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...

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

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

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

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

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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.

 

#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.

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

 

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

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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!

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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).

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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!).

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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 …

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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.

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

Bryan

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#398 Christmas Day by Sarah Dorey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah Dorey
#fitfam

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#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.

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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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