Northampton parkrun #413-#415 – by Bryan Lewin

Hola! I returned to my usual spot this week after a couple of Saturdays away (where I swapped St Georges Avenue for a coastal route near Santa Eulària des Riu, in Ibiza) and it seems that I missed some outstanding performances by parkrun participants (and, as always, volunteers!).

On 21 August Sophie Harris improved the record female time that she had set seven days earlier, by twelve seconds, to finish in 16.33 (with a third best ever age grade of 89.43%) - but even that time was not good enough to surpass Finlay Ward (JM 15-17), fresh from excelling in steeplechase events at regional and national level, who smashed his previous PB to finish first in 16.28.

Mark Hill is no stranger to being a first finisher - on 28 August he did so for the 35th time, equalling Luke Greer at the top of the table. Mark’s PB time of 16.10 is second on the VM 35-39 all-time list. Eva Stuart-Hill (JW 11-14) was first female - also with a new PB, of 20.48. Perhaps most impressively, Cecil Schumacher notched 34.31 to register the best ever time at the Racecourse … for someone in the VM 85-89 age category!

This week, David Ball crossed the finish line first in 17.33 (which, amazingly, is the exact time that David clocked in his previous two parkruns (when he wasn’t accompanying others)! Jess Lamb (JW 11-14) was first female with a Racecourse PB of 20.35, although she ran 20.21 recently at Sixfields Upton parkrun. I’m not sure if they’re related but other Lambs – Nathan (JM 11-14 - 17.45), Paul (VM 50-54 – 20.54) and Bella (JW 10 – 22.44) all ran PBs as well.

Over the last three weeks a number of milestones have been reached - and, if you weren’t already aware, there are volunteering equivalent T-shirts to claim/purchase; the (matching) range now comprises j10, 25, 50, 100, 250 and 500 for everyone involved. Louise Maguire (50), Rachel Fearnley (50), Lee Wade (100), Stephen Walter (100), Liz Dabell (100) and Richard Lack (100) all qualified for merchandise. Unofficial milestones were achieved by erstwhile Run Director Daniel Gillert (150), Michael Howell (200) and Zoe White (300) - who zoomed round to celebrate, equalling her PB of 31.42, which she set in 2017, aided and abetted by fellow Wellingborough and District AC colleague, Emma Robinson.

Lots of first timers, loads of PBs and a goodly number of 80%-plus on the age grade thingy – too many to mention by name, but a few random references to the following. Bethany Conroy ran a PB on 28 August in 23.33 – and repeated that precise time on 4 September. Samson.g Kidan ran a PB on 21 August in 19.58 – and repeated that precise time on 28 August. Local MP for Daventry, Chris Heaton-Harris, made his Racecourse debut on 4 September after running his first parkrun at the two-laps-on-sand Great Yarmouth North Beach event the week before (fellow local football referee Wayne Chalmers, who ran it on 21 August, commented that “parkruns do not come more challenging than this”). The number of runners, joggers, walkers and wheelers are gradually increasing each week and so, therefore, is the need for more volunteers. I’m told that, in my absence, Bec Lambert’s vocal encouragement was warmly welcomed by all that passed her on that corner – if not by one local resident! Be like Bec – think how you could support Northampton parkrun by volunteering occasionally. Adiós!

Bryan Sept 2021