Springing into Action with some Meteoric parkrunning!
Report and Photos by Lucy Marris
Wow! What an amazing fun factory Bushy junior parkrun is! You must all be very, very proud of your magnificent event. I normally volunteer at Graves junior parkrun up in Sheffield, but today, as I was staying in Teddington visiting family, I thought I’d join you all in Bushy park to do a bit of voluntourism and what fun it was! Thank you for your warm welcome.
Did you know that it was the first day of meteorological spring on Friday 1st March? Maybe that’s why all you fantastic parkrunners had such a spring in your step today, the first junior parkrun of meteorological spring.
Well done to the 189 amazing parkrunners who took part in this the 104th Bushy junior parkrun.
It was a blustery and drizzly morning, so special thanks to the high-vis heroes who made the event happen. They got an extra enthusiastic round of applause as thanks for their efforts at the run briefing this morning.
Remember, this event needs lots of volunteers to happen safely each month, but I’ll let you into a secret - volunteering at junior parkrun is the best fun you can ever have on a Sunday morning, so don’t miss out. If you’d like to volunteer just contact the team by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or post a message on the Facebook page. You’ll be warmly welcomed. None of the jobs are very difficult, as the Run Director said today at the briefing, even he can do all the different jobs, so it can’t be that hard! Plus you get to wear high vis and maybe even carry a clipboard - You don’t often get to look as busy and important as that!
The volunteers gathered from about 8am to get the course set up. It was a bit slippery under foot, and there were a few deer on the course, and some deer poo too, but nothing to put off today’s brilliant parkrunners.
The Run Director gave a lovely welcome to everyone, and explained the most important rules. The main one is … and I think everyone knows this one already …. to HAVE FUN! Here he is – stepping up to the role (can you see what I did there?) and good to see all the juniors listening carefully.
After the Run Director’s briefing, there was the traditional pre junior parkrun warm up. You are hard core at Bushy junior parkrun! We always have a warm up at Graves junior parkrun too, but shhh, don’t tell, I think your warm up was quite a lot longer than ours usually is. No wonder you all participated so brilliantly. I’m quite glad they don’t make me do that before I do the 5k parkrun, I’d be too worn out to run it afterwards. The juniors today were inspirational though, so maybe I should start trying to do a bit of a warm up before I run next time.
After all the arm rotations and jumping up and down and running on the spot, there was a group lunge walk towards super star volunteer Duncan. It looks like he was having as much fun in the warm up as all the junior parkrunners! Great lunges everyone. I tried to join in, but thought I might fall over. I wouldn’t have been much use on the finish funnel if I was still lying spread-eagled in the mud when the junior parkrunners were all finishing.
Everyone made their way excitedly to the start line and, once the line-up was complete, it was 'Ready, GO!' You looked magnificent charging off down Chestnut Avenue. No wonder Peej the Run Director had to move out of the way pretty sharpish!
At the back, as at every parkrun the world over, a hi-vis Tail Walker was following to keep an eye on things. This is one of the most fun volunteering roles, you get to high five all the marshals on the way round, and hear amazing stories from the rear of the pack as well. Also, as the marshals stand down from their posts as you pass them, they often end up walking back with you, so you feel really popular gathering new friends on the way round.
While the juniors were walking, jogging, strolling and running down the Avenue, the volunteers were getting into position to cheer everyone home. It’s strange to see the finish tunnel empty, but fun to see it start to fill up as the runners all return. Here are the time keepers on high alert, ready for action! You can see the terrific token trio in the back of the shot, primed and ready too. What an awesome team.
There wasn’t long to wait before the first finishers started coming into view. There were some juniors coming in at meteoric speed today. I was on the finish funnel and it was wonderful seeing you all fly through. Still smiling at the end, that’s how it should be. Lots of sprint finishes. Wow.
The token team were kept on their toes today, but nothing they couldn’t handle. Wendy and Carol are brilliant. I think they’ve done this job a fair few times before, they were like a well-oiled machine, very efficient.
It all seemed to happen so quickly. Just over twenty-two minutes later everybody was safely through the funnel. What a lot of fun had been compressed into such a brief period of time!
Firstly, a warm welcome to those juniors who were attending their FIRST EVER parkrun. I’m so happy you have found junior parkrun, though I think you may find your Sundays are never quite the same again. You did brilliantly to turn up and take part, and I hope you enjoyed yourself as much as I did cheering you all round. Especially well done for finding the right start line! There was a 10k happening in Bushy park that was setting up at the same time as the junior parkrun, so if you’d accidentally joined the wrong queue you’d have had to run a very long way indeed, that would have been very impressive, but might not have been quite so much fun! Congratulations to all 37 first timers, yes that’s 37 juniors at their first ever parkrun, wow! We hope you’ll all be back again soon.
Some juniors have been running an awful lot, and today a few of them achieved their half marathon and marathon milestones. That’s a lot of running. In case you didn’t know, junior parkrun club rewards those who have completed a certain number of runs and participation rewards are as follows:
• Half marathon club (11 runs): blue wristband and certificate
• Marathon club (21 runs): green wristband and certificate
• Ultra marathon club (50 runs): orange wristband and certificate
• 100 junior parkruns: certificate only
Ask the Run Director if you think you are eligible for a wrist band – the certificates you can print off yourselves from your parkrun profile once you’ve done the right number of runs.
Today, the half marathon club welcomed 7 new members, and one runner joined the marathon club.
Lots and lots of you ran personal bests. Can you guess how many? You can’t? I’ll tell you, it was 44 of you running at meteoric speeds to smash your times. Well done to you all!
As today was the 104th Bushy junior parkrun, let’s also have a special shout out to Sorrel, who was 104th finisher today. But the main message is, wherever you finished, however you took part, just by being part of the junior parkrun experience you are ALL magnificent. Go you!
You have a wonderful parkrun in a beautiful park. Thank you so much for welcoming me into your friendly and happy parkrun club. I hope one day some of you will be able to come and visit me in Sheffield at Graves Junior parkrun -we don’t have wild deer on our course, but you will get to run through an animal park and maybe see a donkey or a llama as you pass!
Here’s me with some of the other volunteers at the end, wave if you see me out and about at another parkrun someday. That’s me on the left, looking the wrong way – I think I was just dizzy with the excitement of it all.