You could feel the mounting excitement as runners gathered for the 311th staging of the Pennington Flash parkrun. Pacer Day! And that meant PBs were in the mind (if not, for some, in the legs) as Katie Taggart announced our magnificent Pacer Team of 16 - led by Callan Rowland (on his 49th run) for the speedsters on 21 minutes, through Catherine Worsley on the magic 30-minute mark, Katie herself on 32, and Andrea Lorant on 36.
Our runners set off in great spirits, the May sunshine hiding behind dense clouds, making for ideal running conditions. And we had a massive 241 finishers, led by Anthony Taylor on 17.15 – amazingly, his 63rd time at the top in 116 parkruns, his first when he finished in 5th spot back in July 2011.
Matthew Woodford came in second at 18.33 with Eric Ranson on 19.26 in third spot. Our leading lady was Horwich Harrier Ella Pendlebury on 21.25; Lara Wilson was our second female home on 22.41, Amanda Partington, on her 100th run, just behind on 22.43 – all three ladies coming in on PBs!
With our pacers in good form our wonderful runners celebrated an amazing 54 PBs, Ashley Kennedy the first PB home in 19.34.
Apart from Amanda, the 100 mark was also reached by Peter Worthington (Astley & Tyldesley RR), who hit 23.27, while Jason Denton (on his 150th) clocked 21.26. Hitting the 50-mark were Dave Courtney 25.42 and Paul Rockliffe 26.21.
We welcomed visitors from Loughborough, Stretford and Thailand. And we also welcomed 26 first timers, led by Andy Smalley (Leigh Harriers), who clocked 21.02, plus a further six first-timers at The Flash. We are delighted to see all of you and hope it’s the first of many.
Among those first timers was TV actress Zoe Molyneux, delighted with her 32.08, which will help her keep in trim for her role in Victoria, now filming a second series in Yorkshire. Zoe doubles as the young Queen in the hit drama series. She also managed to persuade her mother Dawn to come along. ‘I was so excited. It’s the first time I’ve done anything like this,’ said Dawn. ‘I ordered a pair of running shoes but they didn’t arrive in time.’
So Dawn completed her first parkrun – keeping company with tailrunner Catherine Brides - wearing a pair of decorative street boots. ‘I loved every minute of it,’ she said. ‘Everyone made us so welcome and I got a lovely cheer when I came in.’
The very essence of parkrun.
Many thanks to our amazing volunteers . . . Robert Wilson, Katie Taggart, Callan Rowland, Catherine Worsley, Andrea Lorant, Catherine Brides, Michelle Brown-Crowther, Brenda Calland, Jonathan Crowe, Jonathan Dobson, Trena Edlridge, Gary Firth, Alistair Gilbert-Crowe, Jonathan Hall, Jonathan Hill, Louise Hill, Andy Howarth, Sandra Lewis, Tim Lewis, Stuart Livesey, Denise MacKowiak, Thomas Mann, Olivia McDaid, Peter Medlicott, Paul Roberts, Brian Shaw, Michael Sidebotham, Lesley Smith, Kelly Anne Towns, Chris Wood and, err, me . . .