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).
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?