Saturday 11th January 2020 was an auspicious day for two reasons. Today Mole Valley parkrun celebrated its 100th run - how time flies! To celebrate 418 runners/walkers took part and that was a record! Who would guess that 418 of us relish tackling those two hills, one a mudfest and the other which teases you with its plateau. Imagine how the volunteers felt when they realised they only had 441 tokens at the start and they feared they might run out - luckily those raffle tickets were not needed.
Today I started my parkrun rather early at 8am, as the second auspicious moment was Maggie's 50th birthday celebration! Maggie is an inspiration to all her friends, fellow runners and Waitrose Dorking colleagues as she is on the road to recovery from an aneurysm and stroke last February. She wanted to celebrate at her local parkrun as she is one fantastic runner who is currently on a sabbatical. But today she ran the last 10 metres into the funnel. No, there was not a dry eye amongst us.
However, this meant I was able to report on how the parkrun unfolds and it was obvious the Vegan Runners had come out in force to tackle Mole Valley and two of their runners finished 2nd and 3rd! Chris Dyson was our fastest finisher and he was also part of the Maggie party. He was exceptionally speedy! Mole Valley Runners were also out and about - they are easy to spot due to their brand new t-shirts and their love of the Tikiboo running leggings. Another local running club also had some high achievers today and that is Dorking Mole Valley Athletics Club. I really want to highlight Maisie Wates (11-14) who was the first junior girl to finish and with a PB! I remember the time I used to trudge in her wake as she ran with her Dad! Keep going Maisie!! Jack Sunderland travelled from Huddersfield to celebrate with Maggie, he was the first junior boy in his age group.
I love parkrun and I love the camaraderie that you find at any parkrun. I also love that volunteers don't just volunteer at their local one but spread the love. This week Martin Crayton was giving out the finish tokens with a Duke of Edinburgh volunteer. Martin is often found at Brooklands. Martin doesn't run parkrun but he gives up his time for the rest of us to have fun.
Finally, parkrun isn't about competition, or speed, or racing (well, I'm not sure we totally follow this mantra, I do like to beat the odd friend or two!) and anyone can join in as the volunteers wait for everyone to finish. So I hope all the first timers will be back because when the bug bites you too could be like Alicia Utchanah who ran her 10th one, David Capsey, James Pearce and Stuart Eastmond ran their 50th and Peter Dry ran his 520th!
Happy Birthday to Mole Valley and Maggie!