Newbury parkrun provides the perfect warm-up for Endure24 runners!
When we arrived at the car park at Venture West on Saturday morning, we were surprised how unusually empty it was. Usually the car park is beginning to fill by 08:30, but this morning there were only a few dog walkers parked up. However, it appears that Newbury parkrunners were merely taking advantage of a few extra minutes in bed and by 09:00, 340 eager runners were listening to the pre-run talk - one of our best ever turnouts.
Before the run got underway today, we had the rather pleasant task of presenting t-shirts to new inductees of the 10 and 50 clubs.
Andy Tucker: 50 Club
Andy has been a regular at parkrun since the beginning, and there's rarely a week when he's not at Greenham in some capacity - whether running, helping, or just standing around trying to "look good" in arm, leg and body lycra (it's all about the image for triathletes). Seriously though, Newbury parkrunners should be particularly indebted to Andy as he's one of only a select three who are trained in the dark art of being a run director so helps to keep things running on the weeks I'm not around. Although sadly a victim to more-injury-than-he-deserves, Andy has an impressive personal best of 21:37 and we're sure he'll edge closer to the 20 minute barrier as time progresses. Particularly if he gets rid of those leg warmers.
Brian Emms: 50 Club
Brian is also a very regular face at Newbury - and undoubtedly one of the cheeriest! He now has 58 parkruns to his name, with 38 at Newbury, 13 at Swindon, 1 at Upton Court and 1 at Llyn Llech Owain parkrun (we might have to visit the last one ourselves with a name like that). Brian has an impressive personal best at Newbury of 21:55 - enough to see him ranked as 8th in the VM60-64 category. Brian is, however, one of our most dedicated volunteers and can often be seen clutching a timing or scanning implement. Well done Brian - and here's to the next 50!
Anisa Khorassani: 10 Club
Anisa has been running Newbury parkrun since September 2012. In her first event she ran a not-to-be-sniffed at 31:33, but in the space of just two months managed to reduce that to an excellent 24:10. She now consistently runs in the 25-26 minute bracket, and we're sure that new personal best is only just around the corner. Well done Anisa!
Sion Sollis: 10 Club
Sion is also quickly becoming one of our most welcome faces at Newbury parkrun. He first started running the parkrun just a few weeks after our first anniversary run in February 2013, and quickly reduced his debut time by over three minutes. What makes Sion particularly stand out was when he volunteered to help a few weeks ago. Sion was given the duty of "Funnel Manager" and was undoubtedly one of the most encouraging funnel marshals we've ever had! So, thank you Sion and big congratulations.
(As we mentioned in the pre-run speech, there has been a delay in delivering some sizes of t-shirts and we apologise for this. We have no doubt parkrun HQ are trying to get them through to us just as quickly as possible)
Whilst many of our regular runners were forfeiting the morning's parkrun to take part in the local Endure24 event - a 24 hour running event being held in Aldermaston. However, some regulars chose to run the parkrun as a warm-up event, and we also welcomed a number of visitors from around the UK who'd been drawn to the event both for the Endure24 event - and in the name of parkrun tourism. A number of those were from the 26.2 RRC. We welcomed seven members of the club this morning: Richard Goulder, Steven Ramek, Libby Marchant, Ricky Emery, Greg Whiteman, Matthew Pritchard and Peter Grecian. All are parkrun veterans (mostly from Kingston, Bushy and Richmond parkruns in London), with four of the seven being members of the 50 club. Others we suspect were visiting for Endure24 were David McCabe and David Piper of Sheen Shufflers, and Tom Hastings and Robert Hall of Tea Time Terrace. William Shippin, a Milton Keynes parkrun veteran, was also visiting and finished in 13th place in a time of 19:45 (we secretly think he could have gone a bit quicker - he ran a parkrun PB of 17:05 at Northampton just last week!). Two other visitors were Richard Jones and son Chris Jones from Benfleet RC. Chris just pipped Dad by four seconds with a time of 17:27, but Richard can take consolation in the fact his time of 17:32 equates to an age grading of 82.79% - today's highest age graded score. Finally, we'd like to welcome David Pink to Greenham: David is a member of the 100 club and is a regular at Reading (and more recently, Woodley) parkrun and today was his first ever run at Newbury.
Anyway, back to the run itself. We noticed a large number of runners who were running with their canine friends in the first ten finishers. One of those was Gary Crone (VM40-44) of Fire Service Sports & AA who crossed the line first in 17:15. Reading/Woodley parkrun regular Andrew Smith (SM35-39) of Reading Roadrunners took second place in an excellent 17:24 (we are touched that Andrew chose Newbury to run his 50th parkrun - and his time today was just three seconds off his all time parkrun best of 17:21). Third place went to Chris Jones (JM15-19) of Benfleet AC in 17:27.
Amongst the ladies, Claire Westerman (SW25-29) of Army AA was first across the line in 19:56 - keeping up her 100% "first lady" record at Newbury, and claiming her first sub-20 time on the course to boot. Running only her second Newbury parkrun, Susanne Enhard (VW45-49) of Compton Harriers RC finished second in a new personal best of 20:18 (sub-20 next time out, Susanne?) with Karen Grinsted (VW35-39) giving her Endure24 campaign a positive start by taking the third podium spot in 22:31.
Elsewhere across the field there are people who are equally worthy of a mention. Ryan Smith crossed the line in a time almost a minute faster than his previous best to earn a new PB of 25:41, whilst Brian Billington celebrated his 50th parkrun with a new 30 second personal best (which he blamed on the tailwind - but we think it's down to his good training!). However, with a new PB of 23:01 there is now a very obvious new milestone to be broken! Callum O'Neill obliterated his old personal best by 22 seconds to claim his first sub-18 time of 17:53, whilst Lorraine Pearce was ecstatic to nail her first previously-thought-impossible milestone of sneaking under 27 minutes, crossing the line in 26:50. Tom Murrell achieved his first ever sub-23 time (22:48), whilst Andy Sellwood and Craig Sellwood both ran nearly 30 seconds faster than their previous best. Keith Pearce and our excellent regular photographer, Stuart March, also were pleased to run new best times whilst Bob Phillips took over two minutes off his previous best time to get under 50 minutes for the first time!
Whilst the achievements of all runners are to be applauded, an even bigger round of applause should be given to the excellent team of volunteers today. With such a large volume of runners, things can get difficult to manage. However, the team managed exceptionally well today. Thank you therefore to today's brilliant team of helpers: Charlotte, Evan and Mike Phillips (who it was great to welcome back to volunteering after a number of weeks away), Christopher Hicks, Clive Williams, David Stratton, Nigel and Jackie Brown, Lorraine and Jemima Croggon, Mark Shepherd, Joe and Carolyn Burnett, Martin Jezzard, Mick Cornwall, Nicki Tucker, Richard Disney and Ross Connell.
This year's points competition is now well underway. Karen Grinsted is stealing away in the ladies' competition with 5,056 with Florence Barry in second place with 4,767 points. Aimee Dyson is in third place (and well within striking distance for second place) with a score of 4,669. In the men's competition, Karen's husband Mike Grinsted is leading with 5,200 points. Rob Saunders is in second place with 4,951 points and Dan Collis is in third placefter 73 events, 2,952 athletes from 157 athletics clubs have now completed 16,144 runs on the Newbury parkrun course, running a cumulative total of 80,720km. 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)