Thanks to a very enthusiastic turnout at last New Years' Aviemore parkrun, we are planning to do it again. Please note the later start time of 11am. Route 7 cafe will not be open.
parkrun is always the same, but always different. Wherever you go, it is a free timed 5k, starting at 9.30am on a Saturday in Scotland (other times can apply elsewhere.) Each location is different- having taken part at 66 of them, I have seen everything from flat as a pancake to leg sapping climbs. They can be on smooth tarmac or over rough tracks. And each time you visit a location, the weather, ground conditions and who else is taking part can all be a factor.
For my (arbitrary) 150th parkrun, I decided to visit Aviemore for my 4th time, coincidentally the 125th time that the event has taken place. It has to be one of my favourites, as it is set in great scenery, it has enough slight slopes to keep your legs adapting (don’t believe a run director who tells you it is up out and down back, as there are a couple of minor inclines in the tail), and the path is well built so that wet weather does not end up with a mud run, but it is not as unforgiving on the legs as tarmac or concrete.
One of the challenges can be in getting volunteers, so it is good to see a parkrun that has a high number of tourists (both those who are parkrun tourists, having run at 20 or more locations, often spotted wearing a yellow buff with black cows, or just runners on holiday) successfully filling the roster week after week to allow the event to take place. It is often seen as giving back, and it doesn’t have to mean that you lose out on your exercise, as today I completed the course as Tail Walker (the volunteer who always ensures that nobody else taking part can come last). Not only did I get 5k of exercise, but I also had a couple of good chats with other participants, including Andy Sneddon from near Falkirk who was intermittently running and walking his way around. Usually, I don’t have breath for more than a ‘well done’ or ‘keep it up’ as I pass people or am passed myself.
For non-runners, a look at the forecast would have meant a decision to stay indoors. But 73 people completed the course today, including 5 who had never taken part in parkrun before, Alanna McDermott finishing her 50th parkrun (who should be able to wear a coveted free red t-shirt to mark the achievement soon) and 18 others who had not taken part at Aviemore before.
As usual, we had some real pace-setters at the front, with what appeared to be quite a close group at the front of the ladies (including a junior), but there were other common parkrun sights, including a dog on a short lead, a buggy and many under-11’s keeping adults within reach. 6 people completed the course in a personal best time.
Despite a short shower before I finished, there were some fabulous views over the moors, with a lovely mist in the hills.
Oh, and the final highlight. One of the reasons that Scottish parkruns start at 9,30, while English ones start at 9am, is that the Scots love mingling in a café after parkrun, and the café at Pollok Park in Glasgow didn’t open until 10am. It is hardly a coincidence that you will find many parkrunners at the Route 7 café on the way back to their cars after parkrun, enjoying a good snack and having a great chat with friends old and new before getting on with the rest of the day.
The male record is still held by Andrew Douglas at 15.10, the female record by Morag Millar at 17.05, and the age grade record by Carolyn Milne at 94.18. More importantly, the average time is at 28.53, and my time as last finisher today was 41.44- but I would have been happy if it had been longer, to help anyone finish. Volunteers are happy to support anyone who wants to take part, even if they would struggle to finish within an hour, as we want to help people to get fitter.
So many thanks to Natalie Milsted who visited Aviemore parkrun last weekend and wrote us this report.
A new record for Aviemore parkrun on Easter Saturday saw 179 parkrunners take part, the previous record was 126 parkrunners and the amazing volunteers coped admirably with the increase in numbers.
Ninety first timers boosted the numbers with many of those travelling from Elgin parkrun which was cancelled this week.
The Cairngorms National Park is located in the Scottish Highlands and is the largest national park in the UK, as the only parkrun within this park the route is stunning. On the hottest day of the year so far, the undulating route offered perfect running conditions with views of the Cairngorms and the last snow on the mountains.
The course is out and back and many of the juniors offered high fives as they ran past, the cheering from the finish funnel could be heard on the return leg and a large group cheered the runners over the line.
Claire Howie, a regular at Aviemore parkrun completed her 50 parkrun milestone and there were 26 parkrun pb’s. It was a wonderfully friendly course with the atmosphere continuing in the local café afterwards.
Best feet forward at Aviemore Parkrun #98
Thanks to Laura our Tourist Scanner for producing this weeks amazing Run Report (thanks for reminding me of messing up the countdown at the start!)
Over to you Laura! If anyone else feels like showing off there inner journo' and writting a Run Report, email firstname.lastname@example.org
What a glorious day for park runners!
To round off a lovely family holiday here in the Highlands, 4 and a half us of us came to join the Aviemore parkrun family (3 runners, 1 barcode scanner, 0.5 snoozing on my back in his carrier!). Thank you so much for making us welcome at your beautiful venue.
Run Director Pete Wright led a wonderfully friendly volunteer briefing (ah shucks... to kind! PW) and we adventured through to the start, across a burn, through a tunnel to the ancient wood and Route 7 bike trail.
We were joined by 110 Parkrunners/walkers/dog owners and pram pushers and after a quick briefing they were off (some too keen and nearly crossed the start early!)
Spring was in the air and clearly in your steps as there were 24 pbs. Congratulations!
I'd like to at this point, plug the role of the volunteer. All parkrun events are only possible because of the volunteers… no one is an employee, so to keep events running please choose a couple of dates through the year to come and help out. You get a wonderful feeling of satisfaction and wellbeing without the knee strain, and as well as having a lovely time meeting people, you will be shown what to do so don't be anxious. I used the volunteer app for the first time to scan barcodes and it was beautifully easy and proof that there is always something new to learn. You can volunteer at your local event, junior event, or be like me and volunteer on your holidays. You can find out if volunteers are needed by emailing your local parkrun, or by looking at the future roster.
Thank you to this week's high vis heros: Laura ALSTON, Bill DEWITT, Lorna FOSTER, Paul JARVIS, Christopher D MORRIS, Peter SHEPHERD, Jane SHEPHERD, Jack WARD, Pete WRIGHT
Here are some of the highlights from the results and from chatting to people at the scanning station:
There were 6 first timers. Welcome to the family, I hope you stick with it and experience all the benefits my little family and I do. A particular congratulations to the lady who fulfilled her new year's resolution, which had her own personal challenge as well as being her first parkrun.
There were 42 tourists (including my motley crew) and a fabulous lady training for a marathon. She was up here on a hen do and had run to the start from Insh, arrived a tiny bit late, dug in and powered through to get a time she was happy with and (after a cheery thank you) was off back to her friends having run a half marathon distance!
Unfortunately there were 14 no barcodes. Although everyone was very pleasant about not getting their time recorded, please remember that your barcode has essential medical information on and an ‘in case of emergency’ contact number. No one imagines it will ever be needed but in that unlikely event it can really make a difference and has been used in local parkruns recently.
Having looked through the results I see that there were so many milestones! Parkrun central celebrates 25 volunteer, 10 junior Park runs, 50 runs, 100 runs, 250 runs and 500.
Congratulations to those who joined the 50 runs club (2 of whom were tourists)
And the 100 runs club (also a tourist)
I also want to congratulate our 15 junior participants. Between them there were 4pbs, 1 first timer and 8 tourists. From a personal perspective I also want to particularly commend those pram pushing parents. I've done it; it isn't easy especially with hills and cold breeze so well done!
Although parkrun is a run not a race, congratulations to those who had a really successful event.
Best age grade (87.22) Isobel Burnett
Fastest time 18:09 Craig Walker.
I asked my (running) family for a review of the course, and here's what they had to say:
All of them commented on how beautiful a day it was, and showed enthusiastic appreciation for the encouragement from marshals and supporters the whole way round. Our runners didn't like the hills (not many places round here where there is no hills - PW), especially the last kilometre but they all got fantastic times so I personally think that they had a spring in their step and were going for it! They also all commented on the epic young juniors and the courage and focus they showed.
My partner in crime described the course as follows: friendly group of volunteers. Jovial false starts before everyone got underway (OKAY, OKAY... need to improve me 3, 2, 1 go! - PW). Wide undulating bridleway winds its way past the golf course to some moorland. More up than down on the way out, blue skies contrasting the snow capped Cairngorm mountain range. The most beautiful parkrun I've taken part in (Awazing!!! - PW). Approaching half way we were met by the biking marshal playing heavy metal music. Run round the turn point and you're heading for home, aided by the (mostly) flat downhill second half. Highlights are definitely the stunning scenery and friendly volunteers. Well worth making an extra journey to attend, especially on a blue sky day.
(editor's note, there was quite the conversation about the turn point playlist and it it were to be shared we'd love a copy!) The question will be asked and a link to be put up on facebook - PW!
Thanks for having us, we'll be back next year at our next family holiday.
Happy running everyone, have a great week, Laura + 3.5
Yes it will!
Come along, don't forget your barcode. The run will be at 11am with a race brief at 10:45.
See you there!