Event number 205
16th March 2019
This week 316 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 55 were first timers (with 30 taking in their 1st ever parkrun) and 60 recorded new Personal Bests.
Representatives of 30 different clubs took part.
Congratulations to the Harwell Harriers ‘Beginners & Back to Running’ groups who graduated following a 10-week course. We hope to see many of you joining us at Didcot parkrun as you continue your running journeys.
Congratulations to the following parkrunners for reaching a milestone:
• Aileen Spankie - 25 Volunteers
• Susan James - 50 parkruns
• Katie O’Neil - 100 parkruns
• Mattthew O’Neil - 100 parkruns
We look forward to seeing you in your fab parkrun milestone t-shirts soon.
The event was made possible by 22 volunteers:
Caroline CRONIN • Chris MARTIN • Geoff JACKSON • Lewis COUSINS • Alan WOOD • Daniel BLOUNT • Gordon JACKSON • Benjamin PRATT • Nichola POULTON • Andrea FROST • Martin WOOD • Karen SPACKMAN • Diane WOOD • Elliot FROST • Meredith FROST • Theresa WATSON • Charlie POULTON • Aileen SPANKIE • Aaron POULTON • Malcolm PEEL • Carol MILES • Angela SERVICE
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Didcot parkrun Results Page.
The male record is held by Jonathan CORNISH who recorded a time of 15:58 on 15th April 2017 (event number 106).
The female record is held by Izzy FRY who recorded a time of 17:40 on 7th October 2017 (event number 131).
The Age Grade course record is held by Tracey LASAN who recorded 88.29% (21:04) on 7th May 2016 (event number 58).
Didcot parkrun started on 21st February 2015. Since then 4,931 participants have completed 33,984 parkruns covering a total distance of 169,920 km, including 6,235 new Personal Bests. A total of 537 individuals have volunteered 3,908 times
So those are the official stats of the run, but in my opinion it is the people behind the statistics that make the real difference.
After Didcot’s first parkrun of 2019 I was in the clubhouse. I was drinking tea, eating cake, chatting and probably token sorting, when it came up in discussion that Harwell Harriers were running a 10 week “Start to Run and Return Run” course.
As all the Harwell Harriers I know have always been extremely encouraging, I quietly expressed an interest in joining the course, and was told in uncertain terms that I should. After 2 years of having a go at running 5k at parkrun, I had never got past Brind Corner before I walked. I thought just maybe, by joining a group of other “Learners” with coaching from a professional and lots of encouragement, I might be able to do this!
Over the last 10 weeks, there have definitely been more ups than downs, and by recognising my mental barriers, such as never having run a lap of the field, and feeling ok about asking for extra help when I needed it, as I knew I wouldn’t be judged, I arrived at Didcot in time for the volunteers briefing, which for me is an achievement in itself!
Our RD Gordon, was as organised, cheerful and efficient as ever, and as this was my 50th volunteer, I recognised lots of our merry bunch, which included our local legend Geoff, and 25th volunteer Aileen Time-keeping, lots of Harwell Harriers, those who have returned to volunteering after The Slimming World Take Over, The Frost Family who were all ready to tailwalk, and The Poulton family who covered 2 marshal positions and provided delicious home-baked cakes!
As the other volunteers went off to fulfil their roles, parkrunners started to arrive. I always think that those that arrive early have probably travelled a distance, and are First Timers or Tourists, so they receive a special welcome. Soon the other members of my group arrived, and we had a quick group motivation, and had the chance to buddy up with Harwell Harrier who was going to informally pace us to a desired time, and a photo before heading to the first timers briefing for those that had not been before. An enormous group of 55 ran their first Didcot parkrun, it was the first parkrun for 30 of them.
It was a windy morning and Gordon went to the back of the field to deliver his run briefing. Before we knew it we were off.
Others had time targets to aim for and had their pacers with them: this was the feedback from Leanne “A huge HUGE thank you to Steve from HH who motivated me and paced me round the course. I couldn’t of done it in the time I did without his patience, coaching and kindness. He even put up with my demands of ‘slow down’ ‘go ahead of me’ ‘now go behind me, make me feel faster’! What a legend! Thank you for helping me achieve my time, I really didn’t think I had it in me but he (and the rest of the HH gang) helped me believe in myself.” Many of our group achieved their target time, and as they stayed at the finish line to cheer all the other finishers home, our run leaders and pacers simply turned around and went back around the course, to encourage the next runner’s home.
My target for the today was to get around without walking, having run my 4k last week as laid out in the training program, then walked for 5 minutes before running the extra to the finish, I believed I could do this. Carol, accompanied me every step of the way, and just chatted away to me, providing a perfect distraction to any negative thoughts I might have had. The marshals were, as always, fantastic, lots of smiles, applause and encouragement. This was my 25th parkrun and my 50th volunteer, so I had lots of shout outs and cheers around the first 2 laps from passing and overtaking parkrunners who I have got to know over the years. One of the things about learning to run, is that everybody is so positive, it seems they can all remember when they were new to running and how much of a mental battle it can be persuading yourself that you can do it!
Another graduate from the course said “Completing my first ever 5K parkrun meant the world to me, never in my life did I think I could achieve that. The support and love from the Harwell Harriers really helped me along and I couldn’t have done it without them, so proud of myself and my Harwell Harrier family.”
My nemesis, the third lap, can be very lonely, and is without fail my slowest kilometre. This is when I am particularly grateful for the marshals on the field, who maintain their enthusiastic encouragement, no matter how long they have been out in all elements! Starting my 4th k, I knew that I was on the yellow brick road and on the way home. Steve came back and joined Carol in escorting, encouraging and distracting me as did Charlie. With the finish line in sight, they all peeled off and let me have the glory of running towards the finish line where a crowd of my course mates and others were waiting, cheering loudly. As a regular late finisher it was absolutely lovely to have so many friendly faces at the finish, some weeks it is only the volunteers that still remain, I was quite touched to have had such support at the finish.
I’d done it, I run 5k, it wasn’t fast, it wasn’t pretty, but it wasn’t walking!
We then had a group shot with the selfie frame, and headed back to the clubhouse for what turned out to be a fantastic presentation. Poor Emma was a bit shocked to see so many of us back for refreshments, and if we ever have such a big group going back, she coped admirably with the rush. There was a lovely buzz in the clubhouse as presentations, including chocolate 5k medals, certificates, cards and flowers were made. I think there will be some more regular parkrunners following this course.
I am sure other clubs run start to run groups, and I would say that doing this as a group has been invaluable. We have shared our moments of glory, our injuries, and have had the support of more experienced club runners who have always been totally encouraging. If you have thought about joining a running group, don’t be scared, be brave and give it a go, there is so much to gain.
It is also worth saying that over the last 2 years, the people I have met through parkrun have all been supportive, no matter if they are a club member or not. Our local parkrun community should be proud of the support it offers to everybody, not matter what!
I’m not sure what will happen next in my running journey, I have missed some of the volunteer roles, and have noticed a new volunteer role at Didcot that I do not have my challenge badge for, I like the idea of some tourism, but do still get a bit anxious about going to different places, and aiming for a new PB should be achievable……hopefully sooner rather than later!