What a week!
What a way to finish our November Challenge!
5th in the UK (not)parkrun League Table with a record-breaking 145 people involved, up 7 from the previous week, logging a record-breaking 344 (not)parkruns, up a staggering 50 from the week before!
Luton you have surpassed yourselves
For the first time this month we were also just ahead of Blackpool parkrun who also broke their attendance record.
Including Monday 30th, Luton Wardown parkrunners have walked, jogged and run 5520k or 3430 miles in November, taking us from Luton to somewhere between Ishim and Omsk in central Russia!
5 interesting facts about Omsk:
1. Omsk is the former capital of Siberia (the capital is now Novosibirsk)
2. It has been settled for 45,000 years
3. Omsk is one of the top 10 cities in Russia and has a population of over 1,000,000
4. It is a major industrial centre and a main rail hub of the Trans-Siberian Express
5. Omsk has a parkrun - parkrun Dzerzhinsky Square which started this time last year in a balmy -10C!
To help us to our amazing total this week we welcomed an impressive 22 First Timers Ruthie, Beth, Sara, Carly, Anna, Gill, Sarah, Evonne, Andy, Billy, Liz, Waled, Kirsty, Ollie, Amy, Kirsty, Charlotte, Fran, Barbora, Tricia, Kate and James.
It's good to see so many familiar names in there and hopefully (not)parkrun will fill a gap and become a slightly addictive part of your week.
Those that have been part of (not)parkrun for a while have also excelled themselves with 25 new PBs recorded. A huge well done to Mick, Tina, Geoff, Johir, Paul, Calista, Amelie, Lisa, Jane, Sue, Adrian, Angela, Stewart, Sandy, Jo, Howard, Bridget, Dawn, Siobhan, Kathryn, Martin, Nigel, Ali, Zena and Gary.
And the number of people doing multiple (not)parkruns continues to increase.
7 - Tina, Mick, Claire, Jennifer, Lionel, Elizabeth and Evelyn
6 - Alan and Nick
5 - Jane, Maria, Terry, Claire, Lisa, Julie, Sarah and Louise
Regardless of how many (not)parkruns you do the important thing is that you are getting out and about, enjoying the fresh air and exercise and, hopefully, feeling better for having done it.
To keep up the momentum we have built up over the last month we have a December Challenge to tempt you out and into the fresh air.
We will try and maintain our place on the UK (not)parkrun Leader Board (and our journey around the world) but with added Christmas-related themes!
We know how many of you like to add a little colour and sparkle to parkrun
We await the photos with bated breath!
This week's 'Meet the parkrunner' feature is a little different as we meet the people who have kept us on our toes and pushed us to greater and greater (not)parkrun heights throughout November - Blackpool parkrun
Meet the parkrun - Blackpool
How did you get involved with parkrun?
Blackpool has Co-ED’s, Catherine and Mark, who have just had their first anniversary. Both of them were there in the crowd at the inaugural parkrun. Whilst Mark has slowly improved his times …. it’s fair to say that Catherine has got progressively slower. Since the early days they have regularly volunteered, eventually taken on the mantle of leadership.
When was your first Blackpool parkrun, and what do you remember about it?
Saturday 4th February 2017, this was the day that everyone had been waiting for, the first Blackpool parkrun. It had been an uphill struggle, or so it seemed, to reach this point.
The runners gathered at the Cocker Clock Tower on Stanley Park and there was a buzz of excitement from the volunteers as more and more people arrived, all dressed in Lycra. As the clock struck 9 o’clock, the runners were welcomed to the inaugural Blackpool parkrun. The runners were made up of seasoned parkrunners and those taking part for the first time
The current Co-ED’s Catherine and Mark were amongst the 330 runners that crossed the finish line, 88 of whom were first time parkrunners. They were amazing and most of them came back to Blackpool parkrun becoming the core of our community. The first male runner to cross the finish line was James from Wesham Road Runners AC in 17:20. The first female runner to cross the line was Sophie from Royton Road Runners in 22:21, with Dexter from Blackpool Wyre and Fylde AC being the first junior across the line.
We also welcomed people from near and far with two runners travelling up from Oxford to join us. Harry from Altrincham and District AC was completed his 50th parkrun and Mike from Chester Triathlon Club came to run his 100th parkrun with us. We were chuffed that they shared their important milestones with our inaugural .
Incredibly, the token magpie struck!
For the first couple of years our average winter attendance was between 180 and 220, rising to 250-280 in the summer - as a sea-side town numbers are always boosted by tourists from all over the world and the UK. During spring of 2020 we were watching in amazement and excitement as our winter numbers were slowly creeping upwards - and then there was lockdown! Body blow.
What other activities have you been inspired to do as a result of parkrun?
Blackpool parkrun supports and gets lots of support from two local running clubs: Blackpool Wyre & Fylde Athletic Club and Thornton Cleveleys Running Club. Both clubs are represented within our Core Team and regularly do takeovers and can always be depended on the fill our volunteer roster. They regularly bring us fresh blood in the form of their Couch to 5k graduates.
We’ve also established good links with our local food bank. We hold two appeals each year to support them, although this year our summer holiday and Christmas appeals have been dealt with a little differently.
What keeps you coming back to Blackpool?
We know when it's happening there is the unbeatable and exciting good feeling of it working well. We have a brilliant community. We have made good friends. The friends we’ve made on the core team are amazing. But it’s also because we believe in what parkrun is and what it represents.
How are you coping during the current lockdown?
Part of our Core Team set up a new fb page aimed and promoting diversionary activities. Our community have been set a wide range of challenges.They’ve collected street names, worn fancy dress and done a zillion scavenger hunts. Initially, each week, our runners completed a virtual parkrun and we’re up to #36. Each week between 55 and 65 runners have taken part. Although the rules have been slightly more flexible than those set by HQ. Any distance has been acceptable, with accolades awarded for the earliest start, the jazziest run tights, the longest distance and the highest elevation reached. Photographs have been treated as a glorious bonus. More recently, our community have discovered (not)parkrun and embraced it with gusto.
We continue to support our wonderful Parks Art Deco café, within the rules and limits set around social distancing etc. It’s such a warm and friendly place. The staff miss the runners nearly as much as we miss them and their bacon barms!
What are your plans for the future?
To be ready and raring to go when we get the ‘green light’ from HQ and that means hanging onto our enthusiasm and commitment with the skin of our teeth!
To keep our community engaged so that they are ready and raring to go when we get the ‘green light’ from HQ.
Revise our parkrun bucket list to include a visit to Luton Wardown parkrun - an absolute must when parkrun tourism is allowed once more.