Run Report #103 – The Mad One

It’s a leap year - and today was the ‘extra’ day! Saturday 29th February - and another wet and windy weekend in York begins. But does anything deter our redoubtable parkrunners? It does not! And as a throng of people along with assorted dogs gathered at the Heslington start line for the 103rd Heslington parkrun, our reward was a blue sky and sunshine.

Today there was an exceptional turn out, with visitors from Leicester, Lewes and Lancaster (to name a few) running alongside fugitives from New Earswick (currently doubling as a mud spa) and York Knavesmire where the high tide had come in, catering for a range of water birds and aquatic species. No fins and flippers, no run. Although our participant from the Great Britain Underwater Hockey Team might have enjoyed the experience.

With cheers for our trusty volunteers, a lengthier than usual description of the route and rounds of applause for milestone achievers, we were off; an augmented crowd of 518 eager people to run, walk, and jog the five circuits of the track that made today’s ‘Plan B’ parkrun.

Parkrunners are always a friendly, chatty bunch but today was made exceptional by sheer numbers, many meeting long lost friends from far climes (Arbroath, Newark, Boston Spa and Acomb) and due to the compact nature of the course. And the rain held off until (almost) the end!

A huge vote of thanks is due to all of the volunteers who worked this week to set up the course, marshal, cheer us on, scan bar codes and all the other jobs that ensure that we are able to run. Without your help, runs would not take place. We really do appreciate what you do for us!

This week our volunteers included the following amazing people:
Abbey DRIFFIELD, Adrian GUNN, Amy IREDALE-MITCHELL, Andrew MCMORRIS, Ashley SMITH, Catherine MEZZETTI, Celia MAUGHAN, Daniel BUTCHER, Don GUNN, Ed MEZZETTI, Eleanor EASTWOOD, Frank MC LOUGHLIN, Gabriel UTTLEY, Geoff MARCHMENT, Helen GRAINGER, Hollis LANSFORD, Jack SLOCOMBE, Jamie INCH, Jeffrey WOOLHOUSE, Jonny WISE, Jordan HOWE, Joseph DAVIES, Kate MILLS, Kevin THOMAS, Liz PIPER, Louise STRINGER, Matthew PAGE, Paul EASTWOOD, Pepe THE ROMANIAN RESCUE DOG, Peter ATKINSON, Phil RADDALL, Rob HUNT, Ruth ROBSON, Sharon LYNN, Ste ROBSON, Valda BARNETT and William HARGREAVES

And a special mention to our tail walker this week: Pepe (with his owner Gabriel), all the way from Romania who was enthusiastic all of the way round his first ever parkrun. I wonder if there is a special T shirt for Romanian Rescue Dogs?

If you would like to join our band of happy volunteers - there are plenty of opportunities to help out and we are always pleased to see new recruits. Just take a look at our park run web page and send us an email at heslington@parkrun.com if you would like to take part as a volunteer. See you next Saturday!

Celebrations:
• Cheers today were in order for Garry Doubtfire celebrating his 250th run and for Hayley Dumont celebrating her 50th.
• Cheers also to the 54 runners who gained a new PB. Congratulations and well done!
• A round of applause too to the 13 people celebrating their very first parkrun, you know who you are and should be proud of your achievement. Hope to see you all again next week!

Random stats: today was the 29th and, in 29th place was Jordan Howe with a time of 19mins 56. And in 2nd place on the 2nd month of the year came Jasper Baker from Lewes in 17mins 20 whilst Katie Wise was second woman in. Well done.

For full results, see the results page at: https://www.parkrun.org.uk/heslington/results/latestresults/.

A word of encouragement - please don’t think you have to be another Roger Bannister or Kelly Holmes to join us. Whatever your speed or ability, you are welcome to join us. You will never be the last person in - we have a tail walker who takes that position - and there is usually the cafe at the end for a warming drink.

Whether you walk, run or jog, you deserve a round of applause for taking part and finishing this 5k course. Because for mast of us parkrun is not so much about racing and winning but a warm and welcoming social event with a run or walk thrown in for good measure. So come along and try us out! We look forward to seeing you again next Saturday.

Liz Piper