In The Beginning
25th April 2009
Albert parkrun, Middlesbrough, Event 48
Jane Spink 23:17
I suppose this is where it all really began. Encouraged by a work colleague, Jane discovered parkrun. She also discovered that it was more than a run in the park, embracing the post run cafe culture, which, of course included cake and chatter.
15th November 2009
Schools' Half Term
Sometime during the half term break, Jane related how much she enjoyed her Saturday mornings, parkrunning in Albert Park. Gill was impressed by the idea of a gentle, non-competitive 5K, followed by cake, especially as it's free.
Sometime during the next week
Back in Hull, out came the laptop, parkrun was Googled. Huge disappointment, the nearest parkruns were either (the now) Woodhouse Moor in Leeds, or Albert Park, Middlesbrough ! No parkruns this side of the A1/ M1, south of the Tees (apart from Albert Park), north of London. Eastern England was a parkrun desert. Good news however is that we live quite near to a large park, (with a cafe). Gill began to wonder .... what if …….?
11th December 2009
Meet East Park Manager, Martin Coss at 2pm
Try explaining parkrun to someone who has never heard of it and you have never been to one. Gill had a good understanding of how parkrun operates, but never having experienced it first hand was a bit of a disadvantage.
I remember that part of the conversation went something like
Martin “So you want to organise a 5k run in the park on Saturday morning?”
Gill “Yes, that's right”
Martin “How much is the entry fee going to be?”
Gill “Nothing, it's going to be free”
Martin “Which Saturday are you thinking of?”
Gill “Every Saturday”
Martin “Let me get this right ….. you want to organise a run every Saturday and it will be free?"
Gill “Yes, that's right”
Martin “What an amazing idea ! Just what we need here !
Are you insured …… have you done a risk assessment?”
Martin's initial support and encouragement, was the vital spark, no stopping Gill now!
I was not so sure ….. it's all well and good in the well heeled, leafy suburbs of west London ..… but running round a park in east Hull at 9 o'clock on Saturday mornings … will it ever catch on?
19th March 2010
Meet Anita Alfonso at Hull Interchange 10:03
I recognised Anita immediately, she had a surveyors wheel in her hand, not many passengers alighting from the London train had one. Anita was here to train the Hull parkrun volunteer team. Nine of us gathered at our house. Anita explained about, timers, scanners, finish tokens, fms systems, volunteer co-ordination, equipment, setting up the finish and myriad of other stuff. Then with surveyors' wheel at the ready, we headed off to East Park to establish and measure the course. Our ideas were soon binned and in no time at all Anita suggested and measured the course we are all familiar with. Everything done and dusted in around four hours. Then off to catch the London train, the whirlwind was over. A short pause to catch our breath, before Gill and I drove to Harrogate for a Chris Rea concert (gig?). He did not let us down. Strange that he comes from Middlesbrough and his Dad's shop was not far from Albert Park !
We still had not been to a parkrun and I still had my doubts. I could foresee a lot of hard work for a very limited outcome.
27th March 2010
East Park 8:15
Set up for the pilot Hull parkrun
I was volunteering at an LDWA challenge walk, so did not go to East Park. Can you imagine that?
Gill seemed happy that all was well ……. I was still far from convinced.
3rdApril 2010, Easter Saturday
East Park 8:00
Set up for Hull parkrun, Event 1.
Things seemed to go really well.
Nineteen runners turned up, supported by ten volunteers.
Gill, prompted by Jane, confidently explained something we had never attended, done or even seen, to a bunch of people who had no clear idea of what it was about. Everyone listened, no one complained and all seemed happy.
The gear lived in our garage. The tokens were easy to sort and we did not lose any.
Dave Gowans took some smashing photos, that helped us to confirm the finishing order.
Finish times were also recorded on a clip board, because we did not trust the technology. Even so the results took ages to process, because we did not fully understand the system, eventually entering the positions and times individually.
Appropriately Jane was the first lady to finish in 22:17.
We had, at last ……. been to a parkrun …….. and enjoyed every minute.
I still thought that it would never really catch on, but dare not express my doubts .
We always recognise the value of the parkrun volunteers. No volunteers, no run. So with time on my hands I looked up the other eight original volunteers. Who do you remember from the days before purple t-shirts?
Joan Farey, volunteered 141 times together with 167 runs.
Dave Gowans, volunteered 137 times, 136 of them as photographer.
Pauline King, volunteered on 113 occasions
Denise Thomson, 111
Sue Wilkinson 81
Rae Hampson 52
Phil Caygill 42, timing 31 times.
Trevor Kerwin 4