#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

376_Bryan

 

#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. 

373_Volunteers

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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Runners up at the Northampton Heart of the Community Awards 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

#365 by Craig Lewis

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

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

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

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

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

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/

364_Bryan

 

#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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# 356 by Bryan Lewin

After a weekend away, up North (and before a week away … seeking some sun!), I resumed marshalling at my usual spot for Northampton parkrun #356. Last week I was spectating at the English National Cross Country Championships at Harewood House, near Leeds (where my grandson was competing), but I managed to squeeze in a parkrun myself – at nearby Temple Newsam (‘undulating’ course, no chance of a PB!).

On my arrival at the Racecourse, it was therefore a pleasant surprise to bump into Noah Bennett, who ran in the same race as my grandson in the Championships and, according to the Chron, had “used his track pedigree to finish in a superb 14th position, only seconds away from a top 10 finish” (and, it might be noted, Noah’s sister, Alice, also produced an “outstanding performance” at the Championships).

Fresh from these endeavours, Noah was second overall finisher on Saturday with a new PB (only one other person has ever bettered his time of 16.56, in JM 11-14, at Northampton). Leading the 450 runners, walkers, pushers, pullers and joggers this week was Noah’s club mate Mark Hill, who weaved his way round in 16.29, and our first female finisher was Annette Golawska (who lopped 50 seconds off her previous best time to finish in 20.18). Andy Green was third home in 17.59 (the best performance ever in VM 55-59 at our parkrun) … although not quite a PB for Andy, which is still 17.43 (the best performance ever in VM 50-54 at our parkrun!). He later led all the way in the Magic Mile to clock 5.35.

Unsurprisingly Noah and Andy both achieved over 80% on the ‘Age Cat’ thingy – as did second female finisher Kate Bond (VW 55-59) for her 21.50. Nathan Lamb (JM 11-14), who was ninth overall with 19.08, ‘scored’ 79.97%

Amongst our fabulous 450, I could only spot one milestone – Dee Munro, completing her 50th (and I know there was a significant birthday, but not the lady’s identity – sorry). There were 44 first timers (30 doing their first ever parkruns), including a ‘car full’ from Stamford Striders – Caroline Robertson, Helen Schofield, Amy Hodgson and Janine Buck. Neil Currant – 87 in total - was at his 54th different parkrun and Tanya O’Neill, a parkrun tourist from Cardiff, obviously enjoyed her first timer experience here, taking advantage of our newly acquired parkrun photoframe to post on social media (and be the profile pic on our Facebook page)! Len Voralia notched up his 402nd parkrun (Bob did his 346th).

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It might have been muddy for the touring Crayons, and others we normally see, at Watermeadows (Towcester) parkrun, but the dry, brighter weather conditions encouraged 64 athletes to register new PBs at the Racecourse. As always, its not possible to credit everyone, so only a few mentions … Amanda Stohrer (11 consecutive PBs since 8th December – from 38.29 to 34.35); Rachel Ilsley (knocking nearly four minutes off, from 33.29 to 29.47); Mark Warren (just three parkruns since October 2016 – 29.09, 27.04 then 24.01!); Jamie Clark (26 parkruns since April 2018, all at Northampton, 11 PBs, started with 30.47, now down to 25.19) … and our oldest/youngest PBers of the week - Mick Bond (VM 65-69) with 29.22 and Tallulah Havard (JW10) with 26.06.

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It seems slightly unfair, to me, that you’re unlikely to be mentioned in a run report unless you’re a milestoner, PBer or whatever – so some completely random mentions. Sarah Kaced, a first timer, was position 356 in parkrun #356; Derek Finan was 312th in a time of 31.2 (well, 31.19 – a PB); Marie Fitzhugh was 433rd in 43.3 (well, 43.26); The average run time for our parkrun is 28.40 - Mike Tebbutt (28.39) and Sue Davis (28.44) were closest this week. And Tim Leah gets named and shamed for no barcode!

My stint on the corner was over; I joined tail walker Lynette and had an enjoyable chat about a couple of unexpected subjects (!) with a lovely group on our way back to the finish … then did the Magic Mile with another lovely group. Stirling Green - JM 11-14 - completing it in 6.21, following his earlier parkrun PB of 21.04.

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This week’s Northampton parkrun only took place because of the 34 hi-vis hero volunteers. Please opt-in to the volunteer email if you'd like to join them and get involved!

Thanks to this week's volunteers

Alfie STARMER  •  Benjamin CRAWLEY  •  Bobby CHATTERJEE  •  Bryan LEWIN  •  Christopher BEATON  •  Christy GILLERT  •  Daniel GILLERT  •  David FROST  •  Dennis WEINBERG  •  Elaine STARMER  •  Fiona BARRETT  •  Gerald BILLIS  •  Harrison GILKES  •  Helen SMITH  •  Ian HARPER  •  Jeff BATTISON  •  Jenny GASKILL  •  Joanne HAYMAN  •  Julia BRADNAM  •  Julie FITZELL  •  Katie CHOWN  •  Leigh BARKER  •  Lynette HILL-PARK  •  Mark DEAN  •  Matt BUSHELL  •  Michael ELVIN  •  Michelle LEWIS  •  Peter VICKERS  •  Rachel ILSLEY  •  Ralph STAHMANN  •  Seb PERRY  •  Shaun LEDINGTON  •  Tony KENNEDY  •  Tracy STREET

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#355 by Andy Heather

After gorgeous weather last Saturday, this morning reminded me of the opening to Dickens’ Bleak Parkrun: “Fog everywhere. Fog up St Georges Avenue, where it flows among bollards and lampposts; fog down the football pitches, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of posts and nets and the pollutions of a great (and slightly dirty) town. Fog on the Racecourse. Fog creeping into the trees; fog lying out on the playgrounds, and hovering in the swings; fog drooping on the tennis courts. Fog in the eyes and throats of the parkrunners; fog cruelly pinching the toes and fingers of the hi-viz heroes. Chance people on the park peeping over the bushes into a nether sky of fog, with fog all round them, as if they were up in a balloon, and hanging in the misty clouds.” So, yeah, foggy. So foggy that I think Bryan got lost as he wasn’t marshalling his corner for the first time in what seems like ages. Hopefully he’ll find his way back soon!

We had 465 runners complete parkrun 355, while our sister run at Upton celebrated their first anniversary. Congratulations! Long may it continue. A few milestones this week. Flying into the fabulous fifties were Dave Horne (11th), Brian Morris (68th), Paul Thorneycroft (201st) and Dannii Levi (363rd). But achieving more parkruns than all these superstars put together was the stupendous Steve Cory who achieved a wonderful 28th place for his 250th run.

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We had 24 people enjoying their first ever parkrun experience: Ellis Baker was the youngest newbie at just 10, and Stephen Barlow, in the 60-64 category, have both begun their new run lives. Hope it’s the first of many! You’ll never look back. Unless you’re going the wrong way! Which can never happen thanks to the selfless efforts of our brilliant volunteers. As always, unending thanks and gratitude need to go to all our hi-viz heroes who braved the conditions with smiles on their faces. Thank you so much to Andrew BALL, Leigh BARKER, Fiona BARRETT, Christopher BEATON, Gerald BILLIS, Oliver BIRCH, Matt BUSHELL, Bobby CHATTERJEE, Oli CHERRINGTON, James CUSHING, Mark DEAN, Catriona DOYLE, Sam FREEMAN, Paul FRENCH, Jenny GASKILL, Daniel GILLERT, Kathryn HALL, Ian HARPER, Joanne HAYMAN, Robert HOLDING, Claire HOLLAND, Rosemary KENNEDY, Shaun MACKEN, Andrew MYERS, Viv POOLE, Anthea RADDAN, Claire THOMAS, Reece THOMPSON-HUNT, Paul THORNEYCROFT, Marie TIMMINS, Mark TIMMINS, and Julie WALTER.

We also had a fantastic number of first timers to our Racecourse Run. High fives go to Jonathan and Jessica Hand who completed their first Racecourse, as well runs 247 and 235 respectively. Great stuff! The foggy, cold and slightly windy conditions did not seem to slow many of our parkrunners as loads of them achieved PBs. Particular congratulations go to Benjamin Crawley who achieved his third successive PB of the year, and Louise Hannam who walloped over 30 seconds off her best time to be the first female runner home. Alexander Law ran under 24 minutes for the first time and Jaclyn Robson ran her fastest ever race after 3 years of parkruns. Chris Lamb romped home first in just over 17 minutes and Jude Kelly was the fastest junior. Richard Fowler finished first for the over 50s. Jessica Kempton was the first female junior to finish achieving a new PB in the process, and Karen Farley-Goddard, completing her very first parkrun, was the first over 50 lady to finish. What a start and what a finish!

I was once again met by my old pal and erstwhile colleague Gordon Smith at the finish line. He explained that due to an administrative error the Wacky Races style diversion signs had failed to arrive. However, he had been on to the Acme company who had promised him a tunnel that can painted onto any surface in seconds. We’ll see! He also complained that by calling him a Renaissance Man in last week’s report he was going to have to sue me for deformation of character as everyone knows him as a cantankerous curmudgeon! As for the fog, it dissipated shortly after the runners and volunteers had left the Racecourse as they had found it (or possibly a little tidier) and I hope you all enjoyed the sunshine and blue skies of a beautiful February afternoon.

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