Here's a question for you. This Saturday, what did 149,395 people celebrate in 641 different locations? Dead easy right? They ran 5K on the 15th birthday of parkrun. It's a phenomenal number and one that just continues to grow. And let's not forget the 14,725 volunteers that made it all happen.
I was surprised to see that since I did my first one back in 2014 the weekly figure has risen from “just” 47,500 runners and 257 locations. I wonder what the numbers will be in five years time? Pretty soon there won't be any people left who aren't doing one!
All of which makes it a bit odd that we had one of our smaller fields this week; just 94 heroes walked, hopped, jogged or ran the course. (OK, I have no evidence that anyone was actually hopping, but it's not against the rules and I wasn't able to do extensive checks).
Where were the rest of you? I know there was a contingent who sloped off to the home of parkrun, Bushy Park. Shame on you! (although they did get to meet the founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt apparently)
Meanwhile, back at base we had our own treat with the talented Lucy serenading runners at Marshal Point Two. (Any suggestions for a parkrun themed playlist for the next time? “Keep On Running”, obviously. “Come On Eileen”, maybe. “Walking Back To Happiness” and so on....)
As ever this weeks' run would not have taken place without our wonderful team of volunteers, led by Run Director Ali James. They were: Leo Basi, Alastair Benbow, Cynthia Boardman, Steve Dye, Dee Harper, Ian Harper, Kate Hicken, Jennifer Holmes, Keith Hopkins, Jill Hopkins, Lucy Hopkins, Kathy Miller, James Owen, Samantha Pennell, Phil Stocker, Libby Turner, Jes Turner and Sam Wang.
Despite the recent rain, the condition of the course seems to holding up well with no significant muddy patches appearing yet although great care was needed to negotiate the slippery roots which are such a feature of the route.
We were pleased to welcome many tourists this week as well as a number of runners joining Homewood for the first time. Hello to Tom Glancy, Jonathan Major, Dave Aitken, Adam Leary, Tony J Mansfield, Paul Bean, Lucy Low, Kathryn Harrison, Jane Fulbrook, Chloe Brewer, Peter Humphries, Andrene Williamson, Ramla Ali, Krystina Lockett and Hayden Bloomfield. Of these, Kathryn, Chloe, Peter, Ramala, Krystina and Hayden were taking part in their first ever parkrun. We hope you enjoyed yourselves and we look forward to seeing you again.
As for the results, congratulations go to one of those first timers Tom Glancy, first home in a time of 18 minutes and 19 seconds. He was closely followed by Richard Gayton (19m, 04s) and William Hartley (19m 14s). For the ladies Paula Holmes was first back in 23m 55s followed by Zoe Wood in 25m 11s and Anna Smith in 25m 18s.
But parkrun isn't just about who is the quickest back. 14 runners achieved new PB's this week, so huge congratulations are also due to William Hartley, Colin Dow, Robert Sochon, Matt Bird, Alan Richardson, Adrian Doe, Jo Graham, Benjamin Turner, Andy Woods, Denise Gauntlett, Diana Basi, Clare Tiller, Cheryl Smith-Wright and Mariann Henshall
We had a couple of milestone runners with us: Dave Aitkin reached the unofficial but nonetheless very impressive figure of 200 runs whilst Homewood regular Andy Gifford notched up his 50th run.
When looking at the percentage scores 60 of the 94 finishers above 50% which shows what a lot of high achievers we have at Homewood!
And if you haven't fallen into any of the categories I've mentioned above, the great thing about parkrun is that it doesn't matter in the slightest. Maybe you had your own target to beat and maybe you made it or maybe you didn't. Whatever! The important thing is that you got out there and made it round and in doing so were part of what must have been one of the biggest birthday parties ever!
I hope to see you all again soon! We welcome you all (even those who defected to Bushy Park for the day!).