Important – Basingstoke parkrun 18th January 2020

We have been to the park this evening 17th January and inspected the course. There are some areas of standing water and mud, but as it stands we are NOT cancelling the event.

We will conduct a further risk assessment in the morning, allowing for potential ice due to tonight’s weather - note that we may need to cancel at short notice.

If this is the case, we will give as much warning as possible.

Should we, as is likely, go ahead, please note that there will be muddy / wet areas.

We urge you to use suitable footwear, watch out for slippery areas and, above all, TAKE IT SLOWLY rather than trying to get a PB.

You may also want to bring a spare pair of shoes for the journey home...

Thank you for your understanding.

Basingstoke parkrun core team

 

What does a broken record look like? Dedication …

Basingstoke parkrun #624, 11th January 2020. Run Report by David Picton

Broken records probably look very different to everyone involved in them. This weekend’s parkrun was just that – a record broken – with our highest-ever attendance (707) in the eleven years since July 2008 when 37 parkrunners and 6 volunteers assembled in the park. Thank goodness those few dozen visionaries had the confidence to keep going – especially when just seven of them made the event a month later in August 2008! Could those seven summer stalwarts possibly have imagined what it would look like to see over a hundred times their number gather to share an hour or so together in the freezing drizzle?

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And it was wet and freezing this week – as Run Director I watched our trusty timekeepers shiver, shudder, shake and wrestle with tiny timing buttons to press-press-press and log more finishers than we have ever seen. From the mouth of the finish funnel, a broken record simply looked like cold, damp and selfless dedication to give their fellow women and men a timed run. As two wonderful power-walking ladies crossed the line to bag tokens 696 (Anne-Marie Picton) and 697 (Elizabeth Hague), thus breaking a record that’s stood for exactly a year, there were still another 10 hardy folks out on the course. It would be another ten minutes before our fabulous tail walking volunteers, Laura and Craig, would cross the line and let the timekeepers finally blow on their frozen fingers.

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Our scanning team were in a similar state too, of course, as they worked overtime to capture tiny tokens and paper, laminate, wristband, trainer-tag or key-fob barcodes. One of the people they scanned this weekend was Lynn Brastock, our legendary 500 Club Lady, former Event Director and one of the very few who also ran that first-ever Basingstoke parkrun back in 2008. From Lynn’s view, the broken record must have look eerily reminiscent, as she ran almost exactly the same time (30:33) to within one second of her time from Event #1 (30:34).

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Roy Castle sang that “dedication” was all we needed to be record-breakers, and we certainly had bundles of that from all of our brave volunteers as the drizzle set in relentlessly to soak the kit, the PA speaker, the high-viz vests and the scanners. In my 23rd go at Run Director, I’ve rarely been more grateful for their commitment, friendship and dedication. Actually, from the end of the microphone, the broken record looked like a lot of friends and family, smiling, hopping gently from foot to foot, and it seemed like one of those weeks to get everyone onto (and off) the start-line as soon as we possibly could.

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As the timeless procession of runners, walkers, dogs, children and pushchairs launched off round the park, the broken record looked like a gigantic, multi-coloured snake stretching out along the sports field. This is usually the time when the event team take a few moments of relative peace before the lead runners reappear around the pavilion about 9 minutes later, but this week was different as my RD phone buzzed after just a few minutes. A runner was down at the top of Tennis Court Hill – taking a nasty fall as someone clipped his heel in the crowd.

Heading across with the first aid kit, I then took another call (well done Dan the marshal) to say that the runner was back on his feet and carrying on. Whilst sore, cut and bruised, our poor runner is OK, and bravely managed to finish the full two laps – although the broken record probably looked rather painful to him. It’s a moment to just reflect though … please, please do take care when you’re out on the course in the wet and the mud. We know it isn’t easy in the crowd, but please do sacrifice just a few seconds here and there (if you have to) to make sure everyone gets safely round the park. And – if anything does happen – please make the event team aware of your name and the details so we can just log an incident report.

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But – these incidents are mercifully rare, and for ten parkrunners, the broken record looked like a much-awaited milestone. A new white junior 10 t-shirt will soon be on its way to Jared Barker, to go hand in hand with the shiny new PB (21:25) he set this week. A batch of scarlet 50 t-shirts will be heading out to George Onslow, Lynda Day, John Featherstone, Adrian Sgattoni and Dawn Ballinger – congratulations to you all. Unofficial milestones also went to Geoff Heron (150), Mark Thompson (200), Nick Onslow (350) and Darren Rolfe (450) … with a special bonus-point to Nick and George for perfecting the father-son synchronised milestone gig. Further kudos points must also go to the 47 parkrunners who managed to bag new personal bests despite the mud and drizzle. Final credit must go to Tamzin Blagbrough though, who bagged her purple t-shirt (25th volunteer slot) as our first-time runner brief guru.

Looking ahead to next week, there are lots knocking on the door of milestone runs, but the one that stopped me short was Andrew Wyeth. With his 599th run this week, next Saturday will be a chance to shake his hand and congratulate him warmly on completing every one of his 600 runs at Basingstoke. Barely missing an event since that August of 2008, he’s also volunteered 41 times and (incredibly) ran this week’s event nine seconds faster than his first run nearly twelve years ago.

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Up on the podium this week, the broken record probably looked very familiar to Tom Harding (17:57). Taking top spot for the third successive event and the 55th time overall at Basingstoke, Tom ran the entire course faster than he ran just the first lap of his first parkrun here – exactly 3 years ago. Dave Rawlins (19:10) and Tony Watkins (19:13) took second and third spots, with Alison James (21:26) finishing strongly as our first lady home, followed by Rebecca Willis (23:27) and Yvette Dollin (23:30). One record that wasn’t broken this week was our age-grade high of 94% – set back in 2015 by the awe-inspiring Margaret Moody. She still took top age-grade spot this weekend, but with a ‘modest’ 88% for her time of 25:26 … wonderful to see her back with us for the first time since June.

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If you were one of the 17 visiting parkrunners trying out Basingstoke for the first time – welcome and we hope you had a great morning. If you were one of the 56 brand-new parkrunners tackling your first-ever event – an even bigger welcome and we really hope you come to love it as much as we all do. Whilst we don’t break records every week, we hope it looked (to you) like something you’d want to be a part of every week. We look forward to seeing you back next week, where our parkrun will be free, forever, for all, simply because folks volunteer to help each other run, jog or walk together … as a community.

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Finally, from the Run Director’s point of view, this week’s broken record looked just like that – a community. For me, it’s a family and it’s a privilege to belong to it. Amongst many standout moments this week, my favourite was the dad with his very young son – waiting at the finish funnel for “mum” doing her first-ever parkrun. Grinning broadly, he told me that he wasn’t even a runner, but he simply couldn’t get the smile off his face at so many people coming together on a Saturday morning to share an hour of exercise. If that’s what a broken record looks like, then the legacy of the original “Magnificent 37” is in safe hands … and thriving, despite the drizzle. See you next week, folks.

 

Basingstoke parkrun #623

Basingstoke parkrun #623, 4th January 2020. Run Report by Mark NORRIS

Doing the double

New Year's Day is unique in the parkrun calendar because parkrunners can do two parkruns on the same day and have them recorded as official results.

Some parkrunners from Basingstoke also attended these neighbouring parkruns on New Year's Day...

  • 115 parkrunners went from Basingstoke to Newbury
  • 12 parkrunners went from Basingstoke to Alice Holt
  • 6 parkrunners went from Basingstoke to California Country

Donna MARKWICK is a parkrunner who has never visited our parkrun but I think is worth a mention because she not only completed her alphabet challenge by getting a Z in Australia she also did her New Year's Day double by tail walking in Canada so parkruns in two different continents on the same day... Australia and North America! Click here to read more.

At Basingstoke parkrun event 623

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A HUGE thank you to the 49 amazing volunteers lead by our Run Director Peter CHIVERTON filling 54 different volunteer roles making it possible for 679 runners to get their parkrun fix.

Well done to the 56 parkrunners who got a PB.

54 parkrunners completed their first ever parkrun with us and we were joined by 18 parkrun tourists who were with us for the first time. We hope they enjoyed it and will be back again soon.

46 parkrunners did not have their barcodes scanned so please don't forget your printed barcode next time.

Representatives from 35 different clubs took part.

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Congratulations to these parkrunners on achieving their parkrun milestones:

Junior 10 parkruns:

  • Nathanael JENKINS
  • Carys BANKS

50 parkruns:

  • Tim MORTLOCK
  • Rob LOCK
  • Gary MARSH
  • Alison JAMES

While not official parkrun milestones these are still worth celebrating:

250 times volunteered:

  • Matthew PILLINGER

350 parkruns:

  • Michael HICKEY

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Results highlights

Male placings:
1st goes to Tom HARDING (SM25-29) (Unattached) with a time of 17:19.
2nd goes to James WOOTTON (SM20-24) of Bath Triathlon Club with a time of 17:22.
3rd goes to Ben NUTLEY (VM40-44) of Molly’s Boys with a time of 18:46.

Female placings:
1st goes to Alison JAMES (VW50-54) (Unattached) with a time of 20:55.
2nd goes to Rebecca REID (SW25-29) of Hatch Warren Runners with a time of 22:06.
3rd goes to Anna MELVILLE (VW35-39) (Unattached) with a time of 23:16.

The three highest age grades were recorded by:
Tony WATKINS (VM55-59) - 81.36% for the time of 19:03.
Alison JAMES (VW50-54) - 81.12% for the time of 20:55.
Russell BURTON (VM65-69) - 81.06% for the time of 20:41.

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and finally...

That is it. We are done for this week. Our next parkrun will be on Saturday morning at 9am in the War Memorial Park so we hope to see you there. #DFYB

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2020 vision

2020.

Not long after the new year started, we were gathering in War Memorial Park for parkrun.

There were doubtless some tired eyes and achy heads among first the volunteers setting up the course and organising themselves, and then the streams of people making their way into the park - rumour has it that some people were awake until after 2am...

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An appropriate top for the new year!

But what better way to brush out any cobwebs and start the year off on the right foot than by doing a parkrun? The new year to many represents a clean slate, and an opportune time to start afresh with new resolution and commitment, and doubtless that was in the mind of many people in the park this morning, especially those who were there when they would rather have been in bed!

Also in the minds of many of this morning’s parkrunners would have been the need to take the only opportunity of the year to do two parkruns in one day. Basingstoke parkrun starting at 9am gives people a chance of doing one of the later-starting parkruns in the surrounding area - with Alice Holt and Newbury parkruns (both starting at 10:30am) being favourite destinations.

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A busy first-timer briefing

So more eyes than usual were focused on watches, and there was more nervousness about what time we started. Run Director Grant Hodgson had to make sure we briefed all the first-timers and tourists (thanks to Michael Hickey for fulfilling that role) and ultimately we started a couple of minutes after 9am but hopefully not too late to scupper any second parkrun plans.

And it was an impressive number of newcomers - we had 11 people doing their first-ever parkrun (welcome to the parkrun family!) and another 25 who had never done Basingstoke parkrun before (welcome to Basingstoke - come back again soon!). I expect that there will be an even higher number of people at the first-timers briefing on Saturday - Tony Wright, who is doing the briefing that day, was a keen observer today.

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Hi-5er ready for high fives...

We did have some gaps in our volunteer roster this morning, which brings added stress for the Run Director and Volunteer Co-ordinator - please get in touch with us if you can help over the next few weeks as we expect some large attendances and would appreciate having the rosters filled as early as possible.

One volunteer today was doing her 25th stint and will therefore soon be the recipient of a purple t-shirt is Gemma Moseley - thank you Gemma for your help, and indeed thank you to all today’s volunteers without whom we couldn’t have held this event.

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25th volunteer stint today for Gemma!

As well as a volunteer milestone, we also had a number of running milestones today:

50 parkruns: Joseph Brownen, Jim Jarman and Tracy Bremner
100 parkruns: Peter Vincent

These are the official milestones, but we had a few people reaching higher unofficial milestones / multiples of 50 parkruns today too:

150 parkruns: Marcus Johansson
200 parkruns: Dianne Cartwright and Tony Watkins

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200th parkrun today for Tony!

Some of our participants today went on to achieve milestones at their second parkrun, namely Maria Tennant (50 runs), Claire Louise Spencer (150 runs), Steve Fleck and Debbie Dawes (300 runs) and Lynn Brastock (an amazing 550 runs).

The final word on milestones must go to Andrew Mason, though. There are around 6.5 million parkrunners in the world, so to be one of only 14 people from that group is pretty special - taking a massive amount of dedication and commitment. Andrew did his 600th (yes, 600th!) parkrun at Basingstoke this morning, an astounding achievement, becoming only the 14th person in the world to reach that number. You will not be surprised to hear that Andrew was one of the people who took the opportunity to do a second parkrun this morning, at California Country, so he’s now already on 601 parkruns...

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Andrew Mason - now on 601 parkruns

Onto the run itself, and after not being first-finisher for the last two events, normal order was restored today with Tom Harding leading the field home. He was over a minute clear of Cameron Coveney in second place. I’d love to tell you who was third, but I can’t as they didn’t scan in - remember to bring your barcode in future!

Our first female finisher was Claire Louise Spencer, accompanied by a canine companion, and she was followed home by Rebecca Willis and Mitch Lloyd.

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Claire and canine companion

Sian James got the highest age-grade, with 79.47%, with Claire getting the second highest (78.41%) and Mark Slaney the third (78.25%).

As for me? Well, I did see the new year in, and was awake for a little bit after that, so it was never going to be a really fast time, especially as I’d also run in club relay races yesterday. So I spent the second half of parkrun having an enjoyable catch-up with Gemma Bigg, who ended up as fourth female finisher. Among other things, we chatted about the benefits of having Dads who are / were well known in Basingstoke, and John McElroy’s unusual but effective racing style, which involves occasional stops for chats with marshals coupled with what seems like sprints at blinding speed.

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Mid catch-up

John had said to me earlier that he was taking things a bit easier for a while, having had a number of personal bests at the end of 2019, so he didn’t have a major target for 2020.

But what about other parkrunners? Just like I did for the run report on the final 2019 parkrun, I asked a sample of our participants and volunteers to tell me what their New Year’s running resolution was. Here’s a selection of their answers - and note that I did commit to anonymity...

• Sub-40 at the Stubbington 10k
• Coming out of half-marathon retirement
• Becoming world triathle champion
• Staying injury free
• Running 120 miles at Endure
• Finishing Race to the Stones
• Doing the London and Boston marathons
• Doing an ultramarathon
• Running the Basingstoke half-marathon
• Getting fitter
• Enjoying running again
• Doing a sub-3 hour marathon
• Doing a sub-1:50 half-marathon
• Completing the parkrun alphabet

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There's a tree on our course...!

• Running with my dog
• Getting better and better at running
• Doing half-marathons
• Carrying on with 5k Your Way
• Getting round the Snowdon Marathon
• Going under 45 minutes for parkrun and losing 8 stone
• Sub-2:52 marathon
• Running less (a very sensible aim!)
• Doing one parkrun per month
• Finishing a half-marathon
• Running in the Great South Run
• Getting back to fitness
• Maintaining my pace
• Doing the Reading half-marathon in under 1:40.

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Surely using a bike is cheating? ;-)

For me, I’ll need to answer the question about aims for 2020 in two parts.

As Basingstoke Event Director, I would still echo the same aims I had at the start of last year - to work with the core team to ensure that parkrun is always open, inclusive and welcoming to all, whether they are participants, volunteers or supporters. We want to do our best to make our parkrun a place that people enjoy coming to while also keeping it sustainable and simple - so expect more events like our birthday and the Hall of Fame awards as well as the one-offs we have from time-to-time such as volunteer takeovers or pacer weeks.

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I'm sure Mr McIntyre didn't appear in the results!

I, and the team, welcome any feedback and suggestions about Basingstoke parkrun - obviously we can’t promise to implement all of them, but we will do our best to help where we can. For example, we have received a number of questions about whether the toilets outside the Totally Tennis building can be opened, but that is a council matter rather than something we control. Similarly we are constrained in terms of parking given the need to keep some bays empty for permit holders and not parking on the grass areas. We do encourage people to contribute to council initiatives to improve the park, too, such as the consultation on the play area (https://www.basingstoke.gov.uk/war-memorial-park-play-area) which closes soon.

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New parkrun apricot

As a participant and runner, the goal is always to do better than last year, where I didn’t achieve as much as I had previously in terms of times. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed the vast majority of the runs I did, in particular the frequent and varied company, being out in the fresh (sometimes very fresh!) air and being part of the parkrun and wider running communities. So from that point of view 2019 was a resounding success, and I hope for more of the same in 2020.

What about your aims for 2020?

 

That was the year that was – 2019

Basingstoke parkrun #621, 28th December 2019
Run Report by Avi GOVIND

2019.

The year is coming to an end, so this report takes a look back at what has been going on in the last 12 months.

But before you start thinking that is going to be about things like Brexit, England winning and losing in two World Cup finals, climate change and another General Election – think again: this is going to be from a parkrun perspective – far more interesting…!

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When the red, red Robbins...

I asked a, hopefully representative, sample of people to tell me their main running memory of 2019 – and their responses are below. But first, here’s a retrospective of what happened at Basingstoke parkrun this year:

January
We started the year strongly, with our second highest ever attendance on the first Saturday of January as 678 people took part. The next Saturday saw tokens 694 and 695 used for the first gtime by Tail Walkers Tommy Millar and Luxmi Govind as our record attendance was beaten by two. The week after also saw a momentous occasion, with Lynn Brastock’s 500th parkrun – former Basingstoke Event Director Lynn became the 40th person and 8th woman to reach the 500-run milestone.

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Thumbs up!

February
As snow descended on Basingstoke during the morning of 1 February, we were hopeful of being able to put on parkrun on our “snow course” the next day. But further heavy snow later that day and overnight led to only our second-ever cancellation, as it was too dangerous to go ahead. The first cancellation was in February 2009 for the same reason. That led to a delay in the implementation of the new, and current, course until the next week – I hope you agree it was worth the wait.

The names Paul Brandreth and Scott McNeice may not be familiar to you – but they visited Basingstoke in February, with Scott becoming our first ever wheelchair participant and Paul (who I know from an online cricket game…) going on since then to complete a remarkable world record of 15 parkruns in 15 different countries on consecutive Saturdays.

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Hold your tongue...

March
One of our run reports made it big - Natasha Minto penned some prose on the ‘power of parkrun’, piquing parkrun HQ’s attention with an inspiring tale of how parkrun, running in general and her club Hook Runners have made such a difference to her life. Well worth a read: https://blog.parkrun.com/uk/2019/03/20/the-power-of-parkrun/

April
We were saddened to hear of the death of Basingstoke parkrunner, and latterly volunteer, Clive Stacey, who had taken part in 30 parkruns here. An emotional tribute from his sister Ros was read out during the run briefing by core team member Frankie Wellings, who along with her husband Richard had helped Clive volunteer for the first few times. On a lighter note, Lynn Brastock organised a gathering of 10 out of the (then) 11 women who had done 500 parkruns – never have so many blue t-shirts been seen in the same place…!

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Now a blue t-shirt owner!

May
Your pace or mine? Not an offer, but for the first time we held a pacer week, with volunteers from Hook Runners pacing 20-38 minutes. It’s fair to say that some of the pacing was slightly suspect (there was some overtaking going on!) and that it probably helps to wear a watch when you are pacing, but it was a great success and there was a second pacer week later in the year. Erstwhile marshal Ross Pollard was also seen wearing a “34” pacer bib, as opposed to official hi-vis, for weeks afterwards…

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Those lanyards can be complicated, even for a Hall of Fame winner

June
We welcomed a number of GPs, practice staff and patients from the Acorn Health Partnership and Chineham Medical Centre as part of the #GPparkrunPledge. This was a nationwide event to raise awareness of the important contributions they make, and to try and get 1,000 GPs to take part across the country.

July
Basingstoke parkrun turned 11! We celebrated our 11th birthday at our alternative site, Crabtree, on the “skylark” course that never seems to have a flat section, possibly why I was glad to be Run Director that day! The event also saw the second annual “Hall of Fame’ awards, which this year were won by Denise Hope and shared by Mark Norris and Wally Thorpe for their contributions to parkrun. They were popular winners, and the celebrations went on for some time…

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Hall of Fame winner

August
We celebrated our own milestone with our 600th event this month, and saw the first of our regular sign language support person Paloma Dyer, who has been signing the first-timer briefing and also main run briefing most weekends since. She did some thorough preparation to avoid being caught out by phrases like “Tennis Court Hill” and “No barcode, no time”.

More celebrations were in the offing as we had a parkrun wedding to celebrate - Penny Metcalf and Alastair Bridgman ran parkrun in the morning and got married in the afternoon. Penny then wrote a run report on how parkrun helped their romance blossom – unsurprisingly it’s the most-liked (in Facebook terms) run report we’ve had.

Chineham Medical Practice were also back for more – this month doing a partial volunteer takeover as well as encouraging their patients to take part having recently become Basingstoke’s second parrkun practice – as with the Acorn Health Partnership, who were first, the intention is to create stronger links between GPs and parkrun, allowing the former to ‘prescribe’ parkrun to their patients where they feel it would be beneficial.

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Sign language support

September
We saw our third “Club Day” this month, where eight of our local running clubs attended to showcase themselves to prospective members and allow parkrunners to find out more about them.

We also saw the launch of the Basingstoke group of 5k Your Way Move Against Cancer, which has a monthly event alongside parkrun, and provides support for anyone affected by cancer who would like to participate or volunteer at parkrun.

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A new group

November
Another name that you will probably be unfamiliar with is Kemuel Dean Solomon – but he did his 100th different parkrun location when he ran at Basingstoke this month. He’s now in the process of returning to the other locations where he didn’t get a sub-20 time.

December
Once more we broke the Christmas Day attendance record, with 535 participants making it our first time above 500 people. What better way is there to get your Christmas under way than by listening to the dulcet tones of the run briefing in song from the now traditional parkrun choir, and then doing 5k? No need for presents…!

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We said no need for presents!

Here are the personal memories and achievements – they’re anonymous, and written as they were said, but you can probably pick out one or two people you know:

- Getting a parkrun PB
- Competing in the South Downs relay
- Breaking 1:20 for a half-marathon
- Running 1,300 miles in a year
- Taking 30 seconds off my parkrun PB
- Running 31:22 at the Victory 5
- Finishing my first ever 10k
- Supporting new running friends
- Learning to run properly with a wheelchair
- Doing two marathons
- Finishing my first parkrun
- Doing parkrun in the mud
- Breaking 3 hours for the marathon
- Still running and loving it
- Completing 100 miles at Endure 24

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A memory contributor

- Finishing Race to the Tower
- Doing my first parkrun
- An 800m PB
- Finishing Race to the Stones
- Doing the Disneyland half marathon with friends from Sherfield Park Runners
- Doing my first three ultras
- Not giving in and buying Vaporflys
- Doing my first ultra-marathon at the Salisbury 54321
- Getting close to last year’s PBs despite getting older
- Being able to run after coming off cancer meditation
- Becoming European triathle champion
- Not swearing at the rabbit at the end of the Hampshire Hoppit

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Another memory contributor

- Running a half-marathon distance at the Greenham Arundelle event
- Running around the rim of the Santorini volcano
- Finishing Race to the Stones with no training
- Running my longest distance of 18 miles at the Greenham Arundelle event
- Getting 50 minutes off my marathon PB
- Starting to run
- Running 100km a week on average all year
- Surviving Endure 24
- Doing the Great South Run
- Getting a PB at the Gosport half-marathon
- Not dying during the Hampshire Hoppit
- Getting a PB at the Seville marathon
- Doing the first Basingstoke 10k
- Getting under 2:52 for the marathon
- Feeling the freedom of running across moorland in Devon
- Doing the Basingstoke half
- Making new running friends
- Finishing 8th in the county athletics championships for the 300m

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Yes, it's two laps

I should probably add my own personal experiences of parkrun this year, from a number of different perspectives.

As Event Director, my highlight was how smoothly we were able to move onto the new course, and the positive impact that it had had on the number of issues and complaints that we had been facing before we started to use it. As you may have read in Matt Pillinger’s run report at the time, actually putting together the course is not a straightforward exercise, and involves a combination of innovation in formulation and design, forward-thinking in identifying potential issues, no small amount of measuring and remeasuring, and finally administration in identifying new signage and lanyard requirements, among others.

Another highlight, therefore, is the way that I have been supported by the core team of Caroline, Mark, Frankie, Grant, Michal and Ryan, each of which has contributed far more to Basingstoke parkrun this year than can be recognised by mere volunteer credits, and all of whom do an enormous amount of work behind the scenes. Thank you in particular to Caroline, who stepped into my shoes (not literally!) as Event Director when I took some time away from both work and parkrun early in the year.

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Thank you for looking after my shoes!

I also get a sense of pride from what Basingstoke parkrun has done at a wider parkrun level - for example hosting the gathering of the ladies in the 500 club, partnering with health bodies such as our parkrun practices and 5k Your Way and getting exposure from Natasha’s run report mentioned above. We also had exposure on parkrun UK’s site of a photo of my Mum Luxmi completing her 100th parkrun at the tender age of 76. As a son, that also made me incredibly proud, and we worked out on Christmas Day that my Mum actually did more parkruns than me this year...!

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43 parkruns in the year for my Mum

As a runner, I’ve managed to do 37 out of the 53 Basingstoke parkruns this year, missing 4 due to visits to other parkruns, 6 due to volunteering, 2 through illness, 2 due to being in other countries and 2 because of my son Jay (once when he was asleep and unrousable while my wife Sarah went to parkrun instead, and once due to his birthday party which, inconsiderately in my opinion, started at 10am on a Saturday – that was also thanks to my wife, and as husband I’m pleased and amazed that Sarah did her first-ever half-marathon in 2019 despite maintaining for years that she’d never do one).

My times have varied between a personal best of 19:55 and a ‘personal worst’ of 58:24 when tail walking. I’ve also had a span of 655 positions between a highest finish of 11th and lowest of 666th, and did my 250th parkrun in August, 10 years and 2 days after my first. Once more, I have been accompanied and supported during parkruns by a whole host of people during the year - relatives, friends, neighbours - and occasionally complete strangers!

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A complete stranger, I think. Don't be a what?!

As a volunteer, apart from the short break I mentioned, I’ve been communications person nearly every week, and tried to add another role to that each week. This year I did 15 different roles (including Event Day Course Check for the first time) compared to 16 last year.

Anyway, there is a whole host of additional statistics for the year further down the report – they’re not from me but from our resident stats gurus Mark Norris and Matt Pillinger – thank you both for your help.

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Stats guru and Hall of Fame winner

Onto the event, and we had 545 people taking to our course for the last parkrun of the year. They included 16 people who have never done parkrun before (welcome – and we hope you will be back again soon!) and 22 who were new to Basingstoke (ditto!). They were led home by Jonathan Bradford of Burchfield Harriers in 17:04, his sixth first-finish in his seven runs at Basingstoke. Our first female finisher was Rebecca Reid of Hatch Warren Runners in 22:21 (and Rebecca got a PB in the process).

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Perhaps we need to do the first-time briefing better if people are going the wrong way!

Completing the podium positions for the women were Basingstoke debutant Ami Nash, and Sara Robinson who also got a new PB, and for the men we had Tom Harding in an unusual second place (after his fourth on Christmas Day and fifteen first finishes in a row before that) and Tony Watkins in third, equalling his highest ever finish.

Tony also got the highest overall age-grade, with 81.79%, with the second highest going to Tilbikram Sambahangphe and third-highest to Jonathan Bradford. For the women, Tracy Wyeth was highest, with 70.71%.

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Top age grade for Tracy

We had a total of 39 people achieving personal bests, including Rebecca and Sara already mentioned, with our most ‘experienced’ PB achiever being Gunther Schwob in his 68th run.

Well done also to the four people who reached parkrun milestones during the event:

• Izzabelle Trimmer (junior 10) – soon to get a white t-shirt for reaching the milestone
• Mikey Brucciani and Maria Lock (50) – red t-shirt
• Iona Strachan (100) – black t-shirt
We also had two people reaching unofficial milestones – well, multiples of 50 at any rate - Rebecca Willis (150) and Peter Baulch (350).

Finally for milestones, Eleanor Eason will soon be the proud recipient of a purple t-shirt having done her 25th volunteer stint this week. Thank you Eleanor, and indeed all of the volunteers today, for all your help – in particular Run Director Matt Pillinger.

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Stats guru and Run Director

Total attendance – 28,440 (2018: 25,800),
Distance run – 142,200km, or 3.53 times around the equator (2018: 129,000km)
Total PBs - 2,998 / 6.74% (2018: 2,947 / 11.42%)
Total female runners – 10,450 (2018: 9,107)
Total male runners – 16,107 (2018: 15,144)
Female runner percentage – 39.3% (2018: 37.6%)

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Nearly double-digit growth!

First timers – 1,904
Unknown runners – 1,668
Most first finishes - Male - Tom Harding (33) (2018: Tom Harding (15))
Most first finishes - Female - Alison James (27) (2018: Alison James (27) – yes, that’s the same as last year!)
Fastest run (M) Dave Ragan (31 August) 15:36
Fastest run (F) Lesley Locks (29 June) 18:37 (also won overall that day)
Fastest average time – 12 October (26:52)
Total running time (known runners) 544.27 days (2018: 500.21 days)
Most PBs – 30 March (101)
Highest PB % - 1 January (12%)
Highest attendance – 12 January - 695
Lowest attendance – 2 November – 272 (blame the Rugby World Cup Final and the bad weather!)
Average attendance – 537 (2018: 478)
Highest monthly average – January (605)

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Will we beat 2019's attendance in November 2020?

And here are some statistics on our wonderful volunteers:
Number of different volunteers: 469 (2018: 457)
Number of different volunteer roles filled: 2,704 – 5.76 per volunteer, or 51 per parkrun) (2018: 2,089 - 4.57 per volunteer, or 39 per parkrun)

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Some of our wonderful volunteers

Volunteers who have helped at 20 or more events - a big shout-out and thank you to them: Mike Athroll, Tamzin Blagbrough, Peter Chiverton, Hannah Erskine, Avi Govind, Mike Hedderly, Jack Hedderly, George Hedderly, Lisa Hedderly, Michael Hickey, Grant Hodgson, Denise Hope, Jane Lowe, Tommy Millar, Mark Norris, Michael Parker, Ryan Partner, Caroline Partner, Matt Pillinger, Peter Railton, Duncan Rounding, Mike Stanford, Frankie Wellings and Brian Worth.

A special thank you to Mike Athroll here, who has volunteered at every one of our 53 events this year and also to the 54 people who have volunteered but not taken part at any event.

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Every one of our events this year!

Finally, I’d like to wish all of you a Happy New Year from me, and also on behalf of everyone at Basingstoke parkrun - see you in 2020!

 

Happy Christmas!

Basingstoke parkrun #620, 25th December 2019. Run Report by Matt Pillinger

In every good boyband there is usually at least one with talent, a good looking one, one who can dance, a sensible one and a wild one.  You'll have to decide for yourself who filled each of these roles, or indeed if any of them were filled.  Although, I ought point out that Peter can sing, he just may have been drowned out by my enthusiasm, making up for my lack of ability.  If you wish to remind yourself of the 'talent' on display, the video is now uploaded to youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLiCcQPifZc&feature=youtu.be

& if you can't quite hear or understand the lyrics, here is our song sheet

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Big credit should go to Avi for composing the lyrics, and Michael/Peter who reviewed and amended where the original lines didn't quite scan correctly.

Once the highlight of the day had passed, there was also a run to take place.

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535 of us ran, jogged or walked 5k, this was our biggest Christmas day attendance.  We were led home by Dave Ragan who simultaneously ended Tom Harding's streak of first finishes and also took his 3rd consecutive Christmas Day First Finish, with a time of 16:47.  Just slightly behind Dave was Tom Sycklemoore in 16:51, with an unknown athete finishing 3rd.  In the women's run, first finisher was Megan Wilson in 19:15, closely followed by Chalotte Ragan in 19:32 and Gemma Bigg in 19:45.  Gemma somehow recording a new PB in her 153rd run at Basingstoke, despite the mud.  Age grade wise, first place was taken by Tony Watkins (80.94%), 2nd by Dave Ragan (79.05%) and 3rd by Loki Chaffey (78.26% & a new PB).

Included in our 535, were 38 first timers, including 18 visitors, from as far afield as Finland - I wonder if they got a lift over with Santa last night?

Many of you may think of parkrun as primarily a run - but it was originally set up by Paul Sinton Hewitt (CBE) as he was an injured runner and still wanted to meet his running friends, so he organised a weekly time trial (as parkrun was originally known) for them and invited them for coffee afterwards. Hopefully the next few pictures will show that Paul's original aim is alive and thriving. Even for those of us that really care about beating the person in front or beating our time from last week, the social element pre and post run is hugely important.

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Remember what I said above about beating the person in front, I was just out of shot in this picture but had a great view of the 2 boys determination to beat their Dad

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parkrun is about spending time with friends

There were lots of milestones as well

Alfie Smart completed his 10th run. John Ilnicki, Lance Sheppard and John Howell reached the 50 mark.  We have 3 new centurions in Isobel Mannion, Jane Ford Ladenburger and Rory Horseman. Merv Davison reached the unofficial 200 milestone,  while David Picton completed his 250th run today 

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This t-shirt will soon be replaced by a green 250 shirt

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Who is the real Santa?

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Santa and her reindeer

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You think the reindeer would be tired from pulling a sleigh round all night ...

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There seems to be a dog pulling a reindeer & santa's sleigh has completely disappeared.

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As my Dad says 'its Christmas' as this excuses anything, including pre 10:00am drinking!

Penultimate point - those of you on Facebook may occasionally guess the attendance in response to the Basingstoke parkrun post on Friday. I guessed 2,512 (25-12), turns out I was someway off for Basingstoke, but had I been guessing for Bushy parkrun I'd have been much closer - they broke the all time parkrun attendance World Record, with 2,545 finishers

Finally, a huge thank you to the volunteers, putting on an additional parkrun mid week is no small task for the core team and then there are the 40 volunteers who have spent some of their Christmas helping us enjoy a free, safe, timed run.  I hope they were all filled with a sense of doing good and enjoyed the rest of their day as much as we enjoy running round the park at 9:00am.

See you all on Saturday, same time, same place.

 

Writer’s block

Basingstoke parkrun #619, 21st December 2019, Run Report by Matt Pillinger

Sometimes I have a pretty good idea what I am going to write about a week before the run; other times something memorable happens on the run. Occasionally I am left scratching my head 36 hours after the run takes place for an interesting topic.  This is the latter, so I am going to write unplanned and see what transpires.

I think most people will remember one thing when they look back at parkrun on 21 December 2019

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Whoever does this lad's washing will have a job on their hands

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4 'wheel' drive provides an obvious advantage

 

As it turns out, mud doesn't stop Tom Harding, who is definitely Basingstoke parkrun's 'man for all seasons'.  Tom has been first finisher for the last 15 weeks, a run stretching back to 15 September.   Tom's time today was 17:35, just outside his average across the last 15 weeks of 17:30.  Keeping him honest were Alexander Hamilton (17:40) and Cameron Coveney (17:58).  Anyone want to predict when Tom's run will end and who will beat him across the line - comment on the facebook post and we'll see who is closest

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For the women, Rebecca Willis finished first in 20:40, followed by Basingstoke record holder for first finishes (73 FF's), Alison James (21:55) and Rebecca Cairns (23:37).

Age grading is the way us oldies can compete with the youngsters, highest ranking today, was Alex Hamilton (80.28%), followed by Tony Watkins (79.83%) and Alison James (77.41%).

With Christmas coming up, many of you will be travelling to see relatives and friends, or having them come to see you.  2 pieces of good news;

1) parkrun is all over the UK & indeed lots of other places, so you can usually find a run pretty close to wherever you are, just #dfyb.   If you have friends visiting you, even if they would say they are non runners - bring them to Basingstoke parkrun. They can support you, and it may inspire them to take up parkrunning, parkjogging or parkwalking when they get back home

2) Bonus parkruns!  We are running on Christmas day (9:00am start) and New Years Day (9:00am start).  NYD is also the only day of the year when events are allowed to adjust their start times to allow runners to 'do the double'.  The most popular 2nd locations for Basingstoke 9:00am'rs are likely to be Newbury and Alice Holt, but there are a few others that might be achievable for the fleet of foot.  https://www.parkrun.org.uk/special-events/.

You can also use this unofficial tourist tool  http://tailrun.uk/nyd/2020/uk/ to work out your options - although I do think some of the driving times are quite optimistic and remember to factor in barcode scanning (at event #1) and parking (at event #2) time.

All these extra runs of course mean we need more volunteers, the roster is looking pretty good, with a few gaps for Christmas Day, but beyond that there are plenty of opportunities for you to help us put on your free, weekly, timed run and earn a credit towards your '25 volunteer' t-shirt.  All you need to do is email - basingstokehelpers@parkrun.com and let Frankie (this week's volunteer coordinator) know which week you can help. Basingstoke parkrun - 619 - 2019-12-21-463

When the weather is horrible, the barcode scanning team decamp to underneath the Totally Tennis building

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Today's run saw 421 athletes, run, jog, walk (& occasionally slip, slide, and swim) 5k, 20 of whom were first timers to Basingstoke, inc 14 doing their first ever parkrun.  Amazingly 18 runners got a new course PB, I can only imagine that their previous runs were all at Crabtree plantation! There were a few milestones today - Toyin Tobi -Ipaye completed her 50th run,  Katie Macklin, Paul Shepherd, Amie Webb and Jamie Van Gramberg all completed their 100th event & finally Roy Packer ran his 150th parkrun. Basingstoke parkrun - 619 - 2019-12-21-610

 

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Finally, if anyone thought the core team were a little quieter than usual on Saturday, this was how they started Friday night.

Rumour has it than 1 or 2 of them didn't make it to bed until 3:30am

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Parking for Basingstoke parkrun

At Basingstoke parkrun we have got very limited parking at the War Memorial Park.  And as you may have heard during last week's parkrun run briefing, we will be visited by a warden this week Saturday who will issue tickets to anyone parking in the numbered bays in the War Memorial Park car park, which are for permit holders only.

As we move into 2020, it is likely that parkrun numbers will rise and numbers of cars trying to park in the park will also increase, meaning parkrunners arriving by car are likely to need to arrive very early to get a space there.  If you must come by car then please share lifts to reduce the number of cars needing to park.

Some parkrunners have ignored the signs that are clearly displayed, and have been parking in the private car park on Crossborough Hill on the opposite side of the road to Costello School, by their sports hall. The car park belongs to the school and they hire out this sports hall and car park at weekends. The users of the sports hall have not been able to use their own car park because of parkrunners parking there. Please do not park in this car park.

If you do park on Crossborough Hill then please do it safely, considerately and in line with the Highway Code. Note that some areas of Crossborough Hill have yellow lines, particularly around Costello School. This road can become very busy at times and access must always be maintained for emergency vehicles.

We are very fortunate in that we have got a large amount of parking in easy reach of our park. The town centre car parks are just a short walk away. Below are some details about the parking options and more information can be found at https://www.basingstoke.gov.uk/content/doclib/2118.pdf

The future of our parkrun depends on good relationships with our neighbours so please do follow this guidance - and above all remember that the driver is in all cases responsible for parking legally and safely, and if parking rules are persistently flouted then the Council may reconsider the permission given to parkrun to use this car park.
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Flying Feet and Flying Barcodes

Basingstoke parkrun #618, 14th December 2019, Run Report by Cerys Byrne

The weather forecast for Saturday was for heavy rain and this may have put off some of our regular runners as only 414 people joined Run Director Naomi and her team of volunteers in the park for their Saturday 5k.

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In the event, apart from a shower on the volunteers while setting up and a couple of flurries during the run, it stayed dry.  However, the wind was very strong and, combined with the slippery and muddy course, made for difficult running conditions.  The wind also made life difficult for the barcode scanners, with trays and barcodes flying everywhere, thank you to all the runners who helped to collect them as they tried to escape.

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There were 20 people doing their first run at Basingstoke this week, 8 brand new parkrunners and 12 tourists, including 7 from the 26.2 Running Club in Surbiton, here to celebrate Lee Hilton's 100th parkrun at 100 different parkruns.  20191214 Basingstoke Park Run 618 (183)

Our other milestone runners this week were Barnaby Sadler, Joanne Oliver, Laura Williams, Nicola Lawrence and Jo Mills all running their 50th and an unofficial milestone for Kevin Province who ran his his 200th.

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Despite the wind and the conditions underfoot 23 runners achieved PBs this week, congratulations to them all.  20191214 Basingstoke Park Run 618 (226)

There's only one more run to go before our Christmas Day run and, with extra runs on both Christmas and New Year's Day, we are going to be spending a lot of time running around War Memorial Par, but we can only do run if we have enough volunteers.  If you can help please take a look at the volunteer roster at https://www.parkrun.org.uk/basingstoke/futureroster/ and email basingstokehelpers@parkrun.com letting us know what you'd like to do.

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We look forward to seeing you all in the park again next week.

 

Watch Out For “Normal” People

Basingstoke parkrun #617, 7th December 2019, Run Report by Frankie Wellings

Strange title I know but during today’s briefing, Run Director Lisa Hedderly told us that we need to be cautious of other park users as there are “normal” people in the park as well as us. We were all a bit bemused to hear there are “normal” people! It got a good laugh though which is great as it shows people were listening to the brief. But seriously, please be very aware of other park users.

Maybe the first Saturday in December is when people start their Christmas shopping as numbers were down to 445 today. We were joined by 16 first timers including tourists from Southampton and Australia. That’s the second week running we’ve had someone from Australia. Shiny new PBs went to 44 people which is very impressive given the gooey mud and slippery corners.

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There were 4 official milestone runs today – Hannah Erskine and Louise Poulter will soon be wearing their red t-shirts for completing their 50th runs, Jacqui Townley will be wearing black for completing her 100th run and Ken Thake will be wearing his green t-shirt for doing his 250th run. Unofficial milestones went to Ryan Partner, Netta Howard and Frankie Wellings for doing their 200th runs and Tracy Wyeth completed her 350th run. Congratulations to you all. Basingstoke parkrun - 617 - 2019-12-07 (163 of 579)
Here is Ryan celebrating his 200th parkrun

Some people might think 13 is an unlucky number. Not so for Tom Harding who was first male home for the 13th time on the trot in 17:29. All but one of Tom’s last 13 wins have been sub 18 minutes. Second male home was Kieran Ruffle in 18:16 and Hari Bakhem was third home in 18:25.

For the ladies, Isobel Mannion (JW15-17) came home first in 20:55, closely followed by Alison James in 21:08 and Louise Apsey in 21:13. Alison was the highest age grade with 80.28%. Tony Watkins was the highest males age grade with 80.52%. To put some perspective on age grading, I ran my fastest parkrun for 2 years and achieved age grade of 56.98%. My PB is age grade 60.45% and I can’t imagine ever going faster than that so huge congratulations to today’s top age graders.

Basingstoke parkrun is putting on additional runs on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day and we simply cannot do this without volunteers coming forward. Please, please make the core team’s Christmas more merry by volunteering early for these two additional days. Simply email basingstokehelpers@parkrun.com and let them know which role you’d like to do, we really appreciate your help.

Finally, you may have noticed our Event Director, Avi Govind, was not at parkrun today. That's because he has been in Barbados doing the "marathon week end". Massive congrats to Avi for completing the mile, the 10k and the marathon in very speedy times. It is about 30 degrees every day which makes Avi's achievements even more amazing.

Just 7 more sleeps to go until we'll be back in War Memorial Park doing it all again. See you there!!