Melton Mowbray parkrun is cancelled on 30 May 2020: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Melton Mowbray Virtual parkrun #10 – junior parkrun takeover


Guys - this is a very important point for this week. It was brought to our attention that Mark Weston has been mentioned in 2 consecutive run briefs. We cannot let this go to his head, so in this run brief there is an extra concerted effort to not mention him at all in this one.

The run brief starts below: ______________________________________________________________________

A couple of things to pick up on this week. At least once a year, we have an actual kids takeover at Melton Mowbray parkrun where we have all of the volunteer roles covered by kids - from time-keeping and barcode scanning all the way through to performing the run brief and marshmallows (marshals). This usually takes place on the last weekend of the summer holidays, but this is Lockdown Britain and we no-longer know when the school holidays are, so today's run was a takeover by our amazing junior event.

The junior event is typically held on Sundays at the Redwood end of Melton Country park at 9am and is open to athletes aged 4 - 14. For this, they would need to register once and get a barcode (the exact same process we do to register for the 5k events).

As it is a junior takeover this week, and there are safeguarding rules around videoing minors, we had our junior parkrun Event Director, Andy Nicholls as our Run Director this morning. A very good run brief that even included a warm up and some rather impressive jumping squats!

In the usual spirit of kids doing volunteer roles, Andy had his daughter holding the camera for him. Having taught her, I can confirm that she is a far more capable and competant athlete and mathematician than she is a camerawoman! Thank you anyway, Zoe (or Giggles the camerawoman as Mark Ashmore described her)!

192 Runners this week with a rather impressive 42 PBs. In our 10 weeks of doing Virtual events, this represents our lowest PB:Runner ratio/percentage (22% - our previous lowest was 27%) however, this is easily explained by todays weather! The breezy nature of today's outdoors was mentioned more than anything else in the results submissions. From the windy conditions, we can infer two main points:

  1. Why the PB rate was so low, and
  2. Which direction 42 runners were mainly running in!

Another Virtual Groundhog Day badge earned by Sarah Wappatt who ran 26:31 on two consecutive events!

Most random observation of the day comes from Week 8 RD, Dan Moult who pointed out how privileged we all are to run today on World Turtle Day!

Worst joke of the day comes from Week 8 RD, Dan Moult who dedicated is run to "Michelle"!

Strava Art kudos to Zoe Flintoft who's cursive "PARKRUN" had to be zoomed in to see it as anything other than a "splodge" (her words), and to Elizabeth Gray whose Strava Art attempt was so bad that Strava wouldn't even show it (again, her words)!

With regards to volunteers, Andy and Zoe were superb this morning, and Nina Snowling managed to (again) do a mid-run-marshal as part of her own run - this time marshaling Stuart Barratt round on his Virtual debut as he actually passed the top of Nina's Hill!

Laura Wade tried to claim a place as our tail-walker in 1:04:08, but she left out Charlotte Coltman who listed herself as a "potential tailwalker" in 1:06:50. However, Charlotte Coltman had not seen in Amelia Fisher who also claimed to be our tail walker in 1:07:25.

Zoe Heath quietens them all as she made sure everyone was back well and safe in 1:09:02! (I genuinely did not foresee 10 weeks ago that people would actually be competing to be our tail-walker [a role that literally cannot exist for real in this format])

A final note must be made about the digital elephant in the room. After the radio interview the other week, BBC Radio Leicester asked if they could do a video feature for their online presence. Well, it made its premiere this morning at 8.01am! If you have not had chance to see it then it can be found on the following link:

Huge thanks for the production of this must go to Melton Mowbray parkrunner Harris Millar who put it all together, and massive plaudits for all of our self-filming stars - Martin and Carl Taylor-Beeby, Nina Snowling, Andy, Kristy and Zoe Nicholls, Sharon and Rob Mee, Grant Bridgeman, Kerstin Pepper (Perrigo parkrun ED), Dan Moult, Andrew Wrath, and Mark Weston (bugger! nearly made a full report without him!!!! $@!+)




Virtual parkrun Week 9 – 16.05.2020

What a great day for running. Nice and dry without being overbearingly hot. The whole purpose behind these Virtual events is to keep the conversation going, and you guys have given us so much to talk about today.

Firstly, a huge thank you to this morning's Run Director, Darren Barratt. Darren is our event ambassador (a role he took on from around October/November last year). He has been a huge supporter of the Virtual series so it was so heart-warming to hear his run brief start with the words:

"Welcome to the Rutland... err... Melton Mowbray Virtual parkrun" (Cheers boss!)

We had 13 first timers and 55 PBs so big welcomes and congratulations to all concerned there. Most of the PBs were huge too! I don't think there were many at all that were just by a few seconds (I missed out on my buggy PB by 1 whole second!!!).

Two runners and their stories that have already been mentioned in separate Facebook posts are Max Leah who ran a PB on board the flight deck of the QE2 as it sailed, and Joe Allen who, instead of running 5k, ran a full marathon to raise money for the NHS. If anyone would like to sponsor Joe, his JustGiving page has been shared in our Facebook posts, and it will be repeated again at the end of this run report (just under the Results Link).

Mike Freeman completed his first 5k since having a hip replacement. Welcome back Mike and well done on your recovery.

Last week's PB hero Alex Bridgeman had to concede defeat as his time was beaten by Dad, Grant (who was probably still feeling spurred on by his pre-run feline encounter)

Ben Pickard had to have "a little sit down in the kitchen" after his run, while wife Laura ran back at the country park again for the first time since lockdown.

We had three Groundhog Day Virtual badge winners. On the Running Challenges extension for Chrome, parkrunners can get badges for completing certain goals/challenges - some are more easily controlled than others. One of them is the Groundhog Day badge where people need to run the exact same time at the exact same course on consecutive events. This week's unofficial admissions to the Virtual version of this club are Cathy Jones, Gwyn Jones, and Mark Tyler! Feel free to draw a circle with a digital alarm clock in it and stick it in your front windows just next to those rainbows.

We had quite a few of our PBs recorded by people who are able to make comparisons over set times. Chris Genes (who has said that these Virtual parkruns give him a reason to push the pace instead of being a one-pace runner) ran his fastes 5k in a year, while Darren Glover reportedly ran his fastest 5k in 2 years, and Simon Weston identified his as "a little bit better than last week"

Last week's lost boy Daniel Moult ran his Vp this morning in consolation for not being at the Eurovision Song Contest.

Eliza Chanin is seeing the eventual return of parkrun as being potentially more challenging, as her usual Guardians of the Galaxy playlist hit the flattest part of her run whereas it would normally be where she starts the ascent on the hill for the second time.

Ian Wells reportedly ran the same course for the last 3 events, but today's Garmin file reported it as shorter - weirdly, running a shorter course also gave him a PB. Not suspicious at all...

John Kerr has promised us all Virtual cake for his actual birthday (at a real parkrun, I would be enforcing a sing-song... Anyone know if John is on Zoom???)

Mark Weston managed to dodge golf balls being fired at him as the world gets busier again.

Flynn the dog was held back today. He wanted to run off on his own but is only 10 so under parkrun rules isn't able to. Instead he had to walk because his human has picked up an injury. Hope you recover soon, Trevor!

Paul Kerr has set a new male event record with a superb time of 18:17!!!

Zoe Flintoft posted her result with the question, "Have I succeeded as a novice tail walker?" The answer to that, is yes Zoe. Thank you for getting us all round safely today!

Finally, I am sure you will join me in sending the very best wishes to Anne Craddock. Anne has been a regular at these Virtual events as well as being an experienced Run Director at the real life event. Having realised that her result was missing on my spreadsheet, I did check quickly on Strava just to see if it was my error. Anne went out for her run today and fell ending up in Grantham A&E. She is OK but has a nasty ankle sprain. Get well soon Anne.


Joe Allen's Just giving page is available here


Virtual parkrun #8 – 09.05.2020

Not sure if anyone noticed, but it was a bit warm out there! The heat did have an impact on both our overall numbers and the performances of those who did take part.

Last week we had an overall Virtual attendance record of 205 runners, this week we dropped to a still respectable 176 (including 9 first timers - a big welcome to you all).

Our PB totals have been creeping up week on week with an impressive 89 runners recording Personal Best times last week, but this week it dropped to 48 (still not to be sniffed at!)

A shout out to the Bridgeman family where Grant was pleased and proud to record a new personal best which was helped by his new "Melton Mowbray Virtual parkrun" apricot t-shirt and home-made battenburg(??!!!) - a feat which was matched by wife Louise. Grant then had the privilege of watching both his sons achieve a PB too - one of them beating his time by 21 seconds! Don't you just love it when family members find a rivalry???

We have had our second QE2 Flight Deck parkrun PB from Max Leah, another South African PB from Peter Shirtcliffe, and our resident tail-walker, Charlotte Coltman, took a huge 6 minutes from her best time in her first failure to get everyone around safely!

Og Ster was named and shamed for his tail-walking fail last week so he made sure he made amends this week as he works his way back from injury. Mark Weston had claimed to be our tailwalker this week, but our first 11 finishers could have finished their parkruns before the tailwalker if they had started when Mark crossed the finish line.

As ever, a huge thank you to our flamboyant Run Director, Dan Moult. The only person who loves a spreadsheet more than I do (Dan, if you're reading this, could you post a zoomed out screenshot of your parkrun spreadsheet - people need to see this thing of wonder!!) He has toured to 80 different parkrun venues, so with the theme of today's brief, is it fair to call him a Lost Boy?

I had indeed intended on touring with him to Peter Pan parkrun in Hull this morning. Afterall, I still need a P for my Alphabet challenge after Peterborough changed its name! It was Dan who told me that it would mark J. M. Barrie's 160th birthday (I thought he was only 150!?)

We will have another guest RD next week and I can't even give you a teaser line here (like I did last week) as I have no idea what they are going to say/do.

Until next week...




Virtual parkrun 02.05.2020 – Event #7

Another amazing day of Virtual parkrunning with quite a bit to write about today. We had a record attendance of 206 runners.

I posted last week about the ever-increasing number of PBs with 75 last week, well today we had 88. We knew that was happening by following the trend set over previous weeks. So this week's report will mention a few of them, but PBs are not the focus this time.

The couple of PBs that I would like to shout about are Caroline Wrath who has just ran her fastest ever 5k, having just finished the C25k program in March, James Michael who also ran his fastest ever 5k today, and 9 year old Dan Bridgeman who took over 2 minutes from his PB to run a 25:36.

This week it is mainly about tourists. The wonderful world of parkrun tourism has given us the most to discuss this week. Let us start with saying a huge "Thank You" to this morning's Run Director, and PB-chasing neighbour-stalker, Andrea Crellin.

I first met Andrea when she delivered a genuinely brilliant First Timers Brief down in Kettering on New Year's Day. After our first Virtual Event at the end of March, Andrea got in touch with us with the hope of maybe copying the format at Kettering. Having realised who it was I was talking to, I wasted very little time in asking her to guest RD for us - especially after finding out that the second week of lockdown was supposed to be her first actual RD event at Kettering. She was gutted at losing this opportunity, so she snapped up the invitation.

Upon assigning Facebook Permissions to her on Friday evening, I came to realise that McFly actually wrote their hit Comic Relief single about her! Something which she more or less confirmed in her megalomaniac run brief this morning ("Doris Johnson" was my favourite comment - thank you David Harknett!).

In all seriousness, Andrea had a fantastic reception from Melton parkrunners and is a very welcome addition to the Virtual event team. She also managed to do a very rare RD/PB combination! I can strongly recommend visiting Kettering parkrun when we are all back up and running - it's a lovely event that is only around an hour away from us!

Andrea brought with her some of her Kettering buddies to the event this week, and Natasha Martin ran an excellent 18:49 to take the female record title (only 25 seconds away from the actual Melton parkrun record which has stood for 5 years!)

Peter Shirtcliffe has been with us for 6 of the 7 Virtual events so far. He used to be a Melton parkrunner, but now lives in South Africa where they have had total lockdown for the duration of our Virtual event. Each one of Peter's submissions to us has involved 70+ laps of his own house/garden. Well, this week they had their lockdown conditions downgraded to a level 4 (South African categorisation) which allows them to leave their properties between 6am and 9am. This enabled him to go for an actual 5k run and take a whopping 4m33s from his Personal Best time with us.

Max Leah was one of our esteemed chocalate egg winners on Easter Saturday, and he told us last week that he would not be able to run any more with us as he was being deployed. Well, today he still managed to join us as a true tourist. He also ran a PB, but his Global Positioning had him down as running 5.97km - this may be due to the fact that his 5k was 8 laps of Queen Elizabeth's flight deck as it sailed!!!!

As a real-life event, and a Virtual Event, we get by on the fantastic good-will of our volunteers. One of the most important roles in any parkrun is that of tail-walker. The role of the tail-walker is essentially to finish behind the last parkrunner, and make sure everyone gets back safely. Og Ster put his name forward as this week's tail walker, but carelessly finished with 3 people behind him, while Martin Taylor-Beeby finished 12 places in front of Og and also tried to claim the tail walker's spot. Again, the plaudits for making sure we all got back ok go to Charlotte Coltman.

Next week we will have another mystery guest RD who is sure to get you Hooked.




Virtual parkrun #6 – 25.04.2020

We are 6 weeks in and the PBs are STILL ramping up!

Week 2: 39 PBs

Week 3: 57 PBs

Week 4: 61 PBs

Week 5: 63 PBs

Week 6: 75 (SEVENTY FIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!) PBs

Not sure what you are all doing, but it's working! A massive welcome to all of our 31 First Timers (including my parents from Donegal, Republic of Ireland)!

Today, Emily Hollis set the new Female Virtual parkrun record in a time of 20.24. The female course record for the actual event is 18.24 and was set by Chloe Richardson EXACTLY 5 years ago, TODAY! April 25th is obviously a good day for the female runners (I've not worked out the percentage share of PBs by gender...)

As ever, some results may be different to the times submitted on Strava posts. This is down to adjustments being made where people have ran slightly/massively over 5k (3.1 miles), and have been done using average pace for the whole run.

Thank you all so much for making this event what it is. It truly is keeping the spirit of parkrun going during these strange and difficult times. So many people are messaging to say that it is giving them focus and meaning each week, and that was always the intention. As a thank you for your kind words, I've included some extra stats at the end of the results!

We would also like to say a huge welcome to the Virtual parkrun world to our "neighbours" at Perrigo parkrun in Washington State who are starting their first virtual run today. Hopefully they will see the same effect on the community that we have here.

Look after yourselves, and your families. We will return.



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