#411 – We are back finally – By Bryan Lewin

Northampton Racecourse parkrun #410 took place on 14th March 2020 … and, after 497 days - including 70 Saturdays – we returned on 24th July 2021. The results show that 348 people, ran, jogged and walked our course, of whom 33 were first timers with us (28 had never before participated in any parkrun) and 38 recorded new PBs. The event was made possible by 34 volunteers.

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But it was much more of an occasion than those bare statistics indicate. As we all know, parkrun is not a race and it’s so much more than just a run - it’s a get-together with friends, and a like-minded community, to exercise (naturally!) but also to have (nowadays) a socially-distanced chat, a laugh and a celebration or two. No more so than this week.

Unless you’ve recently been with Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson in their supersonic rockets or totally self-isolating because of the pandemic, you can’t have avoided the numerous television, radio and social media stories featuring Bob making his much-anticipated 400th parkrun. Is there any more to say about this remarkable man than what he has already said about himself?! His running achievements are staggering (world best times, 40 miles round a track in less than 5 hours etc etc), he’s a parkrun legend and he is an inspiration to young and old alike. I’ve known him a long time; I’ve taken part in marathons etc with him and I have the utmost respect and admiration for his motivation and physical fitness. Long may he continue.

Bob's 400th parkrun

Bob's 400th parkrun

William Kneeshaw (100), Peter Diamond (50) and Bethany Quinney (50 – with a PB!) were others who’ve also been waiting to celebrate their milestones. And Julie Evans did her 200th run at Northampton (out of 213 in total).

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Norbert Mihalik finished first (for the seventh time) and Louise Hannan was first female (for the second time). Eighteen of the 141 females taking part clocked up PBs, including four out of the first six, and Claudia Terrell (JW10) impressively but frustratingly ran 23.39, one second outside of her PB. Kimberley Boyce notched a PB with 34.19 nearly seven years after her previous best time; Robin Bunting went round in 21.00, five minutes quicker than his last parkrun in 2019, and over three minutes faster that his last PB.

On the age grade percentage thingy, Andy Green, Chris Bell and Andy Heather all recorded over 80%.

Bob always runs in green, so honourable mentions go to Stirling Green (spot on 22- minute pacemaker) and Calvin Green (24.08 whilst steering Freddie in the pushchair).

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Despite some initial traumas, Alastair and the team ensured a safe, enjoyable and successful resumption of parkrun. There were a few changes – at the start and finish – but, in between, all the usual effort and determination was displayed by everyone! It’s good to be back – but please remember that we now miss two Saturdays and our next event is on 16 August. Don’t forget your barcode (and, just a reminder to Carole James – we start at 9.00 not 9.30, so don’t be late (again))!

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Bryan

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