3,000 registered runners at Newbury parkrun! That's must be more than there are cows on the common, surely?
"Unseasonable gales and autumnal conditions" was the last thing we heard before switching off the television on the night before parkrun. We were worried that we'd arrive at Greenham to a scene of torrential rain and winds akin to those famous storms of 1987. Thankfully, it seemed the weather forecasters were, just as in 1987, exaggerating things slightly - and this time the exaggeration was for the worse. Greenham was bathed in warm sunshine and a stiff - but manageable* - wind on the home straight.
* I am licensed to say this as I wasn't running into it.
We also reached a major milestone today: we went through the 3,000 registered runner milestone (we had exactly 3,015 runners registered on Saturday morning!). Next week, providing we get at least 15 newcomers, we will also have had 3,000 unique runners who have completed the parkrun!
We once again had a turnout well in excess of 300 runners today. In fact, 331 runners crossed the line today - including 33 newcomers to Newbury parkrun (that's a massive 10% of the field!). One of those visiting was Alice Dimmer. Alice, from Forest of Dean AC, has run 76 parkruns in total (unsurprisingly mostly at Forest of Dean parkrun). She has an impressive personal best of 21:41, and today ran an impressive 22:30 at Newbury - the fifth fastest time ever in the VW50-54 category. We also welcomed two canicross runners: Nicole and Melanie Sheehan. Both are regulars of the Alice Holt parkrun. Melanie ran 20:42 today, and Nicole, in the JW15-19 category, ran a massive 42 second parkrun personal best to clock 21:07.
Before preceedings got underway, we had the pleasure of presenting two more T-shirts this week. First, Anne Wenlock was presented with her 50 club t-shirt. Anne has been one of the most regular faces during the lifespan of Newbury parkrun: her first event was the second Newbury parkrun on 18 February 2012 when she ran 30:37. She managed to better her time the following week, and has now seen a streak of improvement and reduced her time by over four minutes to 26:20. Anne's enthusiasm for parkrun is infectious, and she's regularly seen helping out on the (few) occasions she doesn't run. We're pretty confident she'll be one of our first Newbury recipients of the elusive 100 club shirt and jacket.
Anne Wenlock: 50 Club
Secondly, it was the turn of Mohammad Rahman to be presented with his 10 club t-shirt. Mohammad is one of the Mary Hare School pupils who regularly attends Newbury parkrun. His first parkrun was back in June 2012 when he ran a very credible 24:36. Over less than a year, however, he's managed to reduce his time to a very impressive 22:28, earning him an age graded score of over 60%. Congratulations, Mohammad!
Mohammad Rahman: 10 Club
In today's run, Lee Gollop (SM35-39) crossed the line first in 18:05. It was the second time Lee has taken first spot - and also resulted in a new personal best. A double celebration for Lee! Jason Cooke (VM40-44) of White Horse Harriers finished in second place in 18:17, with Trevor Price (VM40-44) of Swindon Harriers taking third place in a new personal best of 18:25.
Amongst the ladies, it was Edwina McDowall (VW40-44) of Tri20 who took the tape in an impressive 19:08. Edwina keeps her 100% first place record, and her time is the seventh fastest ever run by a female at Newbury and earns her the VW40-44 age category record. Her age category score of 81.01% was also the highest of the day. Melanie Sheehan (VW40-44) of Canix took second place in 20:42, with Nicole Sheehan (JW15-19), also of Canix, taking the final podium spot in 21:07.
Lee Gollop: First male across the line
Edwina McDowall: First female across the line
There were a number of equally newsworthy stories throughout today's field. The Livingstones are very frequent faces at Newbury parkrun (the girls are often the "cute faces" behind the token sorting machine). However, after many months of helping out, Sophie Livingstone ran her first ever parkrun today - and looked extremely happy to complete it, whilst Abigail Livingstone took on pacing duties today and ran her friend to a new four second personal best! Sam Cheney clocked his *sixth* personal best in a row - and even more impressively knocked a massive two minutes from his previous time to cross the line in 27:40. Carrie Collins also surprised herself to run a new 34 second personal best and is now perilously close to getting the "right" side of 25 minutes, whilst Samuel Wright saw a 20:xx on his watch for the first time ever at Newbury with a new 40 second personal best of 20:43. It was a good day for the Mugfords as well: Brian knocked five seconds off his time, but Helen surpassed Brian's achievements by taking over a minute off her time! A quick mention also to Emily Cox today who managed to run almost every step at this week's parkrun after a few weeks out, and also to Debbie Dawes who ran a new season's best.
Today couldn't have happened if it wasn't for the stirling efforts of the volunteers - and they were so good today, we managed to upload the results in next to no time at all. Thanks therefore go to Andy McKendrick, Anne and Charlie Harding, Clive Williams, David Stratton, Debbie Studart, Jemima Croggon, Jo Darby, Julie Lockwood, Lorraine Murrell, Mark Shepherd, Phil Hale, Phil Marshal, Phil Cowhig (particular thanks as Phil got the brunt of my Panic Rachael mode) and Steven Nelthorpe.
This year's points competition is now well underway. Karen Grinsted is is still leading the ladies' competition with 5,353 with Florence Barry in second place with 5,046 points. Monique Amor is now in third place with a score of 4,873. In the men's competition, Karen's husband Mike Grinsted is leading with 5,479 points. Rob Saunders is in second place with 5,222 points and David Stratton is in third place with 4,799 points.
After 74 events, 2,985 athletes from 159 athletics clubs have now completed 16,475 runs on the Newbury parkrun course, running a cumulative total of 82,375km. The women's course record is held by Sandra Bowers who ran 15:48 in event #43 on 24 November 2012 and the men's course record is held by Gareth Watkins who ran 15:44 in event #64 on 6 April 2013. The age graded record is held by Sandra Bowers who recorded a 95.78% in event #41.
After the event, we go to the wonderful Coffee Exchange on Greenham Business Park for wonderful home made food, tea and coffee after each parkrun. Please try and make it part of your regular Saturday morning parkrun routine 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 email@example.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 Run 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 run and just oversee the running of the event. You don't even have to process the results! Please take note of the following announcements:
- Points competition: Note that the points competition has changed slightly in the new Newbury parkrun year. The runner who is first across the line receives 300 points, second place 299, third place 298, etc. This means the points distribution is fairer, and we should only need to go into the one point per runner territory if we get more than 300 runners of a single sex at parkrun (this hasn't happened yet!).
- The start: Whilst we know it is natural human behaviour to want to start as close to the front as possible in order to get a watch time which matches the master timer. However, please do give consideration to fellow runners and start in a position in the field which best represents the speed you feel you are going to run. We had an incident this week where a runner fell at the start, and runners' (natural) keeness to get away at the start almost led to the lady being trampled on badly.
- 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. 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. Note that from now, runners will only be allowed to run with a maximum of one dog.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
We'd also like to remind you that we are now back in nesting season on Greenham Common, and it is extremely important that you respect the flora and fauna of the area. This means keeping your dogs on leads at all times, and particularly avoiding the area known as the "Fire Plane" which is to the west of the start area (and clearly marked with signs). 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.
See you next week!
Rachael Elliott (Event Director)