There was something of a special atmosphere at Braunstone Park today as two clubs - Birstall and Squirrels held graduation parties for their recent C25K programmes. Numbers were swelled to a new record level of 610 easily beating the previous high by over a hundred. The Birstall posse alone accounted for 105 participants with Squirrels bringing over 40.
For the run briefing, the trusty megaphone chose Saturday of all days, to break down, so run director and co-event director Julie Thompson had to hand the run brief over to the louder co-event director Mark Thompson. Mark had to put on his biggest shouty voice to make himself heard over the excited starters and if turnouts of this magnitude are to be the norm I think he might need a bigger megaphone!
Some innovative thinking was also needed when it came to timekeeping too. The stopwatches only go up to 500 records so between Mark and our most experienced timekeeper Richard Singer, they hatched a cunning plan. One timekeeper stopped recording at 300 and then started again at 500. Thankfully there were JUST enough tokens for everyone to get a time.
All the volunteers worked harder than ever today, but the fact that an incident free run went as smooth as clockwork was testament to all our brilliant volunteers.Thank you to you all.
On the actual running front, Kyran Roberts from Carmarthen & District Harriers, and Daniel Johnson from Gateshead, took the top two spots in 15:18 and 16:25 respectively. Both were first timers at Braunstone, 3rd podium place went to local man Alex Percy of Hermitage in 17:42. In the ladies run 1st place went to Joanna Male from West End Runners in 20:19, 2nd was Charlie Austin in 20:43 from Wigston Phoenix, and 3rd Kathy Rolington also of West End in 21:31. Local regular Simon Mayes of West End Runners was completing his London Marathon fundraising run today, and easily recognisable in a donkey costume which slowed him down a little. Local rival clubs will be saying that eeh aw, eeh aw, he ought to run in that more often!
There were 184 first timers at today's run and over 70 new pbs set. The atmosphere today epitomised everything that is good about parkrun, just an amazing sight and for all those C25K graduates, life will never be the same again.
By Dave Snutch, Braunstone parkrunner