1 February 2020 – Medina IOW parkrun number 447

View from the Rear

Before we begin, may I remind my faithful readers that I was in the Run Reporter’s chair last year at this very weekend and noted that it was then Groundhog Day.  This year GD is tomorrow on Feb 2nd but for the sake of simplicity just remember this:

Groundhog Day is celebrated in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. 

The religious holiday of Candlemas Day started on the day when Christians would take their candles to the church to have them blessed. This, they felt, would bring blessings to their household for the remaining winter. As time rolled on the day evolved into another form. The following English folk song highlights the transition to weather prognostication.

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.

This “interpretation” of Candlemas Day became the norm for most of Europe. However, there is no mention of an animal of any kind in the song. It wasn't until this traditional belief was introduced to Germany that an animal was introduced into the lore, hence another evolution of February 2nd. If, according to German lore, the hedgehog saw his shadow on Candlemas Day there would be a “Second Winter” or 6 more weeks of bad weather. As German settlers went to what is now the United States, so too went their traditions and folklore. With the absence of hedgehogs in the United States, a groundhog was chosen. This led to yet another evolution in the legend and to present day Punxsutawney. If groundhog Phil sees his shadow on February 2nd, winter will continue, it is reputed.  If the shadow is missing, then winter is surely over.  (Phil became famous globally from the movie Groundhog Day where time stood still and the day continually repeated itself.                                       

Back here in Newport, the weather turned out sunny and tomorrow looks likewise so winter may not decide to go away!

Now that REDJanuary has finished, let’s hope that parkrun’s swelled numbers continue to thrive and prosper throughout the coming year.  Today we saw 353 finishers pass through the funnel. Well done to all achieving a finish. First three Gents were First Timer Alex Wall-Clarke in 17m:45s;  JM11-14 Archie Pearson in 18m:37s in second place and James Windley lying in 5th position overall in 19m:54s.  An Unknown filled the overall 3rd place, followed by the First Lady (and 1st Timer) Sarah Kingston in overall 4th place  in 19m:23s.  Next two Ladies were JW11-14 Naomi Holdsworth in 22m:22s at overall 27th place, followed by Grace Coc in the 35th slot overall in 22m:54s.  The outstanding % age grade title went to none other than Archie Pearson with a blistering 82.18%. Well done. We must keep a watchful eye out for these juniors, they are potentially future elite athletes.

Milestone events owned up to were, 50 parkruns for Ross Andrew, Kieran Leahy and Neil Ferguson. A certain old geezer got his 250 club place as well but sadly he would have gained it last week but having forgotten his barcode a few weeks earlier, his punishment was having to hang on a little longer.  Serves him right! (DNFYB Peeps)  

To all our real First Timers today a big thank you for taking your first steps along your parkrun journey, Your new family welcomes you with open arms.  To see your full details look at the Results page and click on the top right-hand box labelled Compact then click on the dropdown sectioned labelled Detailed and all will be revealed.  Thanks, too, to all of our visitors today – some First Timers to Medina, some old friends.  And of course many thanks to all of today’s Volunteers and to our brave new Run Director Benjamin Van der Helstraete who confidently did his bit towards getting his DofE Award.

Remember that parkrun depends entirely of the efforts of all our Volunteers both visible around the course or hiding out of sight behind the scenes.  If all appeared to go smoothly today, why not consider giving the occasional hand in volunteering just three times a year? It truly is fun and you will start to earn points towards a magical purple T- shirt as a parkrun thankyou.

Finally, a little song for you in the style of The Proclaimers

“I would run 500 miles, and I would walk two fifty more,

Going round our parkrun course

Braving winds of hurricane force,

In Seaclose Park or along Ryde's shore

My legs are fine, my feet don't hurt,

The things we do for a green T-shirt!

And we all can run 500 miles, and we all can go two fifty more,

So you should love your parkrun days

Let's do it, Peeps, as JV says!”

Bye for now -  JV