It's true: The scent of pickled onion inspires one in three parkrunners to run a new personal best
As the sun dawned on what was te be the hottest day of the year, it soon became clear that anyone who was wasn't at Greenham this morning was missing out on some of the best running conditions we've ever had. Even the familiar smell of pickled onion on the finishing straight couldn't dampen the enthusiasm of runners keen to make the most of the sunny, windless conditions to try and make inroads into their personal bests.
Whilst conditions may have been perfect this morning, numbers fell below 300 today (a rare phenomenon these days!) which was largely due to neighbouring parkrun, Basingstoke, celebrating its fifth anniversary (and, as someone who started running Basingstoke from its day of inception, I would like to wish all at Basingstoke a very happy birthday!). However, 298 runners still toed the line at Newbury this morning - with over a sixth of the field (12%) running the event for the first time! Some notable runners who were gracing the Greenham paths for the first time were the Maroney family consisting of Lloyd, Lea, Tom and Sam. All except Lloyd are members of the highly exclusive 50 club, with Lea having 82 parkruns to her name. The Maroneys are regulars of Frimley Lodge parkrun, and it was a pleasure to see them all today on their second ever excursion (their only other being Reading parkrun). We also welcomed Adam Crofts from Cardiff parkrun. Newbury representing Adam's first excursion outside the Welsh boundary, and we hope he enjoyed the experience! Finally, it's always an experience for a child to run their first ever parkrun, and today we had three new runners in the JW14 category who have set down markers for future runs: Emma and Caitlyn Davies and Aston Tabraham. Welcome to all four of you, and we hope that you'll grow up with parkrun continuing to be a regular part of your Saturday morning activities!
We traditionally start the run report by talking about the first place finishers in the run. However, today we'd like to draw more attention to the age graded performances of some our athletes. At today's event, we had no fewer than four runners exceed the 80% mark with their runs. Firstly, Paul Thomas (VM50-54) of Didcot Runners ran a new personal best of 17:52 which equates to an age grading of 83.86%. Secondly, Mike Sheridan (VM60-64) of Team Kennet posted an age graded score of 83.73%. We do, however, know he's not too bothered about the percentage - his time of 19:40 is a 29 second personal best, and also the first time he achieved a sub-20 time; something he's been looking for for the past three years of parkrunning! Wayne Lillis (VM45-49) of Newbury AC achieved a score of 81.23% for his 17:35 run, whilst Newbury AC VW55-59 runner Sheila Marshall's new personal best of 23:30 gives her a score of 80.28%.
Paul Thomas: Today's highest age graded finisher with a score of 83.86%
Colin Lough (SM30-34) once again led the charge to the finish today, crossing the line first in a time of 17:13. Rather heartwarmingly, Colin undoubtedly sacrificed "yet another" sixteen minute run to pick up his beautiful daughter Chloe and run through the finish carrying her. Wayne Lillis (VM45-49) of Newbury AC took second place in 17:35, with Paul Thomas (VM50-54) of Didcot Runners finishing third in 17:52.
Colin Lough: First across the line in today's run - and still had time to pick up daughter Chloe in the closing few metres!
Amongst the ladies, Louise McFadzen (JW15-19) took first place in a new 48 second personal best of 21:46. Karen Grinsted (VW35-39) of Tadley Runners finished second in 22:08 with Kathryn Green (SW25-29) taking the final podium spot in a new 15 second personal best of 23:23.
Louise McFadzen: Today's first female finisher, battling with Henry Hopkins on the way to the line (both were rewarded with personal bests!)
Elsewhere across the field, there were some other notable performances: in fact, there were an incredible 73 new personal bests today (28% of the field). One of those was Henry Hopkins (VM55-59) of Winchester & District AC. Henry has 104 parkruns to his name, and rotates around most of the local parkruns. Today he ran his all time parkrun personal best at Newbury (without I watch, I might add!) in 21:44. Wife Yvonne also managed a new Newbury parkrun personal best by 34 seconds. Meanwhile, Mags Scarlett managed a 22 second personal best (breaking 25 minutes for the first time - something she never dreamed possible!), whilst Joe Burnett also achieved the sub-25 dream - but by knocking an incredibly 1 minute and 23 seconds from his previous time. Nige Poppelwell ran his first ever sub-19 run (18:57), with Dave Smith and Paul Hendry both running new personal bests this week and becoming painfully close to breaking into the 18s themselves. Big congratulations to also to Kian Hockaday, Connor Ludewig and Emily Cox all entered into the 10 club today (and we hope their t-shirts won't be too delayed!).
Those worth the biggest mentions today were the wonderful team of volunteers, with particular thanks to Andy Tucker for stepping in to direct today's run at the last minute when it was touch and go if I'd be able to attend. Thanks therefore go to Ann Singal, Clive Williams, Jackie Brown, Julie Sollis, Kate Grieves, Lee Gollop, Lisa Ludewig, Matt Brown, Nicki Tucker, Paul Hendry and Sandra Davies. We also had Jo Amor taking photos (whichs are available to view on the Facebook page: Link).
This year's points competition is now well underway. Karen Grinsted is is still leading the ladies' competition with 6,249 with Monique Amor sneaking into second place with 5,689 points. Aimee Dyson has slipped to third place with a score of 5,679 (so close!). In the men's competition, Karen's husband Mike Grinsted is leading with 6,297 points. Rob Saunders is in second place with 6,071 points and David Stratton remain in third place with 5,535 points.
After 77 events, 3,095 athletes from 160 athletics clubs have now completed 17,395 runs on the Newbury parkrun course, running a cumulative total of 86,975km. 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)