7 years ago Delamere parkrun started, thanks to the hard work of Mark Bowden and Gareth Boyd. See Mark below getting ready to set the 156 runners on their way - were you one of them?
Of course it was a bit different in those days. We were at Barnes Bridge for a start and half the funnel was made of those small markers: funnel duckers were obviously less of a problem then. We still had a taped funnel for scanning but it was only one person wide and only 10 metres long. We had two scanners that day but went to one for the weeks that followed. We also used to go to the Station Cafe, so had a mile or so drive after the run.
3 weeks later we had our lowest ever attendance of 32. We had 8 inches of snow overnight and the runners ploughed a narrow trail around the lake. I imagine the forest would be closed if that happened these days.
It didn't take us long to outgrow Barnes Bridge and you might find it hard to believe that we agonised slightly over the move to the current location. Of course it turned out to be a great move. The course was changed slightly but we still had the lake loop. It meant runners had to pay for the car park but the visitor centre cafe was much more suitable for the increased numbers.
The start has moved around a little in the last 6 years. It used to be at the open area by the volunteers cars. Of course that meant the finish was about half way along the current finish straight. When we moved the start and finish forwards to about the same place, we had many moans about the extended finish straight and how it had made the run much harder!
Delamere has gone from strength to strength over the last 7 years. We’ve broken our attendance record 20 times, though only 3 of those have been in the last 4 years. That’s mainly because for a long time there were no other very local events to absorb the growing popularity of parkrun. More recently Chester, Ellesmere Port, Northwich, Crewe and Runcorn have started up. Our record attendance now stands at 720 – will we ever beat that?
There are many good things about parkrun, but it’s the people that make the event. I’m sure it’s the same everywhere, but wedo have a great bunch of folk turning up every week.
On behalf of the RDs and Core Team, Mark Lightfoot, Dawn Appleton, Andy Martell, Joanna Case and AJ Halford, it’s a pleasure to deliver parkrun for you all each week.
Finally, we had to keep today low key because of the limited parking. We promise to have a proper birthday celebration in the summer when we are better able to cope - so that'll probably be about our 7.4th birthday.