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.
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!
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!”