Celebrating the Threes – Bramhall parkrun Event 333

There is something special about an event with 3 threes in it. And Event 333 at Bramhall Park did not disappoint. On a dry, crisp and overcast morning, 373 runners (two more 3s separated by a lucky 7) turned up to enjoy a Saturday morning run. While there were patches of lying water, wet leaves and a little mud to make things interesting, there were still 51 new PBs (a number divisible by three) and 14 first time runners. Considering the additional parkruns in the area, soon to be joined by another, the turnout this week was very strong and just a little above the running 10 week average of 363 runners (also divisible by three).

Before setting off, we were addressed by a representative of the Stockport Foodbank, which we have been supporting with weekly donations of food for the past two years. He reminded us that this is a particularly challenging time of year for families supported by the Foodbank and made a plea for donations of holiday-themed foods in the coming weeks.

While we usually review the top Men’s and Women’s results, and we’ll get to that in a bit, we need to start with the Downs family, 3 of whom were the top finishers in their genders today. Dad Rob was first over the line for the 97th time at Bramhall, daughter Juliet was the first female finisher for the 16th time and daughter Ellen was the 2nd female finisher (she’s been first finisher on 22 other occasions.) Juliet’s time of18.56 puts her just 3 seconds behind the JW15-17 record holder.) And let’s not overlook Mum Catherine who finished her 99th (divisible by 3) parkrun this week.

There were some very fast runs this week amongst both genders. For the men, Rob Downs’ time of 17.15 gave him a comfortable 16 second margin, but only 4 seconds separated the next 3 finishers. First timer Paul Hawkins was second finisher in 17.31, just a second ahead of Barry Archbold. Completing the triumvirate of challengers was Gareth Griffiths in 17.35.

For the women, all 3 of the top finishers were junior JW15-17 runners. Juliet Downs set a new PB with her first finish time of 18.56 and was 11th overall. 21 seconds behind her was sister Ellen Downs in 19.17, who was 15th overall. Third finisher (38th overall) was Eve Gibson in a time of 20.49.

In the annual points competition, Rob Currie continues at the top of the men’s leader board by a healthy margin. I may be wrong, but I think if he holds on to his lead until April, it will be his 3rd win in the competition. And he’ll be tough to beat if he continues to run as he did this week with a chest infection. The women’s competition is much closer with last year’s runner-up Sheila Paice just 24 points ahead of Natasha Moore.

Bramhall regulars have had a great season in other events around the UK. Some have represented their county or club in national competitions; many have posted excellent times in 10ks, half-marathons and marathons; and Ellen Downs has represented England in the European Youth Mountain Running Championships. But none have had the chance to toe the line against top East African runners in their native environment. That’s exactly what Charlie Batho (3 times first finisher at Bramhall) is preparing to do next week in Ethiopia. He’ll be part of a team of 14 Stockport Harriers (7 Men and 7 Women) who were selected as one of the fastest teams in the 2014 UK Great Run series to compete in the Great Run Ethiopia 10k next week in Addis Ababa. Good luck Charlie and we look forward to hearing about your African adventure in a future Run Report!

While we’ll be celebrating the festive season at Bramhall with our annual Santa Run on Sat 20 Dec, watch out for extra parkruns that will be held on both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day in the Greater Manchester Area. Details of these will be posted in the weekly parkrun newsletter in the next few weeks. In addition to these extra holiday parkruns, there are two local events that might interest some Bramhall parkrunners. The first is the Adlington Winter Warmer 10K, which is on 28 December at 10am, starting from the Miners Arms Pub. It’s run along the Canal and Middlewood Way and no timepieces are allowed – prizes are given to those whose time is closest to their pre-race prediction - https://www.facebook.com/events/348085272002965/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular The second event is the Bramhall Runners Bowstones Fell Race, which is approximately 11k and starts near the Boars Head Pub in Higher Poynton and heads off into Lyme Park. I’d recommend trail shoes for this one - https://www.facebook.com/events/382991185188995/

Thanks to everyone who ran, volunteered and/or supported the runners this week!

Steve S.