Newbury parkrun – Event 20 (17 June 2012)

Rather than the question "I wonder if it's going to be a fine weekend for the parkrun?" being asked on a Friday afternoon, it sadly seems to be much more apt to ask "I wonder what dire conditions are going to be bestowed on Greenham Common this weekend?". Indeed, whilst we were grateful for the promised rain holding off, we were not so impressed with the howling south-westerly gales which rendered our finishing token boards unusable this week, as well as making the last two kilometres more of a grind than normal. One poor runner had their barcode lifted from their grasp by the wind!

Despite the windy conditions, we still welcomed 207 runners to the parkrun this morning, including 33 newcomers. We hope the first timers have been bitten by the bug and your faces will become permanent installments on Greenham Common each Saturday morning!

Before the run got underway today, some important presentations were made: Connor Davis, Drew Tucker and Amelia Wenlock were presented with their "10 club" t-shirts which are given to junior runners after they've achieved the (significant) milestone of completing 10 runs!

Connor Davis (10 club) Drew Tucker (10 club) Amelia Wenlock (10 club)

We have a few other shirts ready for runners who were absent from today's run, and if you're still waiting for yours - don't worry, it *will* arrive soon! Some more runners today joined the queue for t-shirts: James Moorcroft (50 club), Owen Carden (10 club), Martha Croggon (10 club) and Graham Suttie (10 club). Well done to the four of you!

George Sandford (JM15-19) made light work of the windy conditions today to take his first ever win at Newbury parkrun in a new personal best time of 18:09. We're quietly confident that with better conditions, George will dip under the elusive 18-minute mark very soon! First timer James Smith (SM30-34) of Springfield Striders took the silver medal today in an excellent time of 18:26. Sadly, our third placed finisher today was barcodeless so, as reluctant as we were, we had to stick to our own rules of "no barcode, no time". Martin Walker (SM35-39) was therefore our third-placed named runner, finishing in a highly creditable time of 18:42 which also netted him a new personal best.

In the ladies' race, Kirsty Bennet (JW14) of Team Kennet took her first win in nine runs with an excellent time of 21:56. Rose Metalli (VW50-54) of Newbury AC crossed the line in 23:49 and took a well deserved second place, with Laura Mack (VW35-39) taking the final podium spot in a new personal best time of 24:01 - now painstakingly close to breaking 24 minutes! Well done all three of you.

It doesn't take a sleuth to notice that four of the six runners in the first three male and female spots scored personal bests despite the wind. In fact, this was a phenomenon which was repeated across the field: 48 runners managed new personal bests today, suggesting all those miles of training is paying dividends! Amongst those we noted who were vocally pleased with their new personal bests were Greg Filmer (22:35), Cheryl Langford (26:48), Jack Manley (30:13) and Mags Scarlett (26:48). There was, however, one notable "failure" in today's parkrun: Mike Nicholls, today's photographer, only managed to finish a quarter of a rock cake - what an amateur!

We'd also like to give a special mention to Andrew Lees (VM60-64) of Newbury AC who earned today's highest age graded score of 75.15% - and he also ran a new personal best to achieve it! Well done, Andrew.

I'd like to give a another particularly big thanks to the volunteer team this week who were particularly faultless this week. Colin Brassington did a wonderful job directing today's parkrun, and the rest of the volunteer team were absolutely brilliant: Amelia and Anne Wenlock, Amy Ludewig, Brian Billington, Brian Mugford, David Kindred, James Thomas, Lorraine, Jemima and Martha Croggon, Jo Amor, Mike Moors, Mike Nicholls and Sam Hall.

After 20 events, 1,346 athletes from 96 athletics clubs have now completed 4,156 runs on the Newbury parkrun course, running a cumulative total of 20,780km. 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 1,300 points. She is 52 points ahead of Carole Lowe who has 1,248 points. James Moorcroft leads the men's competition with 1,515 points with Paul Hendry currently runner up with 1,216 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 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

See you next week!

Rachael Elliott (Event Director)