Conditions at Greenham Common were (arguably) the best we have ever experienced at Newbury parkrun, and we like to hope that the extended summer will continue for a good few weeks yet. We saw one of our highest turnouts ever this Saturday for a "non-special" event: 260 runners toed the line this week, with 42 runners (16% of the field) running the event for the first time! Whilst it would be easy to blame this high turnout on the lack of wind, the unrelenting sunshine, the kind temperatures, or even the opportunity of participating in a post-parkrun tour of the nearby decontamination bunker by Newbury Heritage Society, we like to think there's more too it than that.
And we're not even wearing rose tinted glasses.
Like it or loathe it, it has been difficult to avoid the much-touted phrase "Olympic legacy" in the media over the past few weeks. And we secretly think that Newbury parkrun on Saturday may have just been a small part of this phenomenon. Let's hope the memories of our Olympians and Paralympians stay with us for many, many years and encourage more and more people in the local area to take up running (and other sports!). And what could be better inspiration than imagining such figures as Mo Farah, Jonnie Peacock or Jessica Ennis jogging alongside us on a Saturday morning parkrun (maybe they'll come and join us on Greenham one day soon)?
Another factor which we feel may have encouraged you from the warmth and safety of your duvets this week is Adidas' promise that they would donate 2p per five cumulative seconds erased from personal bests this weekend to Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research. This was a fantastic opportunity to run your hearts out this week and help those who may not be able to consider completing a parkrun at the moment. And, given your stellar performances this week, we think that a big donation will be coming from Newbury parkrun! Whilst we haven't got figures for the exact figure raised from Newbury this week (although we'll endeavour to work it out!), some people definitely ran the parkrun of their life this week!
We can't possibily mention everyone, but some of the performances which particularly stood out to us were by Lee Gollop (ran sub-19 minutes for the first time - and knocked 37 seconds from his previous best!), whilst Adam Olive and Chris Deakin both went sub-25 for the first time in style (with personal bests of 65 seconds and 47 seconds respectively). One of the most vocal runners about his achievement (and rightly so!) was Drew Tucker who, openly buoyed by the recent Olympic spirit, knocked over 2 minutes off his previous personal best to cross the line in 25:59 - not bad for a seven year old! Charlotte Wenlock was another runner who's performance this week caught our eye - Charlotte has run five new personal bests in her last six runs, and this week ran a 36 second personal best to finish in her first ever sub-26 time (25:56). Michael Futcher chose today out of all days to achieve his first ever sub-30 run (29:49), with Jenny Carter also achieving the same feat (29:58) - and knocking nearly five minutes off her previous time in August! Gemma Livingstone knocked an impressive 40 seconds from her personal best, but was completely put into the shade by her daughter Abi who (somehow!) took 8 minutes off her best time! We know there are other great performances today, so give yourselves a cumulative pat on the back for all that money raised for Breakthrough Breast Cancer (as well as setting the bar even higher for yourselves!).
Before the event got underway today, we had a very important presentation to make: Martha Croggon was awarded her "10 club" t-shirt. Although Martha has "only" achieved 10 runs, she is one of the most familiar faces at parkrun as she is one of our most dedicated volunteers having volunteered at 14 events! Well done Martha!
Martha Croggon (10 club)
(For more information on how to earn the 10, 50, 100 and 250 club t-shirts and jackets, click here)
In today's parkrun, Guy Watts (SM35-39) of Team Kennet put in his second fastest run out of 14 appearances at Newbury to cross the line first in an impressive 17:03. Neil Jones (SM20-24) of Newbury AC - a previous winner - also ran well for the silver medal position with a time of 17:48, whilst (sadly) a barcodeless runner finished in third place (this serves as a reminder to remember your barcodes! We hate not seeing people get a time as much as you do, so please do everything you can to remember your barcodes in future!). Also worthy of a mention today is Mike Sheridan: Mike finished in 15th place overall in a time of 20:28 - a performance which earned him today's highest age graded score of 79.72% (knocking on the door of the elusive 80%!).
The ladies' race saw some equally impressive running: Claire Westerman (SW25-29) from Army AA won today's run in her debut appearance at Newbury parkrun. Collette Callanan (VW40-44) took second place today, with her time of 21:53 obliterating the time she ran on her only other outing on the course - the snow covered first ever Newbury parkrun! Emily Gray (JW14) of Team Kennet finished in third place in 22:27 - an impressive time for a junior athlete.
We've already talked about fast running, but we'd like to draw your attention to a the fact we had a celebrity with us this morning! Andy Holgate, author of Can't Swim, Can't Ride, Can't Run: My Triathlon Journey from Common Man to Ironman (Link) chose Newbury parkrun to run his first running event for 30 months and reported that running a 5k was far worse than completing an Iron-distance triathlon (although it could have been something to do with the 03:30am start from northern climes to run Newbury parkrun!).
The rest of the team of volunteers were brilliant today, and everything ran so smoothly - no mean feat when there are so many runners! So a massive thank you to Amy Ludewig (and children), Chi Yeung, Clive Williams (who also turned up - without any prompting - with homemade signs for our car park!), Dexter Haywood, Lorraine, Jemima and Martha Croggon, Mike and Suzy Phillips, Nicki Tucker, Paul Hendry, Rog Davis and Simon Hart. We always need volunteers every week (and it's also highly satisfying - and you get extra points for helping out!) then please mail us at email@example.com to be put on the list.
We had been a bit concerned that we didn't have a photographer, but today we had three! Mike Moors sacrificed a sub-21 attempt to take some photos behind the camera, and brother and sister team of Evan and Charlotte Phillips took some brilliant pictures which captured the morning perfectly - completely belying their age! Photos can be viewed on the Facebook page (Link).
After 32 events, 1,818 athletes from 107 athletics clubs have now completed 6,747 runs on the Newbury parkrun course, running a cumulative total of 33,735km. 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 2,087 points with Carol Lowe just 13points behind with 2,074 points. James Moorcroft leads the men's competition with 2,346 points with Paul Hendry currently runner up with 2,011 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 , although the nesting season is now over on Greenham Common, it is extremely important that you respect the flora and fauna of the area. To find out more information about the wildlife on the common, please refer to the downloadable leaflet "Welcome to Crookham and Greenham Common" which provides an excellent summary.
Please take note of the following announcements:
- Parking: We now have parking at the English Provinder Company thanks to Paul Hendry. We're extremely grateful to the EPC for allowing us use of their facility, but please ensure you follow the car park marshal's orders as we're not allowed to use all of it. Ensure you do not drop litter and treat the facility carefully.
- Running with dogs: We love the fact that people run with dogs! It is a joy to watch so many canine friends obviously enjoying the run as much as their owners. However, if you are going to run with your dog, please ensure you fit your dog with a harness rather than a collar (rather like the young lady in the picture on this report). This is for their own comfort. If you'd like to learn more about running with dogs (or even want to go "up a gear" and try cani-cross racing) then the Cani-Cross UK website provides a wealth of information for you to get started.
- Registration: A number of people have asked where their t-shirts are for the 10, 50 and 100 clubs. It is vitally important that, if Newbury is your regular parkrun, you ensure you are registered to it as your "home run". If you don't and you don't specify where you would like your t-shirt to be delivered to, it will, by default, be delivered to the event where you are registered and it can take some time before we can arrange handover or for the shirts to be rerouted. You can update your details at anytime by following the link on the weekly parkrun newsletter.
Any suggestions, ideas and feedback are always welcome to email@example.com.
See you next week!
Rachael Elliott (Event Director)