Mass Migration to Marple

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This weekend saw multiple parkruns cancelled across the UK as snow and ice brought chaos to many a parkrunner's Saturday morning routine. Luckily we have teams of volunteers dedicated enough to rise from their beds in sub zero temperatures so to all those wonderful people a HUGE thank you for sacrificing your potential lie-in and making sure we all stayed safe.

Marple was no different as James Kemp and the team were out at the crack of dawn
assessing the course to be sure that we were good to be bounding through the snow on
a crisp February morning. I actually visited two parkruns on Saturday as I dropped my
girlfriend at Cheadle Hulme (a parkrun she hadn’t done) and I continued on to join you
lovely lot at Marple! Just to clarify we didn’t do this because we don’t like running
together, or were sick of looking at each other after an hour in the car, but rather to add
to our list of North West parkruns completed and move one step closer to Regionnaire
For the uninitiated a regionnaire is someone who has completed all the parkruns in a
particular region. For me this was 50/63 on the North West Region (and also my 10th
Run Report :-) )

On arrival I had my doubts as to my wisdom in leaving the house that morning. My word
it was cold! I took my time getting from the car park down to the start (I am an utter
wuss when it comes to ice and/or downhills!) and having successfully arrived at the start
line was greeted by our Run Director for the day, John Bailey. As I assumed there was expected to be deluge of tourists at Marple and in that regard there was certainly no disappointment.

A total of 20 people (including myself) were travelling from elsewhere to Marple to make
they got their fix of parkrun for the first week in February with two people braving the
freezing conditions to complete their first parkrun. A MASSIVE WELL DONE TO YOU

After babbling on about my own achievements (both on Saturday morning and as I write
this report) it is important that I mention the epic achievements of some of you. In
particular we had Andrew Bridson completing his 100th parkrun and earning the iconic
black t-shirt on a day that would have kept most people at home! Strangely we had also
both been at Macclesfield the week before! Just goes to prove that no matter where you
go in the parkrun world you’re almost guaranteed to see a familiar face. Heck even if
you don’t see any familiar faces you’re still bound to see some friendly ones and Marple
certainly had these in spades!
On that note, while not an official milestone James Kemp was also at Marple completing
his 400th run. THAT'S NEARLY 8 YEARS WORTH OF PARKRUN! James we salute
you! Only another two years to the big 500!!!

Before getting going we had a first timers brief with one such friendly gentleman who informed us we would be completing two laps of the beautiful snow covered park which would involve a good combination of grass, tarmac and trail.

Having been briefed on the course it was our Run Director's turn to deliver the
full run brief and there was one key message to take away. This was NOT a day for
PBs! This was a day to get round and just enjoy being out and about. Also of course we
had to thank our wonderful volunteers before setting off (though trust me they deserved
every thank you they got on the two laps of the park!)

Starting out across the field toward one we headed along parallel with Marple's very
own parkrun tree and down a slight incline . Carrying on along the grass we started to
head around the field underneath taking in the beautiful whited out scenery before
spotting our first hi-viz hero who sent us off along a slightly trailish path toward the
centre of the field and toward another amazing marshal who turned us back onto the
field and some slightly more sure-footing on the grass. We then headed over a bridge
and out onto the second field of parkrun. I almost couldn’t believe we were only at the
1k mark so clearly I had been spending too much time admiring the beauty of Marple!


Soon we took another turn and were turning alongside the river complete with cordons to avoid anyone taking an early bath during parkrun. Of course the marshals were also there to cheer us on and get us round the hairpin which was to come! (I discovered later that this was actually something to do with lock keeping! Let it not be said that parkrun is not stimulating for both body and mind!)

A little bit further along and having gone over a slight up and down which certainly felt
runnable with the momentum we had built despite the slippery conditions and after a
little bit more trail we could see the finish line not far away! Waiting there were the
Marple parkrun funnel team still clapping and cheering everyone like the true legends they are.
Honestly to stand around while watching other people keep warm in potentially sub zero
temperatures is a truly LEGENDARY undertaking.
After a quick wave hello we set off to do it all again before heading back to these
freezing heroes to finish. I normally try and aim at 25 minutes but having taken the Run
Director's advice and to avoid a broken leg I finished with 26:19 and a definite smile on
my face. Also finishing with smiles on their faces will have been the phenomenal 16
parkrunners who managed to achieve PBs on this frozen February morning! JUST

However, every single person completing Marple this week should have been doing so
with a smile. We are so lucky to be able to run in beautiful places just like yours even
when Mother nature does her best to disrupt our usual Saturday morning routine!
Thanks again for having me guys and I will hopefully see you all again soon.

Ben Smithers