#388 – Stepping forward at 92…

The year is 1927.

Sir John Reith has just become the first director-general of the newly created British Broadcasting Corporation.

Newcastle United are the champions of England, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland has been re-named and re-invented as that of the Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the first automatic traffic lights have been deployed in Wolverhampton.

The Wall Street Crash is still more than a year away, and Roger Sawtell was a baby.

Fast forward 92 years, 18 different Prime Ministers and 15 American Presidents, a moon landing, the largest scale war of all time and the arrival of a new Millennium... and Roger Sawtell is completing his FIRST ever parkrun in a remarkable 46 minutes and 26 seconds.

Since its debut event in May 2012, almost 15,000 people have completed 134,101 parkruns across the world.

Few, if any, can have been able to match Roger's debut age of 92.

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Even our own parkrun veteran, the redoubtable Bob Emmerson - 377 runs in and still going strong at 86 - was awestruck; if "somewhat disappointed" to lose his oldest Northampton parkrunner title.

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Roger says he'll be back. We look forward to him ringing the parkrun personal best bell in the near future.

It was a good day all round for the older members of our parkrun community, as the remarkable Angela Copson came home in 67th position in a time of 22:59.

Angela is in her 70s.

Her result shouldn't, perhaps, be a surprise though. She holds the Northampton age grade course record; set back in 2015 when she completed the course in an incredible 20:24 (105.64% age grade).

Aside from high performing pensioners, there was a volunteering first for the Step Forward with Lewis running group as it staged its first parkrun takeover.

With wheelchair competitors, first time parkrunners and members driving down from London to join in the fun there was no doubting the diversity and dynamism of Michelle's group.

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As ever with parkrun, it was also a day of milestones.

Of the 479 people who ran, jogged and walked the course, 45 were first times and 70 recorded new personal bests.

In truth, that figure was 71 but our parkrun 'winner' (I know, we're all winners!) forgot his barcode and so missed out on a time. A costly reminder: Don't forget your barcode!

His 16:05 finishing time was no less impressive for that minor misdemeanour.

Congratulations are also in order for Fiona Barrett on completing her 100th parkrun, and to Louis Sefton, Jamie Clark and Marcin Bukowski on reaching the big 50.

Of course, no parkrun would ever be complete without an eager and excellent army of volunteers.

This week's honours board reads at follows:

Alison POSTLETHWAITE • Leigh BARKER • Mick CONROY • Emma SERVICE • Bryan LEWIN • Anne-Marie SANDOS • James CUSHING • Sue O'SULLIVAN • Catherine HICKFORD • Gerald BILLIS • Michelle LEWIS • Craig LEWIS • Claire GARDINER • Kathryn HALL • Rosie CLIFFORD • Julie WALTER • Esme CUSHING • Andi GILL • Daniel GILLERT • Sandra PRIOR • Lisa WARRINER • Tracy STREET • Rachel ILSLEY • Lynette HILL-PARK • Carole JAMES • Mark DEAN • Andrew ILSLEY • Samwise ILSLEY • Noel DUFFY • Olivia ANDERTON • Callum PRIOR • Sophie PEILE

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One final thought, for all of you out there, whatever your age... what have you never done that you'd really like to?

If you're under 92 perhaps it's time to do a Roger Sawtell and go and do it for the first time.

Happy running!

388_RunReportCraigLewis

Craig

 

Event 387 – #NoHumanIsLimited

Key roles were filled for event #387 of Northampton parkrun by 28 energy infused volunteers and 438 parkrunners arrived ready to run, walk or jog!

If the weekly gathering of athletes wasn’t enough to get your parkrun day (previously known as Saturday) off to a motivational start then maybe knowing that we were lucky enough to have been chosen by 31 first timers to start their parkrun journey and 41 of the athletes finishing today celebrated achieving a new PB.

Prior weather reports were proved wrong and the weather held fine so the fear of runners in snorkels and dogs in wellies were unfounded and the course was clear and safe to run, some did opt for fancy dress but I’m led to believe this was not weather influenced.

Celebrating milestones this week were Richard Watson (SM25-29) for his 100th parkrun, Carol Carter (VW40-44) achieved her 50th and Ben Heather (JM11-14) his 10th parkrun!

How is any parkrun complete without its addition of tourists and we had our share this morning with visitors from South Oxhey and Bressy parkruns…we hope you enjoyed our course!

On parkrun day I am constantly overwhelmed by the sense of community, motivation and optimism that can be felt and seen around the course, there were buckets full of determination in the sprint finish area by all, some will be more than happy there was no photographer there to capture that particular moment but that determined attitude spurs all those following on and I’m sure many a PB came from there.

Going back over the mornings run with family and friends in the post run café it was interesting to be told that 2 ladies who had been lapped by other runners were heard saying ‘they’re proper runners not like us’ as they ran on. The definition of runner is someone who runs with no caveat around speed, time or style. Ladies, gentlemen, children and dogs…we’re all runners at parkrun, the clue is in the title, so please be proud of it (but not the lady who told me this…she was stood still…she wasn’t running…she’s not a runner).

Ever present Bob Emmerson (VM85-89) was once again our parkrunner with the most runs with a total of 376 and we had 10 runners in the JM/JW10 category.

26.2 miles might seem a long way off parkrun but many a parkrunner has progressed to marathon distance and I cannot sign off without a mention to a runner that was changing the direction of running and making history while we were all heading down St Georges Avenue. Eliud Kipchoge was in the last 6km (3.7 miles) of a marathon when we started our event, his aim was to inspire everyone by showing humans have no limits no matter the challenge in life, we only limit ourselves. Eliud is the first man on earth to run 26.2 miles in under 2 hours, something no one has ever achieved and he himself failed at in a previous attempt. He shares a sentiment about his achievement that every parkrunner displays when they talk to friends and family even strangers about parkrun – he now hopes loads of people go on to achieve the same.

Volunteers this week: Olivia ANDERTON, Lucy BARKER, Matt BUSHELL, Jason CARTER, Katie CHOWN, Mark Dean, Claire DIXON, Sarah DOREY, Noel DUFFY, Paul FREELAND, Aaron FREELAND, David FROST, Ian FRYER, Jenny GASKILL, Andi GILL, Kathryn HALL, Gillian HARGREAVES, Lynette HILL-PARK, Rachel ILSLEY, Gavin KERR, Bryan LEWIN, Michelle LEWIS, Szabolcs MATE, Sue O’SULLIVAN, Alison POSTLETHWAITE, Alastair RAPLEY, Anne-Marie SANDOS, Laura A R SMITH.

Sarah Dorey

#fitfam

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(Sarah on the left)

 

 

#376 by Bryan Lewin

Before getting into the milestones, stats etc, I’ll start with a really heart-warming sight that I witnessed at the end of Northampton parkrun #376. It was our monthly ‘5k Your Way, Move Against Cancer parkrun’ and parkrunner Marilyn Walker was cheered and clapped by everyone - the tail walkers, other volunteers, our charity ambassadors and her hubby - throughout every inch of the final few yards that she smilingly trekked, to record a PB of 1.02.04. And I was delighted, later, to see that the moment had been perfectly captured by our volunteer photographer, Andrew Warriner. Luke Greer reached this point about 46 minutes before Marilyn, to register a consecutive hat-trick of first place finishes, but her mental and physical efforts were certainly no less than his.

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Saturday’s weather was in contrast to the preceding days of heatwave, and was, simply … wet, wet, wet. But love was all around and the inclement conditions didn’t dampen the spirits of those running, jogging and walking - or the 35 volunteers. Amongst the 411 participants were members of 27 different clubs – including Jersey Girls Run, Sandbach and Selby Striders - and 39 first timers (17 were doing a parkrun anywhere for the first time). I presume that our first time visitors, Tim Morgan (SM20-24) and Steve Morgan (VM55-59), are related, since one of their usual ‘home’ venues is Southampton, which was this week’s biggest UK parkrun, with 973 parkrunners - Poole (with 886) and routine No.1, Bushy Park, (with 840) were next on the list. Tim obviously enjoyed his ‘ampton’ trip, from South to North, finishing second in 16.44.

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As I mentioned, Luke Greer was first home in 15.55 – you’d have to go back three years (30 July 2016) to find a parkrun where Luke ran and didn’t finish in the first three. Claudia Nevett, in her first parkrun for eighteen months, was first female with 19.17. Lindsay Scott was second female with 20.28 – her two previous parkruns were on Christmas Day 2018 and Christmas Day 2017! Luke and Andy ‘Mr Consistent’ Heather had Age Grade thingies of over 81%.

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Ayden Stoddart (JM11-14) cycled to parkrun, completed his 10th, smashed out a PB (31.28 down to 30.13), filled out a volunteering role, went to the Good Loaf (where he looked justifiably pleased) and then cycled home in the rain. Emily Armson also qualified for her ‘10’ T-shirt – whilst brother, Lewis (JM10), demolished his PB by a whole minute (28.59 from 29.59) thanks to pacer Claire Thomas. Grainne McGettigan decided to celebrate her 50th parkrun by smashing her PB, too (well, sort of … 25.17 down to 25.16 … but they all count!).

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In total, there were 65 PBs … including three Kingstons (Darren, Edward and Dylan), two van Uems (Peter and Lucy), two Doys (Reuben and Karl), a pair of Charlottes (Dixey and Dixon) and both Neils (Andrews and Codner). Kevin Quigley has run nine parkruns since he started on 20th April – he’s run a PB every time since and has gone from 25.25 to 20.36. It doesn’t come that easily for everyone … on 26th September 2015, Vicky Nicholas ran a PB of 29.44, sixty three parkruns later, on 18th August 2018, she did 29.40, and this week, another thirty one parkruns later, she recorded 29.38. Just reward for perseverance!

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Random mentions to octogenarian Alan Palmer (for coming 376th in Northampton parkrun #376), octogenarian Cecil Schumacher (for coming 356th in 35.6), Nicola Shaw (for being closest to our average run time of 28:47 with 28.49), Bjorn van Uem (for finishing 184th on his 184th parkrun), James Thorpe and Rachel Canham (on Theatre-theme day, for making horse clopping sounds in the traditional style – with coconut shells), thespian Kevin Evans (on Theatre-theme day, for making no dressing-up effort whatsoever) and Kirsty Myers (for being my daughter).

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To finish, as it says on the website: “Northampton parkrun needs you! It is entirely organised by volunteers - email northampton@parkrun.com to help.

Bryan

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#375 with the #fitfam takeover by Bryan Lewin

Northampton parkrun #1 took place, in May 2012; 120 took part and the 14 volunteers included one of our initial Run Directors, Helen Van Uem. Without the likes of Helen, this great weekly event wouldn’t have taken place … and on Saturday, Northampton parkrun # 375, when Helen ran her 200th parkrun, she was accompanied by 520 other runners, joggers and walkers, and supported by 48 volunteers, predominantly from the fabulous #fitfam group (who took over this aspect). The group is three generations of the same family with extended members who are friends that love to parkrun, run, swim, cycle (and even one member pole dances!).

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Helen wasn’t alone in celebrating a milestone.  For Lizzie Timmins, Kim Pusey, Christine O’Leary and Julia Valentine it was their 50th. Ian Coote and Mark Richards reached 100. Alongside Helen, Antony Hill and Ruksana Wade also ran their 200th parkruns (and Ruksana neatly matched her run, as the 30-minute pacer, with the 25th occasion that she has volunteered – finishing in a precise 30.00). On the subject of milestones, the following Northampton regulars have achieved notably big total runs since the last report and deserve mention – Kate Smith, Andrew Reed and Madeline Dunckley (riding a unicorn) - 100; Adam Crouch – 150; Drew Kimbell (all at Northampton) – 200; Nicholas Rose – 300. I would also have remarked on Mick Conroy’s 200th … but he seems to be a parkrun tourist recently (!).

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Christine before her 50th parkrun, Tony and Ruksana after their 200th parkrun.

Flying first into the finish funnel was Luke Greer in 15.32 – the fastest ever Northampton time for the SM20-24 category … and the equal fifth best time for anyone ever at the Racecourse! (And, I’m reliably informed, Luke ‘warmed up’ for this parkrun with a seven miler!). Runner up, Joe Vaughan (JM15-17), also notched a PB with 16.28. First lady, Katherine Baines, with 21.47, was a first timer with us (but she was actually completing her 265th parkrun, the majority of which have been at Bolton). Not sure if Jenny Baines is related – I assume so – as she was also a first timer with us, and had chosen Northampton to run her 150th. In total we had 47 first timers (24 were first timers at Northampton). Luke Greer, Joe Vaughan and Andy Green all registered over 83% on that Age Grade thingy.

We had 49 people who were entitled to ring the PB bell – and it’s just as good a feeling, whether you were one of the 16 doing only their second parkrun and improving your time (such as Ceri Golding, from 43.03 to 34.35 and Charlie Lennon (JM10), from 49.43 to 42.30) or Matthew Everett (JM15-17) who was doing his 160th (in 18.04, his fifth PB in his last seven runs). But parkrun must create feelings of frustration, too – take, for example, Paul Whitney who has reduced his time, since starting in March, with a succession of PBs, from 28.11 to 22.49 (last week), but irritatingly running 22.50 this week!

On July 20 1969, the lunar module Eagle landed on the moon and Commander Neil Armstrong described the event as “one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind”. Fifty years later, to the day, Robert Armstrong (no relation, as far as I’m aware) bravely stepped out (for the first time in nearly a year) to complete his eleventh Northampton parkrun in 39.05; but we had no-one with the surnames Collins or Aldrin taking part.

Last Monday, in an uplifting BBC TV documentary, Dame Kelly Holmes explored the rise of parkrun and the mental health advantages of running. Ours really is an event that enables hundreds of people to benefit physically, mentally and socially – so, please, think about volunteering occasionally. And to finish on a volunteering note – thank you to Lewis and Paul Armson for marshalling ‘that corner’, whilst I enjoyed a near-birthday run.

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Bryan

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#373 – By Bryan Lewin

The last run report that I did was for Northampton parkrun #364, on 27th April 2019 – and we’ve not had one since #366 - so I thought it was about time for another write-up. But, before I get into Saturday’s event - #373 - I thought it would be appropriate to list a few ‘milestoners’ from the last few weeks who would have undoubtedly been featured (apologies for the lack of mention of the many ‘10’s and ‘50’s – and anyone that I might have missed). Alan Mould and David Pike have done their 100th; Richard Wild, Eric Symons and Trevor Berry have now completed 150; this trio have reached 200 - Gerald Billis, Jim Conroy and Neil Martin; Charles Corbett, Mark Kennedy and Kevin Evans have all accomplished number 250; and Lindsay Reeves, who has been part of Northampton parkrun from the very beginning, has notched up her 350th.

So to last Saturday … when, on the UK’s hottest day of the year with temperatures soaring and making it one of the warmest June days for about forty years, 33 people chose to start their day by participating, for the first time ever, in a 5k event around the Racecourse! In total, we had 60 first timers with us, out of the 508 runners, joggers and walkers looking for shade. Our first-time-at-Northampton visitors included Mark Jelley, who normally runs in the Exeter area, and the Edwards family (Paul, Alicia, Kelsey and Samara) – from Western Australia!

It was our monthly ‘5k Your Way, Move Against Cancer parkrun’ and we were again joined by members of Breast Friends Northampton - a support group for people, men and women, affected by breast cancer. We were also graced with the legendary presence of Elliott Line – who, for those that don’t know him, is (in addition to being an amateur actor, puzzle creator, mathematician and Spurs fan) a parkrun tourist and parkrun statistician (check him out on t’internet). His 22.51 run on Saturday was actually his second at Northampton – but he’s done 214 parkruns at 146 different venues in total… James Stringer, in 17.05, was first home. He, coincidentally, shares a PB of 16.53 with Andy Heather, who finished just five seconds behind James on this occasion. The first three females - Sophie Olejnik (21.01), Laura Campbell-Adams (21.08) and Katie Enefer (21.40) - all registered PBs! Katie’s excellent time puts her third on the all-time top performances for JW10 runners at Northampton. Andy Heather, Andy Green, Chris Bell and Madeleine Wain all ‘scored’ over 80% in that “indication of how well the parkrunner has done relative to their age and gender”.

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It was a trifle warm, and we all know it’s not a race – don’t we?! - but roughly one in seven of those taking part (71 altogether) still managed to register PBs. And the pleasure and pride of doing a PB is just as great wherever you finish; whether you’re Shaun Ledington in 12th place with 19.25 (fifteen seconds better than his previous, achieved in December 2017) or Lisa Whitestone (who started her parkrun career in January with 54.02 and is now down to 44.53). Ryan Adams (JM 10) smashed five minutes off his previous, to clock 27.57, Johnny Duffy (JM 11-14) is six minutes quicker (now 20.19) than when he started parkrunning in February and Hazel Dalley (JW11-14) is seven minutes quicker (23.03) than when she started parkrunning in March. Elaine Wood (VW60-64), in 30.55, and Oliver O’Leary (VM70-74), in 34.40, proved that age is no barrier to having ‘New PB!’ against your name in the results. And I must mention the incomparable Catherine ‘Northamptonshire Sport Get Active award winner 2018’ Hickford, who, with 36.50, has now recorded 27 PBs in the last two years.

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Milestones were achieved by Jen Scott, Susan Wall, Inderjit Kainth and first-timer Lois Eaton (50); Emma Baker did her 100th, David Everett did his 200th and Sally Hewitt, accompanied by family and friends of all ages, ran her 300th parkrun. Regular tail walker Sharon Conquer cheerfully carried out her duties displaying a ‘50’ balloon – signifying her 50th parkrun – but was amused (I think!) to be greeted at frequent intervals by runners wishing her a ‘Happy Birthday’ on the way round!

Thirty two volunteers made Northampton #373 happen … volunteers are always needed to act as funnel managers, barcode scanners, number checkers, marshals … put your name forward once in a while, it all helps. 

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Bryan

BryanLewin3

 

#366 – Deaf Awareness week – I love parkrun

It's a mantra we all know and, some of us, live by - but last week it took on new significance as the 366th parkrun was taken over as part of Deaf Awareness Week.

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Four hundred and ninety parkrunners stood transfixed as Alexy our deaf parkrunner used sign language to carry out the traditional pre-run briefing we've all come to know and love.

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As the talk - and sign - came to an end, it was time for a bit of learning on the job as we we all learnt how to sign that vital phrase: I love parkrun.

The sight of banks of runners, from the super fast to the super enthusiastic, taking part sent out a powerful message.  Of course, the deaf awareness take-over wasn't contained to the run's start, as the group filled marshaling positions and even took part in the event.

Parkrunners always love the regular takeovers, but I think people will be in particular looking forward to the return of this one.

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Once the run was underway, it was spearheaded by a contrasting first two.

Adan Bare led everyone home in his first ever parkrun (18:11), followed closely by Andy Green (Team East Haddon) in his 236th.

Elsewhere, Alan Griffiths (Wellingborough & District AC) completed his 200th run, David Clapp, Bethany Conroy, Joseph Bruce, Jon Tarbuck and Keith Gee completed their 50th run and Johnny Duffy completed his 10th as well as an incredible 78 people clocked PBs.

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Thanks again to all the magnificent volunteers, who make it all possible by standing on corners in all weathers, clicking timers, putting up poles and collecting barcodes.

The event was made possible by 46 volunteers:

Laura A R SMITH • Alison POSTLETHWAITE • Leigh BARKER • Mick CONROY • Bryan LEWIN • Anne-Marie SANDOS • Alex MCMURTRIE • Ian BATES • Lisa JACOBS • Kevin EVANS • Sarah DAVIS • Michelle LEWIS • Ian COLWELL • David WARD-STOKES • Alexy DURY • Bobby CHATTERJEE • Vicky NICHOLAS • Lynett PILGRIM • Angela WHITE • Daniel GILLERT • Christy GILLERT • Claire THOMAS • Helen OXLADE • Maryrose AVERY • Karen CLARK • Jane TIMMIS • Neil WARNES • Sarah BUTT • Sophie SIMPSON • Rachel ILSLEY • Oli CHERRINGTON • Jen CRAWLEY • Rosemarie VAN BREE • Julie FITZELL • Mark DEAN • Damian BALL • Chris BOHIN • Alice ODELL • Chris ODELL • Jessica MARYAN-BALL • Martina SYKES • Colette BURGESS • Adam WALKER • Mike BALLINGER • David ELLINGTON • Paul JOHNSTON

A special mention to Bobby, who was overseeing his first parkrun as run director.

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This Saturday will be a special themed event to celebrate Pride in Northamptonshire, so make sure you all come along as brightly dressed as possible.  Also Northampton Road Runners will be taking over, so lots of claret at the Racecourse as well.

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Runners up at the Northampton Heart of the Community Awards 2019

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This would not have happened if our lovely parkrunner Bryan did not nominate us.  A big thank you from us all.

"Northampton parkrun is a free, timed 5k (three miles) event for anyone - walkers, joggers, runners, buggy pushers, wheelchair users etc (‘runners’). It takes place at the Racecourse every Saturday at 9 a.m. and is one of 601 parkruns in the UK that are organised by local volunteers, backed up by a centralised registration and barcode results system. Parkrun has been aptly described as “…a celebration of all that is good about social fitness”.

A team of around 30 volunteers – marshalling, organising the finish funnel, operating timers, scanning the runners’ barcodes etc – enable Northampton parkrun to take place each week. The event has supported over 100 youngsters participating in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme. Members of the tail-walking group frequently double up as Racecourse litter pickers on parkrun days – and a group of parkrunners will plog and support the Friends of the Racecourse events.

The first Northampton parkrun took place in May 2012 and the most recent event, on 6th April 2019, was the 361st. The average number of runners per week over this period is 334 but, for the fourteen weeks so far in 2019, the average number of runners per week is 499. Everyone is welcome at Northampton parkrun – it prides itself on being accessible, inclusive and welcoming (it often features ‘fun’ themes). Trained guides are available for visually impaired runners and the event brings together people of different ages, who possess a range of athletic capabilities and who have varying objectives. An 86-year old regular recently completed his 350th parkrun, three generation family groups are not uncommon and an enthusiastic 4-year-old joined his mother as a marshal only last week.

Local clubs of all description have participated in, or taken over, an event to help their promotion; these include, most recently, representatives from youth rugby (Old Scouts), local employers (Opus Energy) and Abington Park Joggers. For the last Saturday of each month Northampton parkrun is a ‘5k Your Way, Move Against Cancer’ parkrun and, on 11 May, the Deaf Hub for the deaf and hard of hearing will be the main provider of volunteers.

The Chief Medical Officer for England, Dame Sally Davies, has said: “... parkrun is community led, and community facing, allowing local authorities to benefit the health of their population by simply supporting parkrun with a location and helping it to be visible …”. Locally, there have been many individual examples where runners and volunteers have derived enormous personal benefit in being part of a group - such as weight loss, helping to deal with anxiety or a diversion from life-limiting conditions.

The core team behind Northampton parkrun have supported the teams that have successfully set up new parkrun events in Kettering and, more recently, Upton. They are silent heroes in the local community – their weekly efforts, often taken for granted, enable hundreds of people to benefit physically, mentally and socially. A Heart of Community Award would demonstrate the respect and appreciation that they deserve."

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Bryan, Helen, Michelle, Mayor of Northampton, Gabrielle, Leigh and Alastair

 

#365 by Craig Lewis

It was a super seventh year anniversary for Northampton parkrun as hundreds of hardy runners, joggers, walkers, wheelers and even Wookies turned out to take on the 5km course for the 365th time in the event's history.
Aside from the birthday bumps, the special event had its own unique theme: Star Wars vs Star Trek.

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The "May the 4th Be With You" dateline had something to do with it - though the most committed Jedi's would have found the presence of Trekkies on their day about as popular as Luke Skywalker in a Mos Eisley cantina.
I did not like it either.
This was no hive of scum and villainy though... more the usual parkrun buzz of smiles and success.

The PB bell rang out with the intensity of Chewbacca losing at chess as 77 runners finished faster than the Millennium Falcon on the Kessel Run.
Those coming home in less than twelve parsecs to clock their best times included Aydan Stoddart who knocked a couple of minutes of his PB to come home in 31:28.

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Andy Heather was once more the fastest in the galaxy as he led the runners in, while Kate Bond (Daventry Road Runners) was first female in 22:49.
There was an amazing run from young Nathan Lamb (JM11-14) - the force is strong in this one - who finished ninth in 19:20.

As one wise Jedi once said: "Ready are you? What know you of ready. For 800 years have I trained Jedi. A Jedi must have the deepest commitment."
Master Yoda would certainly be impressed with the dedication of some of our parkrun fraternity.
Paul Eccles braved winds colder than Hoth to complete his 100th parkrun, Sue Bayliss hit number 50 and Jon Fitzhugh completed an incredible 300th.
Andrew Howard of East London Runners may have been enjoying his first outing at the Racecourse, but it was his 376th parkrun in all.
Just as we remember all the Red Leaders standing by as Luke raced towards the Death Star, no-one should forget the 54 volunteers without whom the Dark Side would definitely have won.
This week they included pacer Karen Clark, who finished seconds under her target of 40 minutes - the first time she's broken that barrier in 2019.

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Finally talking of milestones, we all wish Lucy Barker happy birthday and, naturally, 'Live Long and Prosper' (that's the one Star Trek reference you're getting out of me).

May the force be with you. Always.

Today's volunteers:

Aidan GREEN  •  Alex HEWSON  •  Alison POSTLETHWAITE  •  Becky DIXEY  •  Ben FOUNTAIN  •  Benjamin CRAWLEY  •  Bjorn VAN UEM  •  Bobby CHATTERJEE  •  Bryan LEWIN  •  Catherine HICKFORD  •  Christy GILLERT  •  Claire THOMAS  •  Craig LEWIS  •  Dannii LEVI  •  Frederick DUNCKLEY  •  George THOMPSON  •  Harry BRIDLE  •  Helen MENZIES  •  Helen VAN UEM  •  Ian BATES  •  Izabela MASZCZYK  •  James LORIMER  •  James THORPE  •  Jane TIMMIS  •  Jason CARTER  •  Jeff BATTISON  •  Jim CONROY  •  Jon DUNCKLEY  •  Julia BRADNAM  •  Julie FITZELL  •  Karen CLARK  •  Katarzyna MASZCZYK  •  Laura BURTON  •  Leigh BARKER  •  Lindsay REEVES  •  Louise JONES  •  Lynett PILGRIM  •  Lynette HILL-PARK  •  Matt BUSHELL  •  Michelle LEWIS  •  Mike CAMPBELL  •  Nathan ADAMS  •  Oli CHERRINGTON  •  Rachel ILSLEY  •  Sam FREEMAN  •  Sharon CONQUER  •  Sherrill CASON  •  Stavros CARAYANNIS  •  Stephanie MUNCHERJI  •  Terry EGAN  •  Tracey DENT  •  Tracy STREET  •  Trish LORIMER  •  Wayne CHALMERS
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#364 by Bryan Lewin

Lots of dedicated athletes took part in a marvellous running event at the weekend – some were doing it for the first time, some achieved their goals, some struggled but still reached the finish line, some even did it wearing fancy dress … but, I suspect, every single one of them enjoyed taking part. I think that’s a fair description of Northampton parkrun … but I should probably also mention that a few Racecourse regulars were mollycoddled with chip timing, water stations, bands, cheering crowds and a medal at Sunday’s London Marathon (including Harriet (Hattie) Rapley, Steve Cory, Mick Conroy, Andy Lack and Gerald Billis).

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The bare facts are that 41 volunteers (including some Marathoners) enabled Northampton parkrun #364 to happen on 27th April 2019. 479 people walked, jogged or ran it; 42 were first timers at this venue (of which 24 had never before done a parkrun, or at least never had it recorded!); and 60 people achieved a PB. But, perhaps more significantly, those statistics do not convey the fact that the event was our inaugural ‘5k Your Way, Move Against Cancer parkrun’ (this is described as “A community-based initiative to encourage those living with and beyond cancer, families, friends and those working in cancer services to walk, jog, run, cheer or volunteer at a local 5k Your Way parkrun event on the last Saturday of every month”). And we were also joined by members of Breast Friends Northampton - a support group for people, men and women, affected by breast cancer.

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Our first-time visitors included David and Matthew Wilkinson (Halesowen A and CC), who normally turn out at Cannon Hill parkrun, Birmingham. Matthew, although only (JW 15-17), was doing his 130th parkrun (Charlie Conroy, from Parklands Jog and Run, has already done 133 in the (JW11-14) category). Shrewsbury Road Runners James Barber (with 412) and Lynne Barber (with 331), both in the (55-59) age category, and Simon Hanson from Redditch Stars (with 177) are obviously parkrun tourists – each visiting us for the first time. Kevin Church (Marshall Milton Keynes AC) ran his 393rd parkrun, three less than Hazel Church (Redway Runners) … in context, Bob did his 354th. Turning to more competitive aspects, the ultra-consistent Andy Heather was first finisher in 17.40 and he was the only person to achieve an Age Grade thingy of over 80% (80.28%). Catherine Mackintosh was first female – as with her first parkrun (at Sixfields Upton), she finished in 22.30. There were, as always, some outstanding PBs throughout the field and, as always, too many to quote – from Crystal Steele in 446th place (nearly 4 minutes faster than her first parkrun) up to second placed Sam Tallett (with 18.25). Youngsters who particularly excelled included Sean Nikel (JM10) with 26.49, Hazel Dalley (JW11-14) with 25.11 and Morwena Hills (JW 11-14) with 26.52. Ashleigh Burdett (JW10) helped milestoner uncle Jonathan round in a PB of 37.47 - for her. I’m not sure if they’re related but … Johnny Duffy (JM11-14) with 21.34 (from 23.21), Noel Duffy (JM11-14) 23.44 (from 24.48) and Jemima Duffy (JW15-17) with 32.46, all had ‘New PB!’ against their names in the results. Dale Holmes’ 10 parkruns have all been in 2019 – he has improved on his previous best every run and is now down to 31.55 (from 42.16). The inspirational Catherine Hickford was the Northamptonshire Sport Get Active award winner in 2018. Her citation included: “Catherine started parkrun in 2014. At first she could not run and would be the first to admit she was really unfit and unhealthy”. On Saturday she (again) reduced her PB – this time, from 38.38 to 37.47.

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Miscellaneous mentions go to Lorraine Bone who finished 364th in Northampton parkrun #364 (with a PB), Paul McFadden, who exactly matched our ‘average run time’ of ‘00:28:43’ (with a PB), Lizzy Meadows, who was 455th in 45.5 and David Clapp, who finished 48th in his 48th parkrun.

At last, we come to the milestone category. Ethan Compton (JM11-14) and Lily Bodkin (JW11-14) qualified for their ‘10’ T-shirts; Jason Carter, Lee McBride, Juliet Savil and Jonathan Burdett each ran their 50th parkrun; Tony Noton completed his 100th and Emma Robinson did her 250th (unsurprisingly running round with Zoe White, who did her 250th last week). And, although she tried to keep it a secret, our effervescent Run Director, ‘Communications Person’, marathoner, charity fundraiser etc etc - Michelle Lewis – volunteered for the 175th time (and ran her 100th parkrun in a Where’s Wally outfit … with some of her mates also ‘persuaded’ to do the same). Just joking, Michelle – congratulations; we all think you’re amazing! I was honoured to accompany Michelle on her centenary run (Peter Dixon drawing the short straw for marshalling ‘that corner’) and I was pleased to be notified that I was second in my age group category … until I saw that the first (VM70-74) was John Bates, who was dog-assisted!!

364_Michelle_100th   364_Emma_250th

 

Back to my normal position next Saturday – remember it’s another dress up opportunity; May the 4th be with you. And if you haven’t done so recently - or ever – volunteer you must …

https://www.parkrun.org.uk/northampton/futureroster/

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5K Your Way comes to Northampton parkrun tomorrow

27th April 5K Your Way starts at the Racecourse Northampton parkrun.

Listen to BBC Northampton Radio tomorrow at 7:10 and 8:10 in the morning and hear interviews with Michelle (one of the Ambassadors for 5k Your Way and Northampton parkrun Run Director) and Joanna who spoke on behalf of Breast Friends Northampton and talks why she is taking part tomorrow with her two children and her personal journey with cancer.

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More to follow next week on how it went.

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