20th April - parkrun report#208 - Liz Almond
20th April - parkrun report#208 - Liz Almond
20th April - parkrun report#208 - Liz Almond
Standing in the middle of the start ‘crowd’ in Welland Park, I am as likely as most of you to claim that I’m ‘not a real runner’, using my solid frame and mediocre times as testimony. However, like many of you my current running journey is both fuelled by and anchored by the parkrun, and the people that I have met at the parkrun. For the past 18 months, I have been taking parkrun and running in general a little more seriously, and can see my friends doing the same. Naturally, pb’s have fallen along the way but interestingly, there has been a definite trend of parkrunners graduating from 5k to 10k, but then not stopping there, “if I can do 10k, maybe a half marathon” for some “if I can do a half marathon, I can do a marathon”. Almost everyone has a marathon in them, given the right training and a heap of determination!
April is a key month for Half Marathons and Marathons. Last week I ran the Manchester Marathon with Leanne Shrive (her 1st), who started running at parkrun. This week Simon and Molly run their 1st and 2nd Half marathons they started running at parkrun. In 2 weeks Wiki, Paul and my running buddy Simon Poynton run London, guess how their running journey started…?
There will be many more of you taking the challenge of a parkrun 5k further, and that’s brilliant and good luck to you. For those who a weekly parkrun is quite enough of a challenge, thank you very much; I salute you too. Despite our protestations we are all runners in our own way!
Back to this week. After a very composed pre-run briefing from Heather, 375 runners enjoyed bright but cool conditions, obviously conducive to fast times as 66 of us recorded Pb’s, including Adam Barber our first finisher. We had 39 first timers and 38 wonderful volunteers. Our 207th parkrun was a great event, just like the previous 206
Stuart Beard (with blue hair)
parkrun Report – Event 206
parkrun number 206; what a lovely morning for a three-lap (!) run, jog or walk around Welland Park. I was the 25-minute pacer this morning and loved every minute; it is such a joy to participate in parkrun as a runner and volunteer. Well done and thank you to all 399 Market Harborough parkrunners and the 33 volunteers who made today’s run so enjoyable.
Through parkrun, my family and I have built lasting friendships and have spent our happiest times. I now cannot imagine not turning-up to Welland Park at 9am on a rainy/sunny/windy/frosty/snowy Saturday morning! I love participating in parkrun (be it running or volunteering) immensely, but it is running with my two young boys in their very-old-and-quite-tatty-with-a-dodgy-suspension-and-usually-a-flat(ish)-tyre double pushchair that I enjoy the most, and I would like to thank all of you runners, joggers, walkers and volunteers for making Market Harborough parkrun such a welcoming and inclusive event. It is a privilege to be able to run with my sons, and in my run report, I wanted to try to capture what parkrun means to me.
Thank you all (and a big thank you to the team at the Park Café for supplying us with copious amounts of coffee after the stresses of pushing two small boys three times around Welland Park in their pushchair!!)
Mummy?! Are we parkrunning today…?
Yes! Now where’s your left welly?
And please stop throwing the ball at the telly.
8:30! Come on! Coats on you two!
But Mummy?! I need another poo…!
We’re out! Hooray! (a bit close to the wire)
Mummy?! Yes love? We’ve got a flat tyre!
We made it, we’re here, my family and I,
I turn to the runner next to me, smile, say hi.
The weather’s perfect; neither too cold nor too muggy
And we’re raring to go with the double-buggy.
The atmosphere is friendly and it’s warm and it’s happy,
I relax (and then my youngest fills his nappy…)
We’re off! The heavy pushchair is hard to master
But I’m soon in my stride, ‘Faster Mummy! Faster!’
I pass smiling marshals and I revel in my luck
That we’re part of this parkrun, ‘MUMMY!!! DUCK!!’
I acknowledge the duck and shout an obligatory, ‘QUACK!’
As we glide past the Welland and start the loop back.
We hi-five Austin and give Grandad Jim a smile,
Are we nearly there yet??! No! We’ve only done a mile!
Kids! Wellies back on and please just have a rest
I’m trying to get my parkrun Double-Buggy Personal Best!
But the youngest’s bottom lip goes out and his brother starts to scream
Something about Roy’s café and a mini-milk ice-cream…
Lap three, I’m tired and my legs (and will!) are slowing,
But a lovely runner encourages me and it’s enough to keep me going.
I pant my way to the finish and am met with cheerful faces
Reminding me that parkrun is the friendliest of places,
An all-inclusive club, where it’s safe and free to have fun
And all you need to do is walk, jog or run.
This was the first time I had ever been to a parkrun and it was a lovely warm sunny Saturday morning and Round Table (of which my dad is a member) had volunteered to help. I was therefore also helping out! I didn’t know what to expect having never been to a parkrun before.
As I arrived, there were plenty of volunteers and Round Tablers in high viz jackets, setting up and trying to understand their jobs, funnelling, token collecting etc.. Even at 8:30 there were some keen runners beginning to warm up before the run.
There was an attendance of around 400 people which really shows how great these events are for local communities. Some people were taking it very seriously, some were just there to have some fun and get some exercise.
When the run had started, it was a great feeling cheering the runners as they started off, the claps, the cheers, the smiles and the panting dogs were all part of it, and the run really showed to me people’s persistence and the ‘never giving up feeling’ inside all of us. It was nice to get the occasional thank you from the runners – from those who could find the breath…!
As I said before I would encourage people to help out at a parkrun as they are a great way to meet new people or old friends, and the feeling of helping and cheering so many different people was very rewarding. Each run needs 30-40 volunteers.
Round Table (with some help from 41 Club and Tangent) provided around 20 of those volunteers.
Market Harborough Round Table are a group of 25-40 year old men who meet up one night every 2 weeks to either have a laugh and do something fun or plan and help others in and around the town of Market Harborough. In June we run 'It's a Knockout' at the Harborough Carnival. In December, you'll also see our members manning the Santa sleigh, loved and cherished for years by the local community in Desborough and the customers of Sainsburys.
There are about 10 members already in Market Harborough Round Table from all walks of life. Join us, get involved with your community & make lasting friendships.
Come along to one of our nights out to see what we are about. Friends, Banter & the odd beer (or 2).
As long as you're a man older than 18 and younger than 45 – you can join.
Fleur Kellie (aged 12)
This morning started like any other Saturday, sorry, parkrunday… I got up, had a slice of toast and a cuppa, before heading off to the lovely Welland Park.
I chatted to a few friends before heading to the start line, where the RD – Lisa – announced this week’s milestones – Katherine Horder, Joanne Colbert and Aisha Redhead all completed their 50th parkrun - congratulations to you all, but especially to Aisha who is only 11 years old – well done.
There was another unofficial milestone achieved today by our lovely marshal, Austin Hobbs – his 150th volunteer today – a remarkable achievement given that we have only had 204 events in Market Harborough. There was a huge round of applause for Austin as everyone showed their appreciation to him, and I’m sure he was even more generous with his high-fives on his corner this week.
The run was quite ‘normal’ for me this week, 3 laps of a beautiful park – what isn’t there to like? I often try and have a little mind game with other runners around me, and this week was no exception. Each week I seem to find someone that I overtake, they overtake me, I overtake them and so on; I always try and set my sight on someone a little ahead of me and try and catch them on the last lap; my mission was accomplished (or so I thought) just after the dog walk, on the last lap, as I overtook my target; unfortunately, the lady wasn’t going to be beaten and we both upped our pace
for a fantastic sprint finish as we crossed the line together, both achieving our best times in months (not personal bests, but it still felt like a massive achievement) – thank you Anne Linsell for spurring me on to the end. Let’s do it again next week!
I set off to the café to catch up with friends, and not having to rush off was a rare treat this week – so much so that I finally left the park at 11.30am. We sat chatting, putting the world to rights, when RD Lisa approached our table and asked if anyone would like to write the run report this week. A sea of silence ensued, so I volunteered, and here I am!
The beauty of parkrun is the social aspect of it. There I was, sitting in the café with friends, none of whom I knew until parkrun came to Harborough almost four years ago. Long after the majority of parkrunners have gone home, the RD and other members of the core team are still on duty, processing results that we all eagerly await the arrival of, trying to sort out any discrepancies between times and tokens.
We should all be extremely grateful to the RD each week and the core team, because as corny as it sounds, parkrun wouldn’t happen without them, or the other volunteers, so a massive thank you from me. When most of us have dispersed home and are looking forward to next Saturday, the core team are still busy working behind the scenes, answering emails, replying to Facebook posts, sorting out the volunteer roster for next week, washing kit, sorting kit – the list goes on and on.
This week saw 365 people run, jog or walk the course; there were 34 first timers, 10 of whom were completely new to parkrun – welcome to our wonderful family, we hope to see you again soon; there were an amazing 90 PBs today – brilliant running!
It was an absolute pleasure being RD at the Market Harborough parkrun #203; it was also my last time as an RD, which brought about a number of mixed emotions. This is a brief history of my parkrun journey and what parkrun means to me.
Graham and I were given a kick up the backside from our sister-in-law (a keen runner and PE teacher) at Christmas time, back at the tail end of 2014. After finding every excuse possible, we decided that we probably should do some exercise; eat a bit more healthily and drink a little less wine! We started to run/walk to the next village, which was extremely challenging for us both. We then decided to invest in a couple of mountain bikes and then saw an advert in the Harborough Mail about a Sprint Triathlon (whatever that was) and thought we should set ourselves a goal. We signed up for the event, and started to take regular trips to Corby pool; neither of us were great at front crawl.
During this time, we met a very keen and enthusiastic gentlemen called Brian Corcoran, and as well as persuading us to join the local triathlon club, we also got to learn about a new parkrun that he was setting up in Welland Park. We both went along to his ‘test sessions’ and also made it to the very first parkrun. This was new and exciting, and the first time we had heard of this amazing phenomena that draws communities together and forges friendships and engages people to get mobile.
Very quickly I became a regular volunteer; I have always had more pleasure from volunteering than actually running at a parkrun. I still get butterflies! I was invited along to join the core team in the spring of 2016 and have thoroughly enjoyed my three years as an RD.
It is amazing how parkrun brings people together; people who you may not have had the opportunity to meet in your normal ‘day life’. It is a ‘happy’ place, with lots of positivity and friendliness and so many smiles. It almost seems incidental that you run 5km, as it is so much more than that!
I wish you all well with your running, in whatever form that may take. We should all set ourselves goals and challenges, and I think they should all scare us a bit too! The thought of failure is a great thing to drive you on and push yourself. The sense of achievement is far greater when we come out of our comfort zone. We are all capable of so much more than our minds think we are, so what’s your next challenge going to be? Go on, push yourself as you really can do it!
Lots of love Nicky x
Just a quick little Run Report for today – not even many stats!!
The day started early – a good pilot friend and I were due to fly from Leicester to Henstridge Airfield parkrun. Last week was postponed due to low cloudbase and this morning at stupid o’clock we had to call it of again due to gusting winds (a decision that we were very happy about when we experienced these at Welland Park later in the day!)
So plan B was a ‘home’ trip to lovely Welland Park and a chance to catch up with friends all round, with of course one of the best breakfasts you’ll find at any parkrun.
A busy morning at the bowls pavilion as 50 (yes 50! – the second highest we’ve ever had) volunteers all queued up with Jo (RD in charge today) to announce their presence (loads of Duke of Edinburgh students, many of whom are near to completing their relevant awards – congrats). A huge thank you to all the volunteers – after we only had one Marshal earlier in the week, we were bowled over by how many volunteers rallied to Jo’s cry for assistance. Thank you all.
Jo gave a lovely briefing at the start, with everyone agreeing to a ‘deal’ with Jo to only overtake on the right, keep to the left and single file at all the narrowest parts and the bit I particularly liked: If you start with a dog, we want you to finish with the dog (not hand it to some unsuspecting volunteer) and if you start with a child, it’s generally a good idea to finish with a child! J
A postponed parkrunner of the month medal award for Sylvia (great running recently Sylvia!) and we were off.
Due to my unexpected appearance at MH today, I wasn’t due to fill any other volunteer roles – no VI guiding or pacing, so I was ‘just’ parkrunning. It’s a while since that happened and I was unsure whether I was just going to drift around casually or set off like a man possessed. Well when I hear “3-2-1-parkrun!” something inside me clicks so I was off like a shot (well, and unfit, overweight shot) and settling into a pace that I knew wouldn’t last:
1stkm: 4:17 (too quick)
2ndkm: 4:26 (o.k. ish)
3rdkm: 4:25 (that surprised me)
4thkm: 4:38 (here we go!)
5thkm: 4:37 (could have pushed it a bit more, but good enough)
Later on parkrun time completed in 22:39 (not even a bingo number :( !)
On the way around I was able to observe our lovely parkrun and I couldn’t spot any ‘incidents’, so well done everyone and thank you for sticking to Jo’s ‘deal’.
One of our parkrun Ambassadors was visiting today (Mark), so after collecting my finish token I trot across the field to run the final lap with him – he’s on a good run of form at the moment, so I ‘encourage’ (if that’s the correct word?) him around the last 300m. Later on a time of 25:22 is confirmed – result! – an MH PB for him by 22 seconds and his quickest parkrun time since 2015 – well done Mark!
After scanning, I wander down the straight helping ensure all the other parkrunners who have finished are still keeping left to the left so as not to block anyone still running. I decide to pick on someone else to ‘encourage’ their finish. From 450m out, Allyson duly creates a 20 second gap from the position she was in – well done Allyson, there’s more in the tank!
As the winds blow in a shower-and-a-half, it’s time to start helping tidy up the kit ready for next week and soon I find myself sat outside the café having breakfast with Mark in the sunshine! We pass the time contemplating how parkrun does amazing things for so many people, before stepping inside for some obligatory cake and check in with Jo and Clive who are finishing off today’s results.
So there we go. Another little Run Report dashed off. There are plenty of gaps in the volunteer roster for the Run Report Writer role – one of the few volunteer roles that can be done whilst also parkrunning the course. If you have a story to share and would like to have a go for this role, just let us know and we’d love to hear from you in future.
For now, well done to all 387 parkrunners and 50 volunteers who all made today happen. Congratulations to Mark and the other 60 of you who recorded PBs today – great stuff. We welcomed 24 first timers, of whom 8 were completely new to parkrun. We hope you return again and again and grow to love parkrun as we all do.
Have a great week everyone.
Well we didn’t have a Run Report Writer for event #201, so here is a little update regarding Market Harborough parkrun photos:
Earlier this year Flickr changed their settings, restricting the number of photos that free accounts can hold. It’s safe to say that the MH parkrun Flickr photos group holds way more than the limit Flickr have imposed!
Therefore parkrun HQ have moved all event teams onto Google Photos. This is a little different in that we are now storing all photos for a particular event in its own Google Photos album and then each time we have photos we can share the link to the new album so parkrunners can browse through and download any photos they wish.
The procedure is a little different for photographers also as someone from the Core Team (usually that week’s RD) will need to set up a new album and share the link with you so you can add the photos directly into the Google Photos album and then we will share the link for everyone.
For the time being, Flickr is still holding all the MH parkrun photos and any photographers with a ‘Pro’ account may be able to add their photos onto Flickr, but we are aware that Flickr may close down or remove all the existing photos at any time.
What about all those old photos I hear you ask?!
Well good news, we have downloaded every photo from Flickr and set up Google Photo albums for all the events where photos were previously uploaded. How do I access these? Well below are all the links that you will need to any of the events up until event #201. The photos from the most recent events have yet to be added, but should be there very soon.
We hope you continue to enjoy the lovely photos taken by our parkrun volunteer photographers and if you need any of them to be taken down, you can just contact us at the email@example.com email address, then we will happily remove any offending photos.
Event #201 – 2 March 2019:
Event #200 – 23 February 2019:
Event #199 – 16 February 2019:
Event #198 – 9 February 2019:
Event #196 – 26 January 2019:
Event #195 – 19 January 2019:
Event #194 – 12 January 2019:
Event #190 – 22 December 2018:
Event #185 – 17 November 2018:
Event #182 – 27 October 2018:
Event #181 – 20 October 2018:
Event #173 – 25 August 2018:
Event #172 – 18 August 2018:
Event #171 – 11 August 2018:
Event #170 – 28 July 2018:
Event #169 – 21 July 2018:
Event #163 – 9 June 2018:
Event #157 – 28 April 2018:
Event #155 – 14 April 2018:
Event #153 – 24 March 2018:
Event #151 – 10 March 2018:
Event #137 – 25 November 2017:
Event #135 – 11 November 2017:
Event #125 – 2 September 2017:
Event #115 – 24 June 2017:
Event #105 – 15 April 2017:
Event #102 – 25 March 2017:
Event #99 – 4 March 2017:
Event #98 – 25 February 2017:
Event #96 – 11 February 2017:
Event #69 – 13 August 2016:
Event #67 – 30 July 2016:
Event #65 – 16 July 2016:
Event #39 – 16 January 2016:
Event #35 – 25 December 2015:
Event #19 – 5 September 2015:
Event #17 – 22 August 2015:
Event #15 – 8 August 2015:
Event #9 – 27 June 2015:
Event #8 – 20 June 2015:
Event #7 – 6 June 2015:
Event #5 – 23 May 2015:
Event #4 – 16 May 2015:
Event #3 – 9 May 2015:
Event #1 – 25 April 2015:
Roger and the Core Team
Run number 200
We’re all raring to go
Don’t start off too quickly
Don’t finish too slow
We listen intently
To the do’s, don’ts and please
Keep left unless overtaking
Dogs kept on short leads
The countdown to signal
We’ll soon start to run
It’s not cold or icy
We’re here to have fun!
We’re into our running
We’re off on our way
We’ll soon reach the finish
And get on with the day
But it’s not always easy
We don’t all fly round
One foot before the other
Keeps hitting the ground
Lap 1 now is over
Just 2 left to go
More runners go past us
We go with the flow
Lots now have finished
Today they have cake
But some still keep going
More steps left to take
And now it’s gone quiet
I feel all alone
Into the last lap
The last km home
But one thing about parkrun
You’re never alone
The marshals, the tail walkers,
They’ll see you get home
In a flash it is over
Just a jog in the park
It’s over till next week
It will all again start
The pacers, the timekeepers
The guides and the boss
Without them it won’t happen
We’d all be so lost
So thank you to everyone
Who helped us today
The 50 runs t-shirt –
Will soon come my way.
A few more to go yet
But I know I’ll be back
To Harborough or Corby
(my passport I’ll pack)
There’s nothing like parkrun
To kickstart your day
And we’ll all keep on running
Our own speeds, our own way
It’s 06:25 and I wake up. My alarm, set for 06:30, hasn’t gone off yet. It takes me a few seconds to work out what day it is. Ah yes, Saturday... parkrun day! Then I remember... today is my first day as Run Director for Market Harborough parkrun. The nerves kick in.
As I get ready, I mentally run through what I have to do, what I have to remember, what to say in the pre-run briefing etc. I feel sick. I feel dizzy. I don’t like this feeling!
Simon helps me carry the two boxes of kit and the speaker downstairs, and load them into my car. The kit is all ready to go. Laptop, radios and barcode scanners are charged. 38 volunteer bibs are washed, dried and folded, paperwork for volunteers is attached to clipboards and a final check ensures the tokens are in order. Turns out being RD is a week-long role!
We leave home at 07:30, and arrive around 5 minutes later. The park is empty. I send Simon to the river to shovel the mud that has built up on the path out of the way, ensuring it’s not slippery for the runners. I can’t be dealing with a runner in the river on my first day as RD! Meanwhile I lay out all of the signs, posts etc. As volunteers and other members of the Core Team arrive I delegate sections of the course for them to set up. All is going to plan.
It’s around 08:30 when most volunteers start to arrive. I tick them off on my list and hand them their relevant equipment and tell the marshals where I’d like them to marshal.
It’s 08:50 now and that means it’s time to head to the start. Simon’s gone on ahead to get the speaker from my car and set it up. Mark approaches me and tells me that it’s his wife, Alex’s 50th run. I make a note and head to the start.
Roger climbs the stepladder first and introduces me. I am only half paying attention, half concentrating on taking deep breaths and telling myself that I just need to follow the script in my hand. People clap and Roger steps down. My hands start shaking. I climb up the stepladder, realising it’s much harder to stand on than I thought. I don’t make it to the top step as I’m worried I’ll fall; luckily I’m 6ft tall!
The next three minutes are a blur. I just remember the barrage of self-conscious thoughts: “I’m talking too quickly”, “I’m taking too long”, “I’m shouting”, “can they all hear me?”, “I hate my voice”, and the worst one: “why does this run brief contain so many damn Rs!” (for those who haven’t noticed, pronouncing Rs is not my strong point!).
3-2-1-parkrun and their off! A wave of relief as the runners disappear around the corner.
The next 18 minutes are fairly relaxed. Everyone is in place for when the first finishers cross the line. I spend most of my time near the funnel, checking that the timekeepers and finish tokens are on track with each other. Then something happens. I still don’t know exactly what, but next check of timekeepers and finish tokens shows that they’re one out from one another. Oops... Don’t panic. Nothing I can do about it now. I’ll deal with it afterwards.
A couple of further issues arise; two people cross the finish line twice. But the funnel managers and finish token volunteers are on the ball and spot this and remedy it quickly and easily. Both people are given a second finish token and we explain that they must scan the first and pop the second in the tub without having it scanned.
Around 10:15 and the last people cross the finish line, followed by the tail walkers. We pack up the rest of the finish and head back to the bowls pavilion. Meanwhile, various volunteers have packed up the rest of the course. We pack everything back into the kit boxes and head to the café. Bev has already set the laptop up for me. Time to process the results.
I plug in the first barcode scanner. Then I see the message on the screen. ‘No OPN records found’. I don’t know what that means, but it certainly doesn’t sound good! Did I accidentally press the reset button on the scanner? If so, that’s 1/3 of the runners who won’t get their results! Bev tells me not to panic (I still do) and I unplug it and try again. Same message. I try another barcode scanner. That one works fine and the results from that one are uploaded. I try scanner number 3. That works fine too. This worries me even more because it tells me it’s the scanner, not the cable or laptop. I plug scanner number 1 back in and wait... Bev then says “if this doesn’t work I don’t know what to do”. Whaaaat??? I need you to tell me that this is a common issue that you have a remedy for! We both wait, nervous energy floating between us. Then... 202 records uploaded. Yes! Not sure what the issue was and frankly I don’t care. It’s working. Phew!
I plug in and upload the stopwatch data. I then manually enter those whose barcodes wouldn’t scan. I remove the second result of those who crossed the line twice. I manage to work out that the discrepancy between the timekeepers and finish tokens occurred between runners 96 and 148. But that’s a fairly wide window. Not entirely sure what to do about this, so I ask Roger to help out. We work out what to do to fix this, and the results are good to go. I then finalise the volunteer roster, adding in those who turned up in the day to support, to ensure they get their volunteer credit and thank you email.
I then hand the kit over to Nicola, who is RD this week, and do a final Facebook post for the week. Finally, I can relax! Overall it’s gone pretty well. Everyone is alive, and got their results. The support from The Core Team and the runners/volunteers was great! In a weird way, despite the stress and anxiety, I’m quite looking forward to my next stint as RD!