#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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#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

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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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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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