Event 15 Run Report - 22/02/2020
I'd not heard of Millhouses before Tuesday.
It only came up when I was searching for a parkrun to do in the Sheffield area this weekend. My wife, son and I were heading up to Hathersage to stay for a few days with my mother-in-law during my son’s half-term holiday, so I’d looked for somewhere where I could do a parkrun.
I wanted to ideally try somewhere I’d not run before, which ruled out Bakewell, and also I have never run the same event number twice, which left Millhouses and Sheffield Hallam as the main contenders. I settled on Millhouses as it was fairly new and had the promise of a ‘fast, flat course’ - always an attraction!
Then I thought nothing more of it until Friday, when I made plans to get the early train to Dore and Totley from Hathersage, and do some running before parkrun as part of my training for the Southampton marathon.
Saturday came around, and I stood on a deserted Hathersage station at 7:30am. An announcement said that the train to Manchester would be eight minutes late. Then it announced that the train to Sheffield would soon arrive. A minute later it announced that the train to Manchester would soon arrive.
Fifteen minutes later, neither train had arrived.
So I was faced with a decision. Wait longer for the train that may never arrive (as it seemed to be stuck at Edale). Give up on doing parkrun at all (not really an option as my brother-in-law James and niece Florrie had said they would meet me at parkrun for their first ever go at it and I didn’t want to let them down). Go home and wake people up to try and get a lift to Millhouses (probably not sensible...). Or do what I did, and run to Millhouses from Hathersage.
When I made this decision I was more than a little annoyed at the lack of train, and so hadn’t quite realised that the first four miles of the route (via Fox House) would be pretty much uphill. The annoyance fuelled quite a quick speed up the hill, and the wind behind me and the downhill through Dore meant an even quicker downhill before I got to Millhouses park just as the first-timer briefing was in full swing.
I listened to the end of it with James and Florrie and then had a brief chat with the Run Director (Mark NORMAN). I should probably admit that I am Event Director of Basingstoke parkrun, so always enjoy speaking to the volunteers at other parkruns and comparing notes on what they do. I’d heard that Millhouses had been tremendously successful in terms of numbers since its first event, and was still getting impressive attendances despite the bad weather recently.
It was then time for the main briefing, where we also heard about tourists from Coventry, and then we were off.
My hilly, slightly too quick run beforehand had put paid to any hope of a really fast time, so I started in the middle of the field and took a few minutes to really get going.
As the field cleared and I overtook people, I could see that the course was indeed really quick, and the out-and-back nature of parts meant I saw my brother-in-law and niece on a few occasions. It was soon after my first lap that the clouds, which had been getting darker, finally burst and a deluge of rain came down for five minutes or so soaking everyone in the process.
Eventually I finished and got the position 38 token, scanned in and spoke to the Run Director again for a short while before joining James and Florrie on their final lap. There were two people that I overtook towards the end who I took note of - more on them later.
By the time James and Florrie finished, the sun had come out and they were greeted by well-deserved flapjacks and brownies at the end. I also spoke to the number checker for a few minutes, who grew up near Newbury - my second-closest home parkrun - and then it was off to the park cafe for a very tasty sausage bap!
The results came through not much later on, when back at James’s house, and I saw that there were 331 people, slightly up on the previous week. I was pleased with my time given the circumstances and actually ended up in 37th place.
What about the two people I had noted during the run? Looking at the results, the first seems to have been Dot KESTERTON, who finished in 22:26. Nothing much notable about that, you may think, but Dot was running in the VW65-69 category and her time set a new female age-grade record for Millhouses with an amazing of 94.58%. For those of you who are not familiar with age-grading, it compares your time to the world record for that category, giving you a way to compare performances across different ages and genders. First-finisher Mike NOLAN got the highest male age-grading with 84.73% for his 17:41, and the first female finisher Tara SPILLINGS got 70.69% for her 20:59.
The second person was someone I saw running barefoot on the wet and puddly pavements and I think it was Hannah Whiteoak - a Vegan Runner - I know I’d be too wary of stepping on something painful to run barefoot!
There were 19 people doing their first-ever parkrun (including Florrie and James) among the 105 people (including me) who had never run at Millhouses before. I hope that all of you in the 19 enjoyed parkrun (I know James and Florrie did) and that you all, in time, come back and hopefully become regulars. It may seem that everyone has done far more parkrun than you, but over half the field yesterday had done less than 30.
The more parkruns you do mean that you start to qualify for milestone t-shirts, and yesterday there was a smattering of those:
- Isabel HODGES, Tom HODGES and Ethan GODDARD did their 10th parkruns as juniors and now can get a white t-shirt
- Andrew GAWNE did his 50th parkrun and is eligible for a red t-shirt
- Thomas CANNON and Chris ANTHONY can now get black t-shirts after their 100th parkruns
Well done also to the 60 people who got personal bests - the most ‘experienced’ of whom was Andy PORTWOOD in his 297th run but third at Millhouses.
Huge thanks are due to the 25 volunteers who made the event possible, particularly those who stood through the deluge of rain during the run - as was mentioned before the start, volunteering every two months makes the event sustainable, and a number of volunteer roles allow you to participate as well as volunteer.
I’ll be back parkrunning in Sheffield again around Easter, although I’m not sure at the moment whether that will be at Millhouses, but I certainly plan to return to this parkrun at some point and hope that it will be as welcoming as it was yesterday - if you ever find yourself at Basingstoke parkrun please do say hello as I’m sure you will find that welcoming too - next time I’ll try not to have to run over the hills to get to Millhouses, though...!