Basingstoke parkrun is cancelled on 26 September 2020: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

(Not) parkrun week one – and my not (not) parkrun at War Memorial Park.

Basingstoke (not) parkrun #1, 20th June 2020. (Not) parkrun Run Report by Peter Chiverton

It's been FOURTEEN weeks since we were last able to run, jog or walk together at Basingstoke parkrun (14th March) and since then we have all had to endure the difficulties of lockdown, the uncertainties of different work situations, trying to help our children learn while unable to attend school, keeping vulnerable family members safe perversely by not going near them, and many other things. We're not at the end of things yet although gradually we are emerging from lockdown. Hopefully you have been out running, jogging or walking at other places and times while parkrun is not happening.

Well, parkrun is planning for its return. Not just yet in the UK obviously, but you may have seen that parkrun will restart in New Zealand on 4th July (https://blog.parkrun.com/uk/2020/06/16/covid-19-coronavirus-update-16-june/). Hopefully it won't be too long before this extends to other parts of the parkrun world, once it is safe to do so.

In the meantime, have you done a (not) parkrun? I don't just mean a run anywhere that isn't a parkrun, but parkrun this week have allowed us to record our own 5k run, jog or walk anywhere (even on a treadmill if you like?) and at any time during the week (just please don't meet at Basingstoke parkrun's course at 9am to run - we've been asked not to). You can record this against your parkrun profile (you don't need to re-register); to do so click the "manage my profile" link in any email you have received from parkrun (eg for completing a parkrun or for volunteering), and then select the (not) parkrun option. The fastest result you enter for a week will then be displayed on your home run's weekly page - for Basingstoke that's at https://www.parkrun.org.uk/basingstoke/results/notparkrun/. Unfortunately your (not) parkruns don't count toward your milestone T shirt run count for parkrun, but having just had a look it's great to see some familiar names recording times for this week.

I noticed on the Basingstoke parkrun page this week that Event Director Avi Govind posted this picture of War Memorial Park.

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The patterns in the grass show that the park bandstand (here in the background) used to instead be in the middle of the park. I suggest you look at the Basingstoke parkrun Facebook page for the interesting ensuing discussion about the history of the park. It reminded me that whereas a lot of us visited War Memorial Park regularly until mid March for parkrunning or volunteering, and those living close may have continued to do so, many of us (like me) will have visited rarely or even not at all. It therefore encouraged me to go to the park on Saturday for a walk - not for a (not) parkrun as I wasn't planning to do 5k - just to relax after a busy week.

I arrived with Maggie just after 1130am, parking without difficulty at Crossborough Hill car park (finding it considerably easier than normally is the case for parkrun!) and we were pleased the park didn't seem too busy, making it easy to keep distanced from the other groups making use of it. Certainly the area we gather normally before the start was nowhere near as populated with people.

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We were upset that the grass area had quite a lot of litter - thankfully something we don't normally see as a result of our parkruns - and were pleased we had a sparecarrier bag to try to clear up a bit as we walked. There are lots of bins in the park so it's beyond me why people can't use them.

Near to where we normally start to parkrun, we spent some time walking around the Community Orchard (which I knew about but had forgotten was there - details at http://basingstoketransition.org/community-orchard-war-memorial-park/) - this is an area of fruit trees that were planted by volunteers and the nearby notice says people are welcome to pick a few fruit once they are ripe.

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It's a bit early yet for picking but fruit is already growing.

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Maybe parkrunners can munch an apple waiting for the start later in the year?

We enjoyed our stroll under the trees and up Tennis Court Hill (so much easier when you aren't trying to complete it in a hurry) in the shaded sunshine, saying hello to a few people walking the opposite way and keeping our distance from each other. Part of the park has been allowed to grow wild flowers at this point, and poppies and Marguerite daisies are doing particularly well here.

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At the top of the hill the widening path under the trees

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passes the children's playground, sadly still closed,

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and we walked on past the aforementioned bandstand, the very noisy aviary (does everyone else think the birds everywhere seem much louder than in previous years? I'm sure it's not just the lack of traffic during lockdown!)

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and we stopped at the Peace Garden (which as a parkrunner I must confess hardly noticing as I'm normally focussing on getting round the park) to look at the statue of Sir Harold Gillies there, who I discovered was a pioneer of plastic surgery during WWII at Park Prewett Hospital, Rooksdown.

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There are also a number of plaques on the ground with messages and images around the theme of peace. I liked this one which seemed to speak to me during these turbulent times.

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Not missing another area of wild flowers near the Council Offices which we enjoyed too.

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We wandered through the wooded area back to the car park. Far enough for us today, and we'd enjoyed our walk in our lovely park - the sights on offer there change so much through the seasons and it was great to see it in its summer guise. Indeed, at this time of year the park is normally preparing for summer events - dog shows, food festivals and of course the Basingstoke Festival, meaning we normally have to travel across to Crabtree Plantation for a parkrun or two. I visit that more often in my runs from home - I'm sure we've all missed our trips up this infamous hill.

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Here's hoping it won't be too long until we can meet again as a parkrun community, but I'd encourage you to find time to visit our fantastic park in the meantime, perhaps for a distanced walk with friends.

And hope to see your names at least on the Basingstoke (not) parkrun table in the weeks to come?

 

So … how have you been?

Basingstoke un-parkrun #4+, 11th April 2020. Non-Run Report by David Picton

Can it really be only a calendar month? Around five weeks ago, Hannah Erskine pulled together her fabulous Run Report for Event #632, capturing a wonderful parkrun themed around International Women’s Day … we had one more parkrun after that, but then we (along with the hundreds of thousands in our extended family) lost our weekly burst of energy, achievement, challenge and warm companionship. That gap has brought the loss of connection for many – missing the chance to link up with old friends, make new ones and just be united for an hour or so.

So – given that just about everything else we do (at the moment) is virtual, we thought you might fancy a virtual Run Report … just to tide you over and bring a little bit of parkrun back into your life for a few minutes. (Editor's note: David has form in this regard - he was the author of the Non-Run Report for the last time Basingstoke parkrun was cancelled - at https://www.parkrun.org.uk/basingstoke/news/2019/02/04/snow-chance-of-a-parkrun/).

Of course, none of this seeks to play down the severity of what so many are facing – and we all stand together to share our parkrun spirit with those facing sadness, tough times, separation or illness. At least one of our parkrunners has had pneumonia, though has thankfully now recovered, and we send all our heartfelt best wishes to any who are struggling. We also send our treasured sense of community ‘unity’ to all those diverse keyworkers, volunteers and unsung stars who are giving so much to help so many … in these times, our strengths lie in our differences, not in our similarities.

Whatever parkrun normally means for you, whatever you miss about it and even though you can’t share your life with those you might normally be with … you’re not alone. So many of us are still running, jogging, walking or doing whatever it takes to stay healthy in mind and body.

But first, as is traditional, we just need to confirm this week’s official results.

So – this week – zero parkrunners gathered in Memorial Park at 9 o’clock to run, jog or walk the course, none of whom were completing their very first parkrun. There were zilch first-timers to our wonderful Basingstoke course, and it must have been harder going than that horrible winter event with all that horizontal wind and rain, because there wasn’t a single Personal Best. Absolutely no different clubs took part, and the first three male or female finishers were a stray dog, a bird and a kind of weird rabbit-like animal (that might have been a plastic bag, now I come to think about it). Nobody achieved a milestone – either real or unofficial – and this week’s non-event was only possible because not a single person volunteered.

So, if that’s the case … what HAVE we all been up to and what parkrun memories have been keeping us strong until we can make some new ones? Many of you have been kind enough to share your stories, all of which have naturally been anonymised to protect the innocent.

A common thread for all was the boost they got from running in better weather and lighter evenings, which brought a welcome respite from four months of dark and frosty pavements, sleety rain and slogs through mud baths. Many have found inventive routes on tracks and country roads that they’d “never known were there” around their own homes, while others have found wretched tree roots that were equally unknown – and practised spectacular nose-dives. Some have made an evening run their ‘commute’ home (from home) to decompress from their day before they sit with their families, while others have begun ‘new commutes’ to drop off supplies to vulnerable relatives.

Most try to find isolated routes, of course, but value the cheery calls to and from dog-walkers, new runners, cyclists and ramblers – from a safe distance of at least 2 metres. For most, reactions range from friendly acknowledgement to stunned horror at an approaching runner. But – for one – they appreciated the ‘surreal’ moment of seeing the same couple at the start and then the very end of a circuitous route, taking the chance to mutually applaud each other. Others have relished the relative astonishment of previously non-running friends, who have become the newest converts to our sport with a ‘who knew’ kind of epiphany and a vow to be at Event #364 (whenever it may be).

Most cited the motivation of having to counteract colossal increases in ‘lockdown’ biscuit intake, and many were surprised to miss the parkrun routine of getting up early every Saturday morning – come rain, sleet, snow or debilitating hangover. New habits include creating ‘virtual 5K parkrun circuits’ and running that same route (once a week) with a milestone t-shirt and wrist-band barcode anyway – targeting the previous week’s PB. To break up the running, most had turned to the Joe Wickes workouts (alarmingly hard, apparently), dusted-off their bikes (and bought new helmets online) to savour the relatively quieter roads or even invested in spin-bikes for home.

A pleasant surprise for some was the realisation that exercise was a privilege, not to be taken for granted, with many upping their quota to go out every single day – something they hadn’t been motivated (or found the time) to do before! Another revelation was that some actually missed – and this isn’t a typo – they actually missed Crabtree. As moths to a flame, some even chose to go there of their own free will, with others saying that monstering that nemesis hill is their target, their focus and their goal for when we can run again.

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One brave soul is even tackling the beast that is Watership Down (near Highclere) in a bid to be ‘ready to face the enemy’.

Inevitably, many of our ‘family’ have been sustained by parkrun memories from happier times – moments such as the transformative experience of guiding visually-impaired friends like Tony and Sandra around the course, and even helping Tony to complete the Half Marathon (twice)! Another favourite was the parkrunner passing a father and his two children who were intermittently walking and jogging. Whilst the youngsters were obviously enjoying the event, the father was also telling them a story along the way – weaving in plot points from the children as they went. But, one memory that seemed to have scarred most was the first of Matt Pillinger’s (multiple) topless parkruns – that one on the snow-course of March 2018 … brrrrr!

For those of us who’ve reached official milestones, those are particularly cherished memories. Being Britain, many recalled that it was chucking it down on those days – even bringing a biblical thunderstorm for one pair. Whilst it didn’t drench the celebration spirits, it did dilute the prosecco and dampen Denise Hope’s delicious cakes. Fellow Run Directors recalled highlights like introducing a parkrunner visiting his one-hundredth individual event, or having to use a traffic cone for the brief when the PA system was out. Others loved sending a ‘shout out’ to Euan Bowman (Basingstoke parkrun founder) or even hosting the legend who is Paul Sinton-Hewitt (founder of the whole phenomenon). Naming him in the brief as Paul Hinton-Sewitt was a bit offside though …

On the theme of ‘where it all began’ (16 years ago), many held fond memories of running the quintessential parkrun course at Bushy Park in Teddington – though one group didn’t remember much of the detail. Having incorporated it into a stag weekend, they’d ‘enjoyed’ the event after only four hours of sleep, way too much beer, no money for the bus and a freak March ‘Beast from the East’ blizzard … one had even run so slowly, he’d ended up with one side of him fully caked in snow.

No Run Report could possibly be complete without mentioning our wonderful volunteers – with so many of us missing their cheery weekly support, in all weathers and with such good humour. The regular volunteer leaders miss greeting their new ‘supporters’ for each event, and I want to believe that (just maybe) those thousands of parkrun unpaid helpers played their part in making community volunteering so key to getting us all through these tough times. Many are looking forward to the milestone of qualifying for their purple 25th volunteering t-shirt – I know it’s probably the favourite one of the four I’ve been lucky enough to collect.

So … we might be apart, but we’re definitely not alone. Every message I received included one thing that we were all looking forward to – meeting our parkrun friends in the park again. Hugging, shaking hands, smiling and gazing in wonder to the left and right across the start-line, straining at our collective leash as the Run Director of the day counts us down. Spirited round War Memorial Park (or Crabtree) on a collective tsunami of goodwill – as one united family – we will party in the park.

Until then, we all hope you find a way to keep on running, jogging, walking – or whatever you do to stay healthy and positive. Naturally, as good parkrun folks, we know you’ll respect the rules, the guidelines and others around you – to keep us all safe. I’d normally sign off my reports with a cheery call to see you same time next week in the park, but … well, you know.

So – instead – how have you been? Take care … stay strong.

 

This Girl CAN!

Basingstoke parkrun #632, 7th March 2020. Run Report by Hannah Erskine.

In case you hadn't noticed it was International Womens’ Day this Sunday 8th March, and it got me thinking about the female runners who have achieved staggering feats over the years. We've seen pace setters and record breakers - incredible athletes representing their country on the international stage. Who can forget performances by Zola Budd, Sally Gunnell, Kelly Holmes, Paula Radcliffe, and more recently Dina Asher-Smith? And then there are the women attempting - and winning - mind blowing endurance events, like Jasmin Paris – winner of the 268-mile Montane Spine race - and Nicky Spinks who has taken on the Bob Graham, Paddy Buckley and Ramsay Rounds – completing each of them not just once but twice in one go!! (take a look online to understand how incredible that is!)

Elite and extreme performances aside, for many people (myself included at times!) getting out of bed regularly on a Saturday morning to run, jog or walk parkrun is a huge achievement in itself! Whether at the front, firmly in the middle, or bringing up the rear; whether running with a buggy, in fancy dress, or making sure the baby gets the parkrun bug early (10 weeks before the expected arrival date!), parkrun really is for everyone. After all, as iconic runner Kathrine Switzer once said: “All you need is the courage to believe in yourself and put one foot in front of the other.”

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We don't have to look too far to find our own inspirational parkrunners at Basingstoke, so I thought I'd ask some of them about what and who have motivated or inspired them to run.

Lynn Brastock was one of the 11 women who took part in the first ever Basingstoke parkrun on 5th July 2008 - and is still whipping round in similar times! Lynn's motivation to run was due to her father's osteoporosis – a good plan since running is a great way to maintain bone density.

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Meanwhile parkrun regular Tracy Wyeth - on course to complete her 400th parkrun later this year - enjoys the competition and sense of achievement as she finds herself regularly 1st in her age group.

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Lisa Hedderly is a true purple t-shirt hero, having volunteered at over 250 parkruns. Occasionally venturing round the course, she really enjoys making Basingstoke parkrun a welcoming place for all runners.

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Run Director Frankie Wellings spoke about her admiration for Scottish middle distance runner Laura Muir, who completed her university studies to qualify as a vet - whilst training so hard she broke a few records! Frankie demonstrated her own superb organisational skills in overseeing today's event, number 632.

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This week 564 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 19 were completing their very first parkrun, and 31 were first timers to the Basingstoke course. 53 people recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 41 different clubs took part.

First three male finishers were Tom Harding, Charlie Taylor (achieving a new PB at the same time) and Tony Watkins. Representing the 202 women out on the course were first three female finishers Alison James, Rebecca Cairns and Yvette Dollin.

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Milestones this week were reached by:
Junior 10: Haidyn Rogers, Shantanu Shahane, Quinn Barker, Jaiden Harper, Joshua White and Alfie Barber.
50: Mark Bancroft, Mark Ward and Ade Smith.

Unofficial milestones were achieved by:
150: Kevin Grant, Ricky Chan, Andrew Kenward
350: Sarah Potter
550: Andrew Little

And Naomi Holborough earned her purple t-shirt with her 25th volunteer slot.

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Talking of volunteers, the event was made possible by 41 of them:

Lynn BRASTOCK • Caroline PARTNER • Carol WADESON • Avi GOVIND • Jonathan MATTHEWS • Tracy WYETH • Alison JAMES • Tommy MILLAR • Eleanor MATTHEWS • Matt PILLINGER • Rebecca CAIRNS • Brian WORTH • Frankie WELLINGS • Richard WELLINGS • Lorna GORDON • Hannah ERSKINE • Mark NORRIS • Lynda DAY • Sam HIDSON • Nicola DALE • Emma COLLINS • Jamie VAN GRAMBERG • Mike HEDDERLY • Jack HEDDERLY • Lisa HEDDERLY • Denise HOPE • George HEDDERLY • Aidan LEAVEY • Naomi HOLBOROUGH • Peter RAILTON • Thomas CANN • Duncan ROUNDING • Sarah ABRAHAMS-BURROWS • Mike ATHROLL • Chris TOWNLEY • Eleanor ABRAHAMS-BURROWS • Steven SHILLINGFORD • Sarah GAMBRILL • Sue JACKSON • Deborah RIVERS • Michael PARKER.

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One final thought: looking back through the stats, the last time we had an overall female first finisher at our parkrun was in 2018, and before that back in 2016. So it seems like we're due another one in 2020 - who will it be?!

 

Double Excitement

Basingstoke parkrun event #631, 29th!!!!! February 2020. Run Report by Matt Pillinger

Those of you who care about these things will have had 29th February 2020 circled & highlighted in your calendars as an inviolable parkrun appointment for quite some time. For this is the first time ever parkrun has taken place on 29th February and means for 'date chasers' our 'dates run challenge' is now measured out of 366, rather than 365. For those who missed today, the next opportunity is 29 February 2048 (10,227 days time), by which time I'll be, well, err, … old :-(

Since it's 29th February, a quick lesson on why leap years occur, courtesy of timeanddate.com

Why Do We Have Leap Years?

Leap days keep our modern-day Gregorian calendar in alignment with Earth's revolutions around the Sun. It takes Earth approximately 365.242189 days, or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds, to circle once around the Sun. This is called a tropical year, and it starts on the March equinox.

However, the Gregorian calendar has only 365 days in a year. If we didn't add a leap day on February 29 almost every four years, each calendar year would begin about 6 hours before the Earth completes its revolution around the Sun.

As a consequence, our time reckoning would slowly drift apart from the tropical year and get increasingly out of sync with the seasons. With a deviation of approximately 6 hours per year, the seasons would shift by about 24 calendar days within 100 years. Allow this to happen for a while, and Northern Hemisphere dwellers will be celebrating Christmas in the middle of summer in a matter of a few centuries.

Leap days fix that error by giving Earth the additional time it needs to complete a full circle around the Sun.

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So you might be thinking every 4 years is a leap year? Well it is in our lifetime, but probably not in the lifetime of children born today.

Why We Don't Add a Leap Day Every 4 Years?

If the tropical year was precisely 6 hours longer than a calendar year with 365 days, we could use the Julian calendar, which adds a leap day every 4 years without exception. The deviation would grow to exactly 24 hours over 4 years, and Earth would need exactly one day to catch up to the position in its orbit where it was 4 years prior.
However, the deviation between the common year and the tropical year is a little less than 6 hours. The Gregorian calendar addresses this by employing a slightly more complicated set of rules to determine which years are leap years. It's still not perfect, but the resulting deviation is very small.

These rules are;
The year must be divisible by 4,
but, if it can also be divided by 100 it is not a leap year … unless it is also divisible by 400. So the years 2100, 2200 and 2300 will not be leap years, but 2000 was and 2400 will be.

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Huge shout out to Hannah Beaven who ran 29:02 today.

If that wasn't enough excitement, due to flooding on the football field today we ran the CLASSIC COURSE!!!!!!! For newer Basingstoke parkrunners, this was the only course (Crabtree and snow excepted) until April 2015 when we moved to a summer & winter course due to overcrowding at the start of classic course before moving in February 2019 to the current standard course. When I heard this news I well, erm …

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Just to be clear, my excitement was not the reason for the puddle/pond/lake just past the childrens play area!

Huge thank you to Run Director Lisa Hedderly, Caroline, Mark and Grant who sorted out the course change in double quick time.

There was of course still a fair bit of mud on the football field and it was rather obvious who was wearing trail shoes today - they powered over the mud as those around them struggled for grip.

Despite some local(ish) cancellations (Hogmoor, Reading, Winchester & Eastleigh), the attendance wasn't massive by recent measures, with 498 athletes completing the 5k course, including 11 people completing their first parkrun and 24 first time visitors to Basingstoke.

As usual, we were led around the course by Tom Harding (17:28) while Luke Willis (18:38) and Tony Watkins (18:39) had a race for 2nd place.  Also, as usual, Alison James was 1st female finisher (20:35), ahead of Hannah Potter (22:12) & Lucy Pearson (22:43 PB).  Tony (83.11%) & Alison (82.43%) also took top 2 spots in the age graded competition, joined by Mark Slaney (77.86%) on the podium.

Congratulations also to our milestone runners: Junior 10 - Jack Pietersen, 50 - Adrian Davey, Katie Stroud & Julian Poore, 100 - Michael Day & Davina Luthra, finally Andrew Modle joined the 250 club today.

Andrew is the joint 9,437th person globally to join the 250 club.  If you are wondering how I know this - parkrun wiki https://wiki.parkrun.com/index.php/Club_Membership_(5km)_Totals  There are nearly 6.8m barcodes in issue, of which 2.7m have never been scanned (some of which will have been registered by non running volunteers like Denise Hope).  Around 254,000 people have completed at least 50 parkruns ; around 100,000 have completed at least 100 parkruns. Capture

And our unofficial milestoners:

150 - Stella Herron & 200 - Lucy Pearson

Finally on milestones, Mark Norris volunteered at his 300th event today - WOW!

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As always, there are loads more pictures on the Basingstoke parkrun flickr page https://www.flickr.com/groups/1604213@N25 Thank you to Geoff Herron for taking these today.

While I've got you in stats mode, here's some updates on my perennial favourites, the attendance at each Basingstoke parkrun, the age groups runners fall into and the age grade %ages we've achieved, again for each run completed.

How Many of Us

 

How Old

Age Grades

Next Sunday 8th March is International Women's Day, we want to get as many women as possible to parkrun next Saturday 7th March, so bring your grans, mums, sisters & daughters, either to run, volunteer or watch - some people struggle with the idea of parkrun, imagining it's all thin, speedy, young people - bring them along to watch and they might be inspired to run,jog or walk with us soon.

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One last thank you - all the volunteers who helped put today's event on. Without you there is no parkrun and 498 runners would have missed out today. If you've not helped out for a while, maybe its time to email basingstokehelpers@parkrun.com and volunteer for a future week
Finally, as I ran today, I'm putting my name down for volunteering on 29 February 2048 (& 29 February 2076 if I'm still upright) to allow those who volunteered today to collect this most precious of dates.

 

Wind, rain and volunteer heroes

Basingstoke parkrun #630, 22nd February 2020. Run Report by Peter Chiverton.

A great while ago, the world was begun,
With a hey ho, the wind and the rain
But that’s all one, our play is done
And we’ll strive to please you every day

(From Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare)

I was Run Director today. And I was a little concerned as I lay in bed early this morning hearing the wind howling around outside. Would there be branches down across the paths in War Memorial Park or trees swaying so hard we’d be worried about parkrunners being in danger? After the recent visits to the UK of Storms Ciara and Dennis I thought it would be best to find out early if there was a Storm With No Name set to cause mischief. And so at 0750 this morning I was in War Memorial Park jogging gently round the course (in reverse as it happens) to check all was well. In fact things seemed much better in the park than it had seemed listening to the outside world from my bedroom. There was one large branch down near the path in the Wiggly Woods section, which I moved to a safer place, but otherwise it was mostly small twigs and branches which runners could avoid.

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I met Basingstoke parkrunner Lynn Brastock as I travelled around the park, who was out for an early morning warm up run before her parkrun, and then as I approached Totally Tennis I met regular volunteer Mike Athroll who was moving the equipment out ready for our use. Those who have never done the course setup or course close down volunteer roles may not know that Totally Tennis provide a storage place for our heavy equipment to save having to lug it to or from the park – and in return we save some car park spaces for their early morning tennis people.

While Mike, Tommy Millar and Mike Stanford (all regular volunteers) set off with posts and cones to mark out the course around the park, I waited for others in the setup team, Sam Hidson, Sue Jackson and Michael Hickey, who accompanied by core team member Ryan Partner (who had brought some of the kit from home) took the rest of the equipment to the start area to finish the setup in that part of the course. (We decided not to get out the Basingstoke pop up sign or the parkrun flag with the view that in the wind we might not see them again!). Sarah Gambrill had to follow us across the field to retrieve the cones that she needed to mark off the Totally Tennis car park spaces and then she looked after the car parking for us, as she very often does.

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Over the next 30-40 minutes the rest of the volunteers arrived for duty, comprising:

  • Marshals Denise Hope (complete with her usual dog treats for dog parkrun attendees!), Dean Turner, Peter Evans, Boyd Jno-Lewis, Chris Veall, Mark Coughlin and Nicola Dale;
  • Timekeepers Jane Lowe and Laura Williams (thanks Ryan for helping us sort out a glitch with one of the timers);
  • Number checker Stephen Shillingford, who probably covered nearly 5k up and down the finish funnel checking results;
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  • First time briefer Jacqui Townley (her first time in this role) who was surrounded by a mixture of first time parkrunners (twenty in all) and thirty-two first time visitors to Basingstoke from parkruns at Winchester (their run having been cancelled), Marlow (ditto), Upton House (near Poole), Northampton and Exeter, among others;
  • Funnel managers Hannah Thomson and Paul Streeter kept our participants moving efficiently through the finish funnel where...
  • Finish token team Brian Worth and Vivianne Walters handed out finish tokens to all of today’s (frankly astounding total given the weather conditions) 532 parkrunners – who took them to...
  • Barcode scanners Katie and Karen Turner, Craig and Maisie Gilbert, and Michael Parker, who sensibly set up scanning shop under the shelter of the Totally Tennis building to try to avoid the wind;
  • Tail walkers David Oxlade and Lynda Day followed all of our parkrunners to the finish today, ensuring that no-one finished last apart from one of those two!
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  • While photographer Geoff Herron popped up at various places around the course to capture our runners travelling around the course, so we could include some in this report.
  • Once all had finished their parkrun, the course closedown team Tom Harding, Hannah Erskine, Mike Athroll and Sue Jackson braved the increasing wind and horizontal rain that came along just at that time to pack away and store the kit back to Totally Tennis.
  • Grant Hodgson and Ryan Partner then processed the results.
  • This doesn’t even mention Michal Bursak, Matt Pillinger and Avi Govind who performed roles during the week to communicate with parkrunners, pull together the volunteer roster, and sort, clean and replace missing position tokens.
  • What a lot of people involved in making parkrun happen today! Thanks to all those volunteers who “strived to please you” this week, so that we could all “play”, ok, walk/ jog/ run in the park.

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    If that didn’t include you this time, you are warmly invited to join this heroic crew in the weeks to come. Just check on the website at https://www.parkrun.org.uk/basingstoke/futureroster/ and let the Basingstoke parkrun office know by email at basingstoke@parkrun.com what you would like to do.

    So what happened at our parkrun today?

    As noted earlier, 532 parkrunners completed the course today. That’s only our 66th highest total from our 630 parkruns at Basingstoke, but from our first run in July 2008 it took until January 2017 to first reach an attendance as high as this – it seems commonplace today.
    20 were first timers to parkrun. Thank you for joining us today – and we hope to see you again soon to maybe try to complete the course in a better time – as the 51 who managed a PB today have been celebrating. Congratulations to you all but I’d like to highlight particularly:
    Stella Herron, who managed a PB in her 143rd parkrun at Basingstoke (149th overall) – it gets harder to PB as you complete more parkruns.
    Peter Warren has completed 6 parkruns at Basingstoke (his first being in January this year) of his 88 overall, but he looks like a man on a mission as he has managed three PBs in that time, including today’s.
    And Denise Wright got her first PB since September 2018 in her 53rd parkrun (all at Basingstoke).

    Today’s milestones:

    (T shirt earning)

  • (junior) 10: Annabel Scott
  • 100: Simon Fowler
  • Volunteer 25: Tom Harding, Vivianne Walters
  • (Unofficial – no T shirt but still kudos)

  • 200: David Howells
  • 300: Debbie Cook.
  • BASINGSTOKE PARKRUN 630 2020_02_22

    A final Thought.

    This Basingstoke parkrun fell on Thinking Day - 22nd February. What is Thinking Day? I knew it was something the Girl Guides did, but having never been one I asked my wife (who had been a Guide). what she remembered about Thinking Day. She remembered two things she had done:
    • Different teams in their Guide unit making food from different countries
    • Visiting different Guide groups and doing things together.

    Well, at Basingstoke parkrun we often celebrate with food (normally of the cake or sweet variety) and meet at Cafe Giardinho in Basingstoke Town Centre after our parkrun for coffee and chat.
    We also frequently welcome visitors from other parkruns as we did today, and it's great to chat to visitors who come along. While many people only ever run at their own home parkrun, and others try to visit as many different events as they can, others may fit in a run at a different parkrun if they happen to be in the area for other reasons. I first ran a parkrun other than Basingstoke (Medina, Isle of Wight) because I was visiting my family for the weekend soon after their parkrun first started in 2011. Visiting other parkruns has meant I have been able to experience some lovely parks that I would never have known existed, and met wonderful people running or volunteering at them, had it not been for parkrun.

    BASINGSTOKE PARKRUN 630 2020_02_22

    It's pertinent to think on Thinking Day (22nd February) of the way parkrun will have spread to (by the end this month) 22 different countries around the world. I wonder how many you can name or how many you have completed a parkrun in? I'm making my first ever trip to complete a non UK parkrun in May but it's fair to say that it won't be to the country of Eswatini - I'd never heard of it before seeing it on the Global parkrun countries page at https://www.parkrun.com/countries/. (If you don't know where Eswatini is, or you’re not sure what other countries you can parkrun in outside of the UK, click the link and find out).

    While I love being at Basingstoke parkrun, it is always interesting to visit other parkruns - and you don't need to travel to other countries to find one - there are plenty within 45 minutes journey of us. So many lovely parks to visit and parkrun or volunteer in - and then perhaps explore further after your parkrun. If you have only ever run Basingstoke parkrun, I'd strongly encourage you to visit others - perhaps when you are on holiday you can fit in a visit to somewhere new.

    Thank you for joining us today. We hope to see you again soon – parkrunning or volunteering.

    DFYB plate

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