Another week has come and gone and we are still no nearer to knowing when we will be back at parkrun for real. Fortunately, we have our Virtual existence that new people are finding each week (hello to our 6 first timers - including Pia Burkal who had a "nice run in the sunshine" as she ran around Copenhagen!!!), and I am constantly receiving messages and emails from other events around the country and world asking about the intricacies of how to set up their own virtual event. Today's messages came from North Wales and the Republic of Ireland (watch this space on those ones), and we have the honour of welcoming Henley Wood parkrun, Oswestry to our virtual model!
Henley Wood officially counts for anyone wanting to complete the compass club badge on Running Challenges due to its name containing the village name too - OsWESTry.
Another First Timer to quickly mention was parkrun debutant Jackie Shah. Jackie has never run a parkrun in Virtual or Actual form. She is from Marple and I only have two facts about Marple.
- Their running club's strips resemble Dennis the Menace jumpers
- The Global Operations Manager for parkrun UK, James Kemp, is from Marple, and when he visited Melton (Equinox weekend 2 years ago) he described it as "the perfect event" (smug!!! (me, not him))
Our Run Director today is on the core team at Bestwood Village parkrun, and his very professional image (nice that someone made an effort for us) made him look like a trustworthy sort. And the pride with which he spoke of his own event actually seemed to sell it to us all fairly well. We would be forgiven for finding him so convincing that we would no longer be put off by the nickname of Beastwood! This guy who shall remain nameless in the interest of balance, did such a good job of making Bestwood sound idylic that he could easily secure a job on the North Korean tourist board (paraphrased quote from another of today's runners).
I do really want to say a big thank you to today's RD but it has become a running joke that he has been mentioned too many times in our run reports, and so he shall simply be referred to as the brother of Mr Nina (who today thought his brother being RD would mean he would get away with only running 4.96km)! Seriously though, when this is all done with and we are parkrunning for real once more, do visit Bestwood. It is a tough run but beautiful!
The unpredictable weather had an expected impact upon our field of runners today and a modest, but still impressive 170 of you ran, jogged and walked around courses of your own design and choosing. Even with the lower numbers we still managed an impressive 39 PBs (23% of the field).
With so many achieving new best times including Mike Brighty for the 8th week on the trot, and Andrea Crellin who is still eyeing up that World Record attempt, I think it is also important to give a shout out to the nearly-ones. David Brook and Joanna Davis both painfully equalled their PBs from previous weeks!! (Best not mention Tracey Unwin who was 1 whole second away from her PB!) David Harknett got a PB of a different kind by actually submitting his result before the 8pm deadline, and Ian Wells also managed to remember to post his results at all!
It is with sadness that we have to announce the impending departure of Lee Harley-Hotchkiss. Last week he got under 22 minutes as a great PB. Just 7 days later he has got his time under 21 minutes - and so he is now announcing his retirement (shall we tell him that there are other numbers?)
Finally on the subject of records, is it all just a little bit of history repeated? In February 2015, on our 5th event, Jason Barton broke the course record that was shared between two runners. He held on to this course record for just a single week. Last week, JB and Paul Kerr ran PBs to share our virtual event record. 7 days later and it's gone again! Huge congrats to Toby Heaver for running a great all-time parkrun PB of 18.05!
A couple of shoutouts to our very own barkrunners , Bertie the Spaniel (in the results under the pseudonym "Caroline Webb") and Flynn the dog who was not impressed at being dragged out for a run by "dad" Trevor Wade, but was finally persuaded at the offer of a treat (if any of you have not seen the treat in the results pics, it kind of looks like a cross between a Christmas candy cane and a child's femur!!!)
In the Friday reminder on Facebook, I was talking about the highly tenuous importance of the number 12 in the world of parkrun. I do have a correction to make. I stated that Paul Sinton Hewitt was joined by 12 friends to run the very first Bushy Park Time Trial back in Octiber 2004. 13 people did run the course, and PSH was there, but in fact, he was injured! He did the RD role so there were 13 of his friends there (could I save my factoid by saying that one of them he didn't really like that much???)
I also stated that of the 12 members of the Melton Mowbray parkrun core team, 4 of them had 12 letters in their name. There were a few guesses as to who they would be so here they are...
Shane Sharkey, Liz Parkinson, Mike Williams and Anne Craddock
The latter of which had her first run today since her nasty fall and sprain a few weeks back. A huge welcome back to Anne who was supervised around her run by her mum Alison. We still have a pandemic afoot so social distancing is important and their selfies clearly show them being over 2m apart. In fact, so do their times!!! Alison mentioned in her Strava run title that she was keeping an eye on Anne - how she managed to keep an eye on her from 4 minutes in front is impressive (another eye-test fun fact at the end of the report)
Another big welcome back to Louise Bridgeman who is finally allowed out after 14 days of Covid related isolation.
Jenny and Clive Kent did some proper tourism today! They drove TWO MILES from their door to start their run! In the meantime, Graham Foster didn't even set foot out the front door due to the hail storm, and so he ran his full 5k on the dreadmill!
I usually have a piece about the failings of prospective tail walkers (people who have claimed to be tail walkers but appear mid-table on the results). This week, not one person claimed to be our tail walker with their submissions so we must say a thank you to a very modest Jayne Bavin for getting us all round well and safe. Regular tail walker, Charlotte Coltman remembered to submit her result when she read the post at 8pm saying that the deadline was up! I suppose this would count as a tail walker fail (she still didn't finish behind Jayne though).
While on the subject of volunteer fails, Mark Preston claims he did an epic failure in trying to pace 30 minutes! He was 24 seconds ahead of time. If I were wanting to pace a certain time and the person I was following got me round 24 seconds under it, I would be delighted. It is clear that Mark has the highest pacing standards of anyone I know!!!
Fun Fact - Last week I made some jokes about a certain eye test. Any opthalmologists among you will be despairing that today is the 6th June 2020! While we use 20/20 vision (to denote what we should be able to see from 20 feet away), the American system utilises 6/6 (what you should see from 6 yards away). Today is 6/6/2020!!!!
Also, over the past 12 weeks, we have had 374 runners completing 2017 Virtual parkruns - a combined distance of 10,085 km. Using this, we could celebrate the significance of today's date by traveling to the Pro-Vision Center (364 Maine Mall, South Portland, Maine, USA), have our eyes tested, run the Acadia National Park half marathon (scheduled for tomorrow - cancelled) and then come home again!