Today was a very special day at Ormskirk parkrun as we gathered to celebrate International Women’s Day which this year falls on 8th March.
The aims of the day are to celebrate women’s achievement, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality. We hope that we did justice here in Ormskirk today to all three of these aims but especially celebration because wow, did we celebrate! The purple parade of participants numbered 406 runners, joggers and walkers of whom 65 were first timers – a massively warm welcome to the parkrun family and we hope to see you again here at Edge Hill.
61 of you amazing athletes also recorded new Personal Bests – a huge well done to you all!
Yet none of the above would have been possible without our amazing volunteers, so before we enjoy a review of a fantastic morning let us thank all 39 of our wonderful purple crew who made parkrun possible. Thank you to:
Karen HULME • Anna HULME • Adam HULME • Linda WEBSTER • Christine DONNELLY • Jeanne HALL • Rikki ABERNETHY • Janice SHEEL • Emma ANDERSON • Rebecca SPRAGUE • Dominic GRANT • Liz SPENSLEY • Iain DAVIDSON • Caroline HENDRA • Nicola HARGAN • Billy ORD • Michele RILEY • Andrew YUZGIN • Margaret ELLAMS • Val PARRY • Helen PARRY • Peter RENNER • Jennifer WINROW • Collette SWIFT • Rachael FRACKELTON • Carol TIDGWELL • Andrea CONCANNON • Graham CONCANNON • Anna WILLIAMS • Kate SMITH • Margaret JONES • Kath THOMAS • Norma YOUNG • Kirsty SOLE • Pauline BICKNELL • Kate ATKINS • Oliver FEARNS • Natasha HASTINGS • Sally PHUNG
IWD is a global day which celebrates the social. Economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This special day has occurred for well over a century with the first IWD gathering in 1911 being supported by over a million people.
As 406 of us gathered at the start is was clear that this was not going to be a normal Saturday morning…our volunteers sporting purple wigs gathered to serenade us with a special song sung to the tune of Abba’s “Dancing Queen”. It seems a shame not to reproduce some of the fabulous words sung by the purple choir here for everyone to enjoy – singing out loud is compulsory…
“We can run
We can jog
Having the time of our lives
See those girls
Watch that scene
We are the running queens”
“Sat’day morning and the clouds are low
parkrun being the place to go
Where the hills are not too steep
Maybe the start’s 20 deep
We come to look for fun
Anybody can join our group
As we run jog walk around the loop
With the marshalls all cheering
Then we are all unfearing
We’re in the mood to run
So when we get the chance…..”
Thank you to the singers and just in case visitors / first timers were wondering; yes, Ormskirk parkrun usually is a bit “different”. Sometimes its poetry, sometimes song…you get the picture. Nothing is ordinary about Ormskirk parkrun especially our volunteers and runners!
Margaret our fabulous run director welcomed everyone especially our visitors and first timers. This week was very special as we had a team of support runners who volunteered to help and encourage people around the course. These purple-sashed heroes were introduced and we hope that their encouragement and smiles made the day more enjoyable for our new or nervous runners.
Then yours truly was able to show off the new Run Reporter vest very kindly donated by Michelle from the personalised printing company on Preston Market – a huge thanks to Michelle for supporting Ormskirk parkrun. At least now if runners are approached by a strange person asking questions at parkrun they will at know why…
A few cheers and claps later the purple tide swept towards the start line and off we went!
The joy of being a Run Reporter is meeting parkrunners and hearing their stories and this week’s event brought many wonderful tales and comments which I am thrilled to share.
As the start-line I met 7 year old Jack and what an inspirational story to start the day. His mum explained that this was Jack’s 2nd parkrun – his first was about a year ago when he managed to injure his knee. Jack has fought to get back to fitness and was running his 2nd parkrun with us yesterday. I caught up with him again after his run – he had loved it and told me proudly how he had overtaken someone near the finish line. Mum said he was talking all the way round….This story got even more inspiring when I discovered that 3 generations of the family had completed the course – Jack, Kate his mum and Pauline his nan! Jack’s determination to return to parkrun and the support given to him by his family embody the spirit of our special Saturday mornings and thank you to the family for telling me their wonderful story.
Also raring to go at the start-line was Flynn, a young man ready to meet the challenge of a 5k on a chilly morning. Well done Flynn!
A special thank you at this point goes to all the marshalls who clapped, cheered and encouraged us round. It was wonderful to hear the super marshall near the pond shouting “well done ladies” when a fellow runner Simon, sprinting gazelle-like past at the time added “and what about us gentlemen?” One of those funny parkrun moments ensued which would not be as funny in the telling as it was at the time but thank you marshall and Simon for providing us with a smile just when we needed it!
I met some of our wonderful visitors yesterday too – Lisa from Oldham who had a baby just 3 months ago and was doing her 5th parkrun after that momentous event. She commented that it was a “lovely course” and that she thought she had a PB too! Aiden from Woodbank Stockport is very much part of the parkrun family as run director for Hyde junior parkrun. Hope you enjoyed your day with us Aiden and that you will return soon.
Whilst huffing and puffing round the course I admired a very fetching purple wig perched on the head of a fellow runner and I caught up with her at the end. Her name was Kate and she was visiting us from near Stratford upon Avon and this was only her 3rd parkrun. She was visiting Caroline (one of our core volunteer team) and had been only too happy to join in the purple fun today as a support runner – she told me how much she had enjoyed the morning. On the course she had met a lady named Michelle who had done couch to 5K and they had completed the course together. By coincidence I also met Michelle who told me that she had been lucky enough to “run with the visitor with the purple wig” and told me how they had encouraged each other round and what a wonderful experience it had been. There you have it in one little incident. The spirit of both parkrun and IWD. “This girl can”, women supporting and encouraging women, visitors being welcomed and made part of the event, volunteering, support, smiles and gratitude. Perfect.
Local running group the Pink Panthers were out in force this week and it was wonderful to have them join us as a change from their usual Haigh Hall parkrun. They explained that they had found the experience inspirational – how wonderful it was to see so many women on the course and especially to see lots of ladies walking. They told me that they loved that there had been such a high turnout on the day and that they had really enjoyed their visit to Edge Hill. Here they are after the finish – thank you for coming to join us here at Ormskirk – we hope you will come back soon!
Friendship is a key parkrun value and I spoke to two wonderful women yesterday whose friendship expressed this perfectly. I met Rachael waiting to have her token scanned and she told me she would not be there without her friend’s encouragement. They support each other and improve together and keep each other positive. Just then her friend Georgia appeared who echoed what had been said and told me that you can be as competitive as you wish as you are only racing yourself – it is totally up to you – and parkrun is supportive and motivating. She added that parkrun for her is “a good run around good people”. What a wonderful definition of parkrun (and of the value of our friends in life). Thank you both for the chat!
As a run reporter sometimes you hear brief comments which warm your heart and today was no exception. Here are just a few:
“Nice course and friendly people” said Daniel.
“Exhilarating…a real sense of achievement” thought Pauline.
“Lovely to see all the purple and the music at the beginning was great – really gets you going” Liz told me
“Great event – lovely to see lots of women out on the course”
“Great course for buggies!” was the opinion of a visitor from Newcastle
This run reporter likes to choose a Random Runner for a special mention and this week’s IWD superstar is Cynthia Prescot a first time parkrunner who came in at position 395 – well done Cynthia we hope you will join us again very soon!
A huge thank you also to Dom for the brilliant photos - go through them all and see if you can find yourself looking like the sporty superstar you are!
With a final thank you to all volunteers and the runners, walkers and joggers who made yesterday so special I remind you of the definition of parkrun given to me by a runner
“A good run around good people”
Join us soon for another one of those…
Finally I leave you with a quote from Gloria Steinem, feminist, journalist and activist who said “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights”
Remember that today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Ormskirk parkrun Results Page.
The female record is held by Jade WILLIAMS who recorded a time of 17:15 on 19th December 2015 (event number 93).
The male record is held by Jonathan HILEY who recorded a time of 15:28 on 1st January 2020 (event number 298).
The Age Grade course record is held by Jean MITCHELL who recorded 89.70% (25:14) on 23rd March 2019 (event number 258).
Ormskirk parkrun started on 29th March 2014. Since then 8,726 participants have completed 63,000 parkruns covering a total distance of 315,000 km, including 11,850 new Personal Bests. A total of 637 individuals have volunteered 5,887 times.