Bramhall race report (event 289) – 4th January 2014

Happy New 2014 to all, Good Resolutions, and The Future is Bright…. !

New Year, New Starts, and my first ever race report, (which I feel privileged to try to do – thank you).

No gale-force winds in Bramhall this morning; No rain even ! All was fairly calm, if not bright…. – grey skies, and a still, morning chill were the order of the day. The pre-race mêlée seemed quieter than most Saturdays, or was it just me ?! Lots of people wondering how out of shape they may have got, from mince-pies, “friends, feasting and frenzy”, or was it just me…. ?!!

Nick soon dispelled some trepidations, with his typical good cheer, through the megaphone – announcements of: the parkrunner of December, which was awarded to Fiona Cooke – for excellent sustained progress; encouragement and congratulations to Daisy Tomlinson doing her 100th parkrun this morning, aged just 11 ! ; and welcomes and encouragements to new parkrunners, who are always welcome at Bramhall, and whom we seem to get several dozen of each week (21 of you this week – we hope to see you all again as soon as you can make it !)

And we were off !!!

The hill up to the hall seemed as busy as ever – a very healthy turnout of 455 runners this week, despite quite a number of Bramhall stalwarts being absent due to various running event commitments this weekend.

29 runners recorded new Personal Bests today – quite a low number, relative to most weeks – perhaps due to the season of over-indulgence just behind us, perhaps due to the patches of mature gooey mud in a few places on the course today. If you were one of those select 29 PBs, especially well done to you! We are impressed!

And so to the results of the day….

The first 3 men on the "podium" in 2014 were :

George COULSON (SM20-24) - first over the line in 18:27 – only his second win in 33 appearances. (Editor’s note – he was spotted “basking in his glory” up in the wooded path area, straight after he had finished ….. no ducking out, or spinning around, today for him!! ;) ). 40 seconds behind George, in second place, was Charlie BATHO (VM45-49) of Stockport Harriers, in 19:08 - having been first to finish on 3 previous occasions. And in valiant third place was Neil BOLTON (SM30-34) in 19:17.

The first 3 women on the "podium" this year were:
Janine ELLIS (VW40-44) of Wilmslow RC, was first (19th overall) over the line in 20:55 – Janine’s 10th win in 56 appearances. Second was Daisy TOMLINSON (JW14) of Stockport Harriers (in her special 100th parkrun custom-made “spangly”tee-shirt!!) over the line in 23:20. In third place, following close behind Daisy, was Emma YOUNG (VW40-44) of Bramhall Runners, in 23:22.

Currently leading the Men's annual points table, which runs until the Bramhall parkrun anniversary in April(?), are: 1. Robert CURRIE on 8544 pts. 2. Frank PODD (Bramhall Runners) 8130 pts. 3. Andy WILLIAMS (Bramhall Runners) 7479 pts.

Current standings in the Women's annual points table are: 1. Fiona COOKE (Stockport Harriers) 8283 pts. 2. Janine ORTON on 8155 pts. 3. Sheila PAICE on 7828 pts.

The following runners recorded the best Age Grade scores in this morning’s run:
Robert CURRIE (VM55-59) was graded 76.72% for the time 20:33 (14thoverall).
Margaret TRICKEY (VW65-69) was graded 75.54% for the time 27:15 (226thoverall).
Janine ELLIS (VW40-44) was graded 75.22% for the time 20:55 (19thoverall).

Bramhall parkrun really is “all-in”, as the slogan goes. I am forever telling people about the encouraging atmosphere and friendliness of the run. Families run, together with young ones as young as 4 (we need under 11s to be accompanied, to abide by parkrun safety rules) and distinguished veterans up into their 80s. I started just “for a laugh” – it was a struggle the first few times, but I am totally addicted now! And I feel so fit, relative to me 18 months ago. Representatives of 20 different athletics clubs took part this week at Bramhall, but most runners are not attached to a club. I may well yet join one, if I pursue things more seriously, as I hope to run my first half marathon this year.

Thanks to all sorts of people for helping us get our Saturday mornings off to such a good start in this New Year – to the core organisers, to all this week’s volunteers and marshals, AND to all those family and friends who watch and encourage, mainly from by the duckpond !! On the occasions when I hear encouragement, even for others running near me, it really gives me a push and a lift to keep going and try harder !! A special thank you, on behalf of us all, too, to Roger Whitehead, who takes some photo records, as a volunteer, most weeks - we all love to see some evidence of our occasional or genuine exertions and triumphs, and Roger is an expert at catching us "in full flow". All the more remarkable is that he normally runs first, finishing in just under 21.30 this week, and then grabs his camera, to encourage us who are not as quick as he is, as we cross the finish line!! Roger is for me one of the unsung heroes of Bramhall parkrun! It sounds as though he may be having a break from photography in the next month or so, to concentrate on his 10k and half-marathon training more, so any other budding snappers, perhaps with Christmas presents waiting to be tested to the max(?!) would be especially encouraged to make contact with Janine and the volunteers, to fill his place?

Some resolutions we could all make, to make this year an even better year for us as parkrunners ?? Here are a lucky 7 possibilities that I have thought of :

1. Let’s thank the marshals more as we run past ? (It helps our lungs too!)

2. Let’s not cut corners over grassy patches that are wearing bare – perhaps we need a few extra cones/taped bits to encourage us to do this ?

3. Let’s be more courteous to other users of the park, as we run ? There are often people walking dogs, or pushing buggies, sometimes against the flow of runners, and I am sure they would appreciate a cheery hello, or a thank you, from more of us as we pass, rather than them just feeling potentially in danger of their lives, or just feeling in the way !! We do not own the park, so we need to keep on good terms with all the community!

4. Let’s not cut infront of people when we overtake them – and let us try to not crash into people when we overtake them ?! Let’s keep to the left as we run, to let others overtake if they need to ?

5. Let’s bring an item of non-perishable foodstuffs for the foodbank collection at the gate, as often as we can ? Apparently dry, packaged or tinned goods, savoury or sweet are all very welcome. Other details/specifications may be forthcoming – watch this space in future weeks. Considering the parkrun is a free event, (thanks to the sponsors, and to the volunteers), it seems like just a little thing to give a small contribution as often as possible in return, to help others in need towards nutrition and health in our community?

6. Let’s encourage a friend to come, who might not otherwise come?

7. Let’s try and visit other nearby parkruns sometimes, particularly as Bramhall gets ever more popular, – Marple (Brabyn’s Park), Stockport (Vernon/Woodbank), Burnage, Congleton, Wythenshawe are all fairly close, all at 9am on Saturday, too ; AND….. roll of drums – Lyme Park is going to be starting in March – more details to follow, I am sure. « parkrun tourism », with our same barcode, lets us try somewhere different, encourage other runners, appreciate Bramhall even more, see a different course, and keep fresh ! Apparently there are over 300 parkruns across the country to choose from, whenever we are away of a weekend (and some in other countries – AND A LOT MORE IN THE FUTURE, I AM SURE!!!)

8. Oh, and an extra one for even more luck – if you can volunteer, in any capacity, even 1 or 2 or 3 times during the year – contact Janine Ellis - it really helps the parkrun “machine” to keep working, and it is fun to marshal instead of sweat around the course from time to time! All appreciated.

Whatever your new year’s resolutions, everyone at parkrun hopes that 2014 brings you a more healthy, prosperous and in-control “you”.

To finish, 2 quotations that spur me on: - an old one, that I like “The journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step” (an old Chinese proverb), and then one that I saw today, on a facebook running page - “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can” (attributed to the former world number 1 tennis player, Arthur Ashe). We can all do, and enjoy, this running and fitness malarkey!

Till next week, or next time – enjoy your running! And get with your good resolutions! It may have been grey out there today, but I think the future’s bright, “the future’s parkrun!”

Paul Spence