Event #210, Saturday 18/01/20 – Richard Aquilina

Photo of Richard Aquilina and friend Martyn at Gloucester North parkrun

Richard on the left and Martyn on the right

I arrived at Gloucester North parkrun with my friend Martyn, a tourist from Ashton Court. He was here to collect a North in his compass challenge. I’d been here twice before but never on this course. I looked across and saw many houses on the site of the former Gloucester Academy. I’d previously had a great experience at Gloucester North parkrun, running two variations of the zombie apocalypse course. I wondered what today’s experience would bring?

We had found the car park with ease and were pleased to see other participants. They’d informed us they were volunteering as tail walkers so we knew we weren’t late! We followed them towards the twin parkrun flags. Although a cold morning. the skies were clear, the sun beamed down and there was no wind. We were greeted by a friendly core team and eagerly awaited the first timers’ briefing. We met a lady from Bath Skyline parkrun who was here on her way home after a visit to the theatre in Birmingham the night before, a man from Didcot parkrun who was on his way to orienteering in the Forest of Dean and others from Arrow Valley and Tewkesbury parkruns.

Just before 9am, Kerri, our Run Director donned her fitness instructor wireless headset. I initially thought she was about to start a warm-up but quickly remembered this wasn’t a junior event! Through a superb PA system she gave us the briefing. We were advised that today we’d be on the alternative course due to muddy parts of the field. The advantage of this route was that the lap involved us passing the participants in opposite directions. I always enjoy cheering on those who are quicker and slower than me! We had three laps to complete before heading down the short funnel. We also celebrated the 24th birthday of Benjamin Raymond George Custard.

At 9am we were off. The frozen grass was beginning to thaw but not enough to get your trainers wet. With the clear sky and sun on your face it really was beautiful conditions.

The event was only possible because of the volunteers who cheered us as we made our way around the three laps. Special thanks to Angela Burrows who today volunteered for her 25th separate day. Please wear your purple t-shirt with pride! The other 28 Hi-Vis heroes were:

Alice Compton • Andrew Cook • Caroline Marshall • Craig Jinks • Daisy Stark • David Howells • Deborah Southgate • Eden Howells • Emily Marshall • George White • Helen Jones • James Marshall • Jane Wood • John O'Leary • Julie Fortescue-Phillips • Kerri Green • Louise Annis • Maggie Boyd • Martyn Wood • Mary Bruton • Neil Ross • Neil Taylor • Paul Humphris • Paula Cumming • Rachel Pearce • Rebecca Fortescue-Phillips • Richard Aquilina • Sarah Dhillon

We had 131 people running, jogging and walking the course. 20 were first timers (four brand new to parkrun – welcome!) and 21 recorded personal best (PB) times. Representatives of 21 different clubs took part. Particular congratulations must go to Keira Barry who joined the 50 club with a PB!

Seven of you didn't have a barcode. Perhaps you forgot it or have yet to register? #DFYB

Those of us at the finish funnel cheered our lovely tail walkers across the line with less than an hour gone. The kit was quickly packed away and you’d never had known parkrun had been there. As tourists the core team made us feel very welcome and Martyn and I joined them in the café. I sorted the tokens over a cup of tea and a slice of Ben’s birthday cake. Well done to all of you who returned your token. A full set is ready for next week’s event.

I enjoyed this visit to Gloucester North parkrun. Every visit I’ve made has been on a different course. I wonder if it will have changed again the next time I visit?

Richard Aquilina, Little Stoke