"The memories will be so thick you'll need to swat them away like flies"
Terence Mann was talking about a magical baseball field in Iowa, but for us it applied to Graves Park. The Steel City on the Sheaf, The dirty old lady in the green frame, the City of Seven Hills.
Visiting Sheffield is always a special experience for us. We met as students at the University in the mid 80s. I played many hours of football at Norton playing fields and happily recall catching the Number 2 bus back to Crookes. Kathy's fathers family were Sheffielders for generations scattered over Hunters Bar, Gleadless, Manor Park and Millhouses.
Every moment in this wonderful city sparks a smile or a story.
Graves holds one very special memory for us. Back in 1987 after Live Aid had alerted the world to famine in Africa the challenge was to "Run The World" and 5k runs happened all over the globe. We ran at the Graves Park event. It was the first mass participation run I'd ever done. A lot of cotton t-shirts, tight shorts and plimsolls were on display that day. Like so many things running fashion has changed a lot.
And now in October 2021 we arrive at Graves and the very first of the new breed of parkrun milestone t-Shirts were on display. In addition to the shirts that relate to the milestone runs you can now get milestone volunteer shirts. At least two "100 Volunteers" were on display. Its a lovely development that reflects just how important the volunteers are in making the parkrun magic happen.
As I'd expect from Sheffield the Graves Volunteers were wonderfully friendly and welcoming. Special thanks to RD Catherine and Stephen who greeted us on arrival and also to the cheerful marshal at the top of that very steep incline behind the cafe. We all needed a boost of enthusiasm at that point.
Your volunteers were:
Janet CHAPMAN • Jo ECCLES • Catherine NEEDHAM • Elizabeth RIMMER • Gavin NEWHOUSE • Andrew CALLAGHAN • Marion MCCABE • Jack COLLIER • Sally WARD • Jill MARSTON-GIROUX • Stephen GILMER • Sarah SANDERSON • Michael JONES • Ruth HOFFMAN • Julie ARMSTRONG • Sally RHODES • Shaun TURNELL • Lindsey DEIGNAN • Martin HOFFMAN • Dawn GRAYSON • Tessa BAINBRIDGE
Graves is such a beautiful park. The three word summary is probably "Hills and Llamas" but it’s so much more than that. Our new home course at Salisbury is as flat as a pancake but for 8 years our parkrun home was Alice Holt in Surrey. That's like Graves - beautiful but very hilly.
Many people don't care for running hilly courses but I always think they make for the most interesting events.
Although as I grunted my way up the final uphill at Graves the word 'interesting' wasn't in the front of my mind
166 of us completed the event, of whom a massive 28 were first time parkrunners.
Hey first-timers, don't be put off by the hills, come back and EMBRACE them!
Evidence that the hills can be tamed is that 26 people recorded Personal Best times.
To top of the morning off we dived into spectacular bacon sandwiches and a discussion about whether in Sheffield they are "a batch" or "a bap" or a" barm" - Answers on a postcard as they say.
Such a wonderful morning. Thank to all the runners and volunteers for such a lovely event and thanks once again to Sheffield - the most under-rated city in Britain - as we inserted yet another wonderful episode into our packed Steel City memory bank.
Visiting from Salisbury but running in an 'Alice Holt' running shirt.