In the first of two special editions of parkrun to coincide with the annual Marlborough Mop Fair, we also celebrated the 15th anniversary of the very first parkrun.
Though, in actual fact, on the 4th October 2004 there was no “parkrun” as such. On that now historic morning, Paul Sinton-Hewitt hosted the inaugural Bushy Park Time Trial.
Initially, his vision was a free, weekly, timed event aimed at established club runners as an extra race to aid training for marathons, half marathons and 10k events.
13 runners gathered at Bushy Park in Teddington that morning. On the same weekend one year later, the number was up to 96, then 378 the year after that.
The continued growth of the event led to new events and once the format was rebranded as ‘parkrun’ (always with a lower case p) the series of running events became a movement.
It opened up to people of all walks of life, all shapes and sizes and all abilities. The name change underpinned the change of focus from competition to inclusivity.
What started out as a single event with 13 runners has grown into a staggering 664 events in the UK alone with 2,197,983 having run at least one parkrun. The movement continues to grow at a rapid rate and shows no sign of slowing down (pun totally intended).
So I think we can all agree that on this 15th birthday event for parkrun, we can all send a massive thank you to Paul Sinton-Hewitt for creating something which now means so much to so many of us.
In a world full of ever-expanding technology and new inventions, Paul created something which really has changed the world for the better. People are healthier, happier, making new friends and have a reason to look forward to getting out of bed early on a weekend because of parkrun. It is hard to imagine life without it now!
This weekend will go down in Marlborough Common parkrun history as the first time we used a brand new course. With the wonderful Mop Fair in town, we are sharing the common for a fortnight. For this to happen, the core team devised a brand new, modified route. The new route having a brand new start and finish section, with the bulk of the 5km being made of 3 laps of the upper common (up and down the hill).
After last weeks wet and windy affair, this morning we were blessed with the perfect running conditions. Despite the changes to the course, the event ran like clockwork as normal. Carpark marshals directed runners and walkers to a the car parking area and everybody converged at the usual spot on the field. Todays run director Jeremy gave the first timers briefing to 23 first timers at the common. 7 people chose Marlborough to run their very first parkrun ever today. A huge congratulations to you all and we hope you enjoyed it and that this is the beginning of a brilliant parkrun journey for you.
After the briefing, everyone walked over to a new starting point. There, Jeremy stood on a slight bank over the crowd for the run briefing. After a description of the modified route and the routine countdown from 3, off everybody went! Despite the additional climb of the dreaded hill, everybody performed brilliantly. The marshals were on hand to ensure everyone followed the route correctly and everybody got to the finish line.
Todays event featured:
23 First timers
14 New PBs
12 Clubs represented
Yes, a rhinoceros was let loose on the common today and ran the course in 37 mins! This of course was not a real rhino. Chris Stephens donned an absolutely fantastic rhino costume to raise awareness for SaveTheRhino. So a massive well done to Chris for promoting a great cause, a brilliant effort to run in that suit and making everyone smile this morning.
Next weekend we will once again be sharing with the Mop Fair, so if you enjoyed the modified course you are of course more than welcome to come again. We would also love to welcome people to help volunteer with us.
If you are interested in volunteering please sign up to receive our volunteer emails. This is the easiest way for you to stay up to date on where help is needed, and really helps us to fill the roster in plenty of time before so we can be certain we are fully prepared each week. You can do this by opening a recent parkrun newsletter or results email and clicking on 'manage my profile', then 'email options', then select the events you'd like to hear from and click 'save opt-in events list'. You will then receive regular emails from those events letting you know all about their volunteering opportunities. You can also simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you volunteer 25 times you will receive the purple V25 club milestone t-shirt.
This weeks volunteers were:
Alison LEIGHFIELD • Angela FRY • Cameron FRASER • Caroline HARVEY • Catherine MURPHY • Cathryn RAMSDEN • Charlie FRY • Clare KELLAR • Claudia ARGENT • Darren NEWMAN • Deborah CLARKE • Eddy BAMBER • Fiona HADDRELL • Fiona RUBY • Fiona WYCHERLEY • Isabel ABRAHALL • Janet WHITING • Jeremy FOOT • John BLUNDEN • Kate PHILP • Mary HEATH • Michael REYNOLDS • Pauline WOODHALL • Pete MOODY • Rachel WATSON • William SANDISON
Have a great weekend everyone, hope to see you all again soon!