Step forward, runner 2500!
As we cross the milestone of our sixth decaparkrun, we also passed another significant point in Newbury parkrun history this weekend: our 2,500th unique runner crossed the line. To put this into context, that's the same number of people as half the total residents in Hungerford. We'd like to congratulate Kathryn Green on being the 2,500th runner across the line at Newbury. It was Kathryn's third parkrun, but her first at Newbury - her other two runs were at the neighbouring Swindon parkrun. We do wonder if Kathryn perhaps knew that she had the potential to be Runner 2,500 and put in a bit of extra effort to achieve this feat: her time of 26:03 was over half a minute faster than her best effort at Swindon. Anyway, if Kathryn comes back and makes herself known to us, we promise to buy her a rockcake at the Coffee Exchange in recognition of her achievement. Well done Kathryn!
Kathryn wasn't the only first timer at today's run - 25 other runners took on the Newbury parkrun for the first time this week, in less than perfect damp and drizzly conditions. We always like to see new youngsters taking part in parkrun, and it was great to welcome first timer juniors Jimmy & Harry Sherlock, Samuel Cowan, Matthew Maynard and Emily Brown to Greenham today. We once again welcomed some visitors from other parkruns: David Parsons (Oxford City AC) was a notable new face. David has a parkrun best of 19:14 at Abingdon parkrun last year, and ran 21:03 in his debut at Newbury parkrun today - these times would be impressive on their own, but they also net David the VM65-69 age category record at Newbury. We also welcomed Raymond Morris: Raymond has run 13 Oldham parkruns, and six at Heaton Park. His time at Newbury today betters his best Oldham time by a whole second, so we hope he'll be back at some point soon to better it even further.
Before today's parkrun, Andy Tucker (today's run director) had the pleasant task of presenting a 10 Club t-shirt to one of our junior runners, Chloe Jones. Chloe has been running parkrun since May 2011 with her first event at the neighbouring Basingstoke parkrun. She ran the first Newbury parkrun on 11 February 2012, and has stayed true to Newbury ever since! Since starting at Newbury, she's managed to improve her time to an impressive 27:00 and we're sure she'll improve on that even further very soon with her dedication to training.
Chloe Jones: 10 Club
(I would also like to personally thank you all for your rendition of Happy Birthday before the run to welcome me into a new age category at parkrun. Once again, it was nice to have the opportunity to have a social run around parkrun this morning)
Today's event attracted 245 runners, and our first three finishers all managed to claim a sub-18 minute finish time: Michael Randall (JM15-19) was first across the line for the fifth time in 17:35. James Moorcroft (SM20-24) of Team Kennet finished nine seconds adrift of Michael in 17:44. Alex Hanson (JM15-19), also of Team Kennet, took third place today, equalling his personal best of 17:52. We'd also like to give a special mention to Mike Sheridan (VM60-64) of Team Kennet. Mike scored today's highest age grade of 81.72%, which also equates to a new all time parkrun personal best - something to be celebrated when you've been running parkrun as long as Mike has (Mike's first parkrun was at Basingstoke back in July 2010).
Amongst the ladies, Charlotte Harris (SW30-34) of Marshall Milton Keynes AC consolidated her 100% first finisher record at Newbury, crossing the line ahead of the other ladies today in a new course best of 19:40. In doing so, Charlotte beat her own record in the SW30-34 age category. Susie Drake (JW14) of Team Kennet finished in second place in 21:47, whilst Team Kennet teammate Emily Gray (JW14) took third place in 22:47.
Charlotte Harris: First lady finisher today
Mike Sheridan: Highest age graded score today and a new all time parkrun personal best
In addition to these stories, we did notice a number of other equally newsworthy performances throughout the field. Firstly, it was great to see our (almost) resident photographer Stuart March complete his first parkrun today. Stuart is a member of the Hungerford Hares running club, and it was great that he finally put the camera aside for a week and took the opportunity to run. We hope he'll be able to do more running in future (although we'll selfishly miss his excellent photographs!). Credit must go to Matthew Studart who helped Matt Brown and Jo Amor run new personal bests today: Jo reduced her time by a further 23 seconds, whilst Matt took 41 seconds from his. It seems the selfless act of helping others to a new personal best today was in full flow, in fact: Paul Scarlett also helped Paul Bennett to a 21 second personal best, whilst Jo Darby credited Colin Brassington and Andy Woodman for netting her a new 18 second personal best. Ollie Ludewig was ecstatic to run a new 45 second personal best (he's getting close to being sub-30 now), whilst Joe Bennett celebrated his tenth parkrun in style by taking a massive 1 minute and 17 seconds off his previous best. Finally, a quick mention to Greg Filmer who ran with his canine companion, Spot, this week. After dragging Greg to possibly his fastest first mile ever, its owner sadly had to accept defeat with Spot crossing the line first. Spot now leads the Filmer/Dog stakes 1-0. Can the lead be kept? Please keep telling us your stories, either by email at email@example.com, on our Facebook page (Link) or via Twitter (Link).
Finally, thank you so much to our volunteers today, and particularly to Andy Tucker who held the fort so I was able to run! Everything ran like clockwork this week with the results uploaded in record time. Massive thanks therefore to Alan Aylott, Andy Woodman, Anne Wenlock, Mike, Charlotte & Evan Phillips, Clive Williams, Dan Collis, Drew Tucker, Mike & Karen Grinsted, Liz Harkness, Mark Shepherd, Michael Futcher, Nigel Grantham, Paul Hendry, Phil Cowhig and Sonya Coltman. Clive was taken photographs today which are available to view on our Facebook page (Link). We are always seeking volunteers, so if you would like to help out in future weeks then please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
After 60 events, 2,518 athletes from 137 athletics clubs have now completed 12,244 runs on the Newbury parkrun course, running a cumulative total of 61,220km. 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 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 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 Plain" 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)