Witton came to visit….2nd November

BOLTON PARKRUN EVENT #438 – 2nd November 2019

The slightly brighter weather than last weekend saw an improved attendance at Bolton parkrun this Saturday, with over 100 more attendees than last weekend’s historic low, when Bolton saw its lowest attendance since March 2013. That said, there was the small matter of England’s first Rugby World Cup Final for 12 years, meaning the attendance of 236 was still the third lowest attendance of 2019 for Bolton so well done to those of you that came to run, jog and walk Cruella this weekend!

Among that number were a group of us touring from Witton parkrun in Blackburn, as our own event was cancelled this week for setup of the evening’s annual bonfire. This included 4 of the top 5 members of the Witton 100 Club, with a combined total of 545 runs at Witton and 723 total parkruns, plus our Event Director Michelle Searby volunteering on finish tokens, her husband and regular Witton volunteer Bryan on timing and regular Witton marshal Alan Vernon on the final bend towards the out-and-back!

First to cross the line this week was Horwich RMI Harrier Toby Middleton in 18:25. This was Toby’s 39th parkrun and 17th at Bolton and was his 4th visit of 2019, though first since February. For the third successive visit, Toby was Bolton first finisher, and was just 5 seconds off his Bolton PB set at Event #401 in January – great performance, Toby!

Second to finish was Carl Frier in 20:08. This was Carl’s 66th parkrun and 34th at Bolton and marked his first ever visit to the Bolton parkrun podium, improving on his previous best on his last visit in August of fifth. It was his 11th visit of 2019 and he has improved impressively this year, setting a total of 8 new personal bests, including on his last 4 visits going back to March, improving from 22:28 at the start of the year to a latest best of 20:08, 2 minutes and 20 seconds better – and the year’s not over yet! Carl has previous at Bolton, in actual fact, with 23 personal bests in 34 visits to Bolton, knocking a total of nearly 6 and a half minutes off since his debut in April last year – rapid improvement, Carl!

Third place went to Lewis Spanner in 20:35. This was Lewis’s 4th parkrun, which have all come over the past 4 weeks but only his second visit to Bolton since making his parkrun debut here at Event #435 last month. His subsequent two runs have come at Heaton parkrun in Manchester and then all the way down at Canterbury parkrun last weekend! As his first repeated run, this was Lewis’s first chance to earn a true parkrun PB, and he knocked nearly half a minute off his first visit, while he matched his best parkrun finishing position of 3rd, which he earned last weekend in Canterbury, when he ran 3 seconds slower than he did this weekend – looks like you’ve caught the parkrun bug, Lewis!

First female went to Katherine Baines in 16th position in 22:39. This was Katherine’s 185th run at Bolton and whopping 279th parkrun overall and the 7th occasion on which she’s been first female at Bolton, including in 2 of the past 3 weeks, the last two times she’s visited. This was actually her 8th fastest ever parkrun at Bolton, impressive given the high number of visits she’s made! Brilliant running, Katherine!

Second female was Helen Bury of Run Mummy Run in 26th position in 24:08. This was Helen’s 203rd run at Bolton out of 205 parkruns total, dating back to January 2012! It was her fastest run at Bolton since July, when she ran 23:26 and she has been first female at Bolton on 4 occasions. Incidentally, her two non-Bolton runs both came in April this year, visiting nearby Sale Water parkrun in Manchester and Watergrove parkrun in Rochdale! Well done, Helen!

Third female was Burnden Road Runner Mumtaz Patel in 38th position in 25:26. This was Mumtaz’s 52nd parkrun and 48th at Bolton, closing in on membership of the Bolton 50 Club. It was her 6th run at Bolton in 2019 and second fastest run here this calendar year and, like Helen, she made her Bolton debut way back in May 2012! It is her second highest female finish, having previously been second female at Bolton – great effort, Mumtaz!

Milestone time!!! And there were no new t-shirts awarded at Bolton on Saturday. One t-shirt earned elsewhere by a Bolton parkrun native was at nearby Hyndburn parkrun on Saturday, when Ramsbottom Running Club’s George Butler finished in third position there on his first ever visit to earn his red 50 milestone t-shirt! George has run 27 times at Bolton since making his debut way back in January 2014, by far his most visited venue, with only three more repeat venues: South Manchester parkrun (3 times), Heaton parkrun (twice) and Worsley Woods parkrun (twice). His remaining 16 parkruns have all come at different venues: nearby Witton, Cuerden Valley, Hyndburn, Preston, Haigh Woodland, Chadderton Hall, Hyde, Stretford, Pennington Flash and Sale Water parkruns, all in the North West, plus Keswick parkrun in the Lake District, Dishley parkrun in Loughborough, Yeovil Montacute parkrun in Somerset, Catterick parkrun in North Yorkshire and Clapham Common and Beckton parkruns both in London. What this also means is that on Saturday George completed his 50th parkrun at his 20th different venue, a significant milestone itself as it is the point at which parkrunners are listed on the parkrun UK Most Events Table and can also gain access to the parkrun Tourists Facebook page – congratulations, George!

People at Bolton who were running notable parkruns on Saturday included:
• Paul McGreavy – 360 runs
• Philip Gerrard – 200 runs
• David Allen (Darwen Dashers) – 180 runs
• Lynda Vernon – 160 runs
• Michael Allwood (Team DARKrun) – 150 runs
• Shaowen Tan – 140 runs
• Helen Borking (Women on the Run) – 120 runs
• David Jones – 110 runs
• Douglas Bentley – 90 runs
• Jackie Foster – 80 runs
• Kath Bebbington – 80 runs
• Les Ford – 70 runs
• Jane Wardle – 70 runs
• Peter Hughes (Queensbury RC) – 60 runs
• Michael Watson – 30 runs
• Steven Hawarden – 10 runs
• Emma Sleith – 10 runs
• Umar Balal – 1 run
• Johanna McManus – 1 run
• Sophia Aftab (Bolton United Harriers) – 1 run
• Zain Aftab (Bolton United Harriers) – 1 run
• Zackariyya Aftab (Bolton United Harriers) – 1 run

And those on the cusp of a notable run include:
• Katherine Baines – 279 runs
• Sue Blackman (Burnden Road Runners) – 189 runs
• Andy Dunleavy (Burnden Road Runners) – 179 runs
• Alexandra Hooton – 174 runs
• Sumit Guhathakurta – 174 runs
• Ani Das (Swinton RC) – 169 runs
• Maurice Halliwell – 169 runs
• Chris Worthington (Burnden Road Runners) – 149 runs
• Gaynor Clarke – 149 runs
• Marie Wood – 109 runs
• Susan Foster – 89 runs
• Janette Daeth – 74 runs
• Michael Chew – 74 runs
• Louise Williams – 59 runs
• Lucy Dewhurst (Radcliffe AC) – 59 runs
• Abigail Henry – 49 runs
• Toby Middleton (Horwich RMI Harriers) – 39 runs
• Wes Davies – 24 runs
• Steven Banks – 24 runs
• Sian Regan – 19 runs
• Jacqui Latham (North Bolton Runners) – 19 runs
• Steven Hazeldine – 9 runs
• Charlotte Gallop (Chester Road Runners) – 9 runs
• Ronnie Booth – 9 runs
• Katrina Romano – 9 runs

The weather took a downturn during Saturday’s run, beginning to rain about halfway around the first lap and staying pretty consistent for the rest of the run. Despite this, the marshals all around the course were friendly and encouraging and I’m not sure what Dave Hitchen’s secret is that makes parkrunners seemingly leap into the air whenever he points his camera in their direction! That’s a lot more energy than I’ve got during a parkrun! This weekend saw 25 hi-vis heroes help make Bolton’s 438th event pass off without a hitch and we are as always grateful to them all for allowing the rest of us to run, jog and walk! This week’s full roster was:

Malcolm PITTOCK • Christine PENDLEBURY • Mark BUTLER • Dave HITCHEN • Rachel HANCOCK • Kathryn BERRY • Mark FRASER • Abbie GREGSON • Philip GLASSBROOK • Emma Louise WALKER • Jeffrey PENDLEBURY • Louise GEOGHEGAN • Vince ASHTON • Michelle SEARBY • Bryan SEARBY • Gillian MORRIS • Jennifer FORKIN • Debra RIDINGS • Alan VERNON • Matthew VERNON • Andrew BERRY • Gary PORTEOUS • Tony WORTHINGTON • Luke NEWELL • Ged SCHOLES

Parkruns can only happen with enough volunteers to make it safe. With a course such a Bolton’s, spread over a large area with lots of tree cover, a number of marshals are needed to keep us all on track and deal with any incidents that occur, alongside a core team covering the timing, finish tokens and barcode scanning to ensure the results wing their way to your inboxes around lunchtime! These roles all require people to step back from participating in the parkrun, missing a run to allow the rest of us to earn ours. It is always encouraged that regular attendees take a turn on the roster in whatever role they feel comfortable doing and I’m sure Bolton has a large number of regular volunteers who help populate the roster week-on-week. That being said, the more people step forward, the more everybody can take part! So if you’ve never volunteered before but fancy giving it a go, then get in touch with the core team, either via one of the Facebook requests for volunteers or via bolton@parkrun.com I can assure you that volunteering lets you see an entirely different side of parkrun and is just as rewarding and enjoyable as taking part!

Five people ran their first ever parkruns at Bolton on Saturday – welcome to parkrun! We hope you enjoyed your first experience, despite the rain and mud and can promise you it’s often a lot less dreary! We hope now you’ve got your first time, you’ve got something to aim at and improve from and keep coming back for more! Impressively, there were no unknown runners on Saturday, not a common thing to be able to say in a field of over 200! Well done to everyone who remembered their barcodes and didn’t fall foul of the parkrun rules: No Barcode, No Time, No Exceptions!

Finally, as a tourist, this was my first visit to Bolton in just under a year and, as a result, my first experience of the new route – sans running track. Broadly, of course, the route has not materially changed: you still have the out-and-back before the finish, you still go up Cruella de Hill twice, and along the river bank twice. The start at the far end of the out-and-back is clearly a little slower than the running track, due, in particular, to less space for passing, particularly if the grass is muddy like it was on Saturday! The new out-and-back at the top of Cruella is not particularly onerous and it’s nice to be able to see your friends further down the field. I also found the final out-and-back less of a chore knowing that the finish was just as we exited it, rather than a little further up the hill and half a lap of the running track away! Overall, I think you’ve done a good job in keeping the character of Bolton parkrun, while making concessions for the good of other users of the park by ditching the running track. Keep up the good work!

Back to Witton for us next week, where you’re all more than welcome to come and give the Beast a go whenever you’re up for it! Make sure you pack your trail shoes, mind!

Thanks for hosting us this weekend and until we meet again, keep parkrunning!

Matthew Vernon #loveparkrun #loveWittonparkrun #loveBoltonparkrun