Event 274 (24th July 2021). After a 70 week absence – we’re back!!

 

By Emma 

Event Director

After 70 Saturdays without, parkrun in England returned.

Behind the scenes so much work had gone into the return of parkrun. HQ provided the parkrun covid framework to which all events worldwide are to operate under until we are told we can go back to ‘normal’. It’s likely that parkrun is going to look like this for some time.

With the framework provided, the core team of Run Directors (Lorna, Phil, Julie, Craig, Sarah and Andy, and Event Director Emma) had met both virtually via Microsoft Teams and in the park last Saturday. Ideas were shared and we were ready to implement the changes for our event. We had some nervousness between us – would we get huge numbers, will people understand the changes we’ve needed to make and would everyone be as covid safe as possible, will a large crowd of people be able to social distance?

 

What was different and how did it work on the day?

Finish Funnel – This had been moved back by 20 to 30 meters so that we could maximise the space, have a very extended finish funnel and make use of a one way system – when runners finish, they would have a walk around in a big loop back to the barcode scanners. Feedback for this was hugely positive, parkrunners enjoyed the little cooldown walk, and opportunity for muscles to recover and to chat to other finishers as they walked around together.

 

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The finish funnel - looking from the finish line and from where tokens are received - very extended to allow for socially distanced queuing. 

 

The run briefing – This is shortened and is to only contain essential safety information. Notable additions to the script are ‘no spitting, no high fives’, information about how to collect your finish token, how to approach the barcode scanners and our new one way system. We are unable to welcome tourists, or shout out milestones etc. This is to keep the time that people are gathered to a minimum. If you want your milestone mentioning on our Facebook page email in to perryhall@parkrun.com with a photo and we will happily give you the recognition and celebration.

Finish tokens – In the briefing, we ask and show runners how to receive their finish token – with arm outstretched and palm upwards. The finish token volunteer is able to drop the token in the runners had without contact and distanced from each other.

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 Collecting the finish token - runner and volunteer a good distance apart.

 

Barcode scanners – Timekeeping and barcode scanning will all be done by volunteers using the parkrun app on their own phones. Both roles are super easy to do and much easier than using the old stopwatches and scanning devices. The timekeepers are able to stand at a distance from the runners crossing the line to keep them covid safe, and the barcode scanning was carefully set up. The scanners stood on the cone, and we had dimple cones where runners would queue – they would present the barcodes on their outstretched hand – all nicely distanced to keep both scanners and runners safe. To prevent large queues from building, we will have 1 scanner for every 50 runners.

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 parkrunners respected social distancing to keep themselves apart from the volunteers and other runners

 

Seeding the start line – We requested that parkrunners seed themselves when lining up to start. Fast runners at the front, medium paced in the middle and slower runners and walkers towards the back. This suggestion seemed to work well and just prevents too much overtaking when there is a large density of people near the start.

 

Volunteers – where would we be without them? We had a small army of high viz heros today. Hand sanitiser was provided for them on arrival and instead of them helping themselves to the lanyards and high viz, these were handed to them to minimise the amount of people that handle each item.

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 Just some of today's high viz heros

 

Did it all work on the day?

The simple answer is – absolutely. As a team we thought there may be some things that we would need to tweak and improve, but the event went like clockwork. With volunteers and runners, there were almost 200 people in total – from the moment everyone arrived to leaving at the end, all the measures were perfectly respected and social distancing happened throughout too. For anyone who is unsure of returning as they didn’t know how well the measures will work and if it will feel safe, I would say that it is worth coming along to parkrun. There were many people there today who were unsure about attending and being around so many people, but every one of them commented on how safe they felt.

So it’s a huge thumbs up to everyone – it was only going to work well if all those who attended played their part – and everybody did – we cannot thank you enough. Hope to see you all again next week or very soon.

 

This week 157 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 26 were first timers and 13 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 20 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 23 volunteers:

Noel MURPHY • Cassandra Fay HUNTER • James MORRIS • Phil THOMPSON • Amy HARTNELL • John HAYES • Lorna WITTER • Sarah GIBSON • Rachel TELFER • Lianne MOSELEY • Emma HAWKEY • Denise TAYLOR • Dave ELLIS • Gemma BENNETT • Susan NUTTALL • Claire TAYLOR • Joanne PRICE • Emily NUTTALL • Sally NULTY • Steve SHURVINTON • Steven WENLOCK • Heidi GUEST • Rahema MAMODO

 

 

A year unlike any other – Saturday 28th November 2020 – Our 6th Anniversary.

By Emma

Event Director, Perry Hall parkrun

Perry Hall parkrun is 6 years old. We have a bit of a routine for our anniversaries normally involving the Friends of Perry Hall who serve us hot drinks and give us shelter if it's raining. We have cakes, cookies, flap jacks and anything else you all bring along each year and a generous amount of money is donated which goes to the Friends' chosen charity. Dave the park keeper is always keen to help and arrives super early to help put up gazebos and tables.

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Cake anyone?

However, this year we obviously cannot be together. 37 Saturdays without our regular routine of meeting of friends, welcoming first timers and tourists, running, jogging, walking or volunteering. But don't worry, as soon as the time is right, parkrun UK WILL return.

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Happy Perry Hall parkrun volunteers - even in the rain.

I bet you can all recall where you were for your final parkrun before this horrible virus brought so many things in life to a halt. I was timekeeper at Cleethorpes parkrun, we had a sense that it would be the final event due to the imminent lockdown, I thought we'd be away for 3 weeks of lockdown and then back to normal life, the huge absence shows how wrong I was.

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Cleethorpes parkrun 

 

We don't know how long it will be until the return of our wonderful parkrun events in the UK, but the way I look at it is that each Saturday without one is a Saturday closer to its return. With recent news that junior parkrun has the potential to start up early next year for 4 to 10-year olds, it’s the first step for parkrun UK and hopefully gives reassurance to everyone that our 5k’s will be back.

There are so many people from Perry Hall parkrun who pop into my head randomly, I wonder how you are, how your family are and hope you are coping in the best way you can at this time. If you have ever crossed paths with me more than twice at Perry Hall parkrun, it's almost guaranteed I remember you and you will have been in my thoughts at some point (even if I can't always put the right name to faces, I remember your faces).

Every parkrun has its own fabulous community. I am fortunate to have toured to many different events. Cleethorpes and Perry Hall are both 'home' for me, I have so many friends at both and really know the communities. Those friends spread across all ages, and once you strike up a conversation it just flows – I could talk for hours and hours about all things parkrun.

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Perry Hall is obviously the closest to my heart, but I don't believe that any parkrun is better than another - every single event has its own wonderful, warm and welcoming community. When I tour, I offer to token sort or run report and without fail I go to the event’s chosen cafe afterwards. Thrown together with total strangers, but those parkrun tees and running kit brings a common theme and people are never lost for things to talk about - it's not about the run, it's the people we meet, the places it takes you and the buzz from parkfaff afterwards.

Staying connected with the parkrun world

parkrun has left a big gap in my life (even if I do admit that it has been a treat to have Saturday mornings with no alarm clock!) but there are various ways which I have stayed connected with parkrun things and here are a few things which some of you may already be engaged in or want to pick up:

parkrun quiz - Every Saturday morning there is the official parkrun quiz hosted by Vassos Alexander – available from the parkrun UK Facebook page or YouTube channel – 15 multi choice questions and lasts approximately 30 minutes.

quiz

‘free weekly timed’ podcast – the official parkrun podcast hosted by Vassos Alexander. Each week guests are interviewed and talk about their parkrun experiences. - http://www.freeweeklytimed.com/

with me now’ podcast hosted by Danny Norman and Nicola Forward – a light-hearted unofficial parkrun podcast guaranteed to bring a few laughs. In normal times they would also profile 2 different events they have attended on the Saturday – but for now it’s parkrun chit chat - https://withmenow.libsyn.com/

I would highly recommend listening from the first episode – it’s now up to episode 125. Here’s the one where Walsall Arboretum parkrun was profiled https://withmenow.libsyn.com/with-me-now-frerzer

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Danny and Nicola - with me now podcast presenters

 

(not)parkrun – run your own 5km distance anywhere, any time of the week and log this on your profile. Your result will then appear in your home parkrun’s results table - https://www.parkrun.org.uk/perryhall/results/notparkrun/?date=2020-09-06

For more details - https://blog.parkrun.com/uk/2020/06/10/notparkrun-is-here/

parkrun book – this book is a great read covering the history of parkrun and looking at just why we all love it so much

parkrun bookbook contents

parkrun book cover and contents

So for now we continue to live the simpler life which is required at this time.

A message to anyone who is worried to whether parkrun UK will return, it WILL be back. It's already back in five countries - Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Namibia and dependencies of the UK (Guernsey, Isle of Man, Falklands), thank you Elliott Line for this information!  So do not worry our event and UK parkrun will return as soon as we are able. We are still here for you all, we haven't gone anywhere and one day we'll be together again.

Stay safe

get through together

 For those who like some stats:

Perry Hall parkrun has had 273 events

Number of different parkrunners = 5,526

Total number of finishers = 34,137

Number of different volunteers = 639

Number of different clubs that have been represented = 581

Average finish time: 00:30:52

Female record: Hayley CARRUTHERS – 16:59 – Event 264 (1 Jan 2020)

Male record: Thomas BEASLEY – 15:42 – Event 254 (19 Oct 2019)

Age graded record: Hayley CARRUTHERS - 87.14% 16:59 – Event 264 (1 Jan 2020)

Number of PBs: 5,364

 

Event 267 (25th January 2020). A quick parkrun before The Running Show

Big thanks to Rebecca Jackson for providing our run report this week. Hope to see you again soon.

parkrun Tourism at Perry Hall

Leaving the house in the dark at 7am on a Saturday morning may not be many peoples idea of fun, but myself and Nic were excited for our road trip and more importantly, the prospect of a new parkrun! We decided to venture to Perry Hall en route to the National Running Show after doing a bit of research to find out which would be closest and also the most enjoyable!

briefing

Despite the cool, overcast conditions, the park looked pleasant and the gaggling of geese during the run brief added to the naturistic feel.  With a warm up and briefing done we gathered at the start line. 3,2,1 and we were off.  The “mainly flat” course did not disappoint and the varying 3 loops kept my mind occupied as I focused on keeping a steady pace, ignoring the drizzle and head wind.

Start

One of the great things about lapped courses is the passing of other runners and walkers along the way; everyone is achieving the same 5km distance but may have completely different goals- whether it be aiming for a PB, clocking up some marathon training miles or just a social jaunt. It’s also great to see the marshals several times all doing their bit for the parkrun community. With my 3 loops done, I headed back over the bridge towards the finish and was pleased with my top 10 position! But my running wasn’t quite done; my friend Nic was still completing the course so I took this as an opportunity for a cool down and to support her on the way to the finish.

finish

First finsher this week was Ollie Sheppard in a speedy 17:21, followed by Daniel Ullah and Ben Witman both coming in sub 18 minutes. For the ladies, I was first finisher, with Ceri Card and Kathleen Baker  2nd and 3rd finshers They have also gained themselves shiny new PB’s - Well done ladies! With the run done some park chit chat and obligatory tourism photos taken, we then set off to the NEC to see what the Running Show had in store.

Well done to all the 240 who took part in Saturday’s event and thanks to this week volunteers who made it happen: Dee ALLENSteven ALPERSBrian BESSANTDave ELLISSarah GIBSONRoy GREAVESEmma HAWKEYJohn HAYESCarl HITCHONJason HOLTHelen JOHNSONChristelle LE BRAYCraig MILESElizabeth MILLSMaria OSBORNFez OSMANSafa OSMANTousif SHARIFLatoya STEPHENSJonathan WEBBERMillie WENLOCKSteven WENLOCKLorna WITTER

 

Event 260 (7th December 2019) Farewell Wise Owl RD.

By Emma Hawkey (Event Director) and Andrew Wadsworth (Wise Owl, Run Director)

Today was another wonderful parkrun day, the conditions were perfect, but there was one job I needed to do which was tinged with some sadness - say farewell to Andy as he carried out his final Run Direct.What was special - it was only the second time ever that the whole of the core team were at the same event, but the first time we had a photo with all 6 of us too. Even though Sarah and Phil were unable to stay for the whole event, they popped along to see Andy, something they didn't want to miss.

20191210_201136The whole core team together; Julie, Phil, Andy, Lorna, Sarah and Emma.

Here are the words taken from those I said on Saturday from the bench;

This was Andy’s final Run Direct at Perry Hall. Being a Run Director does take up a little more time than just volunteering on a Saturday morning – which naturally means people come and go from the team as their circumstances change.

In April 2016 Andy was a Run Director for the first time. We had been looking for someone to join the team and I was delighted when Andy agreed – I call him the ‘wise owl’ of parkrun.

If I tell you he has completed 311 parkruns and toured to 99 different locations including in Germany and Russia and volunteered on 91 Saturdays – you can see why I gave him that label. He has a wealth of experience in both running, volunteering and seeing different events.

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The park was looking particularly stunning with autumn colours

Andy stood on the bench 26 times as Run Director which equates to every week for 6 months. In total he has been on the core team for 3 and half years – he has served with reliability, integrity and wisdom, but he is an all-round great fella.

The runners at Perry Hall will miss Andy as a Run Director – we got a card signed a few weeks ago, and it was only fitting the female wise owl Lesley Pymm who was doing her 400th parkrun gave it to Andy.

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Lesley tail walking on what was her 400th parkrun

When he told the Run Director team he was leaving, there was a lot of sadness, we will miss him lots. The core team put some money together to buy him some gifts which he can keep and remember his time by.

Being the great, considerate man he is, he has offered to help if we are stuck for a one off Saturday and need a Run Director, and we will still see him at Perry Hall running and volunteering too.

Andy – Thank you for everything.

 

Below are Andy's words from his final Run Direct;

Saturday 7th December was Perry Hall parkrun #260, and for me was a very significant occasion being the last time as a member of the core team that I acted as Run Director. Firstly I have to say thank you to all the runners who signed the card Lesley presented to me, and those who personally gave me their thanks and best wishes after the event. I also publicly have to say many thanks to the other core team members for the lovely gifts and generous words from the bench, I was very touched by the whole occasion, and it will live long in my memory.

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Andy delivering his final runner's briefing from the bench

I first had the opportunity and privilege to volunteer as run director on the 16 April 2016, event #76, we had 81 runners that day, now getting over 150 is a regular occurrence. When I look back to that day and the results I can see many names I now consider as friends, people who have helped build this community into the special event and group it now is. Some items clearly have changed, we now have a route based on all weather paths, long gone are the challenges of running alongside the railway into the teeth of a gale though a waterlogged surface, knowing that a second lap awaited! The technology and signs we used may have changed, however what remains consistent and I believe is getting stronger is the supportive, welcoming and friendly community established here, of which everyone should be rightly proud.

So whilst I am stepping down from the core team, you will still see me as a runner or volunteer at Perry Hall. Once more I want to thank you for the support and assistance you have all been to me, I could not have done the role without the help of everyone, and would only ask you continue to provide this wonderful support to the core team as they lead Perry Hall parkrun into 2020 and beyond.

Thank you  

 

Event 259 (23rd November 2019) 5th Birthday Event.

Thank you to Molly who wrote our run report this week. She was a tourist from Market Harborough parkrun. Here's her experience of our 5th Birthday parkrun.

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On the 23rd November, rather than my usual Saturday routine of going to my local parkrun (Market Harborough) I traveled over 40 miles to Perry Hall parkrun. After booking a weekend break to go shopping and visit the German Market, it was an opportunity for some parkrun touristing. Turns out there are many parkruns to chose from in the Birmingham area. However, after some research, I chose Perry Hall. I can confirm it was the right choice!

Saturday was an earlier start than usual to ensure I got to New Street in time to catch the train to parkrun. When we arrived at Perry Hall Park, we were welcomed by the lovely, and very friendly parkrun volunteers. As it was Perry Hall parkruns fifth birthday, it was great to see the fantastic cakes that had been made. Plus it acted as a bit of motivation for the run; I wanted to make sure I finished in time to secure a piece!

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During the first timers brief, I learnt that the course is 3 laps but slightly different laps. This was great as it mixed the course up a bit rather than running around the same features several times. The pre-run brief was fantastic and it was lovely to see the volunteers and the park keeper thanked for their hard work and giving up their time. I also learnt that there were several prizes based on set finish token positions.

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Two of the Friends of Perry Hall volunteers and our two lovely park keepers.

It was then time to set off. The run is a lovely scenic course through Perry Hall Park. The course is pretty much flat, making it a fast option. With some out and back sections, there were numerous words of encouragement along the course, which was lovely to see. With the 3 laps all being slightly different, it meant this was the first time I had not been ‘lapped’ by the faster runners on a 3 lap course! Just under 31 minutes later, I had crossed the finish line and learnt I was only one position off a prize. The only time I wish I was a bit slower!

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There was plenty of cake to go around, thanks to everyone who brought cakes, doughnuts and other treats.

The fifth birthday saw an amazing 161 parkrunners who crossed the finish line, 10 of which were first timers and 16 who achieved pbs - well done! There was also an incredible 25 volunteers who gave up some time in their Saturday morning, which without you the event wouldn’t have been able to take place - thank you! I really enjoyed my visit to Perry Hall parkrun and if I’m ever in Birmingham again on a Saturday, I will return. Out of all 23 events and 119 parkruns I have completed, this is by far one of the friendliest!

volunteer1Some of the volunteer team from our special event.

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