Finsbury parkrun - Event number 473
13th July 2019
When my wife suggested a weekend in London as part of my “big birthday” celebrations, I knew, aside from seeing Jools Holland and Alison Moyet, there would be a parkrun involved. The question was which one?
She had researched several options and landed on this 2- lap event just 7 stops from Victoria on the tube. parkrun has become a way of life in our household over the last year since our home parkrun in Witney launched. In many ways, from never having done a parkrun before to volunteering and walking and generally being inspired by the people we have met and the huge positive impact it has on local communities. This morning was no exception. It was also no surprise that my wife had also volunteered us as tail-walker and run report writer, because giving back is just as important and participating.
We started out on the benches outside the café where we met fellow tourists while we waited for things to get started. A lovely man called Bill was marshalling the marshals and handing out the hi-viz bibs and caution signs on what was going to be a warm morning. The hi-Viz heroes donned their vests and off they went to their marshal points.
As we know the event cannot take place each week without our hi-viz heroes and this week the event was made possible by 23 volunteers:
Hannah WYLIE • James TAVERNER • Helen WILKES • Patrick LUONG • Rachel BLACKAMORE • Lucy WILLIAMS • David BENNETT • William SUTHERLAND • Duncan MINTY • Rebecca MITCHELL • Katie BELKIN • Ben JONES • Chris SPEIRS • Graham PARKS • Hongbin GU • Fei WANG • Daisy VEITCH • Punam OWENS • Lewis OWENS • Caroline MCGRAW • Lois CASTLE • Lucas MAHER • Eleanor FREW
So to the start which was preceded by RD James who kicked off the event with a first timers and run brief and welcomed tourists from near and far. Far being New Zealand and Barbados and of course Witney among many other tourists joining more local participants.
He explained the course and said there was a hill. The good news was it was short, the bad news, we would have to do it twice. It certainly was an incline of opportunity! Thank you for the heads up James!
The team were not sure what the turnout would be since the event was returning after a short break of 3 weeks. Heading over to the start numbers looked to be above 400 and we were not far off. This week 480 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 95 were first timers and 58 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 35 different clubs took part.
My wife and I headed to the back of the crowd, keeping an eye out for anyone wanting to walk with us. It is always such a privilege to tail-walk at an event. You really get to see the diversity and inclusiveness parkrun brings. From the faster participants who make a point of saying a few encouraging words as they pass to those who are taking a slower pace and shout back a thank you and well done. And as you pass through as tail-walker there is an opportunity to meet your fellow course marshals who kindly point you in the right direction and confirm, yes that is the hill while providing lots of encouragement and applause as you navigate around the course.
And then we were off. It is an incredible and an inspiring sight to see so many people, young and older out in the fresh air doing something positive for themselves and their community.
Each week there are many magic moments. This week was no exception. There was 9- year old Tegan trying out her first parkrun; Yasmin who was completing her 98th event; Denise who was returning from ill health and Anne from Barbados who literally radiated sunshine! I am sure everyone who joined a parkrun experienced some sort of magic moment – it is the power of parkrun no matter what your reason for coming out each week.
So, as we approached the finish line, that was a wrap for another week. We really enjoyed being tourists for a week. Finsbury Park has a wonderful event and it was a real pleasure to meet the team and experience your 2 laps, including the hill
We hope to see you again (perhaps in Witney parkrun) and in the meantime, thank you for having us. #loveparkrun
Lewis (and the wife, Punam)
And a final note from the Editor:
We also had a group from the Bank of England join us this week. Andrew Harley informed us:
"We managed to get 17 of us and 3 family members to the start line. 18 were first timers at Finsbury Park and 11 were first timers to parkrun. Everyone enjoyed themselves and there was lots of talk about when the next one would be!"