Event Number 108 – 13th August 2016 – Under 11 runners need to run with an adult!
The weather forecast set fair, most families on a caravan holiday in Dorset would head for the coast:- Weymouth, Swanage, Studland (Other beautiful places in Dorset are available) In fact the only planning I had done around my holiday was around which parkruns we could do. A quick check indicated two close parkruns – Blandford and Weymouth. Blandford got the nod ahead of Weymouth with a friends Facebook comment; 'It is an old school parkrun – nice, small numbers and really friendly.'
Parking at the leisure centre as recommended on the website and following the directions as well as the well positioned signs to the start we quickly found the way. The sight of lots of runners many sporting Tribesport 50 tops also provided an easy bread crumb trail to follow.
After congregating under the bridge to listen carefully to the run briefing, and being tempted with the 1 mile run later in the afternoon - the 114 runners were quickly off. With Coventry regularly hitting the high 500s and even 600+ runners each week, it is a real treat to run in a less crowded parkrun. Quickly the runners settled into their own pace and spread out along the route. The early tree lined tarmac trail gave to a beautiful road wide path into the countryside and corn and wheat fields lining the run, certainly different from a city centre park. In today's glorious sunshine the open fields look amazing although it was a very toasty run!
Blandford is a simple out and back course – simple as in only one marshal is needed at the turn point, which is visible from a long way out. I forgot how much I enjoyed an out and back course as you get to see how the faster finishers make running at speed look so effortless as they pass you on their return and I get to see that I am still faster than my son and daughter – which won't last much longer so it is good to enjoy it while I can. The description of the course makes no mention of the gradient – not hilly or flat... So this run was a little unknown for the tourist – and what is generally is a flat course has a few cheeky sharp undulations (certainly not hills – especially as this is Dorset) that are there to test the pace in the legs of runners giving it their all in a 5km effort!
What makes each parkrun special is the individual touches that each parkrun adds or brings in, and today's special touch was definitely the water barrel and the plastic cups – I am sure that bringing the barrel and cleaning the cups should be a volunteers roster job! After trotting around the course I was desperate for a sip or three of water and this was just the job.
It is one of the requirements of parkrun that all under 11s run within arms reach of an adult, however fast they run! Now both my children are now over 11 years old and allowed to run on their own I have no need to use distraction techniques or required bribery to keep my child moving (walking or running), keeping them within arms reach and not causing an obstacle to others on their parkrun.
Over the years I have really enjoyed running with my son. Although it may have been far nearer my easy recovery pace rather than a flat out effort as I would really have liked I enjoyed that father son time - I enjoyed our chats, running downhill with arms out making aeroplane noises and shouting monster under tunnels and bridges (I still do this part – and did today! - although at my age without him it looks a little weird) so I can never understand why a parent would want their child to run alone. In fact my son is responsible for my parkrun tourism after having got bored of running Coventry and encouraging me to run all the parkruns in the West Midlands mainly with him in tow!
Now like my daughter he runs by himself – I like to think it is because it is his way of being a little more grown up rather than him being too cool to run with his old dad or that I am just too embarrassing.
Today one young lady showed another reason that you need to have a parent within arms reach – to hold your tooth when it falls out and tell you not to worry about the blood on your running top. I am sure that teeth that fall out during parkrun are worth double the money from the tooth fairy!
One great thing about holiday planning was to look at the rosters and volunteer to write a report of my travels as it give me the chance to offer thanks to the volunteers who are filling vital roles so my family and I along with 109 other runners could enjoy a lovely run. A big thank you to:- Charlotte GILLEY, Graham HAIGH, Trish HITCHINS, Nina HOLT, Melanie LAMB, Jonathan MEAD, Richard THORNTON, Karen WAY, John WAY, Mark WAY. As with parkruns around the country if you fancy giving scanning a go, fancy being the time keeper, marshalling and encouraging others or are happy to help out in any role please look on the roster and e-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org
As always a full set of today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Harcourt Hill parkrun Results Page, but a few Stats highlights from today's run:-
Daryl DAVIES (SM25-29) (Dorset Doddlers RC) set a new PB as he took the first finishers token this week in 19:31. Young Abbie LOVERING (JW11-14) stormed to fourth finisher and was first lady home in was this weeks line in 19:57.
A huge parkrun welcome to David BRADLEY, Claire DOWNIE, Laura FOULKES, Hannah FAIRCHILD, Roberta ELLIS, Michelle LANE, Tom FISHER who made Blandford their first parkrun venue and what an excellent choice you made as well. If you make this your 2nd run and knowing what to expect maybe you can do what Kit BASHAARAT and Sam PERRY did and improve on your initial time to set a PB well done.
Although no one this week hit a milestone Hazel HAIGH is very close at 49 all run at Blandford. Will she reach her first milestone at run 109? Unfortunately my family and I won't be there to see as we will be back in the Midlands but I am sure that the friendly team at Blandford will make getting to that milestone special.
Thank you all for being so welcoming to me and my family. Happy parkrunning.