NEW YEARS DAY 2019
After plenty of deliberation from the Core Team and sounding out among our parkrunners who would be interested, we decided that we would do both Christmas Day & New Years Day. What a great decision that turned out to be, and I'm sure one that will definitely be repeated again this year.
New Years Day, notoriously the day for having a lie in and recovering from the night before. We decided that we at Peacehaven would stage an additional parkrun, but we would choose the latest available slot to allow maximum recovery time.
There was also the benefit that two of our closest parkruns in Brighton & Hove were starting at 9am. This meant that for the super keen, this one day of the year offered the opportunity to take part in two events on the same day. This later start gave just enough time to complete one event and get across to us. As it transpired we had quite a number that had completed Hove Prom or Eastbourne.
We really didn't know what to expect, but nonchalantly we thought we would take it in our stride. As we arrived to set up, one of the first to join us was Zingy, who had just run at Hove Prom. She was telling us how there had been a massive turnout and describing the struggles the volunteers had faced. Still oblivious to what lie ahead we just laughed it off.
Regulars at Peacehaven will now that I am rarely seen in the Blue & White hi-vis jacket. I had decided to do it today, just in case I had a migraine (hahaha). I am going to confess now that my preparation for the morning can at best be described as "sloppy". As I left the house I found the bucket of tokens, still unsorted from Saturday. I forgot all the paperwork required to check off volunteers. But, hey we would cope.........
The great thing about being Run Director is being able to delegate tasks. So a massive "Thank You" to Lisa for sorting the tokens, and to Carol for dashing back to my home to pick up the missing folders. All sorted!, nothing to worry about now.
As I was mingling with the runners to welcome them, out of the corner of my eye I noticed that there were a lot more cars arriving than normal. I had diligently checked and there was no football, so they had to be for us! Now that Lisa had recovered from the initial panic of unsorted tokens, I thought it best to ask if we had the next sequence of numbers just in case we exceeded those that we regularly needed...... We didn't!
I suddenly remembered that the extra tokens were in the repair box, which inevitably Lisa would not of been advised to bring and still be left at home. Quick, Panic....a cunning plan was hatched. We would wait for the event to start and Lisa would then have sufficient time to go back and collect them......phew!
OK an even bigger apology to Lisa now, who went home, found the box with no tokens!! Yep that clown of an RD had them in his bag all the time! If ever there was justification for all the equipment to be centrally stored here it was.
Another apology, although this one is through a smile has to go to Steve, the wee Scotsman, who I persuaded to do the First Timers Briefing...... "Easy" I said, "won't be hardly anyone there!". Well that had to be the largest gathering we have ever had, I also think it was the first time the megaphone has been needed, in order for everyone to hear. I have to say though the broad Glaswegian dialect was quite appropriate for Hogmanay, a great job done, so good he is doing it again this Saturday.....
Then it was my turn. Those that know me, will tell you that the reason I don't do it, is because I am so nervous and shake like a jelly. Today was different I felt a buzz, and hey nothing else could go wrong!
It was great to see so many parkrunners, I knew at a glance it would be close to our record attendance, which was on our inaugural. So many that had already completed one parkrun, and so many new faces including many experiencing parkrun for the first time!
Among those taking part we had a large number of runners from Hailsham Harriers, and Vegan Runners. We also had visitors from Banstead Woods. There were also a couple of notable milestone runners. We had Heather Westcott, who was completing her 50th parkrun, and we also had Ash Head who is one of our regular pacers, completing his 100th parkrun. We even had Neil Sunderland with us completing his 631st parkrun, which I believe is the second highest in the world!, think he now needs to add the magnificent purple t-shirt to the results to complete the set....... I'm sure there will be lots more milestones to follow in the coming weeks.
After a slight delay, to give everyone a fair chance to get parked, we eventually got under way. What a sight to behold, seeing so many parkrunners spread across the park. Everywhere you looked there was a trail of colour moving across the park.
A special mention to one of our own. Jeff Young with a valiant attempt to see the new year in, in style. He ran the course in 20:18..... Wish someone had told him that the year had changed.......
How amazing was it to see Steve Standen marshalling again today. Hope you all spotted him, despite not being in his usual position. With our Winter course in operation he took up a new position beside the skate park, on the west side of the course. Quite a poignant moment when a runner completed the course, came up to me and asked "Was that Steve" then told me how amazing he was looking, and he should know.....he was his surgeon!
The dedication of our volunteers can never be questioned. Unfortunately Marshall number 4, or as his mother preferred we call him, Lance was taken ill before the event. With true dedication he arranged a substitute for himself. Victoria, his wife did an amazing job in his absence. Get well soon Lance.
Even upon completion, my sloppiness came back to slap me in the face. When processing the results I couldn't understand why there were so many problems.... maybe if I had cleared down the scanners before the mornings event it would of helped...... The good news is that I wont be Run Directing for quite a while, so I'll hand back to "The Professionals". However, Zingy commented that maybe I should shadow them and have more practice!!
We should also give a special "Thanks" to the Gateway Cafe for opening and providing much needed refreshment on both "additional" parkruns. I'm sure that we certainly made it worth their while too. Thankfully this time my washing up skills weren't required.
Even today, remembering back to the morning, there is still a buzz. What a morning! As events across the country started completing their results we were learning that attendance records were being smashed across the country. We joined the party and broke our attendance record as well.......by 4! This now means that our highest number of finishers at an event is 199.
As with most people making their resolutions, we also have a challenge, to grow our event and break through the 200 barrier.
Another challenge that we are setting all of our parkrunners, is to volunteer on THREE occasions throughout the year. Remember not all volunteer roles are dedicated, there are some that still allow you to run as well. Please rise to our challenge and come forward and help us. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see some of our regular volunteers, who are keen runners, running among you all.
Along with Lisa, a really massive "THANK YOU" has to be said to Zingy, our effervescent superstar. We are so blessed to have such an amazing lady and such a fantastic, bubbly character on our Core Team. She took complete control of the morning, sacrificed her own run and simply "bossed it".
I hope you all allow me this one little bit of personal indulgence. This photo means so much to me........
Hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did, and we look forward to seeing you all, plus your friends! in 2019.
There are many regular volunteers who have given so freely of their time on a regular basis throughout the year. To you we are extremely thankful. Without you the event would not be able to go ahead. We look forward to sharing with you again this year.
Finally to my co-Event Director, Terry & the fabulous Core Team of Francesca, Jan, Lisa, Steve & Zingy..... Thank you for all your support in 2018 and looking forward to more exciting challenges in 2019....
Wishing you all a very prosperous New Year