8 February 2020 – Medina IOW parkrun number 448

Before I talk about today, just a quick reminder that because of the impending storm, Junior parkrun for tomorrow (9.2.20) has been cancelled, to keep everyone safe. We do not want any of our juniors blown into the river!
In contrast to tomorrow’s forecast Storm Ciara, we were blessed with a sunny, calm morning for Medina parkrun #448. We welcomed 375 runners, many of whom were sporting colourful ‘Wacky’ socks (of course, other brands are available!) Our indomitable Volunteer Co-ordinator, Joy, came up with the idea last year, and it looks set to become a fun annual colour-fest! Can you spot yours in Peter’s picture? There are more photos on the facebook page too.

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Joy and the Knit-and-Natterers were also responsible for the Valentine’s themed yarnbombing along the riverside path. I was running just behind two young girls (together with their responsible adult of course) who were so delighted with the pretty surprise! I’m so glad I heard their exclamations of glee.

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Many thanks to the volunteers, without whom we wouldn’t have been able to run. This week was one of those pesky weeks when Matt (Joy’s co co-ordinator) was having to make pleas for key volunteers, including Timekeeper, late on in the week. Next week the roster has been filled already by members of the Love Running Tuesday Nighters group, who are taking over for the week, so that will give Matt and Joy one less headache. However, there are plenty of spaces left in the future roster for the week after and beyond, so please, if you know it’s about time you did a stint, get yourself signed up in good time. You can do this by emailing medinahelpers@parkrun.com , or by posting a message on the facebook page, tagging Joy Furmidge and Matt Jacobs to make sure they see it.
I shall now hand over to Neil for his rundown of the stats from today and his thoughts on January participation.
Happy Running! Liz XX

Medina parkrun 448! Which means about this time next year we will be celebrating our 500th event! I was chatting to our Event Director John about this last week, and after last year’s 487 at our 400th event we were discussing 500+ at our 500th and the logistics around that. However this author feels this may be reached before then, more of that to follow.

First the stats ……..

375 participants completed the 5km course this morning, slightly up on last week. First across the line was an unknown runner, in an unknown time (I believe this is a change in parkrun results as previously times were recorded against unknown runners). Therefore first male was Redhill visitor Ian Hales (18:44 & top age grade of 77.49%) with Mark Walkey second (19:09) and Wight Tri’s Tom George in third (19:32). Leela Dilkes-Hoffman was first lady (21:45) followed by Claire Grace (22:49) and Hanna Brown close behind (22:55). There were 50 PBs! with Karen Holden (52 runs), Sheila Cordery (22) and Clive Bishop (20) those who achieved this having taken part in 20 parkruns or over.

Following on from Ian’s report a few weeks ago I thought I would have a closer look at January parkrun numbers since as he mentioned we reached 400 in January for the first time this year.

Looking at the participation statistics over the last 6 years there is a common trend for New Year parkrun participation. From event 1 to 4 each year it grows steadily and then drops off on week 5!

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The same profile has occurred in the last 6 years with the exception of week 3 in 2018. According to the event report for that day ‘the weather wasn’t too bad, it was a little drizzly’. There was Ryde Harriers Cross Country the next day as well. I’m not a statistician but feel this is a fairly strong trend.

Therefore what is the reason? With regards to RED January I’ve only been aware of this at parkrun over the last 2/3 years so I don’t think this is the cause. To be honest I’m not sure, with New Year resolutions etc. you would think it would peak at week 1 of the year and then drop off. Perhaps it is due to the fact that New Year first-timers are more likely to come back as part of the New Year exercise regime and therefore we get less of a drop-off in first timer participation – until week 5? Weather must be a factor as well. Any other ideas welcome.

Our usual peaks in participation are Easter and late August. In four of the last five years our Easter Saturday participation has been higher than the peak reached in January. Last year it was 30% higher and if there was only a 20% increase this Easter the figure 11.04.2020 will be 500+ ….. you read it here first (and the watches only record 495 finishers!).

As a final note in 3 weeks’ time you are able to take part in the FIRST parkrun to be held on February 29th. Your next opportunity will be in 2048 when I will be 78 years young!

Have a great weekend and batten down the hatches for tomorrow.

Neil