Thanks to Peter Wallis for today's run report celebrating Louise's journey to 250 parkruns
A record turnout today, by over 200; with more than 360 people taking up the offer of ‘doing a double’ at the Upton and Bournemouth New Year’s Day parkruns. The team did an amazing job coping with the extra runners today!
Among the runners was my wife, Louise. Doing a double parkrun (two on the same day) for the first time and making this her 250th parkrun. But she isn’t a runner – truth be told, she hates running. So, I hear you ask (?!) why would anyone who doesn’t like running end up doing 250 parkruns? To explain I’d better start at the beginning, in the hope that if it’s your first parkrun today you can take some inspiration when you wonder if you are enjoying it.
Louise’s first parkrun was shared with 23 others (see above) at Bournemouth on 30th November 2013, when Bournemouth was just 14 parkruns old and still being steered through some minor teething troubles by Ade, Sophie, Claire, Chris, and – most of the others are still on the Core Team.
The following month saw Louise get her first PB, and the next came a month later, same the next (but one). And so the PBs kept coming, until almost a year later. Hardly a competitive finish time but the competition against the clock was proving irresistible.
Soon Saturday mornings had to start with a parkrun whether at home, visiting, or even on holiday – taking Mr Parker (the Bournemouth parkrun mascot) with us a few times.
Her first parkrun Milestone club shirt soon loomed. Or should that be they were eventually ‘loomed’? She just missed out on the legend that was an original Adidas 50. Undeterred, she waited so long that her red shirt still shows 50 on the back - by the time it arrived the Milestone 100 shirt wasn’t far away so she didn’t wear it for long!
Motivation was maintained in those early days by the weekly stats, which then included a parkrun yearly results table. Her gender position score was getting better, so just turning out each week saw her climbing up the table as the year progressed. However, around this time the popularity of parkrun exploded and her days of finishing in a two-digit position soon came to an end.
The parkrun Age Grading figures then became the motivator, improving from around 50% to 55% then 60% - where it’s remained, fairly static, ever since. A new challenge was needed again – and parkrun delivered! We had heard that the volunteer pacer runner who got closest to their allotted pace judgement target time at the Bournemouth pacing events would win a packet of biscuits. So Louise enlisted a willing pacing assistant (i.e. her daughter was press-ganged) and this team would soon reliably cross the line within one second of their target, with no dubious shenanigans in the last 100m. Alas, by the time they had perfected this noble art, the tradition of awarding biscuits had also come to an end. But the purple Volunteering shirt soon arrived.
The 250 shirt has been a challenge for quite a while, that challenge including the choreography of her volunteering plus some strategic parkrun tourism, to ensure today's event would be the big day. New challenges will have to be found again, but that may itself be the next new challenge. The truth is that the 250th arrived because she enjoys meeting up with the friends made through parkrun. Not just the runners; also the many regular volunteers, (Hi Steve!, Hi Katie!) (and not forgetting the spectators - Hi Colin!).
And despite all this competitive stuff going on, parkrun is never adversarial. Just if you’ve shared parkrun mudbaths, freedom runs on the rare cancellations and the stories that follow or simply running with the same people means you get to find new friendships along the way, and that’s been far more motivating than the competition ever could be.
So, dear first-time runner, don’t be surprised or put off if you didn’t enjoy the running today. You certainly don’t have to get any good at it (just avoid getting injuries).
Good luck sticking to any parkrun-related New Year’s Resolution, aided and abetted by all the scope for setting new goals. I hope it will soon become as true for you, that you’ll find that getting involved will lead to new challenges, friendships and your chosen indulgences being enjoyed with less anxiety over the calories (as most milestones seem to involve cake)!
Maybe you’ll actually like running? - Some do, but it’s not for everyone who does parkrun!
As always many thanks to all the Core Team, volunteers and others who have made parkrun such a success.
This week 967 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 271 were first timers and 84 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 88 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 58 volunteers:
Roger BRANKIN • Cassandra BELCHER • Rob MCTAGGART • Samantha SMITH • Richard SMITH • Steve SHUCK • Peter HELLAWELL • Neil BLACKMORE • Karen ROBERTS • Kirsty DREWETT • Nicola WHITTAKER • Gerard LISSENBURG • Caron ROGERS • Kevin DOWSETT • Loraine KONSBRUCK • Sam JENKINS • Graham PENNECK • Ruby MCCULLY • Katie JENKINS • Peter WALLIS • Harry ROLPH • Rob ROLPH • Nikki ROLPH • Charlie BLUNDELL • Jason CLARK • Clare COLEMAN • Richard COLEMAN • Josie COLEMAN • Rasa ZEMULAITYTE • Tony PAYNE • Gary QUIRKE • Mark RUTTER • Laura ODLIN • David GORMAN • Jean-René GRAILHE • Alison CASTLE • Pippa GILLINGHAM • Derek VIVIAN • Lindsay VIVIAN • Tina CHERRETT • Barry ROBINSON • Georgia ROBINSON • Belinda LOPEZ • Neil GEORGES • Fiona ROGERS • Helen GEORGES • John MAYNARD • Nicola HART • Kristina MACIULAITYTE • Patrick DAVIS • Julian CORBETT • Ray BLACKWELL • Greg SMITH • Jackie SMITH • Reeta KERAI • Chris AYLES • Alison RUTTER
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Bournemouth parkrun Results Page.
The male record is held by Neil Robert BONIFACE who recorded a time of 15:34 on 25th June 2016 (event number 151).
The female record is held by Charlotte PENFOLD who recorded a time of 17:18 on 17th June 2017 (event number 203).
The Age Grade course record is held by Caroline HORDER who recorded 95.57% (22:12) on 19th May 2018 (event number 251).
Bournemouth parkrun started on 24th August 2013. Since then 15,037 participants have completed 118,900 parkruns covering a total distance of 594,500 km, including 18,841 new Personal Bests. A total of 1,249 individuals have volunteered 11,615 times.