THE GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME

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It’s hard to believe that just one week ago I was completing my first South African parkrun as a tourist and the experience was overwhelming! Small, intimate, picturesque but still an incredible sense of community for the 30 finishers. But I have to say that there’s no better place to be than home with Horsham Park looking gloriously green today in more ways than one!

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For our 250th parkrun, there was only one colour on everybody’s mind – GREEN! Whether you aspire to be wearing green one day or you already own the illusive 250th milestone t-shirt, it was great to see so many runners, joggers and walkers turn out in celebration of our 250th event.

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As I set out the course earlier today with the lovely VC Claire, I was heartened to hear such lovely comments from a chap exercising his dog on his bike (the gentleman on the bike, not the dog!). He stopped and said that he was a local GP and wanted to thank us for doing more for health and wellbeing of Horsham residents in the past few years than he had been able to do in his entire career. Praise indeed for the momentum with which parkrun has gripped the nation, if not the world! But the praise lies at your feet, not ours. The hundreds who turn up each week, come rain or shine, to complete your free, weekly timed run, jog or walk. You took the hardest step – the first step!

So what about the stats? Well, 35 hi-viz heroes made it happen (whoop, whoop – don’t forget to volunteer!), 627 of you completed the course today, the third highest attendance ever at Horsham! 54 first timers including tourists from East Grinstead, Worthing, Herne Hill, Reigate, Beckingham, Edinburgh and Malta! There were 81 PB’s and no less than 11 who belong to that illusive 250 club! The granddaddy of them all being Horsham’s own Geoff Fisher at a whopping 375 parkruns!

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So keep plugging away folks and soon you will be a member of team green!

Paul and the team

 

Gareth’s close shave!

As I arrived to set up with our wonderful team of set up volunteers, I was hopeful that the weather was not going to deliver the showers shown in the forecast. In fact, the weather turned out to be perfect for running, and the park was looking very lush now that all the trees have come into leaf and the large sycamores are laden with their flowers. However, this did mean that quite a few of the trees on our course had some very low hanging branches, which Martyn kindly pruned back to allow you all to be able to run round safely.  I love that time of the morning, when hardly anyone else is around, listening to the birds singing and watching the squirrels running around, with the anticipation of what is to follow

Thank you all for listening so attentively to my run briefing, the one part of the role as Run Director that I really struggle with. As a consequence of my desire to ‘get it over and done with’, I omitted to thank our wonderful volunteers, of which we had 32 amazing ‘Hi-Vis’ heroes this week. I was so annoyed with myself, as those of you who know me know just how much I value the volunteers and all that they do, supporting the core team to put on this wonderful event for the community of Horsham each week. For those volunteers who were out on the course by the time I took the runners to the start, that round of applause you heard from the start line was for all of you. THANK YOU!

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For those of you wondering what the photo shoot was all about at 8:45am, this was for all of our 2019 marathon runners and volunteers, all of whom are truly inspirational!

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It gave me great pleasure today to congratulate Anaya Wakefield on her 10th parkrun this week, which she was finally able to complete having volunteered for us on 26 occasions for her Duke of Edinburgh Silver award. Celebrating their 50th parkruns with us this week were:

  • Ros Shiel
  • Robert Swan, who’s twin brother was over from Columbia running with him.
  • Gareth Sear, who was lucky to get this run counted having dropped his barcode prior to the run, but was thankfully handed into me before the run briefing, so I could return it to him. Gareth also managed a magnificent PB today, so a good day all round in the end.

Congratulation to you all and we look forward to seeing you all in your free parkrun milestone shirts soon!

The numbers of walkers, joggers and runners we have taking part each week, never ceases to amaze me and I was really chuffed to welcome two more of my work colleagues, Simon and Bernadette, to our run this week, along with 40 other first timers. Welcome to you all and we hope you enjoyed yourselves and will be back again soon. We had an amazing total of 553 participants this week, with 100 of you recording Personal Bests (PBs). Congratulations and well done to you all!!

By way of a reminder, next week will be Horsham parkrun’s 250th run, so we are asking you all to come in green, by way of a nod to the 250th milestone shirt, which is green.

Until next week…..

Claire and team

 

History in the making – Horsham Pioneers day!

It was a big day last Saturday, maybe not for all but certainly for your Event Director.

It had been hyped all week with the promise of cake for all and even the weather played fair with us as it didn't start raining till lunchtime!

Anyway, 5 years ago 30-40 runners and about 15 volunteers assembled by the band stand in the park to hear me describe a course that would become our beloved parkrun, there were lots of blank faces as i did and eventually i just said it was well marshalled and i knew Neil (Boniface) knew it and did not see anyone beating him! So we all walked to the tennis courts which would be our start that day and also for the first few years when we became "official". As i said in my briefing on Saturday without approval on a course we had nothing so this was essential to our journey and my eternal thanks go to those people who answered the call that day.

It was amazing to see so many of the Pioneers back, Duncan Partridge, my wing man in those first few "official" months who set up the course with me so often and did not run a single Horsham parkrun in those first few months as he was a serial volunteer! Lesley Pennington, our tail walker that day and many others who have been around more over the last 5 years including the Boniface, Broom and Wilcox Families, truly showing parkrun is for all and brings families together as well a runners. Some even wore the same shirts as they did then (hopefully they had been washed a few times since!)

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The start was always going to be logistically tricky as we were starting the Pioneers from the old start while the main field started from our normal spot....ish...... the fair was in town, like it had been 5 years ago and it meant we had to shift over and push the field through a tight gap. We also started remotely, with Claire on the phone to me to check if we had taken the picture and were ready, so with Christian holding both watches, Claire counted down to the start with me trying to sync up at the tennis courts! We were off, as the 2 fields charged towards the convergence point we had an surprise leader! Pioneer Mr Nic Butler had his moment of glory with a storming start leaving Neil Boniface in his wake...... for about 200m....!

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It truly was a gorgeous sight seeing the field join............all those people! I think the pioneers may have had it a little easier judging from where Gary Tomlinson (who lead the main field) hit the joining point!

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Gary Chased Neil hard for the whole run and with Neil leading home in 16.06 Gary came home in 17.16 with Simon Perkins 3rd in 18.13. For the ladies it was Kat Owens from Crawley in 20.38, followed by Kat Woodruffe destroying her PB in 21.14 and Evie Clarke in 21.18.

We had 53 first timers to either parkrun or Horsham and a rocking 79 PB's! We had 579 finishers in total and it should have been 580................ Last months parkrunner of the month, a certain Son of mine who seems to have found running in the last few months but i had asked to volunteer on this special day (because the original timekeeper, my Dad, its a family affair you know! Was unavailable) decided he could not possibly miss his parkrun and ran it as a freedom run before 9am! No time, no result, no run count towards his free t shirt but a want and a need to parkrun all the same, i am constantly proud of my boy, there are few people like him around.......

We had ducks,

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we had Mitchelson.......

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we had cake!

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and some of us worked right till the end!

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On wards then to next week and our marathon medal photo shoot for all our long distance hero's and then to our 250th run a week Saturday! Its going to be a busy month at Horsham!

See you in the park this coming Saturday for more fun and games (and running).

Phil and Team.

 

 

 

I love parkrun! #246

After a stonking 637 runners turned up the previous Saturday I was a little apprehensive as to what would happen on my watch as Run Director this week.

The temperature was a little cooler but the rain held off and we welcomed a wonderful 522 runners and walkers to Horsham park.

20 people came along to parkrun for the very first time and we also said hello to 13 tourists.  We look forward to welcoming you all back soon!

I had to count this next stat about 5 times as I couldn’t believe it but an amazing 95 of you achieved a personal best time.  Well done boys and girls!

We also applauded those running their milestones this week:

 10 runs (juniors only) – M Canham

50 runs – Wendy Lord, Glenn Thomas, Tom Cockram, Michael Thornton.

100 runs – Victoria Saunders (also got a PB!), Alan MacLachlan, Robert Haigh, Richard Shergold.

 As I mentioned earlier I was a little nervous about what the morning would bring and it was not without its challenges.  With the help and support of the volunteers including members of the core team we managed to get the results out to you all.

 Thank you all for making this another memorable and enjoyable parkrun and I will see you again, same time, same place, on Saturday.

 Mel & team

 

 

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY!

No we haven’t gone all Clint Eastwood on you, just that these words seem to sum up parkrun day quite well for me.

The good – Sunshine, warmth, dry course, full roster, hi-viz heroes, a sea of smiley happy faces all listening to the run brief, 633 participants, 2nd biggest attendance EVER! No incidents, good feedback, café culture.

The bad – Problems in the finish funnel within the mid-pack

The Ugly – The time the results took to complete after!

So what can we learn as Horsham parkrun goes from strength to strength and larger attendances becomes “the norm”? Well, the funnel should be the most critical part from a runners perspective. After all, you all come for the craic, the banter, the fitness, the social scene, the cake, but most of all A TIME right? We have many challenges as a team to ensure this happens maybe even to adopt a Tilgate style double funnel. But we also need your help. Don’t stop, keep moving, don’t duck out of the funnel tape, stay pinned to the person in front of you, take your token quickly, clear the funnel exit quickly. All of this allows fellow runners to finish behind you and our volunteers can process you quickly and accurately and it gives us a set of results which accurately reflect what happened on the finish line. We really need your help!

So back to the stats: 74 first timers at Horsham, 94 PB’s, 45 unknown runners, 5 runners in the 250 club, an 81.70% maximum age grading and 48 runners who’ve also completed more than 25 volunteer stints!

So you really did “go ahead and make our day”!

Paul and the team

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