One of the most wonderful things about parkrun is that once signed up to parkrun anyone can participate in any parkrun anywhere, including overseas. I love being part of my home parkrun in Finland but it’s loads of fun to visit new parkruns!
It’s always interesting coming from a small parkrun (in my case Tampere in Finland ) to a much bigger one. I’m not used to crowds, or funnels after passing the finish line or needing a whole host of token scanners (using mobile phones) and token sorters, and it was a real pleasure to experience just how well organised Castle Park parkrun was today!
The weather in England is much warmer than in Finland right now though I’m not sure exchanging snow and ice for grass and mud was an ideal swap for me. Mud, in my experience, is much more slippery than compact snow and I was glad to get round both laps without falling today! We were also jolly lucky to avoid storm Ciara today though it arrived -with expected gusto- later.
A HUGE thank you to Castle Park parkrun for extending your hospitality to approximately a hundred parkrun world tourists today (each of whom have run in at least four different countries) ... CONGRATULATIONS for handling a record attendance (515 participants!) beautifully: the funnel worked really well and the team were very well prepared for a run on the tokens and ingeniously used raffle tickets for those who were placed 501-515. WELL DONE!
I’m very mindful that without the local volunteer teams forgoing their own run parkrun, none of us would be able to participate at any parkrun anywhere (no matter how many of us take on support roles - like writing this report) and it was really wonderful that you were able and willing to accommodate such a large crowd of enthusiastic tourists today.
I travelled up from London with some other tourists and on the way back fellow parkrun world tourist Mark crunched some numbers for me:
Today was Castle Park’s largest attendance! 515 of us made it round the course ...including two from Newcastle who arrived late (because of traffic) but who managed to catch up with the tail walker and record a finish time. Phew!
There were 9 real first timers ... Welcome to the parkrun family! I really hope you enjoyed participating today and a parkrun somewhere will see you again next week!
There were 153 participants who ran Castle Park parkrun for the first time altogether; this included both world tourists, family and friends accompanying world tourists and of course some who chanced upon Castle Park this week.
Together we walked, ran or hop, skipped and jumped around the two laps - all at our own pace and in own preferred style! (Mine isn’t fast or elegant but I love having achieved running the whole 5km, every parkrun a personal victory)
I loved it that so many ran with their dog at Castle Park parkrun, (the run brief was accompanied by exciting barking from every possible point near the bandstand - so much so that I overheard one participant renaming the event as BARK RUN,) and I was gobsmacked at the fast finisher who lapped me pushing a child in a buggy! There were several children participating too ... some of whom covered the 5km (3.1 miles) in very good times (always with a well-behaved adult in tow!). It’s really fantastic how parkrun is getting whole families out exercising on a Saturday morning.
Parkrun wouldn’t be parkrun without cake!
I loved that there was a cafe truck at the parkrun (great idea especially for those volunteers who arrive super early to set up the course) and there was plenty of cake today too: special cookies and cupcakes with the world tourist logo and also cake for someone’s 250th parkrun. Thank you. congratulations too to MARK WILDS who ran his 50th parkrun today and gave each of us a chocolate bar. The curly wurly brought back childhood memories for me.
One of the nice things about parkrun is making new friends.
I only started parkrun (in Finland) two years ago when I started running to combat SAD (seasonal depression) and it’s been a life changer! A few parkrunners at the parkrun today had participated in parkrun in Finland (either at my ‘home’ parkrun of Tampere or my ‘backup’ home parkrun of Tokoinranta (Helsinki) and it was a joy to meet them again today ... thanks for coming to say ‘hello’ and reminding me of your names and where/when we met. Several world tourists helped me celebrate my 60th birthday last November with my Bushy pilgrimage ... and I got to see almost all of you again today too. But I also talked to many new parkrunners today and also made a new friend Mary (from Reading) who saved me from getting lost and chose to run the second lap with me so that I got across the finish line in under 40minutes! Go us!
Post parkrun we met in the local pub - not for coffee and cake today - but for a full English breakfast before we all headed home, satisfied and very glad we’d made the effort to get up early and participate today!
This report was prepared by Lorna Koskela from Turku Finland.
(One day we will have a parkrun of our own!)
Some official facts and figures from parkrun
This week 515 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 153 were first timers and 77 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 70 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 39 volunteers:
Commeletia ALLISON • Linda CROOK • Samantha HOOD • Miriam JORNA • Julie WITCHALLS • Mark SHOTTON • Oliver LAST • Matthieu MILITON • Christine IMBERT • Ben PICKFORD • Andy AIREY • Pippa WHITE • Harriet WHITE • Emma HALFORD • Luke SHEPHERD • Sandra RHODES • Stephen RHODES • Francesca PALMER • Gail JAZMIK • Dennis LANCASTER • Colette KERINS • Simon GRIGOR • Jan BISSCHOFF • Scott NUGENT • Julie ROWE • Nina HAIKONEN • Penelope THESEN • Alastair MCTEER • Stuart MCTEER • Rowan MCTEER • Ian HUDSON • Lorna Stella KOSKELA • Carole HUDSON • Sarah SIBLEY • Christina RADUKIC • Alfie MCKENZIE • William THOMPSON • Gavin GARDNER • Peter CHRYSOSTOMOU
You can find the full results and a complete event history can be found on the Castle Park parkrun Results Page.
There are no winners or losers in parkrun but we love to acknowledge first finishers.
The male record is still held by Ian KIMPTON who recorded a time of 15:37 on 7th October 2017 (event number 2).
The female record is held by Annabel GUMMOW who recorded a time of 17:20 on 1st June 2019 (event number 89).
The Age Grade course record is held by Deborah RUSHMAN who recorded 92.16% (19:08) on 30th November 2019 (event number 114).
Castle Park parkrun started on 30th September 2017. Since then 5,612 participants have completed 39,635 parkruns covering a total distance of 198,175 km, including 6,557 new Personal Bests. A total of 641 individuals have volunteered 3,561 times