On a fine sunny Saturday morning a record breaking 168 people decided to turn up to Cranleigh parkrun for their weekly 5km walk, jog or run. I’d like to think we broke the previous attendance record of 163 from New Years Day 2019, as everyone was coming to celebrate Rupert and Mine (Sara’s) milestone runs, but I think it was more than Guildford parkrun was cancelled this week!
It has very much become part of my weekly routine to come down to Bruce McKenzie Memorial Field for 8:45am to join in with this wonderful event, so much so as today marks my 100th parkrun. Not to forget a certain young man who also ran his 50th parkrun today at the age of 7 years old - fantastic achievement Rupert De Vos. Rupert did his first parkrun back in August 2017, and was very consistent for his first 3 runs as his times were; 35:52, 35:53 and 35:52! He has run 49 of his parkruns here at Cranleigh and visited Horsham for his other one. He has gained 9PBs whilst running at Cranleigh, with his latest one being last week, recording a time of 27:57. That is an improvement of 7 minutes and 55 seconds from his first ever time. Brilliant work for a 7 year old!! You will be getting to your 100th, 250th and 500th, before most people get to their 50th at the rate you are going!!! Well done Rupert!
I’d like to welcome the people who were first timers to parkrun today, and they were: Oli NEAL, Lorraine GODDARD, Catriona ELLIS, Kate BELL and John QUINLAN. We hope you all had fun, and that we will see you back here in future weeks. We also clearly had lots of visitors from other parkruns too, as there were 33 people visiting Cranleigh for their first time - we hope you enjoyed our course in its dry condition, and welcome you back soon.
Before I delve into a recount of my parkrun story so far, I want to firstly thank the volunteers, as without them we wouldn’t be fortunate enough to have this weekly event, and they ensure one way or another we all get round in one piece (even if we don’t feel like that by the end!!) So a big round of applause goes to - David ANDREWS, Steve BROWNING, Sara BURGE, Harry CHARLTON, Peter CRUMMETT, Martyn GREAVES, John GREEN, Andrew HARRIS, Jason HURNDALL, Jenny LANSDOWNE, Kate MASON, Chris MASON, Mackie RINGROSE, Bridget SLATER, Abi TRUELOVE and Dan WOOD.
I say to people nowadays that parkrun is addictive, and it certainly can have a positive impact on your life too. It brings you together with new friends and people to help encourage and aspire you in many different ways, even though they might not realise that themselves. I certainly have a few people to thank for having an impact on my achievements throughout my last 100 parkruns. I started parkrun back in August 2016 when there was an ‘I am Team GB’ event happening. I had previously run 5km, but not since having both my children. I decided I could easily still run 5km without a problem (it is funny how your mind tricks you over certain things!!) My plan was to see what the course was like on this particular occasion and to decide whether I could run it pushing my daughter (15 months old) in a running buggy. Having not died at the finish line, I decided it was doable.
On 17th September 2016 I turned up for my first parkrun with my daughter in the buggy. Cue, lots of people looking at me as if I was mad!!! Several people asked me if I had run the course before, and if I knew about the ‘HILL!’ Obviously my answer to both were ‘yes’. I had a chat that day with Julia Finill, and I said to her that I would be more than happy to just complete one lap of the course. She said to me, complete both and then you will get a time, even if you have to walk it. Best bit of advice I was given that day! I completed both laps, and I was only 3 minutes and 1 second slower than when I had completed it my first time without the buggy. I kept coming back each week I could with the buggy, the looks of madness started to change (I’m not sure why, as I think I was very much mad!) I found getting round each week easier, as I was building my fitness back up again. It’s funny, but buggy runners don’t seem to get that mad look when they turn up for the first time now!
In 2017, I set myself some running targets, as I wanted to be able to achieve something now that I was at home with children, rather than being out at work all the time (don’t get me wrong, bringing up children is a great achievement, but a personal achievement was needed). My parkrun goal was to beat that first time I had set without the buggy, but running with the buggy. That day finally came in April 2017 taking off 1minute 50 seconds from my previous PB (30:43) - I was over the moon. As I was so close to a sub 30, I then decided to aim for that. Knowing that my daughter was now 22 months old, and only getting heavier each week, I wanted to get it sooner rather than later.
On a day in July when I woke up feeling totally naff, having had very little sleep, I told a friend in the morning that if I got round in one piece it would be a miracle! I was making my way round the course in a reasonable time, still trying for that sub 30, even though I didn’t think I had it in me to get it. Cue Harry Charlton passing me on the second lap of the diagonal in the zigzag field. As he passed, he said ‘Come on Sara, you’re doing really well’ I told him I was desperate for a sub 30. He said ‘Well I’m going for a sub 30, so stick with me’. Well that is all I needed to hear, and that is what I then attempted to do for the rest of the course. As we started to go down the fence just before the end Harry started to pull away from me, and I couldn’t keep up with him. I looked down at my watch and decided I would get a PB, so I would be happy with that. But then, as I started to come up the fence for the finish line, I realised that the sub 30 was in sight so went for it. I have never felt so pleased to one get across that finish line, and (I apologise for screaming at the timekeepers that day), but finding out that I had done it, and completed by first parkrun with the buggy in a time of 29:47. I was on a total high for the rest of the weekend!!!
Whilst running the 46 parkruns at Cranleigh with the buggy, I have to confess that I always had a bit of help on that HILL the second time around. John Green would see me coming, and always walked half way down the hill to help me up to the top. It was always a very welcome sight and just gave me that little bit of a pick up I needed to keep me going for that final lap. My daughter liked her chats with him too.
I hit my personal 50th run, and my 50th run with the buggy on New Years Day 2018 when I did the double at Guildford and Cranleigh. I decided at this point, having competed 50 parkruns with her in the buggy (now 2.5 years old), and not needing to bring her any more (as it was for childcare purposes why she came, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to run), she could finally stay at home on a Saturday morning!! This also meant, nobody realised who I was now!! Having gained a place for the London Marathon, so I was training for that, and not having a buggy now I was flying!! In 10 events I competed I managed to get 8 PBs! The final PB being my best achievement so far at parkrun.
Being 2018, I had set myself more running targets, one being a sub 25 minute 5km. Now, I really thought this would never happen at parkrun, because of that HILL! However, I went out this week deciding to pace off Lynne Harris, as she is a far more consistent pacer compared to myself, as I always go off too fast, and have everyone over take me on the 2nd lap. I managed to keep up with her for the whole of the first lap, and the majority of the second lap. I felt really good, and could see that I was on for a good time. I dug in deep, and managed to pull off a sprint finish from along the fence around the sharp bend to the finish line. I stopped my watch (no screaming at the time keepers this time!), and realised I had done it - 24:58!! Whilst feeling totally dead, I was absolutely over the moon again. This time I feel will stand as my PB for a while now!!
More recently I have been helping Shane Lucas get round the course, as he has a visual impairment. Now that is some running, putting your trust into someone else to explain what the course is like whilst you are running together, and knowing that they will guide you to one side or the other, to avoid a mole hill, rabbit hole, really uneven ground or any other hazard that may be out there. It’s been great to run with Shane now on several occasions, and help him get one of his more recent PBs, as he managed another one today with Abi Truelove.
It was lovely to see another buggy runner today in Tristan GREAVES, and funny enough he was just behind me. He gave me a great sprint finish to the end. Total respect to you running with the buggy, and the thought that you plan to do it with a double buggy once your little baby is old enough to be in a running buggy is absolutely amazing!! Today, bubba enjoyed a lovely walk round with Mummy, Debbie GREAVES in the sling instead. These kiddies are the future of parkrun.
So, my final thoughts having run 100 parkruns now is; it is totally addictive (I’ve been banned from driving a 6 hour round trip to my nearest parkrun in France for where I go on holiday though), people help you out in the most unknowing ways sometimes and it’s good to say ‘Thank You’ to them, you end up with your own parkrun family, whether it be at your home parkrun meeting new people, or friends that live further away that run parkrun near them that you have something in common with to chat about, and volunteering to help these events happen, makes you feel just as good as gaining that PB, and missing a run once every so often to put on that hi-vis jacket helps everybody out. Also, adults as well as children, like their name mentioned in the run report (Andy Harris and Martyn Greaves do a great job of this on a weekly basis when they do the report), it gives you an extra special feeling.
In a final bid to squeeze some more names into the run report, it is great to congratulate those that have achieved a PB today, and clearly it was great conditions for getting one, as there was a staggering 50 PBs gained today. Well done to the following people: Mark ROWLAND, Paul QUINNELL, Oliver LAMBOLL, Charlie PAYNE, Christina KIRKBY, Stephen DEASLEY, William WALLER, Harry JUPP, Chris CHAPMAN, Diego PEREZ LOPEZ, Thomas WOOD, Oliver BARLOW, Monty NEVE, Tim DOWDALL, Thomas FULLER, Michael WAYNE, Arthur FULLER, Charlie FULLER, Anthony STOVOLD, Brandon ENGSTROM, Nicholas DONOGHUE, Tim FEARN, Amelie STEVENS, Luke MILNER, Hannah FRENCH, Rebecca HOY, Gillian NEAL, James PITCHFORTH, Clare G COX CUNNINGHAM, Mary JONES, Kathryn NEVE, Nicholas BOUND, Susan E SAUNDERS, Steven SIMMONS, Emma WALLIS, Amy WALLER, Sue WILTSHIRE, Ashleigh REED, Alison ROGERS, Anna HARDING, Hamish ELLIS, Lisa QUINLAN, Samantha EDWARDS, Rachael FULLER, Victoria MILNER, Shane LUCAS, John SIMPER, Leanna QUINLAN and Coreena BRINCK. Well done to you all!
We hope you all had fun today, and look forward to seeing you again for another fabulous and free Cranleigh parkrun. #loveparkrun #lovecranleighparkrun #lovevolunteering #milestoneruns #dfyb