#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.

376_5kyourway

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.

376_volunteer

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%.

376_leaders

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!).

376_Ayden_10  376_Emily_10

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!

376_Vicky

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).

376_Rachel_James

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

 

#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.

365_May4th   
The "May the 4th Be With You" dateline had something to do with it - though the most committed Jedi's would have found the presence of Trekkies on their day about as popular as Luke Skywalker in a Mos Eisley cantina.
I did not like it either.
This was no hive of scum and villainy though... more the usual parkrun buzz of smiles and success.

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

365_Ayden
Andy Heather was once more the fastest in the galaxy as he led the runners in, while Kate Bond (Daventry Road Runners) was first female in 22:49.
There was an amazing run from young Nathan Lamb (JM11-14) - the force is strong in this one - who finished ninth in 19:20.

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

365_fitfam (Karen with many of the #fitfam)

Finally talking of milestones, we all wish Lucy Barker happy birthday and, naturally, 'Live Long and Prosper' (that's the one Star Trek reference you're getting out of me).

May the force be with you. Always.

Today's volunteers:

Aidan GREEN  •  Alex HEWSON  •  Alison POSTLETHWAITE  •  Becky DIXEY  •  Ben FOUNTAIN  •  Benjamin CRAWLEY  •  Bjorn VAN UEM  •  Bobby CHATTERJEE  •  Bryan LEWIN  •  Catherine HICKFORD  •  Christy GILLERT  •  Claire THOMAS  •  Craig LEWIS  •  Dannii LEVI  •  Frederick DUNCKLEY  •  George THOMPSON  •  Harry BRIDLE  •  Helen MENZIES  •  Helen VAN UEM  •  Ian BATES  •  Izabela MASZCZYK  •  James LORIMER  •  James THORPE  •  Jane TIMMIS  •  Jason CARTER  •  Jeff BATTISON  •  Jim CONROY  •  Jon DUNCKLEY  •  Julia BRADNAM  •  Julie FITZELL  •  Karen CLARK  •  Katarzyna MASZCZYK  •  Laura BURTON  •  Leigh BARKER  •  Lindsay REEVES  •  Louise JONES  •  Lynett PILGRIM  •  Lynette HILL-PARK  •  Matt BUSHELL  •  Michelle LEWIS  •  Mike CAMPBELL  •  Nathan ADAMS  •  Oli CHERRINGTON  •  Rachel ILSLEY  •  Sam FREEMAN  •  Sharon CONQUER  •  Sherrill CASON  •  Stavros CARAYANNIS  •  Stephanie MUNCHERJI  •  Terry EGAN  •  Tracey DENT  •  Tracy STREET  •  Trish LORIMER  •  Wayne CHALMERS
365_pacers 365_volunteers

 

 

#363 by Wayne Chalmers

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

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

363_start area

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

363_250th  363_200th_Sarah

 363_200th_Lizzy Paddy_Dunckley

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

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

Michelle_Lewis

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

Wayne_Chalmers

 

#361 by Bryan Lewin

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

360thmilestones

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

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

Ralph

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

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

opusenergy

 

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!

360_volunteers

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

BryanLewin3

 

 

#359 – By Bryan Lewin

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

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

Milestones_240319 Sam100

 

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

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

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

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

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

BryanLewin_1

 

#357 by John Kilcoyne

Let’s start with some congratulations. Official members of the J10 club this weekend are James (who celebrated with a new pb) and Joshua. Sherrill, Tracey and Andy are now ready to claim the red 50 t-shirts, and Stephanie has earned a black 100 shirt. In addition, Robin completed the unofficial milestone of 200 parkruns. Well done to all. Happy birthday also to Patrick, celebrating his 17th birthday on Sunday and to Catherine Hickford, turning 40 on Monday.

Stephanie_100   Patrick_17  Catherine_40th

Thank you to all the volunteers assisting Szabolcs as RD today.

090319  Szabolcs

Thank you also to two clubs, Northants Tri and Abington Park Joggers, who turned out in force to support and participate, many as pacers.
Helen and I joined you as tourists from Lincoln this weekend, together with visitors from Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Cambridgeshire, Birmingham, London and Kent. 22 participants were here for their first ever parkrun. Well done to you all at the start of your own parkrun journey.

Our own visit was for two purposes: our 20th location within the East Midlands region (currently 37 altogether, but the number keeps getting bigger) and to claim a North for our compass challenge. For anyone new to parkrun tourism, there are lots of combinations of locations to give a focus to running at different locations. Search for parkrun Running Challenges for a Chrome browser extension for many more suggestions including the alphabet challenge. As a tourist, you get to see the best of so many other towns and cities across this country and further afield- it is always the best that any community has to offer because parkrun is involved. I have loved every location I have been to with parkrun because of the variety of courses and the friendliness of everyone involved.

I must confess to a soft spot for urban parks because of the pride that get shown off. Northampton has a gem in the Racecourse- so many facilities for residents and visitors, the fabulous architecture within the park and the amazing range of buildings on all sides that parkrunners can appreciate. Add to that an (almost) flat terrain; we didn’t get pbs today, but Helen and I both ran our fastest times since New Year’s Day. Lincoln parkrun is also an urban park although smaller; we will be delighted to welcome you as visitors.
This week 542 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 41 were first timers and 80 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 29 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 37 volunteers:

Vicky ROBERTSON • Terry EGAN • Stavros CARAYANNIS • Leigh BARKER • Anne-Marie SANDOS • Rachel Helen CANHAM • Stephen HOLLOWAY • Tessa HOLLOWAY • Rosemary KENNEDY • Helen ANDREWS • Gemma YOUNG • Gerald BILLIS • Michelle LEWIS • Ralph STAHMANN • Szabolcs MATE • Bobby CHATTERJEE • Matt BUSHELL • Steve MARTIN • Sarah ASHCROFT • Ian BATES • Sue JEFFS • Sharon CONQUER • John KILCOYNE • Alan HALL • Claire THOMAS • Melissa WILDE • Ann WORTHY • Lynette HILL-PARK • Bec LAMBERT • Lee WADE • Julie FITZELL • Marie PASSMORE • Viv POOLE • Sam FREEMAN • Joanne HAYMAN • Debra WARD • Bethany CRESSEY

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Northampton parkrun Results Page.
The male record is held by Andrew BADDELEY who recorded a time of 14:52 on 16th April 2016 (event number 207).
The female record is held by Emily WAUGH who recorded a time of 17:14 on 8th July 2017 (event number 270).
The Age Grade course record is held by Angela COPSON who recorded 105.64% (20:24) on 25th April 2015 (event number 156).
Northampton parkrun started on 5th May 2012. Since then 13,510 participants have completed 118,595 parkruns covering a total distance of 592,975 km, including 21,431 new Personal Bests. A total of 1,141 individuals have volunteered 6,828 times.

LincolnTourists

Helen and John from Lincoln parkrun

 

#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.

SteveCory250

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.

 

#353 by Bryan Lewin

If you’ve taken part in the Northampton parkrun over the last couple of years, you will have probably seen the #fitfam group (and you'll definitely have heard Jane/Karen!!). The group is made up of family members; as they say "yes we’re all related, love spending time together and now run together". After completing their objective of doing ‘80 events for Dad's 80th birthday’ (between them) in his memory last year, they ambitiously targeted the 9th February 2019 Northampton parkrun to celebrate ‘Dad's 81st birthday’ with a few milestones. Last week's parkrun cancellations could have scuppered less resourceful individuals, but all was well in the end - five of the team achieved their 100 parkruns (Karen Clark, Jane Timmins, Sarah Dorey, Madeleine Wain and Dave Butler running - or hobbling! - round) and Matty Reid completed his 50th. I'll simply say that the group as a whole are a great advertisement for what parkrun is all about ... and that this was a truly fit and fitting tribute to a man who was obviously much-loved.

Fitfammilestones2  Fitfammilestones1

 

They weren't the only 'milestoners' among the 476 athletes who walked, jogged or ran Northampton parkrun #353 (a few notable absentees – six of the ‘Crayons’ went to Bicester, for example). Wendy Hammond, on her Racecourse debut (with 18 others), and the discreet R Wood (VW 60-64) clocked up their 100s - Christy Gillert and Sarah Bickers (along with her labradoodle running partner, Archie) each ticked the 50 box.

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The aforementioned Wendy is a Vegan Runner – we had a group of ten Vegan Runners on Saturday, eight were first timers with us and three finished in the top eight. Amanda Salter brought along some Bushfield Joggers, Chris Jeanes was a first timer from Redway Runners and we had the usual smattering from local clubs.

 

There were, in fact, 27 ‘pure’ first timers, and, at the other end of the appearances scale, our 3rd place finisher, William Shippin, in his 357th and Len Voralia (his number 399!) have astonishingly both run more than Bob The Legend (343)! Despite the ‘blustery’ conditions, 61 athletes somehow managed a PB. It’s not possible to reference all of them (and apologies for significant omissions), but, in no particular order … Syreeta Fonso (7 runs at Northampton in the last 12 months – all PBs); Danny Clarke (five Northampton parkruns since October 2016, all PBs); Linda Kier (VW 65-69) (started this year; PB each time); Andrew David Ballantyne (4 PBs on the trot); Kieran Bodkin (three parkruns in 2019 – first was 35-50, this week’s was 24-58); Mike Campbell (from 37-24 in September 2018 to 26-42 – 11 PBs in 17 runs); George Pratt (from 33-48 to 26-42 in his second ever parkrun); Sam Freeman (8 PBs in last 11 parkruns); Liam Browne (five parkruns in 2019 – started with 51-00, now 42-36); Amanda Stohrer (8 runs since 15th December 2018 – all PBs). Very honourable mentions also to both Jens Walton (JM 11-14) with 22-57 and Claudia Terrell (JW 10) with 25-59. And, for family reasons (!), I must namecheck Andrew Myers, who smashed the 20-minute mark and lopped a chunk off his Killarney parkrun PB … Michael Burgess (VM 55-59), one of the Vegan Runner first timers, with 19-01 and 82.1%, was the only person to get over 80% on the ‘Age Cat’ thingy.

Last week’s cancellation meant we had no parkrun on Groundhog Day. But for a couple of people there might have been some feelings of déjà vu this week. Our first finisher, Andy Heather – with 18-01 - ran that exact time as first finisher on 23rd June last year. Centurion R Wood started her Northampton parkrunning in May 2016 with 30-04 … and, by design or accident, she was officially timed as 30-04 on Saturday! Well done everyone who took part. It was very cold and very windy, but as RD Alastair commented “… the runners all looked to be having fun” (!!?).

Northampton parkrun #353 only happened because of the 31 hi-vis hero volunteers. Please opt-in to the volunteer email if you'd like to join them and get involved!

Hopefully see you next week

Bryan

BryanLewin_1

 

#350th Northampton parkrun by Bryan Lewin

You might start to see a regular report on Northampton parkrun from various contributors from now on – but, unfortunately, our first volunteer had another more-pressing writing commitment … so, apologies, it’s me again giving you a personal viewpoint of the most recent event.

Just after 9.30 on Saturday morning, vehicles were heading towards my marshalling spot down St George’s Avenue with their headlights and windscreen wipers on – and I was clapping the final parkrun athletes wearing my gloves; you won’t need reminding, therefore, that this week’s weather was gloomy, cold, windy and damp! So, well done to every single one of you that walked, jogged, ran, pushed a contraption or led a pooch round the Racecourse for Northampton parkrun #350. Our 555 brave athletes were part of another record UK parkrun weekend with 180,746 participating – lots of new individual parkrun records, obviously, including 354 at our nearest neighbours, Sixfields Upton.

Milestones celebrated this week included Dean Shears (150) and Richard Boyes (50). Christine Ayres (VW 60-65), who is mentioned later, was running her 150th parkrun at her 36th different venue; her time of 25.37 warranted her an 80.35% on that Age Grade thingy; and she’s done her fair share of volunteering, including frequent stints as Run Director. We had even more Northampton first timers than last week (64 compared to 41) … (and 43 (last week 33) were taking part in their first-ever parkrun anywhere). A number were obviously parkrun tourists. Our Facebook page featured interviews with David and Christine Ayres (from Rushmere) and Emma and Elaine Vaughan (from Maldon Prom), all of whom were adding Northampton to their considerable lists of single-visit parkruns. Three Massey Ferguson RC runners were making their Northampton debuts, but were definitely not first-timers to parkrun - Angela McKay (her 285th), David McKay (his 284th) and Sonia Karamat (her 163rd). And Tony Cronin chose to explore the Racecourse for his 208th parkrun. Some of our regulars were competing elsewhere, too – including Mark Bonner (joining 1,294 others at Southampton – the UK’s second biggest this week, after Bushy Park), James Cushing (at Norwich),John Bates (at Gorleston), Rachel Iilsey and Rosie Clifford (Conkers).

 

Despite the conditions, 58 athletes sped round to achieve ‘New PB!” against their name in the results. Again, too many to name individually, but Dom Carlisle (VM45-49) followed up his 32.18 first ever parkrun last week with 25.29!!. Neil Lantsbery (four PBs in last four runs), Kate Wilde (JW 11-14) in 25.06 and Claudia Terrell (JW 10) in 26.28 are also well worthy of mention. Those I know, sort of, included Andy Goldsmith, who registered his fifth successive PB; Darren Berkshire (two PBs on the trot); Adam Wright who was 10th in 19.21 and Steve Boyce (VM 60-64) with an impressive 25.07. I couldn’t help but comment to our first finisher, Mark Hill, as he dashed by me initially, that he would be struggling for company – he eventually finished in 16.33, over a minute in front of the chasing pack. When I looked at the results, I wondered whether our first finishing female, Karen Smith (in 20.23) had travelled down to support the Cobblers’ opponents that afternoon (as the majority of her previous parkruns were at Carlisle!). At least she had her parkrun performance to cheer her up on the long journey home … (and, if she knew it, the satisfaction of finishing in front of big Cobblers fan, Mark Kennedy, co-editor of the Hotel Enders magazine (22.30) !!).

On my way to ‘that corner’ each week, I customarily exchange “Good morning” with lots of athletes, many of whom I’ve got to know, not by name, only by sight. One such example is a man I now know to be Keith Gee, who, he proudly told me, regularly finishes first in the VM 75-79 category …. because, as he amusingly also told me, as we passed each other on Saturday, he is often the only one in that age group!! (Frustratingly, Keith was two seconds slower than his PB this week). To conclude, Northampton parkrun #350 wouldn’t have happened without the 30 volunteers, under the direction of RD Szabolcs. And one of those, this week’s tail-walker, Lynette Hill-Park, will shortly be the proud possessor of a ‘Volunteer 25’ T-Shirt!

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