KWp #284!

Like 536 other runners and 20 other volunteers, I set my alarm to get myself up on a Saturday morning – for me, to run for the 43rd time. An amazing 56 of you took that step for the first time this morning at Kingsbury, and 32 of you for the first time ever... welcome to each and every one of you, and I truly hope we’ll see you come back.
As usual, we were all greeted by volunteer extraordinaire Brian Adams at the gate. Brian’s at Kingsbury week in, week out – the first to arrive, and likely the last to leave. He opens up the shed containing all the physical things which make parkrun possible, helps set us up, cheers us on, and then packs us all away again... Because Brian had everything ready, Richard Chester (who doubled up on his volunteering today, also being the proverbial hare for the frontrunners to chase – thank you), was able to set the course up nicely in time for us to run around it.
Today’s Run Director was Tim Gould. Without him, the rest of the core team, and today’s team of volunteers, we would not have had a parkrun to go to!!! An unthinkable prospect! I don’t know about you, but I’d be completely lost without my parkrun kick-starting me on a Saturday. Co-ordinating his team of volunteers – another familiar name – was Richard Benham. Today, he was the guy making sure all the volunteers knew what they were doing and where they were going – and a very good job of it he did too!
After Trevor Gasper – another Kingsbury regular – had briefed all 56 new parkrunners and tourists this morning on what to expect on the course, and what to expect from parkrun, Tim gave us all a quick briefing. Among the things he mentioned were, of course, today’s milestones! Well done to Darren Thomas and Anna Gordon on completing your 50th parkruns today! Congratulations to Anthony Balance, Greg Marrett, Nick Dennis and David Bailey on completing their 100th parkruns today! Truly fantastic accomplishments.
Soon enough, we were off! Through the woods, over/around/through/in the puddles (depending on your preference – you know who you are), enjoying the mud, and taking in the scenery... Keeping us safe and cheering us on along the route were today’s marvellous marshals. Thank you, Gavin Clinton (and your two high-fivers, they were great), Sarah Davis, Karen Gopsill (who was also handing out treats, amazing), and Gervase Lancaster. Because of you, a whopping 73 people were able to achieve personal bests today – no mean feat.
Today’s first runner to meet our fantastic funnel team this morning was Chris Horton, who also managed the highest WAVA score today too. It seems that the men dominated today’s parkrun – with all of the first 60 positions going to the lads. Keeping up the lady’s side was Louise Andrews who was our first female finisher, and Sylvia Phillips who had today’s second highest WAVA score. Well done!
And of course, where would we have been without our fantastic funnel team?! I don’t know about you, but even just seeing their faces after coming around that last bend (well, the high-vis at least – my glasses tend to steam up) encourages me to push a little harder. Regardless of whether you sprint, run, jog, jeff, speedwalk, walk, dawdle, shuffle, or crawl across that line, Richie & Tricia Bunn – timekeeping duo - will have captured your time. Has anyone else noticed that they seem to volunteer far more than they run... a common theme among many of our amazing volunteers.
Keeping us all in line today through that funnel was Sharon Whitehead. Such an important job – keeping the funnel moving, redirecting and looking after the occasional person who’s pushed a little too hard. Thank you. I also saw Brian again in today’s funnel, full of smiles and generally helping things run smoothly.
Greeting us at the end of the funnel, and handing out those 537 finish tokens today, was Felicity Gray – supporting her today was Amanda Gould. Thanks ladies.
Now, I don’t know about you, but once I’ve got my token I have this bad habit of running back to find my parkrun friends instead of heading straight to scanning central like I should do... Waiting for us today were Katharine Gould, Tom Smith & Louie Harrison, along with Madeleine Gould who was there ready to help if any of had unscannable barcodes. Thank you!
Following us all today and essentially tidying up after us; picking up the cones, the distance markers and shutting the gates today were tailwalkers Sarah Maddaford and Alex Sandham. One of the things I love about parkrun is that no-one finishes last.
I’m not the “scoop” that our semi-regular journo Norman Cook is, but whilst looking through today’s stats, I counted that 18 of today’s 537 runners are also part of the Volunteer 25 club! Thanks guys, and I’m sure that in most of your cases, you’ve volunteered far in excess of 25 times, I hope you enjoyed your well-earned runs today.
Kingsbury Water parkrun started on 20th July 2013. Since then 11,762 participants have completed 87,344 parkruns covering a total distance of 436,720 (or 271,365 miles in old money). A total of 720 individuals have volunteered 5,723 times. I find it absolutely incredible that more than 11,000 people have never experienced the sheer joy of volunteering at Kingsbury. To be part of such an inclusive team has been a life changer for me – and I truly hope that those of you out there who are wavering about getting stuck in take the plunge. Take a look at the future roster, email kinsgburywaterhelpers@parkrun.com, ask one of us about it if you’re not too sure but want to give it a go. And for those of you wanting more of a baptism of fire, I’m marshalling next week and you’re welcome to join me... pompoms are optional.