same time is Denise Williams. Denise somehow finished in 36:56 at each of event numbers 294, 295 and 297, and wasn’t around for number 296. This was a remarkably consistent few weeks for Denise, as she also finished event 291 in 36:53 and 293 in 36:51! We see her here at number 294 (photo: Rich Kenington)
We don’t usually celebrate someone finishing in the same time twice, but as you’ll see, there was good cause to in Year Six.
During this Ashton Court parkrun year, we saw 21 different females finish 1st female and 27 males finished 1st overall. For the first time ever, we saw a female finish 1st overall, something Nicola Brookland achieved at events 258 and 261.
Having seen his course record (shared with James Thie) of 16:11 equalled at event 254 by George Duggan, Jarlath McKenna embarked on a remarkable series of Ashton Court parkruns.
At our 257th event, Jarlath reclaimed the course record, finishing in exactly 16 minutes. At event number 264 he became the 1st person to beat 16 minutes at Ashton Court when he finished in 15:58. At number 275 Jarlath reinforced that with a 15:59 finish, before smashing that by finishing in 15:46 at event number 276.
When Jarlath McKenna ran 15:46 the first time at Ashton Court he was far too quick for our photographer (photo: Rich Kenington)
And as if that wasn’t enough, Jarlath came back and ran 15:46 a second time, at our 301st event, the final one of Year Six. Imagine receiving your result email or text message: “Congratulations on finishing first at Ashton Court parkrun today. Your pb remains 15:46”. Unfortunately, we don’t see Jarlath very often nowadays as his work took him elsewhere. He’s still our course record holder, and the only person to have beaten 16 minutes here. In fact, Jarlath’s achieved it 4 times!
Fortunately when Jarlath next ran as quickly, at event 301, Sarah came to the rescue (photo: Sarah Jones)
Since then only Maciej Bialogonski ~ a regular up the road at Pomphrey Hill parkrun ~ has come close, when he finished our 412th parkrun (in Year Nine) in 16:10, and thus became our 2nd fastest ever finisher.
On the subject of course records, Charlotte Taylor-Green reduced our fastest female time down to 18:04 at event number 294, when she finished 2nd overall.
Here’s Charlotte Taylor-Green at the start of her female course record breaking run at our 294th event. Charlotte had to make do with finishing 2nd overall (photo: Rich Kenington)
And when Jarlath 1st finished in 15:46, were there lots of pbs achieved close behind him, as had been the pattern when previous course records were set? Well, no there weren’t, not this time. Simon Cardnell was the next to finish in a new best time, in 7th place.
A cluster of 4 finishers, in 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th positions, all achieved pbs, but it’s more likely that Andy Sparks, Daryl Phillips, Dan Nettelfield and Lee Winter were chasing one another, not Jarleth. Their new pbs, by the way, were 18:29, 18:30, 18:34 and 18:43 respectively.
For our females this was the fastest year so far, with 11 times recorded below 19 minutes. Nicola Brookland achieved this on 9 occasions; I mentioned Charlotte Taylor-Green's sub-19 time earlier, and Chrissie Wellington just squeezed onto the list when she finished 1st female in 18:56 at event number 293.
This is 1 of the 9 occasions in Year Six when Nicola Brookland finished an Ashton Court parkrun in a time below 19 minutes, at event number 259 when her time was 18:38 (photo: Geoff Keogh)
Year Six saw 1,795 parkrunners ~ 829 females and 996 males ~ achieve 3,383 personal bests ~ 1,520 by females, 1,863 by males.
3 parkrunners achieved 11 pbs each ~ Moe Soe, Paul Channing and Tom Dunn. 3 others each ran 10 pbs ~ Tim Harris, Joe Allen and Tj Jagger; and 3 more ran 9 pbs each ~ Sarah Dodge, Scott Cornell and Toby Woolf.
The look of intent on Moe Soe’s face suggests that he knew he was onto something here! And he wasn’t wrong! This was event number 260, and Moe finished in 25:31, 6 seconds faster than before. The following week Moe reduced this by a further 3 seconds and by the end of Year Six Moe’s pb stood at 23:17! (photo: John O’Brien)
8 pbs were achieved by 6 different parkrunners; 7 pbs by 11; 6 pbs by 23; 5 by 63; 4 by 96; 2 by 172 and 400 parkrunners ran 2 pbs each in Year Six.
Sarah Dodge’s 1st parkrun was our 260th, which she finished in 37:01. Here we see Sarah at her 10th event ~ our 277th ~ when she achieved her 6th pb and finished in 32:40. Nowadays Sarah’s pb is 28:32. Amazing what can be done with persistence and hard work! (photo: Rich Kenington)
Jarlath McKenna finished 1st 10 times; Robert Stewart did so on 7 occasions. Both Nirpal Singh Gillar and Steve Speak finished 5th 11 times each, while Kate Darbyshire finished 46th overall 4 times, and Sarah Everett finished 30th overall 4 times. Another 15 parkrunners finished in the same overall position 3 times.
Looking now at gender finish positions, Jarlath McKenna finished 1st male 11 times, and Nicola Brookland was 1st female 9 times. Sarah Everitt was 2nd female 8 times; while Robert Stewart came 1st male 7 times, Nirpal Singh Gillar 11th male 7 times; and Kate Darbyshire, Tanya Chowdhury and Alison Engledew each finished 3rd, 6th and 8th female 7 times.
Sarah Everitt flying down the hill at event number 280. Wonder if she misses it now that she usually runs at Eastville parkrun? (photo: Dan Jones)
Ashton Court parkrun’s 11,000th new finisher crossed the finish line at event number 262; our 12,000th at number 276 and our 13,000th at number 294. Only one of them has ever returned ~ number 12,000th, 6 times.
We saw our 5,000th new female finisher at parkrun number 265, our 6,000th at number 298.
Our 6,000th new male parkrunners crossed the line at event 259, and number 7,000 at our 290th event. The latter is Tony Wilkes, who has now run here on 26 occasions.
This is Olga Vearncombe, who managed to finish 16th female 4 times during year 6, and here she is, doing just that at event number 285. Olga was both our first ever Olga and our first ever Vearncombe! (photo: Rich Kenington)
During Year Six we welcomed 53 new Sarahs, 36 new Hannahs, 30 new Emilys, 29 new Helens and 27 new Emmas. There were also 48 new Davids, 46 new Jameses, 42 new Andrews, 40 new Toms and 39 new Chrises ~ 1 of whom was female and the other 38 weren’t.
We also introduced ourselves to 29 new Joneses ~ 15 male and 14 female; 27 new Smiths ~ 16 female and 11 male; 24 new Williamses ~ 14 male and 10 female; 20 new Davieses ~ 10 female, 10 male; and 17 new Evanses (10 male, 7 female).
Many familiar Ashton Court faces here at event 269, and in the middle ~ in the red adidas top ~ is Tom Waterson, starting his 1st Ashton Court parkrun. Tom became the 129th different bearer of that name to cross our finish line, and the 2nd Waterson (photo: Rich Kenington)
Year Six ~ a Bigger Picture
This was the year when, sadly, our the eldest of our younger siblings had to shut down. After 173 parkruns and 32,413 individual parkruns completed, Little Stoke parkrun had timed its final Tail Walker. This isn’t the place to go into the whys or wherefores of the situation, but just as here at Ashton Court parkrun, a community had built up of many different folk who were proud to call Little Stoke parkrun “home”, and it was extremely sad to see that brought to a close.
Later in the year, in October 2016, we welcomed Wotton parkrun to the family. In no way a replacement for Little Stoke of course, it gave an opportunity to people in the area between Bristol and Gloucester somewhere to parkrun. That they’ve now had almost as many events as Little Stoke ~ 171 ~ yet have seen less than half the number of finishers ~ 14,764 ~ reflects both the more rural nature of Wotton itself, and parkrun’s firm belief that no matter how large or small it may be, if a community wants a parkrun, then it should have one. And amen to that!
During the year we “lost” 3 Saturdays when Ashton Court was either unavailable or inaccessible. Let’s Rock Bristol was the 1st, on June 4th, followed of course by that hardy perennial the Balloon Fiesta on August 13th. Finally, September 6th saw Bristol hosting the Tour of Britain cycle race, which made Ashton Court if not completely inaccessible, then certainly very difficult to reach because of the various road closures the race entailed.
A view that could only be Ashton Court parkrun, of our 271st event on a beautiful September morning (photo: Rich Kenington)
3 into 2 does go (again)
Once again, we enjoyed the opportunity to take part in 3 parkruns in 2 days, and with Sunday being the 1st day of 2017, Sunday parkruns took place in the Bristol area for the 1st time.
3 of them, in fact, because this year parkrun new year revellers had a decision to make. They could come to Ashton Court parkrun, which started at 9am, or they could go to Chipping Sodbury parkrun which started at the same time. And then, at 10.30am, there was Pomphrey Hill parkrun to be enjoyed.
On Saturday December 31st, we saw 417 finishers at Ashton Court parkrun; Chipping Sodbury parkrun saw 364 and Pomphrey Hill parkrun saw 390. How many survived seeing in the New Year? Well, on January 1st we saw 197 finishers, Chipping Sodbury saw 296, and many of those 493 would have been amongst Pomphrey Hill parkrun’s 478 finishers.
197 was our smallest number of finishers since event number 178 in November 2014, when we saw 4 fewer. Conversely, 478 was the highest number of finishers Pomphrey Hill parkrun had entertained at that point, 67 more than had finished there on Christmas Eve a couple of weeks previously.
Robbie Stewart leads us all into 2017 at event number 286. This would be 1 of the 7 occasions Robbie finished 1st during Year Six (photo: Geoff Keogh)
As for us, here at Ashton Court parkrun, we just kept running and walking up and down our hill. We saw 2 parkruns with between 250 and 299 finishers, 13 with between 300 and 399, 26 had between 400 and 499 and 7 had between 500 and 599.
We were taken by surprise when 624 parkrunners came along to our 300th event, the penultimate one of this particular year. That was 56 more than we’d ever timed before on the same day. Since then we’ve had another 148 parkruns and only exceeded 624 on 8 occasions. But perhaps we can “blame” our new neighbours at Eastville parkrun for that, when we look at Year Seven
One of the classic views of an Ashton Court parkrun as the mass of runners and walkers listen to the pre-run briefing before dashing off to see what’s on top of the hill. This is our 301st parkrun, the final one of Year Six (pic: Sarah Jones)
Report by Rich Kenington, Ashton Court parkrunner number 1,817
Coming soon .. Year Seven
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