Course changes 17 August 2013

Thank you to everybody for providing feedback on the course changes. As Event Directors, Phoenix, Mark and myself have given the changes a great deal of thought, time,  and consideration. In particular we needed to consider the sale and development of Braunstone Hall and the effect on parkrun, as well as the growing number of runners.

The purpose of this is to outline why there was a need to change the course and how things will move forward.

The Start.

Problem

Over recent weeks at what is now the old start, it had become increasingly congested with a large number of runners in a small space between the start line and the green gate posts. This has meant that when the run started, runners were spilling onto to grass verges and chopping and changing direction, at the same time as they were going uphill and round a bend.  Clearly the safest place to run at the start is on the path, where you have got a reasonably smooth surface as oposed to uneven grass.

I have had a large number of runners comment to me that the start had become difficult to negotiate and then was congested for the first 3-400 metres.

In addition, we are about to enter a period where our numbers grow and this would only exacerbate the issue.

We discussed moving the start down the finish hill. However this would mean a sharp uphil turn within yards of the start and would make it unsafe.

We discussed moving the start further up the hill, however there would be a trade off with the finishing position.

Result

We moved the start to the current location as there is a larger space to gather. I accept that the path is slightly narrower, however there is a trade off in that the path is better and flatter and allows for the front runners to get away quicker.

The path at the start is marked with posts and tape to encourage runners onto the path as opposed to the grass, we have also created boards so that people can position themselves according to their anticipated finish time prior to the start. I appreciate that for some of you that means it might take 10-15 seconds to cross the line, but this is parkrun not parkrace, and I would ask that you be patient, as this has been done for the safety of all of the participants of Braunstone parkrun.

The balance is between the congestion at the start against a flatter and smoother path which will in part compensate for the slower start.

Finish

Problem

The ideal finish would be to have a  finish funnel.

Due to the location of the old finish and the drop off from the path to the grass verge it was unsafe to create a funnel. We were therefore left with the finish being on the path and marked by cones.

Despite our best efforts this meant that every week, we had runners crossing the line twice, runners not taking a token and runners not staying in their finishing position. This then causes a knock on effect in managing results and dealing with the correspondence that arises when runners feel their time does not reflect what is shown on their watch.

Again, with the anticipated increase in runners action was needed sooner rather than later.

Result.

The new start and route has meant that the finish is now in a position where we can have a finishing funnel. Hopefully this will address what I will call finishing token issues.

There may be problem in the winter when that area may get wet, however it will be no worse than the path at the top of the first hill, which does get muddy.

You are on the grass at the finish for about 10 yards of running and 5 yards of walking. As and when it gets wet we will look at it and we do have some flexibility, where we can push the start further forward a few yards and alter the finish accordingly.

Distance

I was not involved in the launch of Braunstone parkrun and cannot comment on how the old course was measured. From my own experience and from the feedback from other runners I was not totally convinced that it was the full 5k.

We have therefore measured the course with a surveyors wheel and are confident that it is 5k. We are also taking steps to have the course UKA certificated. For those of you who use a GPS device for running, (as I do) they are not 100% accurate as shown when we did a test run of the new route where we had about ten different distances.

General Comments

Braunstone parkrun is run totally by volunteers, nobody receives a penny in expenses or otherwise to make sure your run happens every week. Of the 1800 or so people who have run at least once since September 2012, about 120 have volunteered once, with 7 people who have volunteered 20 or more  times.

This means that you rely on a small group of people, and whilst your feedback is very welcome I would challenge you to volunteer and see what happens behind the scenes. Particularly if you are in posession of a 50 or 100 club t-shirt and have yet to volunteer.

The changes that we have made have not been done lightly,  at every stage we have been very public about our intentions, we had a test run, and undertook course measuring and risk assessment to which everybody was welcome to attend. We also held a volunteers evening with free food to which 35 of the 3500 registered Braunstone  parkrunners attended, where we also discussed the changes.

To paraphrase something I heard once, "the best laid plans do not survive contact with the enemy." No matter what we did we were always aware that further amendments would be necessary.

There will be a few weeks where the changes take time to bed in.  Tweaks will always be made  as we learn something new with every event. The start will remain as it is for at least a few weeks. This will allow us to properly evaluate all aspects of the start and the first 400 metres of the course and make considered changes as opposed to a knee-jerk reaction, which in turn causes further unseen problems.

I will leave you with one thought;

Where else can you get such a great event which is not only free but where you get free stuff?

DFYB

Regards

Phil

 

 

Braunstone parkrun photos are now on Flickr

Braunstone parkrun photos

We are lucky at Braunstone to have a number of people that are happy, willing and able to share photos of the event.

Previously these have been available on the event Facebook page, but going forward we are going to move these photos to being displayed on Flickr, which can then be accessed through the Braunstone parkrun website.

http://www.parkrun.org.uk/braunstone/photos/

We will still have some headline / taster photos on Facebook, but the main gallery will now be on Flickr.

There are 3 main reasons for this:

  1. It opens it up to more people. Whilst in theory anyone can view photos on Facebook even if they don't have a user, some people just won't go on there. We are making photos accessible through the event page that people already use for checking results, news, volunteering etc. We have 480 likes of our FB page, yet have had 3250+ different runners, so clearly some people are missing out.
  2. Contrary to what you may think, we the event team don't have access to email addresses for our runners. This means that to get information to and from you, we can use Facebook, this news page and the run briefing.
    The photos were generating a lot of comments and likes, and it is fantastic that there is that interaction. However this has made it increasingly difficult to send and receive information using Facebook, because of the sheer amount of interactions around the photos.
    We will still put up an announcement each week that the photos are available, along with a small number of taster photos. If you then want to comment on the photos, and don't want to do it using the Flickr comment feature, then you can add comments to the announcement thread. This means you can still keep a degree of interaction, but it generates less "noise" in terms of notifications, and it is easier for us as administrators to keep communication channels open.
  3. It gives us a way to include photos in the weekly newsletter. A lot of time goes in to producing the weekly news, but despite all that it doesn't end up looking visually appealing. That is because of the limitations of the system we use, nothing to do with the authors.
    By having photos on Flickr, we can link to them from the newsletter, break up the wordiness, and make it something that you want to read.

Please be assured that a lot of thought has gone in to this decision, but we are now effectively following the route of most other UK parkrun events. We are keen to keep the involvement and engagement that Facebook brings, but also need to  bear in mind that as we continue to grow we need to make sure that we can also keep you informed in a timely manner.

We thank you all for your support of us. We hope soon to also start using Twitter to give us a further channel for communication and interaction.

 

Mark

 

 

Parking

As our numbers grow, we have to be more considerate of our neighbours, in particular where we park.

In the first instance, if you have to use the car, then please share. You are more than welcome to put a message on our facebook page to find somebody!

Parking is available at Braunstone Leisure centre and on Cort Crescent  near to the second lake.

On Gooding Avenue there is a very small car park, please leave that for our volunteers.

On our facebook page I have posted some pictures of where we would like you to park or not park.

Braunstone parkrun facebook

As ever we are grateful for your assistance.

 

Parkrunners doing it for charity

Scott Baird is running the London Marathon for Action Aid.

If you want to support him here is a link to his fundraising page

http://www.justgiving.com/Scott-Baird

Robert Doore is running the Lincoln 10k race in aid of the British Heart Foundation. If you want to donate to this worthy cause, get in touch with Robert via our facebook page

Cheryl Wright is running the Warwick Castle 1/2 marathon in March and the Milton Keynes Marathon in May in aid of the British Heart Foundation. If you want to donate to this worthy cause, here is the link to Cheryl's fundraising page

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/CherylWright

Braunstone parkrun facebook page     0Braunstone parkrun

 

Runner of the month December 2012 and January 2013

We are pleased to announce that the winners of the Sweatshop Braunstone parkrun runner of the month is as follows.

December 2012 - Linda Pullen

January 2013 - Jim Mitchison

Congratulations to both of you.

Each month we nominate a runner of the month and their prize is a free pair of running shoes courtesy of Sweatshop.

You have to be in it to win it!

 

Saturday 26th January 2013 – Braunstone parkrun cancelled

I have walked the course from the skate park to the small pond, and the entire path without exception is sheet ice.

As I sure you will understand, given the forecast for tonight, tomorrow's parkrun is cancelled.

Fingers crossed for better weather next week.

 

Saturday 19th January 2013 – Braunstone parkrun cancelled

We have been informed by the parks officer for Braunstone Park that it will be closed for the next couple of days, due to the weather conditions.

Consequently parkrun is cancelled this week.

Hopefully the weather will clear during the week and we will see you again next Saturday 26th January 2013.

Regards,

Phil, Phoenix, Mark

 
 

Course diversions in place – 18 February 2012

Hi all,

We have just been advised by the Council's Parks Officer responsible for Braunstone Park that the fencing will still be up around the fishing lake foot path this weekend as contractors are still working. This section forms part of the usual parkrun course.

The Council representative will let us know when this section of path will re-open.

Therefore, unless you hear from us to the contrary, diversions will be in place at Braunstone parkrun on Saturday, 18 February.

The start and finish will still be in the usual place so please come along as normal at the usual time - don't forget your barcode! - and await instructions from the Race Director / course marshals.

Thank you.

The Braunstone parkrun team

 

Results – 14 January 2012

Hi all,

There was a slight technical hitch this morning with the timer. If you know your position and time, please would you email braunstoneoffice@parkrun.com with this information so that our esteemed Director of Number Crunching is able to put the results together.

Please spread the word.

Apologies for any inconvenience this has caused.

Best wishes,

The Braunstone parkrun team