My “lockdown” experience ….. with Matt Coyne

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Our Running Community

 

Oh boy how we miss parkrun. Parkrun to us, means so much more than just a free weekly timed run. My family all go. My pals all go. We run, we cheer, we drink coffee and eat cake afterwards. And we miss that… a LOT. 

 

See running for us isn’t just about running, it’s about our extended social network of pals getting together, having fun together and encouraging each other to push a little harder or get out for the first time together to run. 

 

And this is where my tangent begins. 

 

We were listening to a podcast the other day called Science Vs (it’s great for kids and adults alike) and there was a bit of a random story about ants that inspired this blog. 

 

These weren’t just any ants, these were ants trapped in a nuclear bunker with no obvious means of survival. It was completely sealed with no light, no obvious way in and no obvious way out. They were trapped and it baffled scientists. 

 

When this nuclear bunker was sealed, thousands of ants were trapped inside and slowly started to grow as ants that colonised above the bunker occasionally fell down the ventilation shaft never to return to the surface again. They were trapped. When the bunker was discovered, scientists found nearly a million ants trapped inside this bunker. They found no queen ants and no ant larvae so these queenless ants had to survive. They were trapped and had no chance to escape. As one scientist said, “"They were merely surviving and continuing their social tasks on the conditions set by the extreme environment." Something that we can all relate a little bit to today. 

 

So ignoring the fact they survived on cannibalism, I mean, I certainly hope we don’t get to that stage, what amazed these researchers was how they thrived to survive. How they worked together to make the most of their situation.

 

The podcast went on to talk about other ant colonies and how they work together to hunt much bigger animals (termites) and also how they looked after their injured ants by carrying them back to their base for much needed rehabilitation, helping them to survive. 

 

Ok, back to running…

 

I think this is where our parkrun community as well as my beloved RunPals can relate most. All of us have been affected by this current pandemic in some way. I’ve lost close friends, pals have lost jobs, many are on furlough and many have been locked down for weeks not able to leave their four walls but… but this running community that we call our extended family has pulled together and helped us to get through it. They have helped us.

 

We have been organising free running challenges for a few years now, but they seem to be even more relevant to people today. Through these running based challenges people have worked together to achieve incredible feats or with “Time Trials” (which is how parkrun began in Bushy Park in 2004) people have been given an opportunity to focus, channel their bad times with some good times and in some cases, some serious PB times. 

 

For some of those in lockdown, runners have regularly gone past their windows to show waves of support and if you didn’t already know, what may seem like a tiny little “wave” gesture, can mean more to the person receiving it than we’ll ever know. 

 

It’s not always easy, but knowing there are pals out there virtually supporting you, encouraging you to do better or just get out and get it done is food for the soul. It fires us. It motivates us to keep going. 

 

It doesn’t replace our face to face running, our physical high fives and hugs, but it keeps us close. It lets us know that there are other busy ants out there who do care and can’t wait to run with us all again. 

 

My family look forward to seeing you all soon.

 

Matt

RunPals

 

My “lockdown” experience ….. with Alison Evans

If anyone had told us all at the beginning of March that our lives were about to change almost overnight, I am not sure we would have believed them. From 23 March life has been very different for most people and it has certainly bought about some changes and obstacles for my partner Mick and I. We are both severely visually impaired, and although some of the restrictions are now easing, life will continue to be very different for us and many other blind and partially sighted people both nationwide and worldwide.

From a professional point of view, I have had to learn to manage staff remotely and quickly learn all about the Furlough scheme and conducting all meetings via Zoom. From a personal point of view, life has been quite different, no gym, no parkrun, no meeting up with friends, no eating out, no having my nails done, no visitors to our home, and no travel outside of Peacehaven to name but a few. Booking my weekly Tesco delivery became stressful but thanks to a campaign by Guide Dogs, all visually impaired individuals were able to register for priority slots. This was a huge relief, as I was not only shopping for Mick and me, but also for my Mum and a friend who was isolating at home.

As Mick and I both have guide Dogs, we have been fortunate, as at least we have been able to get out and walk everyday giving both the dogs exercise as well as ourselves. Even though I am working from home, I go out every morning so that Quizzie and I get a walk before starting work and again at lunchtime, just as we would if we were working from the office. My worry has been that with no parkrun and no gym, I would lose my fitness and even worse, pile on the pounds! Mick and I are both familiar with walking the streets of Peacehaven, something we both do daily, though I think both our dogs and us would like something a bit more varied and challenging at times.

We have been fortunate in that one of our friends, Carol whom parkrunners will know as she regularly marshalls from "Carol’s bench", has always joined us for walks around the park, at a 2 meter distance of course. It helps to have a pair of eyes when the dogs are off duty and having a good time being dogs. Some of you may have seen Carol out walking the streets too as she often takes one of our dogs out when she takes her daily exercise.

In the early days of the lockdown, it was wonderful being able to cross Sutton Avenue and other surrounding roads with ease, the peace and quiet was lovely. One drawback to this however was the fact that we often need to use the traffic in order to orientate ourselves. Fortunately we never got lost!

There are a number of difficulties which ourselves and other visually impaired people are facing especially where social distancing is concerned. Guide Dogs are not trained in social distancing and therefore we need to rely on passers-by to observe the social distancing guidelines when they walk past us. It is amazing how many people however take no notice and walk past us, as they would have done pre lockdown. Furthermore, Guide Dogs do not know how to queue, if we are going to a shop they are trained to find the door, not the end of the queue. To date we have been quite fortunate but I have heard reports of visually impaired people receiving abuse for supposedly pushing in at the front of the queue.

The 2 metre social distancing is a growing concern in the world of visual impairment. Trying to guide or be guided at a 2 metre distance is neither practical, reliable or necessarily safe, especially if trying to run at the same time.

Technology has certainly been a blessing, I have been able to attend my weekly Yoga class and Mick his Pilates via Zoom. Video calling family has been helpful when we have needed a pair of eyes to check things like sell-by dates, the floor when one of the dogs was unwell, and identify the contents of a wrongly delivered Amazon parcel! We are fortunate in that there is an app on our phones we can use for scanning and reading short items such as letters but for me, the hardest thing will be on my birthday, usually my Mum would come round and read my cards for me, something she will not be able to do this year, I am just hoping the weather will be fine enough for me to take my cards to her garden instead. Another obstacle I incurred was when I had a form which required a signature and could not be guided in the usual manner as to where I needed to sign. Not using cash in the shops has also been tricky at times as it is not easy finding the card reader and knowing where to place the card for contactless payments. I often have to hand my card over in order to make the payment and to prevent me from demolishing the counter display!

I have not been on a bus since my last day in the office which was 20 March, it is probably the longest time I have ever spent not getting on a bus and I have certainly missed seeing my regular bus buddies. Again, this is something which concerns me, how will I know where to sit, how will I know where to stand at the bus stop and board the bus so that I can ensure I am observing social distancing.

For me, I want to believe that eventually the day will come when we will be able to return to the “old normal” but with the hope that if we do, we will have learnt a few lessons on the way. If It is amazing how people have pulled together to help one another and devised all sorts of ideas and initiatives and it would be a shame for these to left by the wayside. AlthoughI am enjoying my lay-in on a Saturday morning, I look forward to the day when parkrun can resume. I often find myself envious of those people who run past me when I am out and wishing it were me! It will also be lovely to see the rest of our Peacehaven parkrun family again.

Alison Evans

 

My “lockdown” experience ….. with Tony Cox

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For those of you who don't know me, my name is Tony, and although I have been a parkrunner for a while now, I have only really become active within the last 12 months or so. I started becoming more active after a long injury lay off, and also to try help shed some weight.
At first I was a bit of a solo runner, I didn't know anyone, so I just plodded round the course by myself. I also joined a local social running club "RunPals". And started to get to know more and more runners. I was looking forward to our Saturday morning meet up, followed by our runs.
What amazed me most about parkrun, was there was such a broad spectrum of runners, and everyone was so encouraging and supportive of each other, and it was with this support, I was able to improve consistently. The only competition was myself.
Then, disaster struck, and the whole country went into lockdown. parkrun was postponed for the foreseeable future. No more group runs, no more active support, no more cheering as we reached the final stretch. To make matters worse, I contracted the virus and was knocked for six!
The spirit of parkrun and the parkrunners have helped me through these difficult times. I have started building myself up again, and am getting fitter by the day. I am now going out for runs, and am using the parkrun and RunPals communities for advice, support and encouragement.
When I go for a longer run, I make sure to include at least one lap of The Big Park in Peacehaven, to remember the good times, but also so I don't forget just how those hills feel !!
Running is my freedom, not every run goes how I would have hoped, but... every run is a step in the right direction. And it is one more run closer to being able to all run together once again.

 

Tony

 

My “lockdown” experience ….. with Terry Parris

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Running any sort of business is difficult, Covid-19 has set new rules about how we work and if we can still work. My business is Engineering Recruitment, we have a crucial part to play in providing specialist staff to companies either Permanent or Contract. We support our contractors on fixed term assignments. Engineers generally work in close proximity to each other, most therefore cannot continue working normally.

Many contractors travel a distance or stay away during the week and many have had their contracts terminated. Many permanent staff have been furloughed with the companies also running a redundancy programme leaving them in doubt about their future. We talk to these people on a daily basis all with different stories to tell and many we cannot initially help.

Our base is on Denton Island, we immediately left the building on the first day of lock down to work remotely, we unfortunately had to let a member of our staff go. We now have video meetings on a daily basis. This building is now our virtual office which we may return to sometime in the future.

We count ourselves as being very fortunate, we could be front line NHS workers, or others who are exposed to this dreadful virus. However, one thing that is for certain is that recruitment in Engineering may never be the same again.

We are a family business which in many ways helps. So many people we talk to are struggling and their key skills may make it difficult for them to return to work. They will face the daunting prospect of interview processes and having to tell others if they have been successful or not. We are not sure either at this stage what the long term knock on effect will be for us. Undoubtedly, difficult times ahead, for many.

Business's across the spectrum are failing, lives are being lost. As a country we are resourceful, so hopefully many companies will bounce back. But it will be different to what we know.

Individuals are also being affected, especially their wellbeing, we feel so helpless as we can only watch. We know parkrun adds so much value to people's lives, and is leaving a massive void for many. We know that people are having to exercise alone, and it just isn't the same. We are all looking forward to that first day back where once again we can share a physical, group activity.

Look forward to that day, and hopefully see you all soon.

Terry

 

Next week Lockdown 2020 will feature Tony Cox. One of our parkrunners who experienced this terrible virus, first hand.

 

Lockdown life 2020 – with …….

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The poster that we all dread to see.Unfortunately since March 13th, 2020 parkrun has been suspended across the world, due to covid-19.

Undoubtedly this has been an unusual period of time for all of us and there are many stories to be told of how individuals, families, businesses and clubs have journeyed through.

Over the coming weeks we would like to share some of those experiences with you. We have a few articles already lined up for you, but we are always open to more.

We are going to publish the articles on a Saturday morning, over the coming weeks. The first article will be next week and Terry has kindly shared his Lockdown life.....

If you would like to share your journey, please send us an email and we can add your story. Please send to peacehaven@parkrun.com

For now we hope you are all staying safe and well and managing to find time to exercise. We can't wait for that first day back, when we can all meet again. We promise you that our 3rd Birthday Party will be celebrated, in true Peacehaven style. There will be cake!, fancy dress, party atmosphere and yes.... plenty more cake!.... We might even find time to squeeze in a 5k run as well.........

 

Stay Safe, miss each and everyone of you. Hopefully see you soon.

Martin, Terry & The Core Team.

 

 

parkrun #139

With storm Dennis hitting the South Coast we did not know what weather to expect but with an early inspection it was decided to go ahead. Other local parkrun’s had been called off the day before, but we are fortunate in being inland with certain weather protection around the course and we are relatively flat. Many tourists attended with around 190 people taking part.

An important part of parkrun is the first timers briefing which this week was done again by Allison Evans who is visually impaired, it was appropriate that Allison did this as we had Mark Brocklehurst a parkrun ambassador doing VI guide training after the event which was well supported. Having done this training myself it makes you appreciate how difficult it is if you have sight loss, and how to apply instructions on a regular basis going around the course, we do need more people with this training so this was invaluable.

The hut we use has proved invaluable in storing equipment and being able to coordinate volunteers in the dry before the event. The ground has been wet for a few weeks so we are always making sure the funnel setup is safe for the finishers. The volunteers who set up and take down the funnel are so important to us, it is a job that is done early and if windy we tweak the design especially for any key signage that is required.

A good day, nice to see so many local visitors especially those from Seaford. We have a couple of students with us using parkrun towards their DofE (Duke of Edinburgh) award, volunteering within a group can help young people gain essential life skills something other young people who regularly support us are finding. This is great to see and thanks to all.

Regards

Terry

 

parkrun #135

Today was my first time as run director - I’m still not exactly sure how it happened but I guess my wife had something to do with it, as she always books me into things without telling me! When word got out that I was run director there was uproar amongst regular attendees wondering who would hold the coats, jumpers, keys, phones and wallets if I was no longer available for that role.

It was a perfect day for Parkrun with sunshine and a chill in the air and a great attendance as Seaford was cancelled and there were plenty of fabulous volunteers lined up.

On arrival the core team explained my role and supported me all morning so I knew what to do and when - thank you Martin Terry and Zingy. I was concerned about making a speech at the start as it was delayed due to parking issues but thankfully no one seemed to mind. I think I remembered the script and made all the correct health and safety announcements including the need to keep children at arms length.........thanks to the Runpal’s for stopping talking shushing everyone and listening to me and giving me a big cheer!

Well done to everyone that ran today- there were a lot of PBs going on including Allison who finally achieved the PB she’s been chasing with the help of Debbie!

I have worked in various volunteer roles before but when you do that you don’t see the whole picture. Being Run Director gave me the opportunity to get involved in everything required to make the event happen - it was great fun and it really brought home to me what an awesome family and community event Peacehaven parkrun is. Friendships are made and everyone supports one another - it’s quite different to many other parkruns that I have been to.

I would like to thank the core team again for their support and I can’t wait to volunteer as run director again.

Tim Brett

 

parkrun #134

Largest event other than New Years Day....

I hadn’t been run director for a while and Martin asked me pre-Christmas when I was going to RD again so I chose a date and didn’t give it much more thought as was probably apparent from my rambling briefing at the start. Standing on the set of steps, I did think there was a large number of people. Was it just the 20 runners from Portslade Hedgehoppers (complete with their flag) or was it a actually a lot of new people to parkrun and a lot of runners? It was a combination of all 3 - 194 parkrunners!

In my lack of preparation for RDing, I asked the Core team whilst they were busy setting up the finish funnel whether there were any special announcements this week. An anonymous person replied, “Yes, a group of runners from Polegate Grasshoppers are coming”. I thought about it for a few seconds and said “Do you mean Portslade Hedgehoppers?” which indeed it was. I ran with the Hedgehoppers for a few years so is always nice to see them over in Peacehaven and other events. Roy Taylor said to me afterwards he always looks bad in the group photos these days as he is always the last of them to finish and then they call him in straight in for a photo. I think you look fine Roy and I hope I am still running when I’m in my 80s. Well done you.

Of course, Run Pals were out in force. Its always great to have them at Peacehaven.

I’d like to share a fellow runner’s delight, Tracey set a new PB last week of sub 35 minutes, this week she proved that PB was here to stay by doing another sub 35 minutes. Fantastic work Tracey, here is to you and another fun year of hopefully more PBs and enjoying running.

Thank you to all the volunteers out on Saturday and working in the background, updating facebook, washing the hi-viz, and all the other things you do. Thank you. Here are some photos from Saturday.

I also want to just do a shout out for the 25/1/2020. We are extremely short of volunteers on this day, please, please come and volunteer. Nothing is difficult and there is always someone who will show you what you need to do. There are many roles which enable you to run as well as volunteer. If you can volunteer and assist with pre and post event set up on the 25/1/2020 please come as well on the 18/1/2020 so you can see how the finish funnel is set up and some other items. Many hands make light work and all that.

Thank you all too for listening during my ramble about VI runners and giving them space in front and to the side, if you need to over take. It is difficult to judge the distance and the guide is on the outer edge of the path so giving an extra few feet before cutting in, is much appreciated. Alison has been tripped before on the Prom previously. If you can for the short distance it takes the VI and guide to pass, not running in 2's and 3's when doing the section out to the cone and back is much appreciated too. But I do also appreciate its nice to have a chat when you are parkrunning.

Enough of my ramblings, I’m aiming to volunteer as RD again soon. Anyone wanting to give Run Director a try as well, let one of the Core team know and we can do it together.

Happy running

Helen

 
 

parkrun #125

On a wet and cold morning, we have some comfort in being inside our container storage unit for a short time. This is a perfect spot to see the latecomers and get the last bits ready for the event. On this sort of morning people do not want to chance standing around for a long time and tend to arrive quite late and hence parking late is generally not straight forward.

The numbers quickly grow and suddenly we have 85 people standing there hoping the briefing is quick and they can get moving. With the Run Director now doing the first timers briefing as well as the general briefing this shortens the time, getting the right place to stand and avoid the weather is another challenge. I chose to stand closer to the café which helps for everyone to hear.

Amazingly we have only another 4 events before Xmas, Martin put a 12 week challenge out recently to get new volunteers which we are always in need of. The “Alternative Course” is getting good feedback, people running in opposite directions passing each other produces natural encouragement, we almost have running marshals offering support.

Tim Brett found himself particularly busy in collecting tops from people near the café, it is surprising how on a wet cool day that you can hot very quickly, we have this week invested in new plastic storage containers which will help. Each role we have is interesting, timekeepers ensuring they keep in sync, number checker trying to write effectively in the wet, the handing out of finish tokens in sequence worried that you start from the wrong end or you have cold fingers. I am not trying to put people off as this is what we enjoy and there is absolutely no pressure on anyone doing any job.

One of our regulars Morgan Munch Geal ran his 99th Peacehaven parkrun and his 100th parkrun, next weekend he will be doing his 100th Peacehaven parkrun so we need to cheer him on again. It was my 100th volunteering event, how quickly has that gone, I have been fortunate enough to walk 11 as well and it is a privilege to support this great event.

A big thank you again to the core team for their commitment and all our helpers who regularly challenge themselves against the elements although as I mentioned on Saturday, rain and wind is most unusual in Peacehaven.

 

Terry

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