COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 30 June

From Tom Williams, Chief Operating Officer, parkrun Global

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With just a few days left until the reopening of parkrun New Zealand it feels like we really are making excellent progress and, after fifteen Saturdays without a single parkrun anywhere in the world, this weekend we can all celebrate a great step forward.

Everyone has worked hard and waited patiently, and we can all be proud to be part of the wonderful, global, parkrun family.
 
Across the other 21 countries that host parkrun events, things are also changing rapidly. Since last week, for example, we’ve seen significant relaxations in the Netherlands and Australia. Of course, it’s not all positive though, and in the last 24 hours we’ve also seen localised lockdown in part of the UK.
 
We continue to follow global developments very closely, and every morning meet (virtually) to discuss where things are, what needs to be done to support parkrun communities right now, and what needs to be put in place so that we can reopen when the time is right.
 
We’ve held those meetings every single working day since lockdown started, and it’s very clear that, so far, things are moving in a positive direction and every day is a day closer to being back in our parks and open spaces, together.
 
However, we know that reopening our events (or keeping them closed) at a given time will be controversial in the eyes of some members of our community. Not because they’re wrong and we’re right, but because with a global family numbering seven million people there will be healthy differences of opinion.
 
We will each interpret information and risk differently, and faced with the same challenges we will each form different conclusions. As we look ahead therefore we expect that there could be a period of time where many people feel we should be open, when we’re not, but then a time when many people feel we shouldn’t be open, when we are. During that time we will be collaborative in our decision making, transparent with our reasoning, and take responsibility for our actions.
 
Thanks, as always, for your incredible parkrun passion.
 
We are getting through this, together.
 
Tom Williams
Chief Operating Officer
parkrun Global

 
Links to previous updates:

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 30 June

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 23 June

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 16 June

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 09 June

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 02 June

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 26 May

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 19 May

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 12 May

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 05 May

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 28 April

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 21 April

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 14 April

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 07 April
 
Previous updates were posted on one page which was revised whenever necessary as the situation worsened

Current position with regard COVID-19 and implications for parkrun events

2020-05-12 covid update

 

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 16 June

From Tom Williams, Chief Operating Officer, parkrun Global

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When, in March this year, we closed all our events, the symbolism of that impacted everyone in one way or another. Whilst we knew it was coming, that first Saturday without a single parkrun event anywhere in the world was a moment that most of us could never have imagined would ever happen.

Within just a few weeks, of course, many of us went from thinking parkrun will always be there, every week, for everyone, to thinking it would never come back, ever. So, as much as closing our events was a huge wake-up call that we aren’t invincible, the reopening of parkrun New Zealand is proof that we can all get through this challenge.

We’re pleased to confirm therefore, that following on from last week’s update, parkrun New Zealand will be reopening on Saturday 4 July, representing a fantastic step toward the full return of parkrun events around the world. I know it will also lift the spirits of parkrunners everywhere.

It’s important to remember though that we still have 21 parkrun countries patiently waiting for their own circumstances to improve such that their events can return. We continue to monitor the global situation, are considering our position in every single country, and will update you all every Tuesday as things move forward.

Thank you for being so patient and understanding, and, most of all, for believing in the parkrun family.

We are getting through this, together.
 
Tom Williams
Chief Operating Officer
parkrun Global

 
Links to previous updates:

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 16 June

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 09 June

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 02 June

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 26 May

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 19 May

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 12 May

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 05 May

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 28 April

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 21 April

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 14 April

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 07 April
 
Previous updates were posted on one page which was revised whenever necessary as the situation worsened

Current position with regard COVID-19 and implications for parkrun events

2020-05-12 covid update

 

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 09 June

From Tom Williams, Chief Operating Officer, parkrun Global

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On Monday, the New Zealand Government announced that they were removing all social distancing requirements and that there would be no limits on public gatherings.

This is an incredibly positive step forward, and whilst New Zealand may seem a long way ahead of the challenges many of us continue to face, this news should give us all great hope that, in time, normal life can and will resume.

What does this mean for parkrun in New Zealand?

We have previously made two key commitments in relation to Coronavirus; firstly that all events will remain closed until at least the end of June, and secondly that we will give all event teams at least two weeks notice prior to reopening. This means that for parkrun events in New Zealand the earliest possible start date would be Saturday 4 July.

However, whilst we have continued working hard behind the scenes there are some questions we need to answer, and decisions we need to take internally, before we are able to commit to a specific date. With this news only breaking over the last few days, we also need to spend more time ensuring we fully understand the details of New Zealand’s position.

As such, we hope to confirm a reopening date for parkrun New Zealand in next week’s update.

In the meantime, and whilst we understand that in New Zealand groups are free to gather at their parkrun venues, we’d like to ask all event teams not to organise group gatherings through their parkrun communication channels. As well as insurance implications it’s important that local communities and stakeholders are aware of our return and able to accommodate us appropriately.

What does this mean for parkrun events elsewhere?

We hope this news gives parkrunners everywhere reason to be positive, and also provides reassurance that we continue to consider every parkrun country’s specific situation, and strive to do what’s right on a country by country basis.

Our position remains as it has since we first suspended our events: our overriding principle being that we will keep our events closed wherever official public health guidance recommends or requires, or where we cannot be sure that attendances will remain within set limits.

As we prepare to relaunch parkrun New Zealand, we would like to reassure the parkrun community everywhere that we will reopen in each parkrun country as soon as appropriate and safe to do so.

We are getting through this, together.
 
Tom Williams
Chief Operating Officer
parkrun Global

 
Links to previous updates:

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 09 June

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 02 June

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 26 May

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 19 May

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 12 May

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 05 May

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 28 April

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 21 April

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 14 April

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 07 April
 
Previous updates were posted on one page which was revised whenever necessary as the situation worsened

Current position with regard COVID-19 and implications for parkrun events

2020-05-12 covid update

 

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 02 June

From Tom Williams, Chief Operating Officer, parkrun Global

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In last week’s update we confirmed that all parkrun events across the world will remain closed until at least this calendar month. In some parkrun countries that message was entirely expected, as they are still relatively early in their efforts to overcome the challenge presented to them by COVID-19. However, some other parkrun countries are experiencing significant relaxation of restrictions, and are beginning to approach something resembling normal life.

To reiterate previous updates, all decisions to reopen parkrun events in any specific part of the world will be taken by parkrun Global (the UK-based charity ultimately responsible for every parkrun event) in collaboration with dedicated parkrun staff or volunteers in each country. Importantly, we continue to review each parkrun country’s unique situation and are committed to reopening their events as soon as appropriate.

Further, whilst we are not at this stage ruling out changes to operations required at event level, our current position is that we will not open parkrun events in any country until we can do so across that entire country, safely and without compromising any public health guidelines in that country. We are also, at this stage, not looking to reopen events until we can do so in a way that is the same as or similar to how they operated before lockdown.

We understand the good intentions behind the many suggestions being presented around changes to how parkrun events could operate. We’ve seen ideas such as wave starts, no finish tokens, limited attendance, and enforced physical distancing between participants. However, the majority of these interventions are likely to add levels of complexity to our operating model that at best make it incredibly difficult for volunteers to deliver events, and in some cases make it impossible.

Importantly, much of our success over the last fifteen years has been due to our relentless focus on removing barriers to event delivery (as well as to event participation), and now more than ever we must keep that principle at the forefront of our minds.

We know that many people will read this update and wonder how parkrun will ever be able to return without significant changes to how it operates. However, in almost every parkrun country, the impact of COVID-19 is diminishing daily, public health guidelines are changing accordingly, and restrictions are being gradually relaxed.

Many governments have committed to a return of all sporting activities, including contact sports and those where physical distancing is not possible. Schools are returning, people are going back to work, and communities are re-engaging. All of these positive steps are steps closer to parkrun events being welcomed back into the communities they exist within, and each one provides a learning opportunity. As a result, we remain confident that, in time, all parkrun events will return.

Even more important to our success has been a focus on increased human interaction, and the utilisation of technology to enhance opportunities for people to be together, to socialise, and to share areas of open space. Again, now more than ever, it is vital that we retain our commitment to bringing people together not moving them apart.

Whilst all parkrun events remain closed this weekly update will contain all relevant information relating to the COVID-19 situation and parkrun. As we take decisions to reopen parkrun countries, relevant announcements will be made here first and from that point communications relating to the reopening of those countries will be communicated via country-specific communications channels.

Thank you for your continued support, patience, and understanding.

We are getting through this, together.

Tom Williams
Chief Operating Officer
parkrun Global

 
Links to previous updates:

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 02 June

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 26 May

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 19 May

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 12 May

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 05 May

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 28 April

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 21 April

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 14 April

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 07 April
 
Previous updates were posted on one page which was revised whenever necessary as the situation worsened

Current position with regard COVID-19 and implications for parkrun events

2020-05-12 covid update

 

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 26 May

From Tom Williams, Chief Operating Officer, parkrun Global

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We can now confirm that parkrun events across the world will be suspended until the end of June.

Despite this announcement of extended closure, our view of the future is increasingly optimistic as the situation continues to change rapidly and dynamically across the world. There is now a definite and positive move towards relaxation of restrictions, and every week we get closer to the point where parkrun events will return to their communities.

As lockdown restrictions start to lift across some territories in which we operate, we’d like to thank everyone for not going to their parkrun venues, at parkrun time. Importantly, please do not organise group gatherings of any sort at your parkrun locations until such time as parkrun events have officially returned in your region.

This is critical in order to preserve the excellent relationships we have with local communities and stakeholders, as well as to ensure the safety of both parkrunners and other users of the space.

We continue to be cautious and thoughtful about parkrun’s return and we will, at all times, consider region-specific national and international government and public health guidance.

Whilst parkrun cannot recommence in any territory until the guidance allows, the restarting of parkrun will be a complex and sensitive process. It is imperative that any decision to recommence has the full and widespread support of volunteer teams, and the wider community. A major part of our energy over the next few weeks will be focused on gathering this understanding and insight, which will in turn inform our decision making.

Understanding the sentiment and feeling of our volunteers and communities is particularly key, as when the decision is made to restart parkrun, all parkrun events in that region will be required to start. Any events remaining closed would significantly and unreasonably increase pressure on those that open.

Volunteer happiness and welfare will always be at the heart of what we do and, prior to reopening any events, we will continue to collaborate with our communities in order to best understand local situations and implement appropriate processes in advance.

Thanks for your continued parkrun passion.

We are getting through this, together,

Tom Williams
Chief Operating Officer
parkrun Global

 
Links to previous updates:

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 26 May

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 19 May

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 12 May

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 05 May

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 28 April

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 21 April

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 14 April

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 7 April
 
Previous updates were posted on one page which was revised whenever necessary as the situation worsened

Current position with regard COVID-19 and implications for parkrun events

2020-05-12 covid update

 

Ashton Court parkrun’s Class of Year Three

New Friends
 
Ashton Court parkrun’s Year Three started with our 101st event, and ended, 51 parkruns later, with event number 151. Having entertained a record number of finishers at the last event of Year Two, we began our new year with our second largest attendance thus far, of 240, together with 16 volunteers.
 
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Year Three gets under way with 240 pairs of feet heading for the hill (photo: Mike Warren)
 
Only 2 of the morning’s finishers were visiting from other parkruns, with 35 taking part in a parkrun for the 1st time ever. Sadly, 5 of them have never done so again; 3 others did, but not at Ashton Court; and the remaining 27 have all returned here at least once.
 
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Just visible in the front row with glasses on her head is Sophie Voller, who would be Year Three's first first time finisher, and first female on the day too (photo: Mike Warren)
 
Year Three saw 3,050 different parkrunners completed 12,681 Ashton Court parkruns. 4,673 of those runs were completed by females, 7,215 by males, and 793 by unknown finishers.

2,106 of those different parkrunners were participating at Ashton Court for the first time; 912 females and 1,194 males. 74 were aged 10 or under, and 198 were aged between 11 and 19. 584 were in their 20s, 589 in their 30s, 411 in their 40s, 188 were in their 50s, 56 in their 60s and 6 in their 70s. 39 of them moved up an age category during Year Three.
 
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In Year Three we met Chrissie Wellington for the first time. Chrissie is a four-time Ironman Triathlon World Champion, and until 2019 lived in Bristol. Chrissie is now parkrun's Global Head of Health and Wellbeing. Unfortunately this is the only photo we have of her in this parkrun year, at her first event, our 133rd. She's the leader of this pack. We'll find a reason to post a better photo of Chrissie in one of the later years' review (photo: Mark Ducker)
 
918 of Year Three’s first timers have never returned to Ashton Court. Many of them will have gone on to run elsewhere, and the remainder still might.

It only took 7 days for 355 of our Year Three first timers to come back for a 2nd parkrun. The biggest gap between 1st and 2nd visits is 337 parkruns, and there’s 1 parkrunner whose only 2 parkruns were both here, and they were 310 parkruns apart. Perhaps we’ll see them again at our 742nd parkrun?
 
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On the left is one of the 355 mentioned above, Shaun Popel, at his 2nd parkrun, our number 112. Shaun's now run here 208 times. His wife Hazel joined us the following year and had now run here 116 times. At our most recent parkrun, for the first time, they took part in parkrun as a family, with both their children; James on his feet and his little sister Alice in her buggy (photo: Rich Kenington)
 
Year Three’s 2,106 newcomers have between them finished 5,481 Ashton Court parkruns. The most Year Three parkruns completed by a first timer was 36 by Phil King – 5 more than anyone else, and 8 of the group took part in over half the year’s events. The most Ashton Court parkruns finished by a Year Threester is 230 – well done Stephen Cotterill.
 
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Another of Year Three's first timers, this time on the right, is Stephen Cotterill. Not sure if that's a look of bewilderment on his face as he scales the hill for the first time, at our 150t event, but he soon forgot about that and as we've just described, he's gone on to have run more times here than any of his fellow Year Threesters (photo: Carron Downer)
 
715 of our Year Threesters achieved pbs – 1,505 of them in all – with Phil King achieving 14 of them, Maria Meredith 12, and then Julia Dallyn, Tanya Chowdhury, Kamil Tomaszewski and Clare Townsend each running 10 pbs during the year.
 
2013-12-14 132 pk

Phil King had plenty of reasons to be cheerful in Year Three. He discovered parkrun, he achieved 14 pbs, and he's now run here 218 times, 36 of them in this particular year. Plus he gets several mentions in this review. This is Phil in our 132nd event (photo: Rich Kenington)
 
The best age grade score of 84.04% was achieved by Martin Roscoe. This was at Martin’s only parkrun to date. At the time he was in the V45-49 category, and he finished 2nd in event number 119 with a time of 17:12, the 47th fastest time ever recorded here.

Tanya Chowdhury finished 45th overall 4 times and was 5th female 7 times.

Ken Ham finished 14th overall 4 times. Phil Richards was 2nd female 6 times, while Helen Kirkwood was 8th female 6 times.

6 parkrunners finished in the same place 3 times during Year Three, and another 119 did so twice.
 
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Also seen in event number 132 is Tanya Chowdhury. Tanya's on her way to one of her 7 finishes as 5th female, and one of the 10 pbs ~ 22:21 ~ that she achieved in Year Three (photo: Rich Kenington)
 
Gordon Everett scored the same age grade, of 63.67% on 3 different occasions, and also ran the same time 3 times during the year – 20:58.

Jack Roberts achieved similar feats, with 3 age grade scores of 55.40% and 3 finishes in 23:17. Aidan Bent also managed to finish in the same time 3 times, in 19:21.

Phil King finished 89th male on 4 occasions, at events number 107,121,132 and 144.
 
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Did Gordon Everett ever imagine, as he flew down the hill here for the first time at our 104th parkrun, that within a few years he'd have run up and down this hill another 200 times? (photo: Rich Kenington)
 
Year Three

We recorded 1,555 different finish times during Year Three. The average finish time was 27:22, and the time we recorded most often – on 25 occasions - was 25:28 – by 8 females and 17 males. 14 of the 25 were Year Threesters.
 
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A busy shot of our 149th parkrun, with current co-Event Director Maggie Salter on the left. Maggie was one of the 25 parkrunners who finished in 25:28 in Year Three, and this was when she did so (photo: Mark Ducker)
 
During Year Three 24 Ashton Court parkrunners finished in the same time on 3 occasions. Emma Withers went 1 better, finishing in 24:57 at events number 104, 115, 117 and 134, and also finished in 24:56 at event number 110 and 24:58 at number 143.
 
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This is Emma Withers at event number 115, on her way to one of her 4 24:57 finishes in Year Three (photo: Mike Warren)
 
Year Three’s fastest finish time by a male was 16:28, which was James Rodgers’ time in event number 129, and meant that for the second consecutive year the course record was broken. There was something in the air that morning, with the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th finishers all achieving pbs. The 3rd finisher didn’t present a barcode.
 
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One way of keeping warm on a frosty Saturday morning might be to achieve a parkrun pb, and that's what the first 2 seen here ~ James Rodgers and Scott Campbell ~ went on to do (photo: Mike Warren)
 
The same applies to the fastest female time, as it was also reduced this year when Catherine Blew ran 18:19 in event number 115, finishing 2nd overall, on her only visit to our parkrun. Since then Catherine’s finish time has only been beaten once by another female, and it’s the 275th fastest time ever recorded out of the 144,436 different runs that have been completed here.
 
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Back to our 115th parkrun for this great shot of Catherine Blew, about to finish in 18:19 ~ our female course record until our 294th event (photo: Mike Warren)
 
Damian Spreckley finished first on 9 occasions, 1 of the 31 different male 1st finishers, while Sally Johnson, who saw Year Two out and Year Three in with 1st finishes, was 1st female finisher 37 times during our 3rd year. 11 females shared the remaining 14 1st female finish places.
 
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Another great shot from Mike Warren, this time of Damian Spreckley at the u-bend during our 143rd parkrun (photo:Mike Warren)
 
Apart from Damian and Sally, Tanya Chowdhury finished 45th 4 times, and Ken Ham was 14th 4 times. 6 finishers filled the same place on 3 occasions, and 119 did so twice. Tanya also managed to be 5th female on 7 different occasions, Phil Richards was 2nd female 6 times, and Helen Kirkwood 8th female 6 times. The nearest any male came to this was Phil King, who finished 89th male on 4 occasions.

Helen Kirkwood had a remarkable run of runs in Year Three, finishing 8th female at parkruns number 138, 139, 140, 141, 143 and 144. At the parkrun that's missing, number 142, Helen was the 10th female to finish.
 
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Here's Helen Kirkwood at our 140th parkrun, probably finishing in 8th female place. After all, she usually did! (photo: Mike Warren)
 
We celebrated 2,731 pbs during Year Three; 1,108 by female finishers and 1,623 by males. These were achieved by 1,213 different parkrunners; 478 female and 735 male.
 
2013-11-30 130 mm

Maria Meredith ran 12 pbs during Year Three, and Clare Townsend ran 10. Here they both are in our 130th parkrun, when they both ran faster here than ever before, but not faster than one another, as they both recorded a time of 29:19! (photo: Mike Warren)
 
14 juniors joined the junior 10 parkrun club during Year Three, 5 of whom went on to join the 50 parkrun club and 3 of those 5 are now members of the 100 parkrun club.

87 of the parkrunners who joined us in Year Three have since joined the 50 parkrun club. 38 of those are now in the 100 club, and 5 have claimed their green t-shirts, having joined the 250 club.
 
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This was Sean Gregory's first ever parkrun (it was our 139th) and now he's run here 220 more times, and he's completed 257 parkruns overall. Sean was the 46th Ashton Court parkrunner to complete 250 parkruns (photo: Mike Warren)
 
38 of the newcomers have run here at Ashton Court at least 50 times, and a further 26 have run here twice as often.
 
2013-07-13 112 rm

Another of Year Three's first timers to make his debut at our 112th parkrun was Rowland Monk, and he's now run here 151 times, and 15 times at other parkruns (photo: Rich Kenington)
 
Year Three also saw our 4,000th and 5,000th finish line crossers, in event number 116 and 141 respectively. As is often the way with these landmark numbers, neither of these finishers has yet run a second parkrun.

By the end this 3rd year, our numbers had increased steadily, with 304 in June 2013, 307 in July, 320 in January 2014 and then 386 on the 1st Saturday of April. Although the average attendance in Year Three was 248 we've never seen exactly 248 finishers in all our 448 parkruns.
 
2014-04-19 151 view

The last event of Ashton Court parkrun's Year Three, number 151, with parkrunners forming an orderly queue to find out what really is waiting for them up there! (photo: Mike Salisbury)
 
Unknown finishers
 
parkruns had only begun to record unknown finishers towards the end of Year Two, as prior to that most events asked finishers without barcodes not to go down the finish funnel. This meant that most of them weren’t timed, although occasionally someone would cross the finish line and so there might sometimes be 1 or 2 unknowns.

Early in 2013 parkrun HQ decided it would be better to know exactly how many people were participating in events, whether with a barcode or not, and that’s when we all started employing the current system, in which a barcodeless parkrunner is given a place in the results, but no time.
 
finish barcodes only

A look at the start of our 81st parkrun, back in Year Two, with the FINISH sign clearly also reading BARCODES ONLY (photo: Geoff Keogh)
 
parkrun on a Wednesday?
 
Year Three was notable for being the first year when a parkrun was held in the greater Bristol area on a Wednesday. In fact, you spend a little over 2 years waiting for a Wednesday parkrun and then 2 turn up at once! At 9 o’clock on New Year’s morning 143 parkrunners started Little Stoke parkrun, assisted by 7 volunteers.
 
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The first of the 2 New Year's Day 2014 parkruns gets under way at Little Stoke, in pouring rain (photo: Rich Kenington)
 
90 minutes later 83 of the Little Stoke finishers, and 3 of their volunteers, accompanied by with 67 others who hadn’t managed the earlier start, set off around our course on a very bleak and inhospitable morning. Much praise was due to the 12 Ashton Court volunteers, who gave up the opportunity to run the Bristol area’s 1st New Year double to ensure that our course was in good order before the morning’s 2nd event began.
 
2014-01-01 135 ac start

Still in pouring rain, we start again ~ this time of course, at Ashton Court. Our 135th parkrun and the first one that nobody expected to begin at 9 o'clock! (photo: Rich Kenington)
 
 
Report by Rich Kenington, Class of Year Two, 42 parkruns during Year Three, 22 of them at Ashton Court

 

Coming soon .. Year Four

 

Don't forget you can 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.

We have a library of our parkrun photos in our Flickr group

 

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?
 
2020-02-08 444 01

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.
 
2020-02-08 444 18

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.

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