250 and all that
How do you celebrate 250 parkruns? I admit I had no idea, but cake usually goes down well. I arrived with a bag of cakes, thinking to slip into the conversation that it was my 250th. My chum Jason greeted me:
“Sorry, we haven’t a 250 bib. How about a 200 and a 50?”
I’d forgotten people read statistics. Hardly had I declined a bib when Mark handed me a huge, silver helium balloon, with “Happy 250 Birthday” emblazoned on it. The balloon lacked a basket, but otherwise wouldn’t have shamed the Montgolfier brothers. I attached it to my shorts and walked into the cafe to drop off my coat.
I knew it would be a different run, because I’d promised to run with my friend Mark, or “The Big M” as his teeshirt had it. This lad has a true runner’s heart. Despite his personal circumstances, he gets out and runs and I for one admire him for it.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, came a feeling of intense euphoria. I simply wanted to grin at everybody, for no other reason than it was parkrun, the weather was great, the running clan was assembling and it was time for the Runner’s Brief.
Now, giving the brief is a favourite role. You get to see other runners, some confident, some apprehensive and, whether you know it or not, standing there, you are the parkrun Ambassador. I don’t mean the plastic ambassador of some international conglomorate, created simply for the company brochure. I mean the guy or gal who has the potential to change a life. Encourage a person and they may stay running. Discourage a person and they may return to the couch. You may not have an embassy, but what you do and say is as important as at any international meeting of politicians.
I gave the brief, making some feeble jokes that caused more bemusement than amusement, resulting in a brief that my friend Richard described as one that might have been given by a tour guide, who knew what he was doing. I’ll take that (I think).
To the start. In fine style, the RD congratulated David on his 200th run and me on my 250th. The resulting enthusiastic applause took me by surprise; I was touched to the point of tears. Then those four wonderful words:
“Three, two, one...go!”Mark and I ran gently up the lane.
“It’s going to be slow”, he said. I did not mind at all. We reached the top, turning downhill towards the big tree, the pace steady. Across the cobbles, back into the car park and down the zigzags towards the stream. My chum had not much inclination to chat and as we crossed the stream, I realised why he’d saved his breath. He was up the hill at the other side like a greyhound out of a trap.
“Had to get it out of the way”, he said.
Past the play area, to the bottom of the bridleway, where mud and puddles blocked the track, through the field and up towards the halfway point.
“My knee’s playing up”, said Mark. “You go on ahead”.
“I’m not going anywhere”.
“No, go on”.
I was in a quandry. I wanted to encourage the lad, but not to the point where he might overdo it. In the end, he decided to go on, which was a courageous decision, though I would be the first to admit that “No pain, no gain” is a dangerous motto.
Keeping the same steady pace, we completed the second lap, passing a lady and gentleman who, though a bit slower, were determined to finish. Up the hill, down the lane at a fast clip to the finish. We’d done it.
As we shook hands, I realised why it had been such a special run. I’d celebrated 250 runs in the best way possible - in a spirit of parkrun community. Lots of people, some complete strangers wished me a “Happy Birthday”, my friend had completed his run and I was just so happy to be there, swopping comments, banter and laughter.
And I can’t finish without a mention of the volunteers, marshals, bun bakers, setters up, takers down, tail runners, tail walkers, directors, administrators and attendants who are the backbone of parkrun. Without them, it wouldn’t happen, so my grateful thanks to you all for making parkrun happen and for making this particular one such a pleasure.
Julian Farrar (A99555)
When checking my results email last week I realised my next parkrun was no 100
So I decided it had to be at Oakwell my local and favourite parkrun. Earlier in the week I had ideas of a course PB but the weather wasn’t on my side and my goal for today ended up being to stay on my feet!
So from my 1st parkrun on the 31/10/2015 when I’d just completed a 10 week beginners running course to my 100th today and having been to 22 different parkruns up and down the UK and 45 of them at Oakwell. I think I can say I love my Saturday morning parkrun.
I arrived at event #253 in the torrential rain bringing cake and chocolates to share with a cuppa afterwards and I added them to the table already bearing some healthy fruit and veg.
Adam and Tracey had just finished the setting up and assured me that it wouldn’t be possible to dodge all the puddles today! Sheltering from the rain more hardy parkrunners started to arrive and the ratio of runners to volunteers increased. 139 finishers today which is a really low number for Oakwell and the last time it saw such low numbers was 16/3 this year with 123. Wonder what the weather was like that day? The weather certainly put people off today, but not the tourists who came from Manchester and London.
We got off to a prompt start and the rain stopped and it started to brighten up. I have to admire the lady in front of me who really embraced and enjoyed the first big puddle we came to and jumped with both feet right in the middle...not sure the lady at the side of her who got thoroughly splashed was too pleased though oops! As I was coming up through the car park I had to peel off my waterproof jacket as I’d definitely warmed up and dried off by then. My feet were still quite dry until I reached the playground and yes unless you were an expert long jumper there was no way of avoiding the puddles as you turned to climb up into the woods. (No bull in the farmers field today!) the mud was definitely slowing people down today as for the first time ever I didn’t get lapped just before I crossed the finish turn to begin my 2nd lap. Definitely muddier and slippier for the 2nd lap but then that’s always to be expected after all those feet ahead of you. The marshalls were great encouraging everyone on and congratulating me on my milestone. Very muddy, wet and slippy parkrun but enjoyable and still my favourite local one. Big thanks to everyone who made it possible today and to my friends from Pudsey Pacers who joined me this morning to celebrate and eat cake of course.
Oakwell Hall parkrun
Event number 253
28th September 2019
This week 139 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 13 were first timers and 9 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 13 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 40 volunteers:
Joan COX • Alex GREEN • Adam GALLAGHER • Victoria WILSON • Natalie SAMPSON • Mira MILEUSNIC • Tracey GALLAGHER • Sean HARRISON • Sue GRAY • Lucy Rose ORMONDROYD • Beverley ORMONDROYD • Michael WRIGGLESWORTH • Jason SAVILLE • Michelle SAVILLE • Ann BOGUE • Philip BOGUE • Richard PEEL • John POULTER • Irén BODROG • Emma LOCKWOOD • Roberta MANN • Michael ELLIS • Liam SAVILLE • Chris GOODRIDGE • Megan GRINSILL • Harrison GRAY • Thomas WILSON • Karen HULBERT • Laila Grace HEATON • Lynda STARK • Jessica STARK • Arron CAMPLIN • Jayne HEATON • Geoffrey HARRISON • Elaine JACKSON • Darren WILLIAMS • Lynne HARDWICK • Arlo CAMPLIN • Mia CROSBY • Kara WALKER
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Oakwell Hall parkrun Results Page.
The female record is held by Hannah OLDROYD who recorded a time of 19:10 on 18th July 2015 (event number 51).
The male record is held by Tom ADAMS who recorded a time of 16:31 on 18th May 2019 (event number 235).
The Age Grade course record is held by Treena JOHNSON who recorded 90.07% (20:39) on 14th September 2019 (event number 251).
Oakwell Hall parkrun started on 19th July 2014. Since then 8,246 participants have completed 50,777 parkruns covering a total distance of 253,885 km, including 10,130 new Personal Bests. A total of 848 individuals have volunteered 7,322 times.
Are we mad? Why are we getting up earlier on a Saturday morning than we do on a work morning?
These were just two of the questions we were asking each other as five of us set off from York at 7.30am this morning in beautiful sunshine to head over to Oakwell Hall country park.
After a bit of a diversion thanks to satnav, we were directed into the car park by friendly volunteers and headed over to the start area, where lots of people were already starting to congregate. A gentle jog to warm up and we got chatting to a regular runner at Oakwell Hall who explained the course to us - coming from York, which is very flat, hills seemed to be mentioned quite a lot and we soon realised we shouldn’t be expecting a PB, but it sounded like it would be a picturesque and varied course. This was backed up by a quick look at a map on the country park notice board which highlighted a viewpoint along part of the route!
After acknowledging several milestones (a 50, a 100 and a 150), welcoming lots of tourists (some from as far away as Australia) and thanking the wonderful volunteers, we were off. Straightaway we had a short incline before turning right along a path through the woods, followed by a lovely downhill stretch. We also negotiated a couple of bridges, some steps, a zigzag path and a short uphill grassy bank before coming back into woodland. Just before the end of the first lap we came to a sign saying ‘Keep going, you’ve got this’, which made me smile and definitely encouraged me to dig in. There was another sign a bit further on which said ‘See you soon, love the barcode scanner’, followed by ‘Nearly there, almost brew time’. These small bits of humour really did help and encourage my tiring legs.
One lap completed, just one more to go. The downhill section was great to give our legs a bit of a rest but I had to keep reminding myself not to go too fast as I needed to save myself for the uphill sections that I knew were coming later! This time when we reached the signs it was a great feeling as I knew I really was nearly there, and the final stretch to the finish funnel was a lovely downhill.
As we’d already surmised, none of our group got a PB, but it was a lovely course with very friendly and encouraging marshalls. And 52 people out of the 288 that ran, jogged or walked the course did get PBs, so well done to you all. 6 people were doing their very first parkrun. I hope you enjoyed it and will be back for more. Maybe you’ll come and visit us for one of the York parkruns once you’ve got the ‘bug’.
On the way home my friend casually mentioned the large bull in the field we ran through twice! I had to confess that I hadn’t noticed it. Maybe it’s a good job I hadn’t, as I’m not very brave with cattle, but then again, maybe I might have been spurred on to a PB after all!!!!
So, to go back to our original question - were we mad? On the way home I think we all agreed that we weren’t, and that we all felt so much better for having made the effort to get out and run, such is the power of parkrun. Thank you to all the volunteers at Oakwell Hall parkrun, you’ve got a lovely course and we were made to feel very welcome.