Newbury parkrun – Event 19 (9 June 2012)

Being typically English, the weather is normally the first thing to be brought up in most conversations about parkrun. And thechangeable meterological conditions at Greenham certainly warrant these comments more than most locations. After weeks of conditions which have seen runners endure thick snow, strong gales, scorching sunshine, hailstorms and torrential rain, today we saw winds stronger than we can remember for a while. However, despite the headwind up "Container Slope", nearly a third of you ran new personal bests today - so we secretly think you can no longer use the wind as an excuse!

In fact, speed was certainly the name of the game today: not only did we see a plethora of personal bests, we also saw our male course record smashed by Ian Reade (VM45-49) of Canix to an exceptional time of 16:05. Ian's enviable skill at running with his canine partners was a spectacle to enjoy today. Second place today went to fellow canicross runner Gary Crone (VM40-44) of Fire Service Sports & AA who also put in a very fast time of 16:15. We hear that today's canicross runners are quietly confident of 15:xx finish times in kinder conditions, and we very much look forward to welcoming them back to achieve this feat! Despite not quite getting in the fifteen minute bracket however, both Ian and Gary ran new category records in their respective age groups. Well done both of you! Third place today went to previous winner, James Knight (SM35-39) of Overton Harriers in 17:38 - an excellent time given the windy conditions at Greenham today.

First place in the ladies' race today was also by a canicross athlete: Claire Spencer (SW30-34) crossed the line first in 20:37 - a time which also gives Claire the new age category record. Silver in the ladies' race went to Lucy Hartley (VW35-39) of Newbury AC who ran a new personal best time of 21:25. Fellow Newbury AC athlete Chloe Coxhead (SW20-24) took the final podium spot with a highly creditable time of 21:38.

A welcome statistic from today's run was that 19% of you - or nearly 1 in 5 gracing the Greenham paths - were first timers. We can assure all of you that we do often get warmer weather at the Common (and faster weather = faster times!) and look forward to seeing you back very soon.

Whilst there were the headline winners, we think there were some impressive (and arguably more impressive) stories from throughout today's field. The big story of today was Rachel Dalgarno's return to parkrun - she walked the whole 5km today after having three screws put in her hip just twelve weeks ago. Time is irrelevant, and we're looking forward to watching Rachel's return to fitness. We'd also like to say a big "well done" to 9-year-old Abigail Livingstone who enjoyed her first parkrun despite an annoying little knee niggle. We hope the enticement of a "10 club" t-shirt will see her enjoy her next nine parkruns just as much. T-shirt enticement reportedly also helped to get Jack and Thomas Manley round today's parkrun, although we think the fact they were smiling all the way round meant getting across the finish line today was far more important than the mere lure of acrylic! Darren Tuckwell got his third personal best in a row, with Matthew Brookes running yet another personal best. Some of our regular parkrunners became parkrun tourists this week, and particular mentions go to Sue Burnay (who ran the Hillerød parkrun in Denmark - along with just 14 other runners), Karen Swan (who ran a new personal best at York) and Andy Tucker (who ran a fast time at Coventry parkrun). Keep sharing your stories with us on the Facebook page (Link) and via Twitter (Link). You can also email you stories to us at newburyoffice@parkrun.com.

We were a little sad that our regular post-run coffee haunt, the Coffee Exchange, was sadly closed after yesterday's parkrun. We're not quite sure for the reason of this, but I'll travel up there this week and make sure they open for us next week. We hope you didn't miss you weekly rockcake fix too much!

I'd like to give a particularly huge thanks to the volunteer team this week. This was the first week I've not been at parkrun and was understandably (well, I hope understandably!) rather nervous about proceedings. However, I needn't have worried at all - Colin Brassington ran everything like clockwork (almost certainly more relaxed than I'll ever be) and the rest of the volunteer team were spot on (particular thanks also to Lorraine Croggon for her insistance that I "let go"!). Thanks therefore to Colin and Elaine Brassington, Lorraine, Jemima and Martha Croggon, Andrew Woodman, Brian Mugford, Carol Lowe, David Kindred, Florence Barry, Gareth Scourfield, Hazel Nichols, Michael Futcher, Mike Nicholls, Sam Stelfox and Sarah Thorne.

After 19 events, 1,313 athletes from 93 athletics clubs have now completed 3,949 runs on the Newbury parkrun course, running a cumulative total of 19,745km. The women's course record is held by Sandra Bowers who ran 16:14 in event #17 on 2 June 2012 and the men's course record is held by Ian Reade who ran 16:05 in event #19 on 9 June 2012. The age graded record is held by Sandra Bowers who recorded a 93.22% in event #17.

Mags Scarlett still leads the women's points competition with 1,213 points. She is just 14 points ahead of Amelia Wenlock who has 1,199 points. James Moorcroft leads the men's competition with 1,428 points with Philip Randall currently runner up with 1,204 points.

After the event, we go to the wonderful Coffee Exchange on Greenham Business Park for wonderful home made food, tea and coffee. Please come and join us to chat about running, life, or even share stories about the old US Airforce base! Coffee Exchange have opened especially for Newbury parkrunners, so it is important we continue to support it. If you haven't heard about them, the cafe makes absolutely legendary rock cakes (which are normally still warm when we arrive as they're now having to bake extra ones on Saturday morning!). They have to be eaten to be believed!

Don't forget you can keep up to date with the latest Newbury parkrun chat through our Facebook page (Link) and via Twitter (Link). We're also always looking for more volunteers (and don't forget you get extra points each time you volunteer!) so please email newburyhelpers@parkrun.com if you are interested in being added to the volunteer database (and it is only right to be able to give some of the people who help each and every week a chance to run sometimes).

We are also currently looking at people who would like to have a go at being a Race Director. This doesn't mean you have to organise the whole event - just be around to ensure all volunteers know what they're doing, can give a little talk before the race and just oversee the running of the event. You don't even have to process the results! 

We'd also like to remind you that it is currently nesting season on Greenham Common, so it's vital we keep off all the "red zones" when warming up (and we didn't see a single runner straying this week). To learn more about the nesting birds, the zones on the common and the site of special scientific interest status, please read West Berkshire Council's leaflet "Welcome to Crookham and Greenham Common" which provides an excellent summary.

Any suggestions, ideas and feedback are always welcome to newburyoffice@parkrun.com.

See you next week!

Rachael Elliott (Event Director)