This week we have contributions from two writers for you:
On my 200th run, I dedicate it to the memory of Bernard Parke - by Nicky Hack
6 years ago myself and Jane Rostant had the pleasure of meeting Bernard Parke. It was always an absolute joy when he was on the volunteer rota. You knew you had a great volunteer, you knew you would laugh and you would always get a hug. Bernard was our friend, the conversations we would have in the cafe after the morning run were wonderful. Jane and Bernard put the world to rights, but always with a laugh. Bernard would always ask after my family, he was a kind, lovely man. He volunteered 58 times at Guildford, he said he'd be down today for my 200th run. Sadly, you couldn't make it today Bernard, but you were with me for the 33:14 minutes it took myself and Jane to run, and we both remembered the wonderful man that we are proud to call our friend. Bernard Parke, you'll be missed but never forgotten.
A visitor's view - by Eileen Fitzgerald
G is for Guildford…and gorgeous…
You know how winter goes on and on and on and on and then suddenly, it's spring… that’s how I felt this morning running my letter G in my alphabet challenge in Guildford, quite simply, it was gorgeous! With faith in my sat-nav, I arrived at a car park that didn’t typically look like a parkrun car park, (that is, there wasn’t loads of the usual parkrun runner types) so I was wondering if I was in the right place. A lady that had parked up next to me was putting on trainers, so I asked her. Fortunately, I was and so together we made our way to the parkrun start. It turned out that I had parked very close to the after run café car park (which was given amazing reviews on their home-made goodies and welcoming staff).
I made my way over to the very friendly parkrun RD Alastair HESLOP who greeted me warmly and I instantly felt welcomed. I then joined a huge crowd of 1st timers and newcomers. There were 52 people running Guildford for the 1st time today, 38 of which, it was their first ever parkrun! That number I think is amazing, as to me, it means in Guildford alone today, 38 people’s lives were changed for the better as they have started their parkrun journeys. Their Saturdays may never be the same, making new friends and being in the most fantastic fellowship of friendly and supporting runners. I also bumped into a lady that I had met only a couple of weeks before at Rushmoor, (hello again Charlotte).
At the main brief, I was thrilled that all of the volunteers were given a round of applause, the whole list of today’s volunteers was read out, I’ve never seen that done before but knowing that the event could not happen without those guys, I think it’s a great idea and each person deserved their hi-vis hero recognition. Milestones were congratulated, today Guildford had two runners running their 50th Claire CHAPPELL and Daniel ORBELL (who also smashed his PB!) A couple of unofficial milestones, Nicky HACK and Bronwyn MAYO ran their 200th today (incidentally Bronwyn was the lovely lady that looked after me when I had arrived in the faraway carpark). There were no 100 milestones this week but Monica-Gabriela TUDOR ran her 99th and Jonathan PAGDIN ran his 249th parkrun today, so it looks like I picked the wrong week for Guildford as next week sounds like cake week!
Off to the start for two anti-clockwise laps of Stoke Park. The first undulating straight took us past a fitness trail, then past Stoke Park gardens which were bordered by spring blooming hedges, then towards some very scenic rolling hills of English countryside. We ran past a meadow of very pretty, very sweet-smelling flowers, then it’s along an undulating foot/cycle path, past daffodils and trees beginning to bud in vernal bloom, through the middle of the park then along the side of the undulating footpath next to the road before rejoining the park to run a second undulating lap. (Have I used the word undulating too much? Hahaha.) The grass parts were not too muddy, and the paths were wide enough for dogs and buggies. The marshals were extremely encouraging, and running into the funnel at the end, the faster parkrunners were especially supportive, clapping everyone as they finished.
The whole event was extremely well organised, plenty of cones for directional use, the finish funnel was long so there was no congestion and I especially liked the barcode scanners who each had a table with numbered boxes which meant the token sorters' jobs were made easier. Never knowing what to expect I was delighted with such a lovely parkrun. Thank you to all involved.