I’m starting this week’s report with a brief supplementary to last week’s – only because I felt the celebrations of the two octagenarians, in particular, deserved greater acknowledgement of their achievements. The “someone completing their 350th parkrun” was, of course, Bob Emmerson (VM85-89) and the “someone completing their 250th parkrun” was Alan Palmer (VM80-84). In addition to Anika (parkrun name) Trotman’s 100, last Saturday was also a milestone day for Peter Moor (200), Jennifer McFadden (150) plus Mary Battison, Michele Brocklebank and Nick Tam (all 50). Jens Walton and Lucy Henman both qualified for a 10 club T-shirt (awarded to junior runners, aged 17 and under, at the time of their 10th run).
And now on to Northampton parkrun #361 – on the 6th April 2019 – where 490 took part, ably assisted by the 32 volunteers (including Kathryn Hall and Kath Middleditch, who both ran in Sunday’s Manchester Marathon … and Kath’s 4 year old ‘High 5 Here’ Arthur … who didn’t).
A 200th parkrun milestone was celebrated by Stephen Johnson (VM65-69) – and, in an incredible coincidence, Stephen’s wife, Alison, finished as 200th female. This lovely couple usually run together – unless, as I jokingly say to them, they’ve had an argument! Paul McFadden and Jackie Coombs both notched up their 100 parkruns and Brighton fan Ralph Stahmann’s Saturday at least started on an upbeat note (by being able to claim his 25 volunteer T-shirt) - although Manchester City later clipped the Seagulls' wings in the FA Cup semi-final. And the guy who regularly marshals on the far corner was volunteering for the 100th time.
First finisher in a time better than 17.57, was I. Fogotmybarcode. First female was a first timer with us, in her seventy first run overall – Ellie Bates, from Chiltern Harriers AC, in 20.28.
We had 34 first-timers in total – 17 visitors having done a few parkruns previously elsewhere; these included Keith and Alison Flint (Redway Runners) and Steph Flint, Alice Barkell (Fleckney and District Running Club), David Stobbs (MK Lakeside Runners) and Simon Ingram (Marston Moretaine Runners). A goodly number from Opus Energy joined our ranks – organised, I suspect, by Gabby Deere – including debutant Sam Lapite, who chased round his former ON Chenecks team-mate, Calvin Budd, to record a highly respectable 19.57.
Impressive percentages on that ‘Age Grade’ column were registered by Andy Green (again), with 83.21%, and Sheila France (VW55-59), with 77.59%, in a PB of 24.19.
Once again, well over 10% of those taking part recorded PBs - there were 73 this week, so no chance of mentioning everyone. Amongst our younger athletes, Matthew Everett, Peter Van Eum, Finley Goldring, Jens Walton, Holly Reed, Stefan Kavanagh, Lucy Henman, Katie Enefer, Lily Bodkin, Tom Exley, Tom Halsey, Jack Spires and Lucy Dixon had deserved ‘New PB!’ against their names in the results. (Theo Haskins (JM11-14) ran a PB of 21.52 last week; he ran 21.52 this week). Our outstanding PB veteran performers included Fiona Crook, Richard Wain and Christine Gillies (all in the 70-74 age range). I’m always amazed by the number of those taking part who improve each week. For example … Dale Holmes – 7 parkruns, all PBs, 42.16 down to 34.44 and Vanessa Watson – 6 parkruns, all PBs, 38.31 down to 28.16. Since 24th November last year Mike Campbell has recorded 12 PBs in 15 parkruns reducing his time from 34.40 to 25.02 and Catherine Nichol’s three parkrun times are 31.05, 29.32 and 27.45! And if there was a more uplifting sight on Saturday than Carole James (WWC) coaxing, cajoling and coercing her mum, Catherine Hill (VW65-69), to knock two minutes off her previous PB, I didn’t see it.
Random mentions go to Katie Swan (VW35-39), who bravely recovered from Ladies’ Day at Aintree on Friday to make an appearance (Clare King – DNS), before embarking on more ‘socialising’ at a wedding later that day and at Wembley on Sunday to see her team, the 'Orns (Watford – the Hornets), win. Sarah Hayle was 361st in event #361 and three runners - James Mason, Lizzie Souter and Joe Hughes - virtually matched our ‘average run time’ of ‘00:28:42’. Ian Coote was 87th in his 87th parkrun. John Fuller (SM20-24) was 23rd male and 24th overall in his 25th parkrun. Hearty congratulations to Kate Smith (VW45-49) for yet another PB and Kate Smith (VW 65-69) for … just running at the same event as your namesake!
I did my marshalling bit (I whimped out of doing the Magic Mile – it seemed colder on that corner this week and I hadn’t thawed out!) and popped into the Good Loaf to enjoy warming refreshments with other parkrunners. A great start to the day!
Every parkrun only happens because of the time and dedication of our volunteers…. We are always looking for new volunteers.” Get in touch and give it a go!