#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

375_Bryan

 

 

#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.

 366_JosephBruce 366_BethanyConroy

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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#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.

365_Ayden
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.

365_fitfam (Karen with many of the #fitfam)

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!!

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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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#363 by Wayne Chalmers

As our learned and intrepid report Bryan Lewin is currently sunning himself in the Riviera that is the North-East coast of the country, the metaphoric quill has been passed onto myself to make my debut compiling Run Report #363. I can only hope that Bryan is enjoying the local delicacies, namely the Chicken Parmesan and lemon top, whilst perusing his understudy’s work.

A loyal band of 41 volunteers ensured that this week’s event could take place and it is testament to them all on a Bank Holiday weekend that it ran so successfully. If the previous day was Good Friday, this was very good Saturday (the report gets better I assure you). As the RD quite rightly stated at the start, parkrun Northampton is always looking for willing volunteers to join the team. With Daniel in the hotseat, it was only those pesky funnel duckers that caused any issues and now that Mr Bonner has been banned from timekeeping duties, the stopwatches ensured that a huge 169 people posted personal bests this week. An amazing achievement but a little more on that to come!

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Early morning sunshine greeted the Racecourse with a very light breeze which made for perfect running conditions. The aforementioned climate ensured that 71 first timers were lured to the Racecourse for some early morning exercise which contributed towards an excellent attendance of 612, the biggest attendance since 27thJanuary 2018. Interesting fact – If the participants had run the event as a relay, they would have reached Moscow. Now that you have surely digested that masterpiece, we look forward to welcoming them back over the coming weeks and months.

In terms of performance, there were a number of notable efforts which should be commended. First past the post was Haydn Arnall in an impressive spin around the course in 15.50. Not only was this Haydn’s first Parkrun for 5 months but he dispatched his previous PB by 21 seconds. This gave him the third-fastest time of the year and put him at a very creditable 15thin the all-time list.

First female finishing was Barbara Willison (VW50-54) who finished in 20.50, impressive in itself but also achieving an age grade of 80.48%. She showed a clean pair of heels to family member Olivia (JW11-14) who finished second in 21.27. With 66 young adults 14 or under enjoying some exercise this week (with 12 under 10s also taking part), the youth were out in full force this week. Great work!

Another notable mention goes to Mark Weathersby (VM35-39) who collected a PB in 17.16. A testament to the fact that things get better with age – Mark has taken over a minute off his PB since 2013.

Elaine Danby (VW55-59) was age grading winner of the week as she achieved 87.35% closely followed by Kate Bond (VW 55-59) with 84.37%. Skip Snelson (JM15-17) took the male honours with 84.14% whilst also finishing second overall. Add into that a new PB and it was a very satisfying morning’s work for the youngster from Banbury Harriers.

To close with, we must congratulate the number of people who achieved milestones. Of course we have the all the newbies to Northampton and the 38 who participated in any type of Parkrun for the first time. We hope your experience was enjoyable and you come back soon!

Significant milestones were also achieved by Zoe White (SW 30-34) who achieved her 250thrun (she has also volunteered 25 times and run 235 of her runs at Northampton) and both Sarah Jones (VW 50-54) and Lizzie Meadows (VW 35-39) who completed their 200th. Richard Wild (VM 40-44) was able to complete his 150thwhilst we had three new members of the fabled Century Club (I just made that club up). Nick Alexander (VM 40-44), Aaron Gordon (SM 25-29) and Patrick Dunckley (JM 15-17) are now founder members of the club that doesn’t really exist but probably should.

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 363_200th_Lizzy Paddy_Dunckley

Bonita Letts (VW 50-54) and Kate Warren (VW 50-54) made it to 50 runs and a special mention to Matthew Downs (JM 11-14) who not only achieved his 50 but also set a new PB. As a member of New Marske AC, ironically down the road from where our first team reporter Bryan is moonlighting, it was an honour to replace our experience with his youth. Well done Matthew.

To sign off, the parkrun website is an absolute gem of information and what stands out most of all this week is that our very own Michelle Lewis is currently on 99 not out. Like standing in the middle at Lords, we look forward to seeing Michelle hopefully nurdle a single next week to reach her three figures. As I am sure many of you know, Run Director Michelle is an absolute Northampton parkrun stalwart and the life and soul of the Racecourse on a Saturday morning (sounds a little wrong). I expect a guard of honour as she joins the previously mentioned fake Century Club on her next outing!

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If you have reached this far then thanks for reading, if not then you have missed out on a treat. Keep enjoying parkrun and hope to see you there soon 

Wayne_Chalmers

 

#361 by Bryan Lewin

I’m starting this week’s report with a brief supplementary to last week’s – only because I felt the celebrations of the two octagenarians, in particular, deserved greater acknowledgement of their achievements. The “someone completing their 350th parkrun” was, of course, Bob Emmerson (VM85-89) and the “someone completing their 250th parkrun” was Alan Palmer (VM80-84). In addition to Anika (parkrun name) Trotman’s 100, last Saturday was also a milestone day for Peter Moor (200), Jennifer McFadden (150) plus Mary Battison, Michele Brocklebank and Nick Tam (all 50). Jens Walton and Lucy Henman both qualified for a 10 club T-shirt (awarded to junior runners, aged 17 and under, at the time of their 10th run).

360thmilestones

And now on to Northampton parkrun #361 – on the 6th April 2019 – where 490 took part, ably assisted by the 32 volunteers (including Kathryn Hall and Kath Middleditch, who both ran in Sunday’s Manchester Marathon … and Kath’s 4 year old ‘High 5 Here’ Arthur … who didn’t).

A 200th parkrun milestone was celebrated by Stephen Johnson (VM65-69) – and, in an incredible coincidence, Stephen’s wife, Alison, finished as 200th female. This lovely couple usually run together – unless, as I jokingly say to them, they’ve had an argument! Paul McFadden and Jackie Coombs both notched up their 100 parkruns and Brighton fan Ralph Stahmann’s Saturday at least started on an upbeat note (by being able to claim his 25 volunteer T-shirt) - although Manchester City later clipped the Seagulls' wings in the FA Cup semi-final. And the guy who regularly marshals on the far corner was volunteering for the 100th time.

Ralph

First finisher in a time better than 17.57, was I. Fogotmybarcode. First female was a first timer with us, in her seventy first run overall – Ellie Bates, from Chiltern Harriers AC, in 20.28.

We had 34 first-timers in total – 17 visitors having done a few parkruns previously elsewhere; these included Keith and Alison Flint (Redway Runners) and Steph Flint, Alice Barkell (Fleckney and District Running Club), David Stobbs (MK Lakeside Runners) and Simon Ingram (Marston Moretaine Runners). A goodly number from Opus Energy joined our ranks – organised, I suspect, by Gabby Deere – including debutant Sam Lapite, who chased round his former ON Chenecks team-mate, Calvin Budd, to record a highly respectable 19.57.

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Impressive percentages on that ‘Age Grade’ column were registered by Andy Green (again), with 83.21%, and Sheila France (VW55-59), with 77.59%, in a PB of 24.19.

Once again, well over 10% of those taking part recorded PBs - there were 73 this week, so no chance of mentioning everyone. Amongst our younger athletes, Matthew Everett, Peter Van Eum, Finley Goldring, Jens Walton, Holly Reed, Stefan Kavanagh, Lucy Henman, Katie Enefer, Lily Bodkin, Tom Exley, Tom Halsey, Jack Spires and Lucy Dixon had deserved ‘New PB!’ against their names in the results. (Theo Haskins (JM11-14) ran a PB of 21.52 last week; he ran 21.52 this week). Our outstanding PB veteran performers included Fiona Crook, Richard Wain and Christine Gillies (all in the 70-74 age range). I’m always amazed by the number of those taking part who improve each week. For example … Dale Holmes – 7 parkruns, all PBs, 42.16 down to 34.44 and Vanessa Watson – 6 parkruns, all PBs, 38.31 down to 28.16. Since 24th November last year Mike Campbell has recorded 12 PBs in 15 parkruns reducing his time from 34.40 to 25.02 and Catherine Nichol’s three parkrun times are 31.05, 29.32 and 27.45! And if there was a more uplifting sight on Saturday than Carole James (WWC) coaxing, cajoling and coercing her mum, Catherine Hill (VW65-69), to knock two minutes off her previous PB, I didn’t see it.

Random mentions go to Katie Swan (VW35-39), who bravely recovered from Ladies’ Day at Aintree on Friday to make an appearance (Clare King – DNS), before embarking on more ‘socialising’ at a wedding later that day and at Wembley on Sunday to see her team, the 'Orns (Watford – the Hornets), win. Sarah Hayle was 361st in event #361 and three runners - James Mason, Lizzie Souter and Joe Hughes - virtually matched our ‘average run time’ of ‘00:28:42’. Ian Coote was 87th in his 87th parkrun. John Fuller (SM20-24) was 23rd male and 24th overall in his 25th parkrun. Hearty congratulations to Kate Smith (VW45-49) for yet another PB and Kate Smith (VW 65-69) for … just running at the same event as your namesake!

I did my marshalling bit (I whimped out of doing the Magic Mile – it seemed colder on that corner this week and I hadn’t thawed out!) and popped into the Good Loaf to enjoy warming refreshments with other parkrunners. A great start to the day!

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Every parkrun only happens because of the time and dedication of our volunteers…. We are always looking for new volunteers.” Get in touch and give it a go!

BryanLewin3

 

 

#360 – by Mollie Smith

My first parkrun was completed in July 2017 in Market Harborough. Coming up to two years later, and Northampton parkrun event number 360 is my 87th parkrun. Northampton was my twelfth parkrun tourist spot. As a regular volunteer for both parkrun and junior parkrun, I’ve given myself the challenge of complete my 100th run and 100th volunteer role on the same day and if all goes to plan, this should work out to be 6th July.

So after an earlier wake up call, we arrive in Northampton and head to towards the hi viz hero’s. We make it to the first timers brief where we’re told the course involves one big lap and a smaller lap. According to the results, there were a total of 44 first timers at Northampton today - amazing!

A starting brief is conducted with numerous celebrations, including someone completing their 250th parkrun, someone completing their 350th parkrun and someone celebrating their 50th birthday. The countdown begins and we’re off. I begin running with my friends Leanne and Jess. Everyone seems nice, friendly and supportive. We spot the photographer and I go for the cheesy grin and jazz hands. After what seems like forever we crossed the finish line and are already looking forward to next week. Event number 360 saw 114 pbs; congratulations to everyone who ran the fantastic event today.

 

#359 – By Bryan Lewin

Of the 518 taking part in Northampton parkrun #359, 55 were first-timers at any parkrun. They included Ashleigh Burdett (JW10), who, when I saw her later that day, told me how much she loved it and that will be doing it again next week. Andrew Souter, who was amongst the 35 parkrunners discovering the delights of the Racecourse for the first time, obviously enjoyed the experience, since he achieved his best ever time (23.33) – as did Samuel Taylor (JM10) with 24.48. Tim Allison made us his 35th venue for his 180th parkrun, and we also had some club runners, such as Neil Atkinson (West Cheshire AC), Fiona Hall (Widnes Running Club) and Denise Taylor (Boldmere Bullets), making their debuts with us.

Celebrating milestones were Martin Williams (50th), Darran Kavanagh (100th – all in this County), Jon Dunckley (100th – dressed in an ‘interesting costume’!), Peter Dixon (250th – accompanied by a fabulous family group of all ages). And Claudia Terrell (JW10) can now claim her ‘10 club’ T-shirt. (Samantha Tearle chose to record her 100th appearance at Westmill parkrun (Ware) – but the majority of her performances have been at Northampton).

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First finisher, in 17.17, was ‘Mr Consistency’, Andy Heather, whose last six runs have resulted him being 3rd, 2nd, 1st, 3rd, 2nd and 1st. Leading female, Annette Golawska, in 20.34, has been 1st in three of her four runs at Northampton (and she was 2nd on the other occasion). Andy Heather - with Andy Green and Madeleine Wain – scored over 80% on that ‘age and gender’ thingy.

Second overall, Patrick George Dunckley (JM15-17) – with 17.33, over 30 seconds better than his previous PB - was first one home of the impressive 94 athletes who found weather conditions this week much more to their liking, and who were entitled to ring the PB bell! Age is no barrier to a PB – e.g. Reece Stocks (JM10), Lily Rose (JW10), Tallulah Havard (JW10) and Richard Wain (VM70-74)(again). Nor is having the same name … see, for example - Adam, Kevin and Sarah Hayle; Holly and Emma Reed; Dale and Fraeya Holmes; James Smith (SM25-29) and James Smith (SM20-24)! Although parkrun is ‘not a race’ (allegedly), the desire to improve is amply illustrated by the likes of Jamie Walden (7 consecutive PBs), Jamie Clark (5 consecutive PBs), Anne Bodkin (6 PBs in last 7 runs), Vanessa Watson and Gary Shelswell (PBs in each of their 5 runs) … and by so many others.

A few ‘random mentions’– alphabetically, by surname, those taking part ranged from first-timer Kirstie-Marie Abbott to Dariusz Ziolkowski (who PBed for the sixth time in his 10 Northampton parkruns); Anthony Carter was 359th at Northampton parkrun #359; Kim Pusey finished in 28.41 – precisely the ‘average run time’ for our parkrun; Ross Bailey was 20th in a PB of 20.16, Shamir Kishan was 302nd in 30.22, Kathryn Hall was 303rd in 30.29; David McGuane (VM35-39), in his 21st parkrun, finished in 21.04 (only the second time that he has NOT recorded a PB in his last 16 parkruns!) … but I noted that the 29:38 by possibly-related Lai Ting McGuane (VW35-39) was a PB…); Messrs Hampton, Putman and Vincent who finished 184th, 185th and 186th are all Pauls (as were 10 others – this week’s most popular male name) and there were 10 Lauras. Finally, Adam Wright, 11th in 19.17 (White Elephant), and Katherine McFadian, 9th female in 23.47 (Costa), get a mention solely because they said nice things about me when I bumped into them!

Volunteers make parkrun happen; they do all the obvious high-profile tasks at the event (like marshalling, timing, result recording, etc) as well as all the behind-the-scenes roles too. Why not volunteer?

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

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#358 by Bryan Lewin

Windy. If one word summed up Northampton parkrun #358 it was … windy!! Obviously we weren’t the only UK parkrun to suffer – 52 parkruns were cancelled, mainly as a result of the weather, and 402 had a lower attendance than last week. Somewhat ironically, I was back doing my marshalling bit, after a week away on the island of Fuerteventura … which popularly translates as “strong wind”!

Over this weekend, we had a few regulars participating in events at other exotic locations – such as Daventry, Stanwick, Oundle and Milton Keynes (oh and …and Cyprus) …. but the blustery weather didn’t stop 463 athletes from perambulating the Racecourse; and 47 of them even managed to achieve PBs. Storming home first was Tony Letts (his time of 18.11 was an indication of the conditions – it was the slowest by a first finisher since 9 December 2017). Our leading female was, for the third time this year, Karen Smith who breezed round in 20.13 – a Northampton PB for her.

Milestones (whether or not recognised by parkrun T-shirts) were celebrated by Dave Care (running his 50th); Anne-Marie Sandos, Nigel Dunlop and Lisa McGarrity (all doing their 100th) … and RD Alastair Rapley (completing his 150th). Anne-Marie (and her many supporters) adopted an Hawaiian theme to mark the occasion – as you may have noticed. Alan Raines ran the parkrun to celebrate a significant birthday (his sash said ‘The Big 50’ but the results say he ‘Most recently ran in VM45-49 age category’!). First timer at Northampton, Paul Williams, from Southampton, ran on his 39th birthday.

Alastair AnneMarieandNigel

In total we had 41 first timers – 30 of which were doing the first-ever parkruns, including two groups proudly wearing their colours from Northampton Old Scouts under-14s and 103 Battalion REME. By contrast, first-time visitor Sam Weaving, who finished 3rd overall, was doing his 251st.

Andy Green (81.59%), Tony Letts (81.12%) and Madeleine Wain (77.75%) were big scorers on that thingy that gives “an indication of how well the runner has done relative to their age and gender”.

This week’s Personal Bests included Chris Lamb (VM45-49) - no, not the wife carrier who was our first finisher on 23 February (there’s actually 27 persons registered under that name) …this Chris’s 24.39 was his 6th PB in his last 9 parkruns; Stuart Hansell, two runs in total – 31.45 last week, 24.36 this week; Melissa Wilde – 24.21 (her last parkrun was Christmas Day 2016 in 28.26); Malachy Collins (JM11-14), nine runs since 2015, 6 PBs – this week’s 21.23 earned him first place in his age group and 18th overall. You’re never too young or too old for a PB – as Ashley Hillier (JW10) and Richard Wain (VM 70-74) can testify… and finally, a trio who have each achieved three PBs in their four parkruns, all this year - James Smith (the SM20-24 one, not James Smith (SM25-29)), 25.17 down to 22.51; Johnny Duffy (JM11-14), 26.32 down to 23.42 and the wonderfully-monickered Del Boy, 26.15 down to 24.40.

In the ‘completely random mentions’ category - alphabetically, those taking part ranged from Aaron Lares Baptista (JM 10) to Zoe White; first-timer Christine McKeogh was 358th in Northampton parkrun #358; Isabella Morris neatly finished 444th in 44.44, Amanda Kimberley (30-34) was thrillingly 330th in 33.03 in her 30th parkrun and Logan Vanden Bos finished his first ever parkrun in 323rd position in 32.26; Ismael Ali, Lee Wade, Simon Tenant, Helen Menzies, Helen Andrews, Marie Fitzhugh, Louise Musson and Liam Browne all proved that they were budding pacemakers – as they each completed the course in an exact number of minutes!

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Northampton parkrun #358 only happened because of the 36 volunteers, under the direction of RD Matt. As first-time timekeeper Neil Martin (nearly) said – “if you have not volunteered yet, give it a go, it really broadens your appreciation of the wonderful phenomenon that is parkrun!”

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