Basingstoke parkrun event 456, 10 December 2016, Run Report by Peter Chiverton.
We have reached the final sprint of an eventful 2016, there’s been distinct chills in the air, the trees are mostly bare, and there’s only about two weeks to go before Christmas (don’t panic!). Running around Chineham on Wednesday evening I noted whole streets now festooned with a variety of competing decorations, and maybe some of you are well into the early festivities, with the temptations of yule logs and mince pies on the shop shelves, office parties resulting in more food and drink that you might normally consider wise, and not forgetting the daily treats in your advent calendar. So with all that in mind, what better excuse do you need to blow away the cobwebs, catch up with friends and burn off some calories to kick off the weekend with a parkrun?
First time stars.
Well 341 of us certainly thought it was a good idea to start the weekend with a parkrun, as we toed the line on our grassy War Memorial Park.
It was a damp, although nowhere near freezing winter’s morning, but we warmly welcomed 19 people running with us at Basingstoke for the first time – including 14 for whom it was their first parkrun anywhere. Well done to you for completing your run today and we hope to see you back again very soon. Other first timers at Basingstoke were visiting us from Fareham, Wycombe Rye, Havant, Yeovil and Portsmouth – welcome to you all.
Word from regular runners was that the course conditions were definitely becoming soft to heavy in places, and this was reflected in a reduced number of PBs – just 36 this time – so well done if you were one of this speedy band. A particular shout out therefore for:
- Hazel Dicks who ran her 135th Basingstoke parkrun (out of 138 total runs) – and managed her fifth PB out of her last seven Basingstoke runs
- Brian Cameron, running his 55th Basingstoke parkrun (out of 64 total) who is in a rich vein of PB form – he seems to get one virtually every week he runs and has managed seven in his last ten Basingstoke runs.
You may have noticed there are currently a number of regular teenage volunteers who are helping Basingstoke parkrun happen every week – they are doing it as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award volunteering section. parkrun are an Approved Activity Provider for DofE and if you know someone who might be interested in joining them, show them the information at http://www.parkrun.org.uk/basingstoke/news/tag/dofe/ and encourage them to sign up. It’s a win/ win for the DofE person and Basingstoke parkrun – they can do their volunteering and Basingstoke parkrun has some new volunteers! We currently have seven young people doing this regularly but there is still room for more: in the meantime thank you to Ben Coulter, Lewis Maxwell, Kara Davies, Harry Taylor, Sophie Taylor, Daniel Hastings and Jack Davenport. Kara was our official photographer today and a number of her pictures have made their way into this report - if you want to see more of her photos go to the Basingstoke photos page at https://www.flickr.com/groups/basingstoke-parkrun/pool/.
Of course you don’t have to be a DofE volunteer to be part of the Basingstoke parkrun volunteer band– we need as many of us as possible to take a turn at volunteering to allow us to keep this more and more popular event “running” – if you haven’t volunteered for a while, or indeed ever, see if you could put your name down for one of the many parkruns happening in the Christmas period – you can find out what volunteer slots are available each week by looking at the volunteer roster at http://www.parkrun.org.uk/basingstoke/futureroster/ and sending your “please let me volunteer” email to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as you can. Give your fellow parkrunners a lovely Christmas or New Year present of making their parkrun happen! And it really is a joy volunteering as so many of the parkrunners give a shout of thanks to those helping as they run past or queue at the end to have their barcode scanned.
And it really is possible for anyone to do it: as well as our DoE teenagers, and children who volunteer with their parents or grandparents, last week Tony Nicholls (our blind runner) was one of the volunteer marshals, and he and I encouraged the massed crowds of runners as they ran. It was Tony’s first time as a volunteer: he loved it and is very keen to do it again.
Incidentally last week, you may have noticed that Avi Govind our Event Director was guided round the course by one of our guide running team (Nick Walshe) as he ran blindfolded.
I asked Avi why he’d decided to do this and what his experience was like – here was his response.
"When I took over as Event Director earlier in the year, I committed to trying out all the volunteer roles, and as part of that had the opportunity to guide Tony a couple of weeks ago. Tony was very complimentary about the event, but I wanted to find out for myself exactly what the experience was like for a visually impaired runner.
The first thing I learnt was that I needed to have absolute trust in my guide - luckily Nick earned that trust very quickly. Also, the course feels very different to when you can see it - the changes of surface are more noticeable, and it is impossible to avoid every tree root, leaf and puddle!
My experience has taught me that, if I am lucky enough to be able to guide Tony again in the future, communication is key - you can never have enough. Also, from an organisational perspective, we can be more mindful of the additional challenges that other runners, mud, potholes, and dogs pose to visually impaired runners and their guides"
So what happened at the front of the field?
Claire Louise SPENCER (VW35-39) of Overton Harriers & AC, was first (8th overall) over the line in 19:43 - 10th time in 30 appearances.
Rebecca WILLIS (VW35-39) of Hatch Warren Runners, was second (26th overall) over the line in 21:13 - has been first to finish on 9 previous occasions.
Abbie NADIN (SW30-34) of Hook Runners, was third (49th overall) over the line in 22:46.
An unknown runner was first.
Iain CONNELL (VM45-49) (Unattached) was second over the line in 18:27 - has been first to finish on 10 previous occasions.
Pablo HERRERA (SM25-29) (Unattached) was third over the line in 18:36 - was first to finish once before.
Current standings in the points competitions (remembering these finish at the end of February).
Tracy WYETH (Unattached) 4594 pts.
Lynn BRASTOCK (Hatch Warren Runners) 3821 pts.
Kim ULYSSES (Hatch Warren Runners) 3812 pts.
Chris FURNESS (Basingstoke & Mid Hants AC) 4470 pts.
Tony WATKINS (Unattached) 3913 pts.
Rob EUSTACE (Unattached) 3693 pts.
The following runners recorded the best Age Grade scores:
Iain CONNELL (VM45-49) was graded 77.42% for the time 18:27 (second overall).
Claire Louise SPENCER (VW35-39) was graded 77.09% for the time 19:43 (8th overall).
Chris FURNESS (VM45-49) was graded 76.59% for the time 18:39 (4th overall).
Congratulations to all the following who should soon be sporting various parkrun milestone shirts:
Harris Knaggs and Harrison James Morgan who are both juniors completed their 10th parkruns
Helen Cameron did her 25th volunteering event.
Harry Hinson ran his 50th parkrun.
Kathryn Allaway ran her 100th parkrun (balloon and all!)
And Tony Wright completed his 250th parkrun (without a balloon!)
parkrunners with aesthetically pleasing times.
I like to highlight people who manage to run their parkrun where the number of minutes and seconds are the same: so congratulations to Tony Parker who completed his run in 19m19s, Rhiannon Perryment who managed 23m23s, Richard Hargreaves with 25m25s, Svetlana Unitt who completed her run in 27m27s, Michael Hickey with 34m34s and Danielle Mitchell with 38m38s. Congratulations to you all!
During 2015, 20,048 parkruns were completed at Basingstoke (an average of 371 a week). So far in 2016 we’ve already managed 20,356 at an average of just over 399 a week. Will we finish the year with an average of over 400 runners a week? To do so, for our last four parkruns (including Christmas Day) we’d have to average 411 each, which seems optimistic but not impossible (depends a bit on the weather of course). If we managed that, it would total 22,000 runs completed in 2016 (although we’ll have squeezed in an extra run – 55 this year as against 54 last year).
Extra runs at Christmas
I mentioned we are holding extra runs at Christmas here at Basingstoke - the details can be found at http://www.parkrun.org.uk/basingstoke/news/2016/12/11/christmas-day-and-new-years-day-parkruns-summary/. That article also contains a link for the parkrun Christmas Compendium showing details of special Christmas Day and New Year's Day parkruns all over the UK. Note that like Basingstoke, most parkruns are doing these in addition to the normal Saturday runs on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve (but check with the local events themselves as usual to make sure these are happening if you plan to visit).
Donate Your Time!
Returning for a second year – and just in time for Christmas – Donate Your Time is back! Over the four weekends in December, you can donate your parkrun time to Alzheimer’s Research UK, by converting the minutes and seconds into pounds and pence! Alzheimer’s Research UK is parkrun’s official charity partner, and money raised will help research into treatments and preventions for dementia. So for example, if you ran 24:26, you could donate £24.26! All donations are welcome, so feel free to donate any amount you wish to help Alzheimer’s Research UK in the fight against dementia!
To find out more and to donate, visit: https://donate.alzheimersresearchuk.org/donateyourtime/
And finally – a Quite Interesting fact.
On 10th December 1799, France first adopted the metre as its official unit of length. Had they not done so, we would have not been able to run five thousand of them in a park every Saturday at 9am. Don't forget to join us next week for exactly that.