2013 at Cambridge parkrun kicked off with the biggest turnout since September, with 379 finishers. The overall parkrun attendance record across all events worldwide was smashed, with an incredible 27782 runners recorded as having finished (not the final figure as there were still some events left to process, but easily enough to overtake the previous largest turnout). Here at Cambridge, we had 48 runners more than the equivalent run last year suggesting that it's going to be another popular year for us. We welcomed 26 first timers- congratulations to all of those who are taking up running as a new year's resolution- I think parkrun is great for helping keep going as you get to run as part of a community so I hope all the first timers felt welcomed into our community.
With such a large field, the first challenge of the morning was getting parked. As regular runners will know, the ticket machine was stolen in December which means for now tickets are being sold manually upon on entry to the park. It helps to speed things up if everyone has the £2 ready so please remember that (along with your barcode if you would like your time recorded...we had 21 unknown runners!) if possible. Thanks as always to David Irwin and his team of car park marshals- new parkrunners may not be aware but this is a very valuable volunteer role that means you can still parkrun after completing - this week David managed to get everyone parked and then be on the start line in time to pace 24 minutes. The whole event is run by volunteers and parkrun asks all regular runners to volunteer three times a year- if you would like to know more about volunteering or are unsure about what each role entails then please either email email@example.com or turn up at the cafe at around 8.30 to chat to that day's volunteers.
Following the run briefing we all set off- the ground was drier than it had been in a while but there were still some puddles and boggy patches, particularly on the first kilometre loop. We quickly settled into our rhythms and the field was well spread out by the time we headed towards 2K. I had rather foolishly assumed that everyone else would also have had an excessively indulgent and lazy Christmas but 41 people had clearly been healthier than me and managed to PB- congratulations to all of them. First runner home was Thomas Stevens who took a massive 33 seconds off his previous time and finished in 16.33. He was followed by Martin Gear (17.26) and Alan Darby (17.28). First woman home was Caroline Pritchard who also smashed her PB by 25 seconds to come in in 19.16. She was followed by Holly Archer (20.22) and Kirsty Guneratne (22.12).
As regular parkrunners will know, parkrun has a number of clubs which runners enter automatically once they have run a certain number of runs. For juniors, the first club is after 10 runs and juniors receive a white 10 t-shirt to wear with pride. This week at Cambridge three juniors ran their tenth run- well done to Frank Roberts, Josh Sambrook and Max Webb. Adults have to wait a little bit longer as the first club for them is after 50 runs, representing almost a year of parkrunning every week. Runners who complete 50 parkruns are rewarded with a red 50 t-shirt and the following new entrants into the 50 club will soon be sporting theirs: Katrina Mitchell-Morgan, Paula Kessler, Richard Panter, David Jenkinson (who celebrated with a new PB of 19.33) and Richard Lyle. Congratulations to all of them. Thanks to parkrun sponsor Adidas for providing the shirts.
This week there was an abundance of photographs available - thanks to Stuart Buamber and Paul Homewood for giving up their time and for uploading their albums onto the Cambridge parkrun Facebook page. Thanks also to Lauren-May Baumber (aged 8) for filming parts of the run. We were also joined by a photographer from the Cambridge News, so some of you appear in the paper today and all of the photos can be found on the Cambridge News website.
After the run this week I didn't stay for my usual post-run tea and cookie but instead headed straight off to Wimpole Estate to help out at the pilot run for the new parkrun. It is an absolutely beautiful course, with wonderful views across the estate from the top of the course. The team have worked really hard to set up another parkrun in Cambridgeshire and I think that it will provide a really nice alternative to Milton (Heidi described it as posher than Cambridge but I reminded her about Milton Country Park's stone lions - on the first lap for anyone who hasn't spotted them!). I will be joining lots of others at their inaugural event next week - I hope we don't overwhelm them but next week might be a good week for PB's at what might be a relatively quiet Milton!