An RD’s Return!

It’s been quite a while since I undertook the role of Run Director, but it never ceases to amaze me the commitment, effort and tenacity all of you put in, irrespective how quickly you run or walk.

This week, on a beautiful summer morning, Horsham Parkrun welcomed 588 runners.  42 were first timers and Parkrun tourists came from near and far: Reigate, Newhaven, Ross-on-Wye, Copenhagen and Michigan. A very warm welcome to you all; we hope you had a great run and enjoyed the Horsham experience, as much as we enjoyed having you. We hope to see you again.

We also saw some notable milestones: Tracy Martin and Junior runner Leon Crayford reached their 50th Parkrun and Leon also achieved a PB. Dereck Warwick ran his 300th Parkrun and Gavin Philps, after several months, completed Parkrun without walking. You’ve definitely set the bar high now Gavin! Well done to all of you on your achievements.

A couple of personal items were found after Saturday’s run; a ‘bikehut’ key, and a barcode belonging to John Cooper. Please let us know if they belong to you and they can be collected at Parkrun on Saturday.

As always, Parkrun would not be possible without our wonderful volunteers who give their time to avoid running (just kidding). A huge thank you to this week’s volunteers:

Kath BARNES, Neil BARNES, Coralie BEAMISH, Diane Margaret BERRY, John BERRY, Ali BOULTON, Sharon BURCHETT, Sue CHAPMAN, James DUNNINGHAM, Samantha EDWARDS, Geoff FISHER, Jane FOOTER, Lesley GREGORY, Coral KENNEDY, Sok Wah LEE, Christian LIBERMAN, Luka MCHARDY, Claire MILLER, James MUNDEN, Annie NEARY, Simon PERKINS, Debby SCULL, Michael SILVESTRI, Kathryn SLATER, Nicola SMITH, Adam TWEED, Mark WEBB, Adam WICKS, Mark WILMOT and Yan YIP.

If you would like to know more about volunteering or the various volunteer roles, please ask.

Finally, as this week’s Run Director, I would like to thank you all for making my job painless and fun and to Phil Liberman and Coralie Beamish for taking me through the results. Parkrun wouldn’t be the same without such wonderful volunteers, runners, supporters and the fantastic community spirit that epitomises Horsham Parkrun. Well done to you all!

Mike and Team

 

Horsham parkrun rocks!

…..a phrase coined by our very own Horsham parkrun pioneer, Andy Mitchelson, who I was honoured and privileged to congratulate on his 250th parkrun today. Andy is only the 5th Horsham parkrunner to reach this amazing milestone and in true Andy style, he invited his friends to run I their favourite band t-shirt, so Horsham was very much rocking out today. Congratulations Andy and looking forward to seeing you reach your 500th!

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Other milestones celebrated today were Matthew Hogben, one of our juniors, who celebrated his 10th parkrun and then Alex Martin and Simon Hillier, who both celebrated their 50th parkruns. Congratulations to you all!

We had a lot to celebrate today, as there was also the Runner of the month (ROM) for June. The core team agreed unanimously that this should be Gary Wallis, as he had volunteered 3 times in June as well as running twice. But more than that, he has a constantly positive attitude and really ‘gets’ parkrun, becoming quite an asset to Horsham parkrun. Unfortunately Gary wasn’t in attendance, so we hope to present this to him next week, but in the meantime, congratulations Gary!

Due to the fair being in town, we had to move the start, for the second time this year. This also meant that I had to ‘funnel’ you for the start for safety reasons, being that over 500 of you have to make a sharp left hand turn onto a narrow path, 100meters after you start. I’d like to thank you all for your patience and understanding with this. Hopefully, we’ll be back to our usual start next week, but here is a photo of what over 500 runners look like running up our first hill and then round the outcrop…..a view that I will never tire of!!

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We welcomed 24 of your to your first ever parkrun this week. We really hope you enjoyed yourselves and will be back again next week. We also welcomed 31 tourists from Banstead Woods, Cranleigh, North & South Yorkshire, and Durham, but the furthest tourist came all the way from New Zealand. Andrew & Alexandra Nash both grew up originally in West Sussex, before moving to Surrey and then Devon, before emigrating to New Zealand, where their local parkrun, Tauranga Bay of Plenty has just celebrated their 1st Anniversary. It was lovely to meet you and hope you had a great parkrun morning.

It was yet another very hot and humid morning, which makes the fact that 43 of you achieved PB’s an amazing feat! Well done to you all.

Lastly, the 549 of you who ran a beautiful timed 5k today, for free, would not have been able to do so without the wonderful 38 volunteers, whom you are, I’m sure, very grateful to. We are very fortunate here at Horsham to have a core of around 30 regular volunteers, but we do feel strongly that this shouldn’t fall to the same few each week. We’d like to suggest to those of you have not volunteered yet, that you consider challenging yourself to give volunteering a go before the end of the year. Believe me, you don’t know what you’re missing out on. It is the most rewarding way to spend a Saturday morning.

Claire and Team.

 

Hot Legs!

As I arrived at the lock up at 7.40am to meet the set-up volunteers, beads of sweat were already running down my face from the short cycle ride to the park. The thermometer was nudging 20 degrees C at that early hour and predictions were for 30 degrees C by 4pm. It was going to be a hot one! We split into pairs with two going off around the park with the trolley to set out the course and check for hazards while Martyn and Andy set up the finish area. I love this time of the day as the park is quiet with only a few dog walkers and the Military Fitness crew for company. As we returned to the finish area, we were joined by ED Phil and Core Team member Claire who had set themselves a tough challenge of completing the 5k course as a three-legged pair. I don’t think they had banked on the weather being quite so challenging! All in aid of Cancer Research and with anyone guessing closest to their finish time winning a pop-up tent! The cake looked fabulous and the decision to stay away from chocolate proved to be a wise one!

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It was so nice to see everyone paying attention to the run brief and I started by thanking our volunteers and offering a suggestion that if every one of the 500+ runners volunteered just twice a year at Horsham then we wouldn’t struggle to fill our roster each week. So why not give it a go. Who knows, you might get to like it! Park surgery very kindly offered to supply extra water to those who needed it and we gave a big shout out to our 34 first timers and tourists from Reigate, Brixton and Australia! Milestones this week included: J10 for Harry Ageros and Aathavan Nithianantharajah. 50 for Stuart Carruthers, David Lees and Stuart Littler. 100 for Colin Jones and Steve Wilson. So the stats - 500 of you walked, jogged and ran around our very hot course today. We had 34 unknown park runners (DFYB!), a highest age grading of 91.52%, our three oldest park runners were in the 80-84 year bracket and 26 of you achieved new PB’s! Awesome!! Keep up the good work everyone and we look forward to seeing you volunteering really soon. Paul and the team

 

Becoming Percy Thrower!

Pardon me for the 70’s gardening BBC reference, for those who are old enough I was doing my own large scale gardening on set up last Saturday. The course has become a bit over grown with hanging branches as the trees begin to grow again with the hot and wet weather we are having!

First casualty was me as I walked up the ramp from our store as an overhanging branch whipped me across the chin and drew blood! I think when Claire saw me later she thought one of the set up crew of Andy Strang, Andy Mitch or Martyn Newton had given me a bit of a slap! Lol!

Anyway the park was looking resplendent and we welcomed our second highest attendance ever of 642 which ranked us just outside the top 10 attended parkruns this week out of over 600 events. Who would have thought our lovely lovely parkrun could have grown so much…….

We had milestones a plenty with Maisie Keeling and Zane Bowbrick doing their 10th runs. Philipp Weiss, Will Mitchell, Matt Batchelor and Tracy Harris doing their 50th and Duncan Austin and Hamish Muirden doing their 100th. A big milestone coming up in 2 weeks is our own “Horsham parkrun rocks” Andy Mitchelson who will become Horsham parkruns 5th recipient of the coveted 250 t shirt! On the 6th July his theme will be wear a Band t shirt so dig out your favourites!

On the day we had 73 first timers (didn’t see you all at the briefing!) and 73 PB’s fantastic!

Our role of honour was First finisher Richard Lee Wright (17.03) followed by an Unknown (DFYB!) with Dan Celani 3rd (18.03) and for the ladies Tara Oxley was first home (21.22) followed by Zoe Welchman (21.35) and Sarah Roberts 3rd (21.57).

It was also fantastic to see our supporters from Park Surgery running with us again and to see their fabulous t shirts! Our thanks to parkrunner Stewart Mackman for helping to make this happen.

Stewart

For those who do not know parkrun practices is an initiative for parkruns to team up with local surgeries so they refer patients to parkrun as we all know how great exercise and community is for our health and well being!

So another week is done and I pass the RD baton to Mr Paul Aylett for next week’s instalment and with the weather looking to go through the roof, stay hydrated! Also do not forget to bring your loose change next week as Claire and I will be “running” parkrun three legged as part of our year of challenges to raise money for Cancer Research UK. It’ll be fun she said………!

Till next week then, better get practising!

Phil and Team

 

 

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

 

Spreading the parkrun love across the world!

Another beautiful parkrun day morning was had Saturday just gone, as once again we set up our Winter course around Southwater Country park. It has been a frustrating time with the weather of late, around New Year we were thinking our hiatus may not last much longer. We guessed the rain would come and sure enough it did and even though since then people have told me "Winter is over!" sadly the park last week still looked very sorry for itself! But this week has been drier and with a drier forecast now and the trees starting to bloom we are confident our move back to our spiritual home won't be much longer!

On the subject of weather................we think we have it bad?????????

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This is North Bay parkrun in Canada! A handful of runners and loads of snow (seemingly all the time if you look at their Facebook page!!!).

So why this picture you ask? Well the Event Director at North Bay parkrun (second from the right) a lovely man called David, visited us for the last 2 weeks and introduced himself to me this Saturday. He showed me an article that made Athletics Weekly about how on the Xmas day parkrun they had 4 runners! More importantly he told me that he started his parkrun journey at Horsham. We hopefully had some bearing on inspiring David so when he moved he thought "why don't i start a parkrun?" a sentiment i wish a few more people in this area would have! But that's another story! Anyway it made me feel immensely proud and i feel North Bay should become our "Twin" parkrun! What do you think?!

So what of the day you ask? Well we had 342 lovely parkrunners who were lead home by Rondo Selwyn in 19.03 followed by Matthew Clark and Luke Minogue and for the ladies the top 3 were Lea Quentin (22.09) followed by Rebecca Rankin and Hannah Billingham.

We had Selina Elborough doing her 50th run and Adam Tweed and Kiki Moss doing their 100th! 22 first timers either to parkrun or Horsham and 32 of you smashing a new PB, amazing!

All went well with no incidents, though there were a couple of comments passed to me about a few of the faster runners bumping and jostling past some of our other runners....... please please please exercise caution and good will when passing especially on the crowded Downs Link section, parkrun is a run not a race and if you think you are going  to miss that elusive PB by seconds then please let it go, there is always next week. By barging or being aggressive to another runner you may put them off coming back to parkrun and why would anyone deprive someone of the incredible community "Horsham parkrun Rocks"! spirit the rest of us are lucky enough to feel each week? Be cool people, be cool......

I hope you've all had a great week and as i write this its only 2 days to go to parkrunday and this coming week we have a special "i love parkrun" theme for one of our most dedicated and lovely parkrunners who is doing their 100th this Saturday.......

Much love

Phil and Team.

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