Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped-turned upside down and I'd like to take a minute just sit right there, I'll tell you how I we have a parkrun called Hatfield Forest.
In west Braintree born and raised on the playground was where I spent most of my days chillin' out maxin' relaxin' all cool and all shooting some b-ball outside of the school. When a couple of guys who were up to no good started making setting up parkrun events in my neighborhood. I got in one little social media exchange and my mom got scared she said, "You're movin' with your auntie and uncle in Hatfield Forest."
I begged and pleaded with her day after day, but she packed my suitcase and sent me on my way she gave me a kiss and then she gave me my ticket. I put my Walkman on and said, "I might as well kick it."
First class, yo, this is bad, drinking orange juice out of a champagne glass. Is this what the people of Hatfield Forest living like? Hmm, this might be alright.
But wait I hear they're prissy, bourgeois, all that Is this the type of place that they just send this cool cat? I don't think so, I'll see when I get there I hope they're prepared for the Event Director of Hatfield Forest parkrun
Well, the plane landed and when I came out there was a dude who looked like a cop standing there with my name out, I ain't trying to get arrested yet, I just got here I sprang with the quickness like lightning, disappeared
I whistled for a cab and when it came near The license plate said "Fresh" and it had dice in the mirror if anything I could say that this cab was rare, but I thought, "Nah, forget it." – "Yo, home to Hatfield Forest."
I pulled up to the forest about 7 or 8 And I yelled to the cabbie, "Yo home smell ya later." I looked at the forest, I was finally there to stand on my mini step ladder as the Event Director of Hatfield Forest parkrun
The Surprise Party
So, now that you know how Hatfield Forest parkrun started, let's talk about how we ended up celebrating the birthday event in a different fashion to last year. Regular visitors to our event will know that over the winter, parking places are at a premium in the forest & that most weeks, we have 6 volunteers helping to get you all parked & stretch the capacity of the car parks to far in excess what they are advertised to support.
Even with the innovation of our volunteers when they do this, every week during the winter, we are close to capacity for the NT's parking & an increase of runners (like we saw on Christmas Eve) can cause issues locally as cars get left in little hamlets surrounding the forest, or people take a risk with the double yellows on the approach to the forest.
Given all of that, how do we properly celebrate the birthday of the event? Last year our numbers were lower, we advertised a birthday event & saw 100 more people join us on the day, a 76% increase. That was just about manageable. This winter we are regularly averaging around 220 runners. If we repeated the trick from last year, that would see potentially over 350 runners at the forest, a number that just wouldn't work with the limited capacity of parking.
Hence the surprise party idea being formed. We went near to silent on social media for the past couple of weeks & operated with a level of purposeful disinformation. Birthday? No, not us, you must mean another parkrun, never heard of a parkrun here.
Party hats were ordered, blowers ordered, then the creative cogs in the core team started to whirr a bit more. What it we made it more of a party & had some party games? Why not place them at the marshal points?
And this is why we ended up providing a slightly different parkrun experience on Saturday. We wanted to acknowledge the anniversary of the event, but also keep it relatively low key. Thank you to everyone who embraced the silliness & wore a hat, blew their blower throughout my briefing, or found themselves being rather competitive at musical chairs, we're glad it turned into what we had intended when planning, a fun celebration of the event.
244 runners enjoyed some nice spring like conditions to complete the parkrun on Saturday. Amongst the finishers, 25 people were experiencing the forest for the first time & 38 of you ran a personal best time.
Our first finishers:
The full set of results can be accessed here
Isobel Lamb joined the Junior 10 club. Penny Izienicki, who departs us soon for Wales joined the 50 run club, alongside core team member Steve Saunders, who celebrated this achievement by running his first half marathon a day later in Brentwood.
Your parkrun only thrives because of the volunteers who give up some of their time on a Saturday morning & throughout the week. If you're yet to try your hand at volunteering, please consider helping us on a forthcoming parkrunday. We have many roles that can still be combined with running, meaning you can earn volunteering credit alongside your run. These roles are: Barcode Scanning (for sub 22 minute runners), Tail Runner, Token Sorting, Pre Event Setup, Post Event Close Down, Car Parking, New Runners Briefing.
If you can volunteer for this Saturday or future weeks, please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
A big thank you to:
Adam SHORTLAND • Alan BROUGHTON • Alec LODGE • Amanda BAVIN • Andrea EDWARDS • Archie LAMB • Ben PICKFORD • Ben SHINNICK • Callum HUDSON • Chris HOLT • Claire CADZOW • David MCMILLAN • Ellen BROOKS • Emmy PICKFORD • Francesca PALMER • George LYNCH • Georgia HAMMOND • Grace CADZOW • Harry MCMILLAN • Heather DAY • Holly HUDSON • Jim LEANEY • Joseph WOODS • Karen LAMB • Kate PITTS • Keith PHILLIPS • Leah KRISHNARAYAN • Maia FISHPOOL • Mark LAWRENCE • Patricia POOLE • Philip CHAPLIN • Poppy ANDERSON • Rachael ANDERSON • Rosemary NUGENT • Sally HOUSE • Scott CADZOW • Scott NUGENT • Steve SAUNDERS • Sue FISHPOOL • Susan ANDERSON • Thomas PICKFORD • Thomas WILTON • Woody HUDSON
Remember! Please check our Facebook or Twitter feeds for any last minute changes.
Hatfield Forest parkrun core team:
Run Directors; Chris, Steve, Jason, Mark, Susan, Georgia, David & Rachael
Volunteer Coordinators; Ellen, Luke, Oliver, Grace, Christopher, Michelle, Francesca & Darren