Invasion of the TpoTs
It was a wonderful parkrun-filled weekend visiting the home of parkrun. Many of us had made the “Bushy Pilgrimage” last year – but this year it was unanimously decided that when we returned, we would come when Bushy juniors was taking place. They hold their events usually on the first weekend of every month.
I contacted Nicki the Volunteer Co-Ordinator more than six months ago, asking her permission for us to “Takeover” the volunteering roles. Our juniors were very excited about this trip and many of them received it as a Christmas present. It was a first time visit to Bushy for most of our juniors and they were not disappointed.
Arriving in Bushy Park at 8am we were greeted warmly by Paul Graham ("Peej") Event Director, for Bushy juniors and Nicki Clark, Volunteer Co-Ordinator. It was a gorgeous sunny, cold February morning and Bushy Park looked so beautiful, with the sun coming up and the famous deer were stunning in the distance with the sun shining down on them like a halo.
Very soon, a sea of Orange beanies could be seen in the distance and the Tralee juniors started to arrive for their 2k run in this iconic location of parkruns. The orange beanies were a real talking point for people and it started lots of conversations over the weekend! We got these beanies made up especially in time for our trip to Bushy – but also because Tralee parkrunners embrace parkrun tourism very regularly, and it’s lovely to have something that’s unique to us! (In case anyone was wondering what “TpoT” stands for... it's “Tralee parkrunners on Tour” – which is written on our orange beanies!)
Nicki with volunteers Cora and John
Nicki instructed all the volunteers their roles and Peej was approached by parents advising of children who were due their milestone wristbands. We rewarded 2 children their green full marathon wristbands. One of our own Tralee juniors – Ruairi, ran his 100th junior parkrun at Bushy juniors, but we will reward him next Sunday – as is always the case at junior events to acknowledge the week following an achievement – but what a lovely memory for Ruairi!
Majella and Martina, along with LOTS of Tralee juniors did an Irish-themed warm up, teaching our new English friends some Irish vocab along the way! We made Trevor, who normally does the warm up, somewhat redundant – but he enthusiastically cheered on the runners.
It wasn’t long before over 200 excited juniors lined up at the start line and I was honoured to start the run. There was so much encouragement from everyone and it was noted by many of our gang how fantastic everyone was, at high fives and general positivity.
We were very impressed by all the baking that appeared. We are very familiar with Carol and Ann’s baking delights having sampled them on different visits to UK parkruns – we affectionately refer to these two legends as “The Bushy Bakers”. Thank you to everyone who fed us!
“Thank you” seems so inadequate but please know that our visit to your wonderful event was very special and we have many wonderful memories of a weekend filled with so many junior parkrun memories. Our children are the future of parkrun and this visit to Bushy, will hopefully be the first of many for them... and us too!
We would love to be able to repay the hospitality and any Bushy junior runners (or volunteers!) will get a great welcome if they ever come to visit us at Tralee junior parkrun!
Event Director, Tralee juniors
(Photos: Oisin Murray, Cathal Lynch)