Run Report #228 – 14th September by Anna Wright

I started volunteering at parkrun around seven months ago for my Duke of Edinburgh Award. A friend suggested that parkrun would be a good way to complete the volunteering section of my Duke of Edinburgh Award. But at this point I really had no idea what parkrun really was, apart from that it involved running around Welland Park!

So I got up early and rather reluctantly my first week. I was very nervous but soon the spirit and tight community within parkrun was very welcoming.

I quickly learnt that each week the volunteers would get a different job. So that everyone would have the chance to try all the jobs – and not just your favourite job! This was a good system and it meant I got to try all of the jobs within my seven months at parkrun.

Each week I felt more confident doing my roles. And gradually I managed to try all the roles – most of which were successful! It has been a great journey over these seven months and I am very grateful to everyone there who made the environment feel so welcoming. parkrun has enabled me to gain a lot of confidence in trying different jobs and responsibilities, so much so that I went from a nervous marshal on my first week to a Run Director and Run Report writer on my last. I enjoyed all the roles that I tried, however parkrun is nicer when it is not raining!

I really have enjoyed my time volunteering at parkrun, and each week I was paired up with someone lovely to complete the jobs at hand. parkrun is a brilliant event and I love that it works so that everyone can be involved, whether they are running or volunteering. Thank you to everyone at parkrun for making it such a special event each week.

Anna Wright

 

Run Report #225 – 24th August 2019 by Heather Thompson

What a glorious morning in the sunshine to be Tail Walking!

 

When I offered to write this week’s run report, I hadn’t realised that it also marked the 3-year anniversary of my very first parkrun, also at Market Harborough.  My parkrun attendance for the first 2 years had been sporadic.  My partner Paul is a keen golfer and preferred to tee off first thing on a Saturday morning, meaning I was looking after our son Mackenzie.  But in the last year, thanks to a change in his golfing plans, I’ve been able to run most weeks, resulting in several PBs and a desire to be involved in parkrun as often as I can.

 

A few months ago, Paul needed to play early and I didn’t want to miss out on parkrun, so I decided to volunteer both myself and Mackenzie to Marshal.  I didn’t know if he would be bored and just want to go and play in the park or if it would be a success.  Thankfully, he loved it!  Lots of high-fives were given and he wanted to volunteer again. S o, I made him the promise that we would volunteer once every month.

 

A friend suggested that Tail Walking is one of the best volunteer roles, mostly because it counts as a completed run as well as a volunteer credit.  But I think it’s great for other reasons too.  When I’m running, trying not to run into people on lap 1, watching for those overtaking on lap 2 and gasping for breath, hoping for a PB on lap 3, I don’t manage to look around and appreciate just how beautiful Welland Park is, especially by the water.  I don’t manage to always acknowledge the volunteers stationed at various points on the course who have given up their time and recognise that, without them, parkrun cannot happen as safely and as efficiently as it does and I didn’t realise the importance of the Tail Walking role.

 

The Tail Walker’s job description is easy to explain – this volunteer is the last person to cross the finish line and the last person throughout the event to ensure that no parkrunners are still on the course when the timing systems are shut down.  The Tail Walker also lets the Marshals know when their duty is done for the day and they can head for the café.

 

Today, Mackenzie and I completed Tail Walking volunteer number 3.  After checking in with Lisa, our RD this morning and donning our Hi-Vizs, there was just enough time for a trip to the zip wire before heading to the start line.  After the briefing, we were off.  It took a little time to establish who exactly was taking part in parkrun this morning and on occasion, Mackenzie and I had a little jog to catch up when we’d fallen behind.  Thank you to the runner who retrieved the tail which became detached at one point.  We’ll know for again to select the shorter of the two tails offered.  Thank you to those who gave us encouragement as you lapped us.  It makes such a difference and brings a smile and an incentive to volunteer again.  Thank you as well to Julie, our co-Tail Walker this morning, who kept us company and allowed us to sprint down the final straight to a new PB for Mackenzie.

Today, 358 of you ran, jogged or walked to an impressive 52 PBs on a rather hot morning. We welcomed 30 first timers and hope to see you all again.

 

So, if you’re recovering from injury or have races lined up for the Sunday or like me, want to complete parkrun with your child or simply fancy a walk to appreciate the scenery, why not volunteer to Tail Walk!

 

Heather THOMPSON

 

Run Report #224 – 17th August by Louise Dicicco

Whilst on holiday for two weeks in Italy and nowhere near a parkrun, what better way to feel part of it than by writing the run report for event #224!

We are in a remote village approximately 100km south of Rome, and although there are actually two parkruns in Rome, it would mean getting up at about 5am to drive there – I can’t justify that on holiday, especially when we have met up with lots of English friends in the village, and we don’t get to bed until at least 2am!  A few years ago I did bring by running kit, but it is so hot you’d have to get up really early to beat the heat, and that doesn’t work when you’ve had a very late night(or early morning).

Social Media is a great way to still feel part of the Market Harborough parkrun community when you’re not able to take part, and it has been great to read everyone’s stories of their forced tourism on 3rd August.  My tourism took me to Corby to complete my NENDY and also obtain a ‘C’ in my alphabet challenge, along with about 30 other Harborough parkrunners.  Although it was nice to try a different parkrun, it wasn’t quite the same as running in your local park, so I will be looking forward to returning to Welland Park on 24th August.

I also read with interest about the weather in the UK last weekend, and about various parkruns in danger of cancellation – it’s hard to believe when you’re experiencing 35°C heat.  Well done to everyone for their hard work to ensure that Market Harborough parkrun could go ahead safely.  It doesn’t look as if the flooding by the river had improved for this weekend either.

This now brings me onto this week’s parkrun.  I read on Facebook their appeal for various volunteers and saw that the Run Report Writer position was available, so I offered my services from afar. When I am at home, I find that parkrun is a huge part of my life and can’t imagine missing it; however, when you are on holiday, your routine is thrown completely out of the window and you lose track of days, so much so that I ‘forgot’ all about parkrunday.

Alas, when I checked Facebook later on today, I was soon reminded of what a wonderful community parkrun is, and I soon caught up on a few stories; from someone who wasn’t feeling the love for parkrun due to a poor night’s sleep, but soon overcame that once she ventured to Welland Park – to someone returning to Welland Park after almost a month off due to holidays/illness.

Whilst here, I’ve even spoken to a friend from Market Harborough who said she couldn’t possibly run 5k but having heard of the run/walk initiative felt positively encouraged and may even give it a go.

Well done to all 357 runners, joggers and walkers today who earned 49 PBs between them; there were 28 first timers of which 13 were starting their parkrun journey – welcome to Market Harborough parkrun; 38 volunteers made the magic happen; finally, well done to Jules C on joining the 100 club.

I can’t wait to see you all next week for event #225 and also the parkrun social on Sunday evening.

Louise Dicicco

 

Run Report #223 – 10th August by Lisa Penrose

After a heavy thunderstorm had flooded the Welland Park river the day before,
there was a late night meeting and early morning checks to make sure that the
route was safe before a decision was made to let the parkrun go ahead.

 
I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I saw the update on Facebook – it was a
hugely important run for me as it was my last opportunity to complete my
Running Down Dementia challenge to run 100k over 20 weeks.

 
My parkrun story began when after a particularly tough year trying to get my
mum to go to the doctors (as we feared she had been showing signs of early
stages of dementia for a while), culminated in finally getting a diagnosis just
before Christmas that she had both vascular dementia and Alzheimers’s disease.
A few of my Slimming World group friends offered to start doing parkrun with
me to help channel my emotions and also get some extra ‘body magic’. I found
that even just running 5k once a week gave me the time to think and process
everything going on with my mum (and other things in my life!).

 
In March, I saw an email announcing that Alzheimer’s Research UK had
partnered up with parkrun and set the Running Down Dementia challenge – so I
signed up and since then I have managed to raise over £400 so far!

 
The run today was very windy but with a bit of sunshine here and there. The
support from marshals and other runners was brilliant – the power boosting
high-fives (especially from Austin on the café corner!) were much needed going
into the headwind! The thing I love about MH parkrun is that because the route
laps 3 times and opposite directions run past each other quite closely in places, I
get to see and cheer on those at a different pace to me, friends who I knew before
and the familiar faces of other runners who have become friends through the
shared weekly joy/struggle.

 
I managed to push myself to do a final sprint towards the finish line, and
discovered that my Slimming World friends had handmade a special banner to
run through and a medal to celebrate the 100k achievement. It moved me to
tears to have such lovely support – couldn’t have done it without them!

 
Despite the heavy winds, new PBs were gained for 19 of the 344
runners/joggers/walkers took part, with a huge 36 being first timers! Well done
for the heroic efforts of all the volunteers who cleared away the mud from the
flooded areas and made it possible for all to enjoy yet another fantastic parkrun
in Market Harborough.

Lisa Penrose

 

Run Report #222 – 27th July 2019 by Anne Dawkins

Today was a new experience for me. Exactly 2 years since my parkrun journey began, I volunteered as a Marshall for the very first time. I’m a little ashamed of that, although I have volunteered at the junior event weekly for over a year now. I love seeing the kids and their parents so proud of their achievements and progress. So I thought today, after volunteering to write this week’s report, it would be a good time to view the adult event from a different perspective.
I’m thrilled to say each and every one of you runners, joggers and walkers did not disappoint. Smiles, high fives and thank yous were in abundance and very much appreciated. I was honoured to share in all your achievements. Smiles and thanks are infectious - fact!
Our parkrun community is a gem. I’ve met new people and stuck at something I never thought I’d be any good at and I belong to a group of people with the most extreme levels of the same skill. From the fastest finishers to the last in, we all challenge ourselves and achieve every Saturday. And volunteering is just as satisfying and addictive.  Today, it was great to see faces instead of backs, to see a new Couch to 5K initiative begin and barriers being broken down.
On a main summer holiday weekend, when the weather wasn’t the nicest, our lovely event achieved 306 runners, joggers and walkers - 14 attempted their first ever parkrun, we had 16 visitors to our beautiful park and 22 people got a PB! Immense stats I reckon.
Don’t forget there’s no Market Harborough parkrun or junior parkrun next weekend because there’s the food festival on in Welland Park. But that’s a great opportunity to so some parkrun tourism to a neighbouring event. Start studying the courses near and far and DON’T FORGET YOUR BARCODE!
Thank you and well done to everyone for making my Saturday morning wonderful, Anne.
PS if anyone missed it, there was a marvellous programme on TV last week. Dame Kelly Holmes extolling the virtues of parkrun, very heartwarming and motivating. Catch it on BBC iPlayer, you won’t regret it and you’ll feel proud you’re part of this amazing phenomenon.
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