Lucy Marris has been kind enough to write this weeks run report.
Well Goole was Well Cool, Celebrating Seven Glorious Years in West park event #264
Birthday brilliance at Goole parkrun:
Well Goole was well cool as it celebrated its seventh birthday in West park.
Seven is a pretty cool number too. After all, there are: seven classical planets (go on, try to name them) and the derivative seven heavens; seven wonders of the ancient world; seven metals of antiquity; seven days in the week; seven seas; seven sages (some for sale in the cottage garden community nursery in West park); seven champions that fought Thebes; and now, best of the lot, seven years of Goole parkrun! I know, amazing. A wonder indeed. Goole delivered a classic parkrun, with champion volunteers ensuring everyone who was there today was indeed in seventh heaven. Hurrah, and Happy Birthday. Thank you from this tourist for welcoming me to your celebratory parkrun. It was my first visit to Goole parkrun so it’s fun to capture my impressions for this guest run report. I don’t do concise though, so you might want a precautionary pee and to make yourself a cup of tea before you settle down for a read. Reading is not compulsory however, so if you prefer the abridged version, it’s basically ‘Goole parkrun is fab and also now seven years old. There was bunting. ’ So that’s sorted for you. You’re welcome.
Why Goole parkrun:
Well, for those of you lucky enough to have Goole as your home parkrun you know what it delivers, but I’m from Sheffield, and to be honest, Goole hadn’t previously particularly been on my radar until just last week. I know, my bad. However, last year I was really poorly and now have some mobility issues and have to walk with two sticks, so my parkrun choices are driven by different criteria than before. I used to seek out trail runs and single laps routes whereas now predictable tarmac terrain that stops me falling over and multi-lap parkrun courses that mean I can abort mid-way if needed are my friends. I’ve only recently started back at parkrun so this was to be my first tourist foray since February 2020! Over two years, no wonder I was so excited to be venturing out. I knew I’d be really slow, so I got in touch with the event in advance to check that it wouldn’t just be me and the tumble weed left alone in the wild West park as night fell. No worries, I got a lovely welcoming message from the event team, reassuring me there would indeed be a tail walker, not just one, but many. Enough potentially to carry me round if needed by the sound of things. Excellent. It was going to be fine. Just the usual pre tourism angst to concern myself with. Specifically, about over-sleeping and so missing the start, since it would be a longish drive to get there, but in another ‘win’, my insomnia took the precaution of waking me at hourly intervals throughout the night to ensure that was never going to happen. I was awake and blinking at the clock from 4.00 a.m. but all good. There was a minor hiccup when I used toothpaste instead of moisturiser first thing, but I recovered from that in time to set off and had a remarkably stress free drive to Goole. The directions on the Goole parkrun website are excellent, the postcode got me to exactly where I needed to be. However, I will concede that on arrival I was confused by arriving at what seemed to be a housing estate. Well, it is a housing estate, but it is also the right place from which to enter the park. I was insanely early, but in my world, that’s reassuring. It was excellent to find free parking, and joyful to hear shouty birds. I haven’t heard that many starlings and sparrows gathered together like that in years, for me it was a novelty. Bet there are fab murmurings of starlings at dusk, but for now they were murmuring only in anticipatory excitement for parkrun. The flying display came later I’m sure.
I sat self-consciously in the car, waiting for the loos to open. Another win, fab toilets, right next to the start and the carpark, were open from 8.30. As I was waiting, the RD appeared in purple tee with his able junior assistant pretty in pink. They gave a cheerful wave of welcome and then set off to lay cones and put up finish funnels and do all the course checking, course set uppery and all manner of other such busy and important tasks. One thing that really struck me about this parkrun is what a tight team it is. There seemed to be a relatively small number of volunteers, with many doing multiple roles. It all went like clockwork though, a well-oiled machine.
What is really excellent about this parkrun, well one of the many things that is really excellent, is how compact it all is. The carpark, start, finish, loos and café are all really close to each other, no aimlessly wandering around trying to find everyone or wondering if you are in the right place. Quality facilities too. The park is gorgeous, mixing quite coiffured grass with wildflower/rough grass sections, more formal planting, tree lined avenues and even a bandstand surrounded by rose beds. You don’t get much classier than that. There’s a large playground, lots to see and do.
Once others started to assemble, I ventured out. I went to say hello and the team were lovely! Of course they were, all parkrun teams are, but this team was extra lovely. Run Director Ben LONGSDEN had remembered I’d been in touch to warn them I was coming and would be slooooooooooow and reassuring about me not being required to sprint round at any point. He was also up for me being a last minute volunteer to do a run report. Hurrah. I know another tourist, Colin EARL also stepped up to volunteer to scan after he’d finished running, and again was warmly welcomed. It seems the more the merrier ethos applies to volunteering at this parkrun, which is always really nice. This parkrun team had a fabulous inclusive vibe. I got the impression of a genuinely community parkrun that is part of the local community, people knew each other, there were many regulars, but newbies were made to feel part of the event too. This is quite something, easy to recognise but hard to reproduce.
I was impressed by the attention to detail. A table adorned with birthday bunting groaned under the weight of a multitude of trays stacked with lovingly sliced fresh fruit. I choose to believe that this is there every week, it actually isn’t of course, but the café is, so options in all seasons. No need to go cold or hungry here, even the loos were roasty toasty! The RD was busy taping more bunting on the pop-up banner and parkrun flag. I thought at first this was some sort of emergency duct tape deployment for repairing a rip but in fact it was all about getting the birthday message flagged up literally as well as figuratively with careful application of themed decorations. Like I said, details.
People gathered as if from nowhere in the way they do. Pleasingly, I espied some parkrunners I knew from volunteering together at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park junior parkrun over in Sheffield. Well, more accurately, they espied me. Greetings were exchanged, photos were taken. Hello to mother and daughter Janet CRAIG and Fiona EARL, both sporting red milestone tees, one for 50 venues, though Fiona has actually now completed an astonishing 94 different events of her 288 parkruns in total. That 100th different venue is within reach.
It's always lovely seeing people arrive, some in running club tees. There were 23 different running clubs represented today. It’s astonishing really. These included two lonely goats; two first timers representing Chapel Allerton Runners; two fitmums and friends, one of whom got a pb, yay for Sarah DAWSON; two from Window Options Running Club (I can’t work out if that’s a glazier firm or a swipe at apple technology) and various others from clubs in York, Beverley, Doncaster all sorts really. The local club I take to be Goole Viking Striders as they had 24 out and about today. That’s practically a horde. Not gonna lie, I was a bit disappointed they didn’t all take part in full Viking regalia, or at least in Viking helmets. I don’t care if that’s no longer considered historically accurate, I’d be happy if they went with the whole shields, boots, fur, swords and longboat shebang to be honest, as long as they went with faux fur and stayed away from any pillaging. Pillaging is not the parkrun way. Definitely. Generally, it’s important to respect the right of parkrunners to participate in their own way, but you do need a few ground rules to keep everyone safe, including other park users.
I did a bit of self-conscious mingling - it’s hard to nonchalantly stroll about when you are in possession of two walking sticks and a parkrun themed bear as an emotional support animal. However, I did meet the lovely Baker family. They’d come along from their home parkrun of Normandy Hall to join the seventh birthday celebrations at Goole, and had dressed for the occasion in fine purple milestone tees. Hello to Laura, Milla, Owynn and Addien. Don’t they look fabulous? Rhetorical question, yes, they do!
Milestones magnificently met by:
On the subject of milestones, there were a few people who joined new parkrun clubs today. Massive round of applause to …. Drum roll …
Dina WESTERMAN nabbed her 25th volunteering slot, so no doubt soon to be seen fetchingly adorned in the purple tee. Milestone runners out and about on the course today were Joanne Higgins (50) and Matthew Clarke and Jason Byard (100).
Stats and facts:
After a bit, all were gathered together and Ben gave a fitting welcome to the gathered parkrunners. He went through the stats and facts over the years. Pointing out that since Goole parkrun started way back in the mists of time - when zoomies just meant your cat was having a frenetic midnight run around and corona was a type of beer back on 30th May 2015 - the calculated distance run would be four times round the world apparently, that’s amazing! Volunteers were thanked as well as the staff at West Park Community cafe and the hardworking council staff who make the park available and beautiful week after week. It was a fitting introduction to the birthday parkrun. Then timers ready? Yes, Julian and Jayne PATRICK were on it! And with that, all were off, some faster than others.
I tucked myself in at the back.
The course was a bit mysterious to me. It’s described as two and a half laps, but I couldn’t entirely work out where we were heading. Fortunately, one boon of being at the back is you don’t have to worry about navigation. There was a healthy gang of tail walkers bringing up the rear and sooooooooo many marshals. I was super impressed by all of them. Unfailingly they all clapped and cheered with genuine warmth and enthusiasm. Their directional pointing was second to none and if I may be so bold as to say so, they seemed an exceptionally photogenic as well as supportive bunch. Rocking the high vis. Thank you all. It’s lovely when marshals interact with parkrunners, and impressive that they seemed to keep up their motivational vocals for the whole duration of the parkrun, and I took personal pride in ensuring that was quite a long time!
Thanks to the 19 volunteers who made the event possible, loving your work:
Tony DOWNING • Rich BRAMHAM • Edwina GAUNT • Colin EARL • Jayne PATRICK • Ben LONGSDEN • Lucy MARRIS • Victoria YATES • Julian PATRICK • Carol SHILLINGS • Andrea WILSON • William BROWNE • Bob COATES • Dina WESTERMAN • Andy SMITH • Andy SHAW • Jason BYARD • Rebecca TOYNE • Daniel OSHEA
The route was a real surprise, in a good way. I hadn’t appreciated from the course map how much you’d get to see the other runners when on the parkrun. At first, the speedier parkrunners seemed to stream off into the distance, but then you see them en masse looping back round, you get lapped (quite a lot if you are me at the back) and you also pass each other at various junctions around the route. It was lovely, very companionable. It made it feel quite social, and I even saw some of the people I’d been chatting to at the start several times en route, so even if you are completing parkrun at very different speeds, you still get to see each other. Nice.
The park is gorgeous, mature planted avenues gave shaded paths, but there was plenty of room for overtaking. The terrain was pretty flat and even. However, again the attention to detail here was epic, wherever there was a tree root reaching onto the path, cones were strategically placed to alert runners, in one spot in a blue and yellow combo as if in solidarity with Ukraine. This is a parkrun where you feel really looked after.
There were surprises too. A burnt out skip surrounded by railings as if it was a rare treasure. Perhaps it was periodically filled with water and used for the re-enactment of Viking funerals? The tail walkers seemed a little evasive about its purpose to be honest. I think therefore it’s probably for disposing of any funnel duckers, though I can’t imagine that being too much of a problem as the finish funnel was as bijou and perfectly formed as all other aspects of the parkrun gathering. There was also the most amazing playground, complete with a miniature bandstand that I thought at first someone had graffitied with the parkrun logo (oh horror) but in fact it was erm, let’s go with, ‘a pictorial representation of the male form’, easy mistake on my part, anyone could have thought the same. Lucky I went back to check.
So it was I joined the 163 other participants who ran, jogged and walked the course. Twenty-three were like me first timers and 22 (unlike me) recorded new Personal Bests. They must have had an extra spring in their step anticipating that no sooner had they burst through the funnel than they would be in reach of the fruit for finishers goodies. This meant that by the end of today 4,526 participants have completed 32,573 parkruns at Goole parkrun, covering a total distance of 162,865 km, including 5,127 new Personal Bests. A total of 496 individuals have volunteered 4,326 times. A.Maz.Ing.
Some random shout outs from this auspicious day:
⦁ In position 7 Robbie MONTGOMERY
⦁ Completing their seventh parkrun Ciara CLARKE with a shiny new pb
⦁ Seventh female finisher Anna SHARP
⦁ With finish times ending in the number seven Colin BYARD; Sian AUSTIN; Robert CALDWELL; Katarzyna SZALECKA; Clare SHARP; David FOX; Tom BRAMHAM; Janet SOWDEN; Emma THOMAS; Gill WOODALL; Emma KROUSTI; Stephen GARTON; Katherine DUNKERLEY (who also has my favourite surname of the day); Claire WELFORD; Helen EASTWOOD and Ruth BRIGGS
And the biggest of all shout outs to the trio who joined the parkrun family for the first time EVER. How wonderful, what a great parkrun to choose. Welcome! Your Saturdays may never be the same again, and your lives will be the richer for it!
*** Neil JESSOP *** Robert POPA *** Lee MATTHEWS ***
I may not have finished entirely with a flourish, but even so it was definitely to an enthusiastic welcome from the team at the finish funnel, who were all smiles and whoops and cheers. I felt like I’d won! Well, there was no-one ahead of me, and in a way I had won, because everyone is a winner at parkrun, and in a way I hadn’t won, because as we all know, parkrun is a run not a race, but whatever, the feel good endorphins flowed freely. It was grand.
The sun was shining, so time for some parkfaffing with my new besties from the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park junior parkrun team. We have waved at one another many a time, but never actually sat and post parkrun quaffed coffee. It was lovely. The café was excellent, lots of treats and even doggy ice cream apparently, though I didn’t try it myself so I’m not sure what flavours they had. Tripe and fox poo probably. There was even a charity garden centre adjacent to the café and the loos were immaculate. You are winning at parkrun life if this is your home parkrun. What a lovely birthday celebration, I’m afraid all the Platinum Jubilee partying next weekend is going to be something of an anti-climax now, oh well, small price to pay to have parkrun in our lives eh?
In conclusion then, Goole parkrun delivered a fabulous, friendly and festive event. Thank you so much for welcoming me to your celebrations. It was a joy, what a great venue, and what a fantastic team, it felt chilled, it felt happy, it was a real feelgood experience. You are all parkrun heroes for making it so.
Lucy Marris A448776
Oh, and thanks for staying with me right to the end!