The return of the Horsforth Harriers for their annual takeover, and there was a tremendous response from the runners for the “What’s Your Name?” theme. Many got theirs ready in advance, a good few were supplied on the day by a small army of volunteers. Some runners remained shy or wanted to be incognito, and I have no doubt it cost them at least six seconds off their time, because we couldn’t shout them round by name.
It must have worked to some degree, because 37 of the 160 runners chalked up a PB and by my reckoning, at least 74.2% of them had their name on their shirt. Awesome!
Proceedings were started by Nicola Rees, Look North presenter, but to us, a fellow parkrunner, and a darned quick one at that. Unfortunately, injury denied Nicola the opportunity to be first lady back (or indeed, run at Leeds Half the next day), but she was so taken by the atmosphere and friendliness of all involved, she promised to come back and run with us when she is recovered. Nicola also managed to get us a plug on Friday night’s weather forecast, which is a first for any parkrun!
On our behalf, she offered congratulations to our Event Director, founder of the Bramley parkrun, Graham Fisher, who notched up his 200th parkrun. Graham has also volunteered no fewer than 120 times!!
Also well done the pacers, which is a difficult task given the unevenness of our terrain. All were within 30 seconds of their target time (bonus prize to Cath Gray for being a mere five seconds adrift).
Indeed, I must comment on all the volunteers, mostly drawn from Horsforth Harriers, with some of them new to either the parkrun experience and/or volunteering. The feedback from runners on the day praised their enthusiasm and support, while the volunteers enjoyed the atmosphere, the eventual sunshine and the cheery responses of the runners to their encouragement.
We had 12 debutant runners, who hopefully enjoyed the experience of their first effort towards the coveted 50 T-shirt, and 18 who had done park runs elsewhere before, but had come to enjoy the delights of Bramley’s Flat Uphill Section and the more pleasant downhill bit for the first time. These came from afar afield as Harrogate, Sheffield and the Forbidden Planet, although I may have misheard that last one.
It can be easy to stress about performances, who’s getting back before who, and how long did it take us compared to our previous efforts. We don’t all get PBs every week. In fact, in the grand scheme of things, times are not important. What we do is participate in the event, that’s the crucial thing – no-one else is bothered if we miss our PB by six seconds, although we are pleased for anyone that does get a new one. Paramount is the simple act of being there and going round four times (emphasis on four, you’ll see why in a bit). That is sufficient, and well done to all those who do so.
I make this point this because I, like most others, have no chance of ever replicating the feat (or even feet!) of these fine runners and finishing in the top three for an immortal mention:
First home was Chris Smith of Leeds City AC, in an extremely rapid 17’ 27”; Craig Pettit continued his run of strong performances here by being next back, in 18’ 49”. Gareth Barnes (Valley Striders) was the third of six runners who went under 20 minutes, in 19’ 21”
Heather Langham (also Leeds City) led the ladies back, in 21’ 49” (a PB too), only 21” ahead of youngster Holly Davey (Otley AC), making her debut here. Hyde Park Harriers’ Lucy Rider was next, also with a PB, in 23’ 29”.
Apologies for some of the times appearing wayward, but despite the run brief always including that the course is four laps, and the runners loudly affirming this to be the case, we still manage to get some whose ability to count is impaired as their running efforts appear to deprive the brain of oxygen. Or to use the colloquial expression, we had a number of funnel duckers. I can tell you that this caused much wringing of hands, gnashing of teeth and general Biblical wailing among the results processing team. Not a pretty sight….
I’m on a roll with problems, so let me move into the thorny issue of dogs (again). To my mind, a short lead is one where there wouldn’t be enough space for another runner to pass comfortably between handler and beast. I did witness one runner make an emergency swerve as one pooch lurched to the grass from the path, a good six feet away. I don’t blame the dog! Imagine there’s another runner alongside you, that’s the space the accompanying dog should occupy.
Back to the stats – and 14 ‘unknowns’ this week. A baker’s dozen (plus one) of runners who forgot their bar code, and who do not move one run closer to their next T-shirt award.
You may wish to follow Graham’s fine example and volunteer once in a while to help keep the Bramley parkrun going. Use this link to see what’s involved (https://support.parkrun.com/hc/en-us/sections/200112523-Volunteering), and then contact the Bramley parkrun office at email@example.com. Or after a race, have a chat with Lisa, and you can either volunteer or have a go at shadowing one of our regular volunteers to learn the ropes (which are incredibly simple to learn, the most complex one involves pressing a button every now and then). If you check the roster for the next few weeks, there are an alarming number of gaps, which if not filled, mean the event simply won’t take the place. So far, we’ve not had to cancel due to understaffing, but it gets close some weeks…
A swift thanks to the goodly number of people who have offered to write the run report in the future. Just pick a day you know you’re going to be there, and give Graham the nod.
I hope you all made yourself proud this week. It will be a while before I’m Run Director again. Don’t forget, smile at the camera – if it looks like you’re enjoying it, others might come and join us! As ever, Simon’s terrific photos appear on the parkrun web site and our facebook pages.
Next week your Run Director is the most excellent Gemma Rathbone, as we edge ever closer to our anniversary parkrun. Oh, the excitement!
Philip & Team Bramley
PS If you want to find out more about the local running clubs, including Horsforth Harriers, most of them have a web site. It will improve your times no end (that’s running with a club, not just looking at their web site).