Another week of warmth, another week of fast times!
Newbury parkrunners were once again blessed with beautiful conditions for the 81st Newbury parkrun. Although the wind may have been a little stronger on the home straight than would have been ideal, it certainly didn't stop 76 of today's 320 finishers recording new personal bests today - that's 28% of all of you who were running the course for the first time.
Perhaps the most encouraging statistic of the day though was the fact that we welcomed 45 first timers to Greenham today - this is the highest number of newcomers we've welcomed for months. The fastest parkrun first timer today was Zuzana Faberova. Zuzana finished as fourth female in a time of 21:55 - the fifth fastest time recorded at Greenham by a JW15-19. However, whilst most of today's newcomers had never run a parkrun anywhere before, there were some visitors today from other parkruns: Irene Liming and Linda Booth were the day's only 100 Club visitors, boasting 111 and 141 parkruns to their names respectively. Irene and Linda run the Reading parkrun normally. We also had some 50 Club visitors from Reading: Claire Seymour has run 92 parkruns (with Newbury being her ninth unique venue!), whilst James Bailey made only his fourth ever excursion away from Reading (in a total of 91 parkruns). Sheena Keates, another Reading parkrunner, finished impressively as third lady today in a time of 20:24 - her quickest parkrun since 31 December 2011. Mark Jeffrey has never ventured from the confines of War Memorial Park and the Basingstoke parkrun before today - but we are flattered that Mark chose Newbury to run his 50th parkrun! Ian Bunday started his parkrun career at Bromley, but more recently has made the cliffside parkrun at Great Yarmouth (Gorleston Cliffs) his home and today made his first trip to Newbury. It was also wonderful to welcome Ivy, Ben and Elliot Perrins - four junior parkrunners who frequent Reading parkrun and the Woodley juniors' parkrun on Sundays.
In today's run, Colin Lough (SM30-34) was first runner across the line for the sixth week in a row, finishing with a time of 17:01. Colin was pushed all the way once again by James Craggs (SM30-34) of Newbury AC who finished in 17:02 (James has now run four parkruns in 17:01, 17:02, 17:04 and 17:05 - he *will* break 17 soon!). Daniel Tuttle (SM20-24), also of Newbury AC, took the final podium spot in 17:58.
James Craggs and Colin Lough battling it out for first place
There was also a tight race amongst the ladies today: Liz Hartney (VW45-49) of Reading AC was eventually victorious in 19:22 - her fastest Newbury parkrun since February (and also earning the highest age graded score of the day of 83.65%). Edwina McDowall (VW40-44) of Tri2O had to settle for second today, but still put in a good run to cross the line in 19:45. As mentioned above, Reading visitor Sheena Keates (VW35-39) of Runnymede Runners took third in 20:24. Also worthy of a mention is Sheila Marshall (VW55-59) of Newbury AC. Sheila's time of 23:35 equates to an age graded score of 80.00% - the only other time (apart from Liz's) which was 80% or above.
Liz Hartney: Today's first female finisher
The frontrunners weren't the only ones who put in impressive performances today. Matt Walters continued his recent run of success with yet another personal best (his second personal best in a row - and on the back of a 10k pb on Sunday), with Russell Barrett, Keith Pearce and Paul Grant vocally happy to run new pbs! There were some notable absences who made a welcome return today: Sarah Parry surprised herself by being able to run nearly all the way after having a number of weeks out to recover from an operation, whilst Colin Brassington made his first run back after a bad ankle sprain at Netley Abbey parkrun two weeks ago. Linda Graham also ran her first parkrun in eight months (it'll get easier again, Linda!). Alex Davey completed her first ever parkrun, whilst Ash Singal completed one of only a handful of parkruns he's run without his faithful hound, Monty (and managed a PB of 21:13 to boot!).
Those worth the biggest mentions today were the wonderful team of volunteers who made very smooth work of the running of today's event (and the results were very easy to process). Thanks therefore to Ady and Darren Tuckwell, Alison and Beth Dixon, Fraser and Charlie Harding, David Pierce-Williams, Debbie Dawes, Gordon Ward, Richard and Jenny Carter, John Murrell, Sandra, Josh and Sam Davies, Mike and Karen Grinsted, Lauren Brown, Liz Harkness, Mark Shepherd, Mike Futcher and Paul Hendry. We also had Clive Williams taking photos (which are available to view on the Facebook page: Link).
Fraser and Charlie Harding - doing a superb job sorting out the tokens post-run. We once again got all the position tags back, so thank you to all of you!
This year's points competition is now well underway. Karen Grinsted is is still leading the ladies' competition with 7,138 with Mags Scarlett sneaking into second place with 6,715 points. Monique Amor is in third place with a score of 6,494 points. In the men's competition, Karen's husband Mike Grinsted is leading with 7,419 points. Rob Saunders is in second place with 7,165 points and David Stratton remains in third place with 6,514 points (all so close amongst the men!).
After 81 events, 3,245 athletes from 165 athletics clubs have now completed 18,668 runs on the Newbury parkrun course, running a cumulative total of 93,340km. 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 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 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 email@example.com.
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)