Northampton parkrun 2020 so far by Bryan Lewin

With nothing much better to do, in fact, nothing much to do! … (being an over-70 with a dodgy ticker and, therefore, in self-isolation) … I’ve spent a little time perusing the Northampton parkrun events that have taken place this year, so far.

But first and foremost, with the announcement that all parkruns are cancelled “until at least the end of March”, following government advice and public health guidelines, it is especially disappointing that we can’t go ahead this week. It would have been Bob’s 400th parkrun and also it would have been a special (yellow-themed) occasion to support Rowan's fundraising (those involved are trying to raise £4,000 to purchase his new wheelchair). Not only that, but (if she ran) it would have been Lindsay Reeves’ 300th Northampton parkrun (and her 389th in total) – Lindsay has been part of Northampton parkrun from the very beginning.

There were, potentially 12 parkruns during the period but Storm Dennis, “one of the most intense extratropical cyclones ever recorded”, cancelled us on 15th February (I think that means ‘very wet very windy’ because the official reason we were off was “Dennis had too many baked beans - huge threat”). This date would have had an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ theme – and it is now re-scheduled for 30th May.

During this period, regulars Nigel Swan, Pam Kingston and Steve Cory all notched up 300 parkruns in total. Steve also passed the ‘250 at Northampton’ mark – as did Peter Dixon, Charles Corbett and Andrew Jess. Mark Bonner claimed his 250 T-shirt and lots of parkrunners qualified for 50 and 100 T-shirts; sorry, but far too many to mention you all (or any of you!). And our esteemed Event Director, Alastair Rapley reached the magnificent achievement of volunteering on 100 occasions (according to the official stats … but I suspect that the actual figure is much more).

This is intended to be a collective review, featuring a few of the more noteworthy aspects, rather than a series of individual run reports, but we started the year/decade (yes, I know the argument that it wasn’t actually the beginning of the decade) with Northampton parkrun ♯400 on Wednesday 1st January. Despite the previous night’s celebrations (or not), 600 took part and an impressive 9 out of the first 20 welcomed in the New Year with PBs (there were 75 in total). Mark Hill was first finisher (for the 33rd time) – and with his number 1 spot again on 14th March, he’s now only one behind Luke Greer. Rebecca White was first female, in 19.09 – the third best ever time for our VW 40-44 category.

On 4th January Andy Green finished in 4th place in a time of 17.31 - which was not only a PB for him but it also smashed the previous best time (of 18.06) for VM55-59 parkrunners at Northampton. Andy also holds the Northampton VM 50-54 record (of 17.43) which he achieved six years ago – so he’s obviously improving with age! On 22nd February we had a first timer at Northampton, John Butcher, from Ware Joggers, who ran his 291st parkrun in 37.29, which earned him a place in the list of ‘Age Category Records for Northampton parkrun’ – deservedly so, because John is in the VM85-89 category! And, on 7th March, a determined young lady athlete, named Carole James, chipped a couple of seconds off her previous PB to set a new WWC record of 28.21.

The rare occurrence of 29th February falling on a Saturday (it won’t happen again until 2048) heralded the much anticipated (?!) Northampton parkrun in reverse - and it was certainly very popular. We had a new record attendance of 727 – the fifth largest in the UK that day; only Bushy Park (1029), Milton Keynes (921), Heaton Park (788) and Cannon Hill (781) had more. Noah Bennett (JM15-17) led the way to finish in an impressive 16.35 PB … and everyone managed to find their way round without mishap.

Northampton parkrun ♯409 on 7th March celebrated International Women’s Day by encouraging runners etc to bring along a female friend or relative – and it seemed to work. Our normal split is to have 40-50 more males than females taking part but, on this occasion, we had 281 females and 282 males - and 46 ‘other’ (a reference to ‘no barcode’, not gender). Maggie McQuaid, a first timer with us (but doing her 199th parkrun) was first female in 19.56; Elaine Danby (VW 60-64) registered 85.93% on that age grade thingummy … and there were lots of female milestones and PBs. (Some of the males also did quite well).

Our final parkrun for a while, on 14th March, was presided over by new RD, Julia Bradnam. It saw Mark Hill as first finisher (on his 100th parkrun) and Jessica Lamb (JW10) as first female in a brilliant PB of 21.12, the third best ever time at Northampton for this age category.

Finally, my view (from that corner) is that everyone who takes part in parkrun tries and gives of their best, whether they finish first or 500th. But I suspect that it’s always good to see your efforts rewarded in the form of improved times. About a year ago, Stirling Green (JM15-17) was finishing in around 21 minutes – since then, he’s achieved 10 PBs and, most recently, knocked 30 seconds off - so he’s now down to 17.45. No less impressively, Lynette Sampson (VW55-59) only started parkrunning this year but she has improved her time each run and she’s gone from 53.55 to 46.23. Well done to this pair, the hundreds like them and everyone else who makes Northampton parkrun such a superb event each week.

I gather Vera Lynn (103 years young on 20th March) has said we should evoke the wartime spirit, so, as she (nearly) sang:We'll meet again I do know where I don't know when But I know we'll meet again some sunny day Keep smiling through Just like you always do ‘Til the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away.

BryanLewin3

 

 

International Women’s Day – 7th March 2020

We are celebrating International Womens Day by encouraging you to bring along a female friend or relative on March 7th.

Whether volunteering, running, walking, or jogging, we would love to see more women and girls joining us and celebrating International Womens Day.

Many females sign up for parkrun but then take a long time to go and do their first event. This is a great opportunity to welcome those who may find those first steps a bit daunting.

So, to all the women and girls out there, young, old, any shape, any size, any background, any fitness level, we welcome you to join the parkrun family on 7th March.

IWD

 

For more information https://blog.parkrun.com/uk/2020/02/05/help-us-celebrate-female-participation-for-iwdparkrun/

 

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.

NC_Racecourse

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.

NC_Millienium

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.

 

Northampton parkrun up to 4 January 2020 #401 by Bryan Lewin

Total parkruns (by ‘regulars’ at Northampton)

Bob Emmerson 390
Lindsay Reeves 379
John Fitzhugh 326
Nicholas Rose 325
Geoffrey Lewis Jeyes 314
Studney Kirby 313
Edward John Taylor 304
Becky Dixey 303
Nigel Swan 296
Steve Cory 296
Pam Kingston 296
We also get fairly frequent visits from Len Voralia (448), Sally Hewitt (326) and Paul Hewitt (319).

Total parkruns at Northampton
Bob Emmerson 383
John Fitzhugh 325
Geoffrey Lewis Jeyes 305
Lindsay Reeves 297
Nicholas Rose 295
Edward John Taylor 285
Nigel Swan 282
Alan Palmer 280
Studney Kirby 276
Becky Dixey 265

Bryan
364_Bryan

 

 

#401 by Andy Lack

The first Saturday run of the New Year, a total of 572 athletes ran, jogged the course along with buggy runners and eager dogs pulling their owners round.

As always a large number of volunteers, set up, marshalled, and cleared up after all the runners had finished. The massive effort from these people allows us to run each week. Many of these are at the event most week, some having done upwards of a 100 volunteer weeks. Not only do they do the above, they also shout encouragement to all those on the course. Particular mention to the person who stands at about 400 meters from the finish calling out the times as we run bye.

Of the 572 runners, 19 of these have the 25 graphic meaning they have volunteered 25 times, a great example to us all, volunteering is rewarding if you have not done so, sign up you will enjoy it and will be giving back to the parkrun family.

56 runners were first timers, hope you all will be back.
68 ran a PB
27 clubs represented.

Roll on next week so we can do it all again.

Andy

401_AndyLack

 

Northampton parkrun at BBC Northampton Radio

This morning Michelle Lewis, one of the core team members, appeared on the local radio BBC station to discuss parkrun and why you should join the parkrun family.

1:54 in - https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p07xcrv5

NorthamptonBBCRadio2020

 

#400 New Year’s Day parkrun – By Craig Lewis

New Year. New you? Same parkun...
Northampton parkrun celebrated its 400th installment this week - on no less than New Year's Day.

400_cake (cake by Bex's Baking)

An incredible 599 people took part in the event, and every last one of them set a personal best time. For 2020.
There were a host of genuine PBs as well (76 in all), including from three of the top four finishers.
None of them, however, could keep up with Mark HILL, who led everyone home in the first race of the 20s in a roaring 16 minutes 22 seconds.

400_parkrunners

There were plenty of milestones as well.

50 parkruns = Carl THOMPSON, Mike CAMPBELL, Charlotte NEWTON, Sally ELLIOTT

100 parkruns = Matthew LETTS and Julia BRADNAM

Birthday - Olivia ANDERTON

400_Julia 400_Olivia 400_100 400_50

And on the day of our 400th, Northampton legend Bob EMMERSON completed his 389th parkrun with 382 of them having taken place at the Racecourse.

400_BobEmmerson

To show how diverse the Northampton parkrun has become it was amazing to see volunteering Carole JAMES in Maverick (Yes she names her chairs after Top Gun characters), Simon ELLIOTT and Matthew LETT covering the Visual Impaired roles to Scarlett and Eliza and finally Claire HEDGES who is profoundly deaf sign support to the deaf and hard of hearing parkrunners.

400_WHeelchair 400_VI 400_Sign

If you're searching for a New Year's resolution, perhaps volunteering for parkrun in 2020 could be the way forward.

Huge thanks as ever to those who volunteered this week - the full list for New Year's Day is as follows:

400_volunteers

VOLUNTEER LIST

Laura A R SMITH • Alison POSTLETHWAITE • Joanne MACGREGOR • Leigh BARKER • Bryan LEWIN • Rachel Helen CANHAM • Chris LAMB • Angela SHAW • David FARROW • Seb PERRY • Lisa JACOBS • Antonio AMATO • Michelle LEWIS • Craig LEWIS • Ralph STAHMANN • Catriona DOYLE • Simon ELLIOTT • Vicky NICHOLAS • Matthew LETTS • Bryan WINN • Peter VICKERS • Lynette HILL-PARK • Oli CHERRINGTON • Carole JAMES • Jeff BATTISON • Cheryl COLLIN • Anthea RADDAN • Simon WOLFENDEN • Darren JUDD • Olivia ANDERTON • Claire HEDGES • Andrew WENSLEY • Amy JUDD • Stu VINCENT

FYI - Northampton parkrun started on 5th May 2012. Since then 15,452 participants have completed 139,427 parkruns covering a total distance of 697,135 km, including 24,242 new Personal Bests. A total of 1,326 individuals have volunteered 8,379 times.

Kind Regards
Craig
400_Craig

 

#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.

 

2019_Deaf

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.

398_Becky_300

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)

398_volunteers

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.

398_angel 398_santa

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

 

Christmas Day and New Year’s Day parkrun is GO at Northampton Racecourse

Yes we are ready to go 9:00am Christmas Day and New Years Day if we have volunteers.

Please look at the rota and advise if interested making one or both these events happen

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

Kind Regards

Northampton parkrun core team

 

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