Northampton parkrun is cancelled on 11 April 2020: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Northampton parkrun 2020 so far by Bryan Lewin

With nothing much better to do, in fact, nothing much to do! … (being an over-70 with a dodgy ticker and, therefore, in self-isolation) … I’ve spent a little time perusing the Northampton parkrun events that have taken place this year, so far.

But first and foremost, with the announcement that all parkruns are cancelled “until at least the end of March”, following government advice and public health guidelines, it is especially disappointing that we can’t go ahead this week. It would have been Bob’s 400th parkrun and also it would have been a special (yellow-themed) occasion to support Rowan's fundraising (those involved are trying to raise £4,000 to purchase his new wheelchair). Not only that, but (if she ran) it would have been Lindsay Reeves’ 300th Northampton parkrun (and her 389th in total) – Lindsay has been part of Northampton parkrun from the very beginning.

There were, potentially 12 parkruns during the period but Storm Dennis, “one of the most intense extratropical cyclones ever recorded”, cancelled us on 15th February (I think that means ‘very wet very windy’ because the official reason we were off was “Dennis had too many baked beans - huge threat”). This date would have had an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ theme – and it is now re-scheduled for 30th May.

During this period, regulars Nigel Swan, Pam Kingston and Steve Cory all notched up 300 parkruns in total. Steve also passed the ‘250 at Northampton’ mark – as did Peter Dixon, Charles Corbett and Andrew Jess. Mark Bonner claimed his 250 T-shirt and lots of parkrunners qualified for 50 and 100 T-shirts; sorry, but far too many to mention you all (or any of you!). And our esteemed Event Director, Alastair Rapley reached the magnificent achievement of volunteering on 100 occasions (according to the official stats … but I suspect that the actual figure is much more).

This is intended to be a collective review, featuring a few of the more noteworthy aspects, rather than a series of individual run reports, but we started the year/decade (yes, I know the argument that it wasn’t actually the beginning of the decade) with Northampton parkrun ♯400 on Wednesday 1st January. Despite the previous night’s celebrations (or not), 600 took part and an impressive 9 out of the first 20 welcomed in the New Year with PBs (there were 75 in total). Mark Hill was first finisher (for the 33rd time) – and with his number 1 spot again on 14th March, he’s now only one behind Luke Greer. Rebecca White was first female, in 19.09 – the third best ever time for our VW 40-44 category.

On 4th January Andy Green finished in 4th place in a time of 17.31 - which was not only a PB for him but it also smashed the previous best time (of 18.06) for VM55-59 parkrunners at Northampton. Andy also holds the Northampton VM 50-54 record (of 17.43) which he achieved six years ago – so he’s obviously improving with age! On 22nd February we had a first timer at Northampton, John Butcher, from Ware Joggers, who ran his 291st parkrun in 37.29, which earned him a place in the list of ‘Age Category Records for Northampton parkrun’ – deservedly so, because John is in the VM85-89 category! And, on 7th March, a determined young lady athlete, named Carole James, chipped a couple of seconds off her previous PB to set a new WWC record of 28.21.

The rare occurrence of 29th February falling on a Saturday (it won’t happen again until 2048) heralded the much anticipated (?!) Northampton parkrun in reverse - and it was certainly very popular. We had a new record attendance of 727 – the fifth largest in the UK that day; only Bushy Park (1029), Milton Keynes (921), Heaton Park (788) and Cannon Hill (781) had more. Noah Bennett (JM15-17) led the way to finish in an impressive 16.35 PB … and everyone managed to find their way round without mishap.

Northampton parkrun ♯409 on 7th March celebrated International Women’s Day by encouraging runners etc to bring along a female friend or relative – and it seemed to work. Our normal split is to have 40-50 more males than females taking part but, on this occasion, we had 281 females and 282 males - and 46 ‘other’ (a reference to ‘no barcode’, not gender). Maggie McQuaid, a first timer with us (but doing her 199th parkrun) was first female in 19.56; Elaine Danby (VW 60-64) registered 85.93% on that age grade thingummy … and there were lots of female milestones and PBs. (Some of the males also did quite well).

Our final parkrun for a while, on 14th March, was presided over by new RD, Julia Bradnam. It saw Mark Hill as first finisher (on his 100th parkrun) and Jessica Lamb (JW10) as first female in a brilliant PB of 21.12, the third best ever time at Northampton for this age category.

Finally, my view (from that corner) is that everyone who takes part in parkrun tries and gives of their best, whether they finish first or 500th. But I suspect that it’s always good to see your efforts rewarded in the form of improved times. About a year ago, Stirling Green (JM15-17) was finishing in around 21 minutes – since then, he’s achieved 10 PBs and, most recently, knocked 30 seconds off - so he’s now down to 17.45. No less impressively, Lynette Sampson (VW55-59) only started parkrunning this year but she has improved her time each run and she’s gone from 53.55 to 46.23. Well done to this pair, the hundreds like them and everyone else who makes Northampton parkrun such a superb event each week.

I gather Vera Lynn (103 years young on 20th March) has said we should evoke the wartime spirit, so, as she (nearly) sang:We'll meet again I do know where I don't know when But I know we'll meet again some sunny day Keep smiling through Just like you always do ‘Til the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away.

BryanLewin3

 

 

21st March parkrun – A parkrun not to be missed

Why not miss this parkrun?

Rowan's Reality parkrun (Yellow theme for his love of minions) to find out more then visit https://rowansreality.azurewebsites.net/About.html 

Rowan

We will also be celebrating 86 year old Bob Emmerson's 400th parkrun.  Mrs Emmerson will be there supporting and providing a table with nibbles to celebrate.

BOB_398

 

 

 

Meet the core team at Northampton parkrun

Event Director - Alastair Rapley

Alastair

I was introduced or was rather told to try out parkrun by one of our resident legend Alan (his sister Pauline is our next door neighbour). I would describe myself as a lazy runner, no training, stretching, warming up or... down or side to side for that matter - 5k is the perfectly adequate. My favourite run ... around the Le Man race track early on the morning of the race, the scariest one - running into a field to find I was in the middle of a police dog training exercise - defiantly my PB on max Basil Fawlty mode

Co Event Director - Matt Bushell

Matt_Bushell

I discovered parkrun in 2015 soon after taking up running. I soon realised the importance of volunteers to the event and gave this a go one week. It’s hard to imagine Saturdays without parkrun now and i enjoy it regardless of whether I run or volunteer. It’s always good to see the Northampton regulars or do a bit of tourism when I get the chance.

My own running involves a mix of events over the year. Like many, I started at 5k which soon became 10k, and so began the journey through half-marathon, marathon, ultra etc. The most important thing for me however is to enjoy running regardless of the time or distance.

Run Director - Michelle Lewis

Michelle_Lewis

Known as the one that dresses up a lot, Purple Crayon, volunteer credits a lot higher than parkrun participations, first parkrunner in the world to do all three in Seattle (June 2019), one of core team setting up the Junior parkrun, does not need microphone as those at back can hear me when I speak normally and I love a selfie :-).

My first parkrun was in 2014 at the Racecourse and then had a bit of a break as focused on marathon training at weekends.  Back then the thought of including parkrun in a long run was unheard off (all those parkruns missed arghhhh).  2017  Gabby (previous Event Director) advertised for a volunteer to take on the role making the Racecourse parkrun aware to the wider communities and yours truly rose to the challenge (Visually Impaired, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Wheelchair users, mums to be and 5K Your Way, which supports those going through or in remission of cancer). It is great to see we not only welcoming parkrunners with all abilities, but the support is just amazing for each other and it is just so natural.  Outside parkrun I manage 'Step Forward with Lewis' that offers fartlek, hill sessions and chatty runs free and open to all levels.

What is parkrun to me? a drug that offers laughs, opportunity to fancy dress, friendships and an excuse to have latta and a large cake with no guilt on a Saturday morning :-)

Run Director - Szabolcs Mate

Szabolcs

I learned about parkrun when a Facebook friend of mine replied to a public post. An appeal for volunteers by Northampton Parkrun for event #111. I thought this was a great idea so I replied too and turned up. I wasn't even registered yet, so I never got the credit for that event, which makes that day even more special. I got hooked instantly, and earned my purple t-shirt rather quickly. As for running, I generally prefer minimum 5k, but no longer than a half marathon. On my own terms though, whenever, and wherever I feel like, so usually no races for me. All I want is running twice a week on average, and keep it up for the next 40 years or more haha. Now onto running parkrun... Yeah... The rumour is true. I never ever run one. As above, I prefer running on my own terms, and when I have the time I chose to volunteer. Also, having zero runs at this stage is a rather special badge one can only lose, haha.

Run Director - Kathryn Hall

2019_Kathryn

I remember watching the first or second London marathon when I was small and thinking "I want to do that". I was so inspired, the music, the stories, the persoanl challenge, it got me. When I joined St Neots Riverside Runners in 2002, I got lucky in their ballot and was able to realise my one ambition. What a day, and what a privilige to be able to have run the world's most famous marathon. I lost my running mojo after my mum died 2007 and it was parkrun and my own jogging group that helped to get it back. I've now run 3 marathons, around 15 half marathons and various other multi terrain events.

I did not fully commit to parkrun until 2017, it then became my weekly catch up with my good friend Ruksana, and I was soon making friends. In April 2016, I started a jogging group, Abington park Joggers, initially for beginners and then for everyone. parkrun has become a big part of the support for our runners and a good second weekly run. Its therapeutic in so many ways. If I could put parkrun in a bottle, I'd give some to everyone I know.

Run Director - Hattie Rapley

Hattie

My mum and dad have always run and used to go on Sunday long runs together so I got accustomed to the worn running shoes and sweaty clothes from a young age.  I used to do Sports Relief mile every year and took part in many of the Race for Life's 5K and 10K in Northampton between the ages of 12 and 16.  I then took up running as a form of exercise in my late teenage years which included other 10km races such as the Manchester Simply Run in 2018 and 2019.  In 2019 I completed my first marathon at London and whilst I loved every minute, it was easily the hardest thing I have ever done.  It taught me a great deal about training plans and the huge importance of rest days.

I have run at many parkruns, not all of them in the UK and love evolving community and the personal accomplishments it gives early on a Saturday morning.  Being able to organise parkrun at Northampton is a huge privilege and I enjoy being able to support the volunteers in making it happen every week.  Running for me has never been about the time or the number of races completed or how many toenails I can lose but more a space created by oneself in order to think and get away from the world, even if it is just for a few minutes.

Run Director - Bobby Chatterjee

2019_Bobby

Started running 6 years ago on a break from other sports, but didn’t quite make it to the end of the road.. 6 half marathons & a marathon later, think I’m finally getting the hang of it! Became a parkrun regular in 2017, & realising I could help by setting up before the run was my route into volunteering. It’s a great team which is always growing, & I now love the volunteering & RD weeks as much as the running ones. Always awesome seeing hundreds of runners & volunteers descend on the Racecourse every Saturday morning, whether it’s the middle of summer, or Christmas morning!

Run Director - Julia Bradham

2019_Julia

My love of running started way back in Primary school when I was picked for the cross-country team. Over the years I have completed 2 marathons, loads of half marathons and at the time of writing 103 parkrun’s. People ask why I love to run, my standard response is ‘I don’t, I love my food and my wine!’ To be brutally honest though running is my release, some me time, time to catch up with friends and family and have a good old rant oh and keep my waistline in order’ish!! I can have the worst of days, receive terrible news but I know when I put on my trainers and pound the streets things become clearer and by the time I get home everything is a bit more focused. I’m not fast and some days my legs feel like lead and slugs overtake me but others I have enough puff for a sprint finish. Occasionally I will be heard to mutter under my breath that ‘I hate running’ (especially if it’s cold and wet) but that feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment when a run is finished certainly outweighs the hate bit.

 

International Women’s Day – 7th March 2020

We are celebrating International Womens Day by encouraging you to bring along a female friend or relative on March 7th.

Whether volunteering, running, walking, or jogging, we would love to see more women and girls joining us and celebrating International Womens Day.

Many females sign up for parkrun but then take a long time to go and do their first event. This is a great opportunity to welcome those who may find those first steps a bit daunting.

So, to all the women and girls out there, young, old, any shape, any size, any background, any fitness level, we welcome you to join the parkrun family on 7th March.

IWD

 

For more information https://blog.parkrun.com/uk/2020/02/05/help-us-celebrate-female-participation-for-iwdparkrun/

 

The Northampton Crayons

Who can remember what they were doing in the summer of 2018?

For a group of parkrunners from Northampton, that summer started off with some harmless parkrun tourism, which included a special event at Rushmere with a little bit of dressing up. And then things, well, escalated. More tourism trips were proposed along with the suggestion that we did it in costume. Various ideas were put forward including one that as we were from Northampton that we should be dressed up in footwear (!) Then came the fateful day when someone ("Miss Pink") said that they had a crayon outfit...and it took off from there. We all claimed a colour and the rest is history! Or rather the start of something special...

NorthamptonCrayons

The crayons' first outing was in October 2018 in Bedford. Since then we've added a splash of colour to parkruns at Market Harborough, Buckingham, Bicester, Watermeadows, Daventry, Stratford upon Avon, Colwick, St Neots, Millenium, Kettering, Warwick and Brixworth - even doing a colourful pilgrimage to Bushy. It's also a tradition to enjoy the local culinary culture after a parkrun (Miss Gold's hot chocolates are becoming legendary) and so far Colwick holds the prize for the most substantial breakfast!

NC_Bedford 66303337_486166275261106_5755180915928072192_o

Our outfits are a bit like an "away" strip so we are never crayons at Northampton parkrun, but we did manage a sneaky crayon 5k around the racecourse in October 2019 for the Decathlon run series on a very wet Sunday.

NC_Racecourse

The Northampton Crayons are a mixed bunch, with different backgrounds and running abilities. The one thing we all have in common - and what brought us together - is parkrun. Who knew that such a fantastic, free event could have such colourful consequences.

NC_Millienium

The crayons try to get out for some tourism once a month - there has to be at least a pack of 4 of us for it to be a crayon event. Who knows...we may be bringing some crayon colour to a parkrun near you soon.

NC_CNS

Blue - Rachel Canham and Carole James, Red - Sam Tearle and James Thorpe, Gold - Kevin Evans, Purple - Michelle Lewis, Pink - Lindsay Reeves and Rachel Ilsley, White - Carol Tarbox, Orange - Catherine Hickford and Green - Joanna MacGregor and Sarah Jones.

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