Meet the core team at Northampton parkrun

Event Director - Alastair Rapley

Alastair

I was introduced or was rather told to try out parkrun by one of our resident legend Alan (his sister Pauline is our next door neighbour). I would describe myself as a lazy runner, no training, stretching, warming up or... down or side to side for that matter - 5k is the perfectly adequate. My favourite run ... around the Le Man race track early on the morning of the race, the scariest one - running into a field to find I was in the middle of a police dog training exercise - defiantly my PB on max Basil Fawlty mode

Co Event Director - Matt Bushell

Matt_Bushell

I discovered parkrun in 2015 soon after taking up running. I soon realised the importance of volunteers to the event and gave this a go one week. It’s hard to imagine Saturdays without parkrun now and i enjoy it regardless of whether I run or volunteer. It’s always good to see the Northampton regulars or do a bit of tourism when I get the chance.

My own running involves a mix of events over the year. Like many, I started at 5k which soon became 10k, and so began the journey through half-marathon, marathon, ultra etc. The most important thing for me however is to enjoy running regardless of the time or distance.

Run Director - Michelle Lewis

Michelle_Lewis

Known as the one that dresses up a lot, Purple Crayon, volunteer credits a lot higher than parkrun participations, first parkrunner in the world to do all three in Seattle (June 2019), one of core team setting up the Junior parkrun, does not need microphone as those at back can hear me when I speak normally and I love a selfie :-).

My first parkrun was in 2014 at the Racecourse and then had a bit of a break as focused on marathon training at weekends.  Back then the thought of including parkrun in a long run was unheard off (all those parkruns missed arghhhh).  2017  Gabby (previous Event Director) advertised for a volunteer to take on the role making the Racecourse parkrun aware to the wider communities and yours truly rose to the challenge (Visually Impaired, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Wheelchair users, mums to be and 5K Your Way, which supports those going through or in remission of cancer). It is great to see we not only welcoming parkrunners with all abilities, but the support is just amazing for each other and it is just so natural.  Outside parkrun I manage 'Step Forward with Lewis' that offers fartlek, hill sessions and chatty runs free and open to all levels.

What is parkrun to me? a drug that offers laughs, opportunity to fancy dress, friendships and an excuse to have latta and a large cake with no guilt on a Saturday morning :-)

Run Director - Szabolcs Mate

Szabolcs

I learned about parkrun when a Facebook friend of mine replied to a public post. An appeal for volunteers by Northampton Parkrun for event #111. I thought this was a great idea so I replied too and turned up. I wasn't even registered yet, so I never got the credit for that event, which makes that day even more special. I got hooked instantly, and earned my purple t-shirt rather quickly. As for running, I generally prefer minimum 5k, but no longer than a half marathon. On my own terms though, whenever, and wherever I feel like, so usually no races for me. All I want is running twice a week on average, and keep it up for the next 40 years or more haha. Now onto running parkrun... Yeah... The rumour is true. I never ever run one. As above, I prefer running on my own terms, and when I have the time I chose to volunteer. Also, having zero runs at this stage is a rather special badge one can only lose, haha.

Run Director - Kathryn Hall

2019_Kathryn

I remember watching the first or second London marathon when I was small and thinking "I want to do that". I was so inspired, the music, the stories, the persoanl challenge, it got me. When I joined St Neots Riverside Runners in 2002, I got lucky in their ballot and was able to realise my one ambition. What a day, and what a privilige to be able to have run the world's most famous marathon. I lost my running mojo after my mum died 2007 and it was parkrun and my own jogging group that helped to get it back. I've now run 3 marathons, around 15 half marathons and various other multi terrain events.

I did not fully commit to parkrun until 2017, it then became my weekly catch up with my good friend Ruksana, and I was soon making friends. In April 2016, I started a jogging group, Abington park Joggers, initially for beginners and then for everyone. parkrun has become a big part of the support for our runners and a good second weekly run. Its therapeutic in so many ways. If I could put parkrun in a bottle, I'd give some to everyone I know.

Run Director - Hattie Rapley

Hattie

My mum and dad have always run and used to go on Sunday long runs together so I got accustomed to the worn running shoes and sweaty clothes from a young age.  I used to do Sports Relief mile every year and took part in many of the Race for Life's 5K and 10K in Northampton between the ages of 12 and 16.  I then took up running as a form of exercise in my late teenage years which included other 10km races such as the Manchester Simply Run in 2018 and 2019.  In 2019 I completed my first marathon at London and whilst I loved every minute, it was easily the hardest thing I have ever done.  It taught me a great deal about training plans and the huge importance of rest days.

I have run at many parkruns, not all of them in the UK and love evolving community and the personal accomplishments it gives early on a Saturday morning.  Being able to organise parkrun at Northampton is a huge privilege and I enjoy being able to support the volunteers in making it happen every week.  Running for me has never been about the time or the number of races completed or how many toenails I can lose but more a space created by oneself in order to think and get away from the world, even if it is just for a few minutes.

Run Director - Bobby Chatterjee

2019_Bobby

Started running 6 years ago on a break from other sports, but didn’t quite make it to the end of the road.. 6 half marathons & a marathon later, think I’m finally getting the hang of it! Became a parkrun regular in 2017, & realising I could help by setting up before the run was my route into volunteering. It’s a great team which is always growing, & I now love the volunteering & RD weeks as much as the running ones. Always awesome seeing hundreds of runners & volunteers descend on the Racecourse every Saturday morning, whether it’s the middle of summer, or Christmas morning!

Run Director - Julia Bradham

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My love of running started way back in Primary school when I was picked for the cross-country team. Over the years I have completed 2 marathons, loads of half marathons and at the time of writing 103 parkrun’s. People ask why I love to run, my standard response is ‘I don’t, I love my food and my wine!’ To be brutally honest though running is my release, some me time, time to catch up with friends and family and have a good old rant oh and keep my waistline in order’ish!! I can have the worst of days, receive terrible news but I know when I put on my trainers and pound the streets things become clearer and by the time I get home everything is a bit more focused. I’m not fast and some days my legs feel like lead and slugs overtake me but others I have enough puff for a sprint finish. Occasionally I will be heard to mutter under my breath that ‘I hate running’ (especially if it’s cold and wet) but that feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment when a run is finished certainly outweighs the hate bit.

 

The Northampton Crayons

Who can remember what they were doing in the summer of 2018?

For a group of parkrunners from Northampton, that summer started off with some harmless parkrun tourism, which included a special event at Rushmere with a little bit of dressing up. And then things, well, escalated. More tourism trips were proposed along with the suggestion that we did it in costume. Various ideas were put forward including one that as we were from Northampton that we should be dressed up in footwear (!) Then came the fateful day when someone ("Miss Pink") said that they had a crayon outfit...and it took off from there. We all claimed a colour and the rest is history! Or rather the start of something special...

NorthamptonCrayons

The crayons' first outing was in October 2018 in Bedford. Since then we've added a splash of colour to parkruns at Market Harborough, Buckingham, Bicester, Watermeadows, Daventry, Stratford upon Avon, Colwick, St Neots, Millenium, Kettering, Warwick and Brixworth - even doing a colourful pilgrimage to Bushy. It's also a tradition to enjoy the local culinary culture after a parkrun (Miss Gold's hot chocolates are becoming legendary) and so far Colwick holds the prize for the most substantial breakfast!

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Our outfits are a bit like an "away" strip so we are never crayons at Northampton parkrun, but we did manage a sneaky crayon 5k around the racecourse in October 2019 for the Decathlon run series on a very wet Sunday.

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The Northampton Crayons are a mixed bunch, with different backgrounds and running abilities. The one thing we all have in common - and what brought us together - is parkrun. Who knew that such a fantastic, free event could have such colourful consequences.

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The crayons try to get out for some tourism once a month - there has to be at least a pack of 4 of us for it to be a crayon event. Who knows...we may be bringing some crayon colour to a parkrun near you soon.

NC_CNS

Blue - Rachel Canham and Carole James, Red - Sam Tearle and James Thorpe, Gold - Kevin Evans, Purple - Michelle Lewis, Pink - Lindsay Reeves and Rachel Ilsley, White - Carol Tarbox, Orange - Catherine Hickford and Green - Joanna MacGregor and Sarah Jones.

 

#402 – In search of an N by Sue Martin

We are on a spell of parkrun tourism and this week we were at Northampton – to get an N
for our parkrun alphabet! We weren’t the only tourists there, with the unofficial prize for the
furthest travelled tourist going to the person who joined us from Amsterdam!

There were several notable milestones amongst the parkrunners this week. James STRYJEKMatthew JEFFCOATE and Matthew JEFFCOATE were running their 50th parkrun,  Roy ANDERSON on his 100th parkrun, Katherine MCFADIANKatie WHITE and Angela WHITE were running their 150th parkrun and Dave SWIFT was running his 200th parkrun . A special mention to Clive PEARCE who was running his 50th different venue on his birthday and Sharon CONQUER volunteering for the 50th time! Congratulations to you all!

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This week there were 677 parkrunners, which was the third highest attendance ever here,
possibly due to some people starting their new year resolutions a little late but more
probably because word is spreading about how great Northampton parkrun is!

402_course

The briefing lived up to its name and was brief, but informative, and the run started on time
which is always a positive. The course is a two lap circuit of the racecourse park, with the
second lap being shorter than the first. The course is fairly flat and racecourse park is
quite open so you can see the parkrunners on other parts of the course as you go round -
making a lovely colourful vision for the runners and to show those who have not yet
decided to join us that parkrun is here! The course was marshalled by friendly and
encouraging marshals who stood in some quite cold and windy conditions to cheer us on – thank you marshal! 35 volunteers made this week’s parkrun possibe, so a massive thank
you to all of you.

I like to find out a little bit about where I am visiting, and I was surprised to learn that
Northampton racecourse is not actually a racecourse! Although it was once - historically,
regular horse racing meetings were held here but these ceased in 1904 due to the high
number of accidents caused by the sharpness of the track. Nowadays it is an open space
park comprising of about 118 acres of parkland.

Horse racing was held here at various points in its history and the racecourse was anti-
clockwise around the park. Interestingly, parkrun has stuck with this tradition and is also
run anti-clockwise.

402_Racecourse

The hotel at the corner of the racecourse was built to accommodate keen racegoers but
was closed in 1904 when the racing here stopped. It then remained empty for 18 years
earning it the name “The White Elephant”, the name by which it is still known today.

On to a few parkrun stats - this week was run number 402. Of the 677 parkrunners 53
people were running their first ever parkrun and a further 46 did their first Northampton
parkrun. 60 people achieved a PB – congratulations to you all and to everyone who got a
result for their stopwatch bingo!

Thanks for a great parkrun – hope to see you again!

Sue Martin (Leamington)

 

 

#399 2019 final run report by Bryan Lewin

As we enter a new year, a few personal (and highly selective) observations from me on Northampton parkrun over the last 12 months.

It was a year when … there were 52 events, with an average of 485 parkrunners running, jogging, walking, wheeling at each event (our overall average is 347.9 … there were two cancellations (one, in March, because of icy paths, the other because of the Northampton Town Festival)) … the highest number taking part was 640 (on Christmas Day); the lowest was 248 (on 2 November, when weather conditions were slightly inclement, to say the least) … we introduced ‘5k Your Way, Move against Cancer’ (and welcomed Breast Friends Northampton) on the last Saturday of every month, to encourage anyone undergoing cancer treatment or living beyond this disease to take part in a supportive environment.

58599069_616662442147622_6842657800527544320_n Screen Shot 2019-12-31 at 15.05.58

Our parkrun on 11th May was taken over as part of Deaf Awareness Week - with Alexy Dury, from Deaf Hub, using sign language to carry out the pre-run briefing.

 

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Alexy’s post-race comments included “It gave me shivers down my spine to see so many people using BSL (British Sign Language), even the fast runners managed to sign something quickly as they passed me!” … we were proud runners-up (no pun intended!) for a Northampton Heart of the Community Award (individuals and groups are shortlisted “for their hard work in their communities, making Northampton a better place to live, work and visit”)

2019_communityAward

We celebrated our 7th birthday (having started in May 2012; initial RDs Gabrielle Deere and Helen van Eum are still frequent participants) … we hosted a special themed event to celebrate Pride in Northamptonshire... we, gratefully, had take-overs from a variety of clubs and organisations … Bob, Gerald Billis and Alan Palmer represented us at a special parkrun at Bushy park in July which acknowledged Octagenarians … Kathryn Hall, Bobby Chatterjee and Julia Bradnam joined the core group … and we acquired a parkrun photo frame!

2019_Pride  x2019_Kathryn   2019_Julia  2019_Bobby

Locally, we had four new parkruns during the year – Watermeadows, Salcey Forest, Irchester Country and Brixworth Country. Nationally, there was a new parkrun female world record (Charlotte Arter ran 15:50 at Cardiff parkrun on 5 January 2019), Bushy park had the UK’s biggest ever attendance (2,545) on Christmas Day and the powers-that-be introduced a new-style parkrun results page in October (the less said, the better!).

Bob the Legend celebrated his 86th birthday and still leads the way with 381 Northampton parkruns – although we get the occasional visit from Len Voralia, who has completed 445 in total! … Leigh Barker revelled in the attention (twice) of a ‘significant’ birthday and, on 30th November, of her volunteering for the 300th occasion (the first finisher of that day’s event was, appropriately, Leigh’s son-in-law, Chris Lamb) … and, on the 19th October, Roger Sawtell did his first-ever parkrun (at the ripe-young age of 92).

2019_oldies  2019_Leigh

Unsurprisingly, Roger holds the VM 90-94 age category record (44:50), which he achieved on Christmas Day (his fifth parkrun). During the year, the following set new age category records – Hallie Barford Coulson 19:55 (JW10); Emily Williams 18:10 (JW15-17); Elisha de Mello 15:27 (SM20-24); Andy Green 17:46 (VM55-59) – on Christmas Day!; Elaine Danby 21:58 (VW60-64). The incredible Angela Copson equalled her (VW70-74) time of 22:29 – scoring 102.37 % on the age grading thingie. And the always-inspiring Carole James smashed over five minutes off her previous best to record 28:23 (WWC). Elisha de Mello’s 15:27 was the fifth fast ever at Northampton … Elaine Danby now holds the record for best times in three age categories (VW50-54), (VW55-59) and VW 60-64).

Luke Greer added four more to his total of first finishes – he’s now had 35 (from 54 runs in total), more than anyone else. Mark Hill and Andy Heather each achieved six first finishes. Emily Williams’ 18:10 was the best female time in 2019. Elaine Danby had three first place female finishes, making it 12 in total; Rosanna Andrews has most first place female finishes (19) - aided by two this year. Mention ought to be made of Lewis Panter (JM11-14) and Ella Darby (JW11-14) who both put their names on the ‘parkrunners with most first place finishes at Northampton parkrun’ scoreboard.

Too many ‘proper’ milestones to count (!) … but the ‘300 club’ (i.e. runners whose majority of parkruns were on the Racecourse) now consists of Bob (388 total runs), Lindsay Reeves (376), John Fitzhugh (325), Nicholas Rose (325), Geoffrey Alan Jeyes (312), Studney Kirby (311), Becky Dixey (301) and Edward John Taylor (301). Five of this eight took part in Northampton parkrun #1! Quite a few regulars are now entitled to wear the 250 T-shirt – apologies that reasons of space prevent me from naming you all (or, indeed, any of you!).

2019_Dunkley 2019_MLmilestone

Myself – I ran Northampton parkrun three times: on New Year’s Day (with a surprising 27:21 PB), near my birthday and when Michelle did her 100th – I also touristed at Temple Newsam, Eastbourne and Sixfields Upton. And I passed a century of Saturday mornings where I stand, clap my hands and shout at people …

Bryanscorner

On to 2020 – and what’s in store? Who knows? But I don’t think it’s any great secret to say that we are well on the way to having a Junior parkrun up and jogging (or whatever) early in the year.

2019_Juniorparkrun

To finish, the usual plea: “Northampton parkrun needs you! It is entirely organised by volunteers - email northamptonhelpers@parkrun.com to help.”

Bryan

2019_BryanL2

 

#398 Christmas Day by Sarah Dorey

Just as presents and crackers are a Christmas tradition, so is the family heading home for the festive season and the parkrun family is no exception to this.  A number of new parkruns started in the county this year and many of our regular attendees have moved to new events closer to home so it was great to see everyone come back to Northampton for our special festive extra event.  There were lots of hugs and handshakes as old faces and new parkrunners caught up and swapped Christmas cheer. 

In total, 640 parkrunners started their festive celebrations on the Racecourse, the 4th highest attendance in 398 events.  We clocked up: 73 PB's, had 53 first timers to Northampton and 25 of them were doing their very first parkrun!  

No run report is complete without the celebration of milestones.  Mark Jackson, Danny Carter, Sebastian Tomlinson and Laura Lever all completed their 50th milestone run…Congratulations!!  Aidan Green from #fitfam ran his 100th run as did Sally and Glen Furniss…Awesome!!  On their way to the 500 club milestone Ed Taylor and Becky Dixie completed their 300th run.

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Great support as ever by all of our 30 volunteers, particular note to those providing music for parkrunners to ‘Rock around the Christmas tree’ down St Georges Avenue all to be treated by festive cries of Elf Brian being assisted by Father Christmas on his 131st volunteering event! (Brians' not Father Christmas)

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Lots of our parkrunners continued the Christmas theme with names!  We had 3 Holly's, 1 Joseph and a Bell, a flock of Lambs, 3 Nicholas's, 2 Kings and a Shepherd.  Sadly there were no donkeys and thankfully, with the number of buggy runners, no Herods.

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Encouragement is not needed and of course parkrunners love an opportunity to dress up.  We were visited by numerous Father Christmas’s, some Christmas puddings and one angel taking a break from her duties at the top of the festive tree.

2019 has been yet another busy year for Northampton parkrun and we look forward to 2020 and all the new parkrunners we will meet, all the tourists that will visit and all of the familiar faces we will get to run, walk, jog and volunteer with each week.

Sarah Dorey
#fitfam

398_fitfam

 

#397 Christmas parkrun by Craig Lewis

It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas as a host of Santas, Elves and various festive accoutrements descended on Northampton's Racecourse.
The occasion? Parkrun number 397.  So strong was the Yuletide fever, run director Anna of Arendelle, aka Michelle Lewis, would surely have had all 472 park runners building a snowman... if it wasn't for the fact it had not stopped raining all week.  As it was, those arriving at a boggy course were simply grateful the really wet stuff was not falling from the sky for a few hours.  A Christmas miracle, you might say.
397_RD
Fruit toast and hot coffee. Bacon butties and steaming tea.
Cold Christmas runners warmed by the glow of much welcomed hot food.
If pre-9am is the Night Before Christmas of the parkrun world, the time spent in the Good Loaf is akin to the day itself.  Results arrive powered by email updates with every bit as much magic as Santa travels down chimneys on Christmas Eve.  As fresh as the Good Loaf bread, this week's results revealed Higham Harriers' Nathan Jones had galloped home, reindeer like, in first place in a personal best time of exactly 17 minutes.
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He was one of 46 sprinters, runners, joggers and walkers who beat the cold to finish in well-earned PB times.  Some more festive magic. You might say.
There was a sign of good things to come at the start of the run.
Well, several signs in fact.  Many of them coming from the hands of Alexi, as parkrunners learned how to say Merry Christmas using sign language.  Several hearing assisted runners took to the course today - yet another sign of the incredible inclusivity which this weekly battle against our legs inspires.  If that doesn't make you believe, I don't know what will?
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The end of the parkrun.
For some, it means a sub-20 finish. For others a 40 minute PB.
There are those who sprint home; mums and dads who push young children in front and over the line; and dogs romping over the line, dragging tired owners behind them.
The tail walkers - their usual beautiful plumage sadly lacking after a washing machine led error that will never be mentioned again - keep them all in check; a fabulous full-stop to the full range of parkrun participants.  Today, though, was the day of the ploggers.
And a special one too. The Ilsley's taking on that mantle and on the occasion of much familiar achievement.  Rachel's 100th run, and half centuries for both Andrew and young Samwise.  Some show a clean pair of heels, others create a clean park.
I told you there's magic about, didn't I?
397_Ploggers
A load of bollards.
Surely not the way to talk about the noble art of volunteering?
Unless, of course, you're young Alfie and mum, Elaine. Is there a more vital role than
397_Alfie
making sure parkrunners don't come a cropper on the concrete?
Perhaps the timers could stake a claim? Catherine Hickford and Cheryl Collin dutifully clicking their way through the cold, from one all the way to 472.
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Or Leigh in her regular scanning position? Or Bryan on his corner? Or Andrew Warriner, blow-up Santa and photographer in one, capturing each moment for posterity?
Or indeed any of the selfish souls giving up their morning to make the parkrun magic start to sizzle.  And knitting it all ever, Anna of Arendelle... has she built that snowman yet?
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, don't you think?
Merry Christmas
Craig 'Elf' Lewis
397_Reporter
 

#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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