I am not 'a runner'. Those ' 's are important. I mean, I run (and occasionally enjoy it) but I am not 'a runner'. Being 'a runner' means taking it seriously; means wanting to get PBs and Strava KOMs (whatever they are); means taking care about what you eat (eeurggh).
I am, though, very proud to be a parkrunner. parkrun is the opposite of 'running'. It exists to give an opportunity to people to run, walk or run/walk 5km for free, and without any pressure. Everyone is welcome, and everyone is welcomed. Everyone is free to take part in whatever way they want.
I mention this at the beginning of this week's report because the same philosophy runs through the 'Love Running Tuesday Nighters' running group, which is facilitated by Jo and Simon Randall. The LRTNs took over parkrun this week, and filled (almost) all of the volunteer slots. In particular, Jo gave the first-timers briefing, and Simon was the Run Director.
The LRTNs running group meet in the car park by the helipad at St Mary's Hospital at 6pm every Tuesday. After an initial briefing by Jo, the group splits into three. The beginners' group runs for about 1.5 miles; the intermediate group covers around 3 to 3.5 miles and the advanced group runs a course of around 4.5 miles. The courses change regularly and are always interesting and fun. The running group, like parkrun, welcomes everyone, no matter how fast or slow.
If you fancy running with a friendly, supportive social running group, just go along on a Tuesday evening. It is completely free and you don't need to book in advance. You will see lots of fellow parkrunners there!
Medina IOW parkrun (on tour) number 413 was run under dry skies (thank goodness). There must have been a few people nursing sore heads from the first night of the Isle of Wight Festival because numbers were a little down on the usual. I hope, though, that the 234 runners and walkers found that parkrun was an ideal way to get ready for another massive music-and-whatever-else session which lasted the rest of the weekend. I only hope that everyone walked on tiptoe whenever they crossed the usual parkrun course - we want to get back home before November.
As always, the biggest and loudest "thank you"s go to our 34 volunteers, without whom parkrun simply could not take place. Each one of them performed brilliantly this weekend - parkrun went off without a single hitch. Even the stopwatches and tokens matched!
We had 6 people taking part this week who are brand new to parkrun. Welcome to the family Zoe McAndrew, Grace Eaglen, Ella Cooke, Abby Godfrey, Isabella Spry and Melody Allman.
I am not sure how anyone achieves it on our undulating course by the seaside, but 16 people managed to get a PB this week - well done to each of them.
A few people earned some bling this week. Congratulations to the t-shirt-earners Nicholas Belfitt (50 runs) and Phil Brown and Mark Roberts (100). Mark and his mum (whose birthday it was) were given a little present from Joy to mark the occasion. Another landmark (which we are not allowed to mention) was that Dave Slack ran his 300th run. Please don't tell him that I told you. Dave is an island parkrun stalwart - he is one of your regular course setters-up. If the signs marking the course are pointing in the right direction, that is because of him. This week, he even needed to make a last-minute dash at about 8.45am to re-unlock the gate at the foot of Tourette's Hill because an overzealous Island Roads employee had locked it!
Next Saturday, Appley Day takes place in Appley Park after our run. The organisers have kindly agreed to fit their setting-up around our run, so please feel free to hang around after the run to take part in the festivities.
Well done to everyone who took part today. It was a pleasure to watch you all run. See you all next week, back at Appley.