Thank you to Pippa White from Stratford upon Avon Juniors / Queen Elizabeth parkrun for this weeks run report (our first in quite a while!) for Henley-on-Thames parkrun #150 (23/10/2021).
In early 2018, I joined with other runners and parkrunners in Tooting, London, where a Run Talk Run group was being set up on a Monday evening. Intended as a social run and a safe space to talk about anything, including mental health problems, we developed super friendships and the group grew. However, Tooting is a very mobile area and this week, three of us met up at parkrun for the first time post lockdown with two of us having moved considerably.
It was an early start and while the clocks are still in BST, the mornings feel so very dark. My touring companion was in charge of directions and we arrived nice and promptly at 0800. Shortly after, we found Phil STUBBINGTON completing the on the day course check so we traipsed in, talking parkrun, to the playing fields. Looking up I noted the hill – for Phil to be very cheerful and tell me that the real hill was much steeper. Given Phil was so very cheerful (it couldn’t be that bad, surely) we helped move stuff from the shed, found our friends, chatted more, forgot to warm up, stowed our bags on the groundsheet – all the lovely parkrun morning rituals.
First timer brief – tick, run director brief – tick, timers? 3-2-1 go. And off we went along nice flat playing fields, over the small concrete lip and up. Oh my. Kudos to the regulars as that IS quite a hill – and a tree root lined descent – and it’s still quite a hill on the second lap. Puffing and gasping at the memory, I can be clear that this is not a run for those with buggies or dogs as paths are narrow and have hedges, barbed wire and in places the path has been washed out. I was pleased to be wearing trail shoes.
A final gasp in and recovery with milestone cake. This is a run for the fitter, less for the nervous first time walker, with a wonderfully friendly team. Post parkrun chats with Simon LUNN and I discover that one of the proposals for the course was to do the hill 3 times – thanks Simon, that made me feel relieved.
To the results.
For starters, it’s parkrun 150 for Henley-on-Thames – a nice round figure. Given that this is a pocket sized parkrun there was no runner 150 or a runner on 150 parkruns, but there was runner 15 Lisa WEBSTER and a runner 50 Katherine CLEMO – totally arbitrary well done to you both.
Welcome to their first ever parkrun to Peter FENNELLY, Phil ASHTON and Rebecca O'CONNELL. May this be the start of an enjoyable Saturday routine. Well done to milestone runners: for the first time since they’ve been available for me to comment on, congratulations to Carla MINTER on 25runs. More conventionally, Sarah JOYCE completed 100 and provided very toothsome cake: thankyou.
There were 26 people running this course for the first time ever, and 9 PBs. That means that 35 people walked, jogged or ran faster around this course on a parkrunday than before – which is over half of the field of 69: a brilliant result.
Topping the age grade today was female first finisher Tracey HAYES with an excellent 72.38% on a difficult course. First male finisher Peter WOOLDRIDGE following with a 69.66%. Both are a little away from the age grade course record of 84.45% but that just leaves space for a new achievement next week.
Furthest tourist was Miguel OLIVEIRA from South Africa – a good reminder to us all that a barcode is a passport to parkrunning around the world.
Full results at https://www.parkrun.org.uk/henleyonthames/results/150/
In all, a lovely morning, with reasonable weather for October. Thank you to all the volunteers who made it so special : Nick CLEMO, Nicholas CONNOLLY, Jeannie ENGELA, Kevin JACOB, Miriam JORNA, Hazel JOYCE, Simon LUNN, Adrian MARSH, Louisa MEAD, Stephen MEGIT, Alice ROBINSON, Jackie ROBINSON, Gwilym SATCHELL, Mark SHOTTON, Phil STUBBINGTON and Marc THOMAS. If you fancy being part of the team one week then do email in. And for those interested in a social run with time to chat, investigate Run Talk Run, https://www.runtalkrun.com/
Stratford upon Avon Juniors / Queen Elizabeth