Just a Non- run parkrun, none report! Or, something like that…

Non-parkrun run report no.24 - August 29, 2020

Hello again. Over the past three years, since I started my park running career I have written 6 “official” parkrun reports covering actual events, and this is my second attempt at a ”non-parkrun” run report.

Of course, writing reports for the actual events is fairly easy, cobble together a few facts and figures, throw in an odd humorous anecdote or two and the jobs a good ‘un. Then some people are naturals and manage to write things that are both interesting and amusing with moderate ease.

Not me! Still here I am again with a load of waffle about this years happenings.

Back on February 2nd I wrote for Conkers parkrun #472:

“We woke up this morning to a brave new world. Having had the liberating experience of leaving the EU at 11:00 pm on Friday evening, life will never be the same again – or will it? After all it is Saturday and Saturday is parkrun day.

Has that changed? Thankfully NO”

How wrong could I be? A short 6 weeks later, on 14th March 2020 we ran parkrun #478. This was to be our last parkrun for the last 24 weeks and, possibly for the foreseeable future. On that day in history Jamie Fletcher was the first man home in a time of 17;13, an enviable PB and our first lady was Christina Hawtin in a respectable 20:35. Tracey and David Parchment were our honourable tail walkers, there were 556 participants including many faithful regulars and we had 57 Hi Viz Heroes helping make the whole thing possible.

So suddenly our Saturday stability had gone, the friendship and camaraderie of our regular meet had been taken away. We were “Locked Down”, banned from meeting our friends and fellow runners, barred from the cheers, congratulations and high fives from marshals and other runners / walkers as we achieved what ever we were aiming for on our Saturday morning. Gone was the half hour to an hour post run, sitting in the café rejoicing about a new PB, complaining that the puddles on the Ennstone Way were too big today, planning the team event for the following weekend or a mates meet up to do a mid-week trot round the tracks. and no much awaited “ping” on the phone as the weeks results arrived with details of all the combined efforts of the day.

So what could replace that hole that had appeared in our routines? Well the first answer to come out of that is that nothing will ever replace parkrun for lots of us. We are all hoping and praying that things will improve sufficiently soon and we will be able to restart our joy. We know that behind the scenes the folk at Head Office are working hard on safety protocols to enable us to commence as soon as possible. Our own Core team are working hard looking at rejigging the course to make it more viable when we can restart – I think most of you will, by now, have see the suggestions that are being tested and I know a number have run the “New” course already.

Image may contain: plant, tree, grass, outdoor and nature

If you have tried the new course, you will have passed this point on the way from the canal to the bottom of Cheeky Hill.

In the meantime it was down to a number of individuals to try and generate some motivating activities which we could do in our daily hour of personal exercise to try and get us out there, keep our minds occupied and our bodies a bit fitter, I know that Kev Clark organised some brilliant individual challenges for Swad Joggers, he then put the results of these together to create an air of fun and competition until the lockdown eased enough for small group activities to recommence. Andy Hawtin and the SDRR crew did similar things with virtual relays etc and Overseal also did sterling work in keeping members motivated.

However, for many nothing has replaced that Saturday staple of parkrun, the achievement of completing that 5K to the cheers of other runners congregating round the funnel, the joy of reaching the 50, 100 or 250 run tally and proudly wearing your new commemorative t-shirt a week or two later. Similarly for those who marshal, those who give their time for a variety of reasons, from duty, injury, love of the atmosphere or whatever and receive their purple t-shirt for marshalling 25 events, there is no proper replacement and we all wait with bated breath for news of us being able to restart in whatever format we can. We may have to accept some fairly big changes depending on what initial limits are placed on mass participation events, things like timing and scanning may well have to be done via the app on volunteers own smart phones, again something which will take a fair amount of sorting out before we restart. I am sure, however, that most people will celebrate that day as much as I will and will do everything they can to help make it possible by complying with what ever restrictions we have placed upon us.

In the meantime let’s hope that my assessment of us not restarting in the foreseeable future is as inaccurate as my statement on the 2nd February and that we will be back on the trails soon! To all parkrunners, joggers and walkers I would say please keep up the effort and get out there at least on a Saturday morning , to enjoy the fresh air and exercise that we all value. Many of the regulars are now getting together in small groups with other parkrunning friends and acquaintances to do careful, socially distanced runs, jogs or walks and often ending up having a sociable coffee and chat afterwards and I totally commend those who are doing this, it is helping keep the spirit of parkrun alive and kicking and helping maintain good physical and mental health.

So roll on the “New Normal” allowing our “Old Normal” to return as soon as possible and I will see you all on the start line then!!

Dennis x