Pomps People Profiles: Getting to Know You, Part 4 – Martyn, Rose and Gary

Hello Pomphrey Hill, how are you all doing?

So far we had the Pomps People Profiles from Catalina, Neil, Janet, Steve, Debbie, Ris, Sarah and Jim.  It's now time for the next three: mine, Rose and Gary.

Martyn Poole

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 Q1 - what originally brought you to parkrun?

Nearly 3 years ago I signed up to Tough Mudder, as it was 20km + I decided I needed to get back into running.  In truth I had not been running since 2006 when I damaged my knee running the Bristol Half Marathon and from that point on detested running and everything it stood for.
I had heard about parkrun a fair few years ago when the closest one to where I lived was held at Little Stoke park. However, back then I really wasn’t interested in partaking although I always appreciate the concept.  My first run was at Pomphrey Hill on the 17th June 2017 where I came in at 107th with a time of 25:58. I never really fell in love with parkrun until much later.  This time would prove to be a pretty decent time for Pomphrey and I would run a lot worse especially for my 50th run which was 27 minutes, although I did have a twisted ankle and dressed in a full Halloween costume during horrible conditions.
After a few runs I had a message from my partner who at the time was running on a Monday night with the running club that Steve Burge ran, he was looking for volunteers so I decided to put my name down and help out.  I arrived early that morning at Pomphrey and asked if there was anything else, I could do to help. Steve let me set up the starting area and then I took my position at the top of Pomphrey Hill.  I was then told afterwards what a great job I did and had some positive feedback from runners which obviously made me feel good about myself and this made me want to help more often.

Q2 - which running or volunteer story are you most proud of and would like to share

Bringing music to Pomphrey has to be my highlight, ever since the first time I brought some tunes I have seen others doing the same thing which is fantastic and I am glad to start a trend. The first time there was music people looked confused as they made their way around first lap where I was stationed at the bottom of the hill with Sue Upfield for company.
Before the day I had given a lot of thought about what my playlist would consist of and I wanted songs with references to hills. These songs ended up including “moving on up” and “running up that hill” The smiles it brought as well as some great singing and dancing made it all worthwhile.

If I can be bold and use two things my other would be taking Photos at Pomphrey, I always wanted to get into Photography and I have a lot I owe to Gary Woodruff who lent me his camera one day so I could take pictures one Saturday morning. He than uploaded them that evening and it wasn’t until I got my own camera that I appreciated the amount of time and effort after a parkrun it takes for the photographer to go through hundreds of pictures. The camera I borrowed off Gary is now mine as once he upgraded, he sold me his for a reasonable price and showed me a few things too, I am very grateful to him for that. He always told me that it was a wonderful feeling when you would see someone on social media using a photo that you took and now, I understand this statement.

Q3 – what you are doing to remain positive?

Working from home and spending 99% of my days here alone can become boring pretty quickly and I am very aware of my own mental health at this time. At the moment I am trying to remain active painting and upgrading my office so I can work more comfortably, doing some gardening and breaking out the PS4 to play the new Final Fantasy VII and Resident Evil 3 Remakes.

While I can cope with being home alone normally its very different when you know you can’t go out whenever you want. I miss my friends and family so I am using facetime to speak to my parents and partner daily, making sure I speak to my grandparents and other family members when I can.

On Friday nights me and some colleagues from work host a 5-way conversation and dress up via the houseparty app. On Saturday nights I would join my partner, her sister, sister’s boyfriend and parents join a facetime conversation where each week we would have one of us create questions and tasks for us all to do. Great fun.

Q4 - what you are doing to remain active and fit?

I always run during the week anyway which included my weekly Saturday parkrun so I have increased this to running 3 times during the week running between 5k up to 14k in keeping with my once a day outside. I wanted to fill in the days I was not running with some walks however, the nice weather has brought out too many people so I have now chosen not to do this.

As I can no longer visit the gym, I have also been using YouTube to find some intense HIIT classes which I now cycle between 3 different ones a week including one from Joe Wicks. I also have doubled the time I do Yoga at home to 2 times a week, if anyone is interested, I can recommend Yoga with Adriene on YouTube, her classes are easy to follow and she has a lot of different videos.

Q5 - apart from Pomphrey Hill which is your next favourite parkrun and why?

This has to be Plymvalley parkrun, we went for a walk the day before and said how picturesque this national trust walk was and at the time I didn’t realise I would be back the very next day to run it as a parkrun. While it does have some jumps and trip hazards, you also get to run next to a stream and across a railway bridge. The location is lovely and surrounded by trees.

Q6 - is there anything else you would like to share?

I don’t live with my partner so we are not allowed to see each other and I miss her dearly. We have remained in contact via facetime every night but as she works hard for the NHS doing long hours and I can’t give her hugs when needed. I wanted to say that I am incredibly proud of her. I would just like to say a massive THANK YOU to every NHS worker and keyworker out there helping us through this difficult time!

Rose

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Q1 - what originally brought you to parkrun?

My mum!

Q2 - which running or volunteer story are you most proud of and would like to share?

I loved running as Wonderwoman to celebrate Lesley's 100th run.

Q3 - what you are doing to remain positive?

I'm still running a 'not parkrun' 2k and 5k with my mum every week.

Q4 - what you are doing to remain active and fit?

Joe Wicks, 'not parkruns' and online ballet and gymnastics.

Q5 - apart from Pomphrey Hill which is your next favourite parkrun and why?

Eastville because the people were kind to me on my 10th parkrun when Pomphrey was cancelled.

Q6 - is there anything else you would like to share?

Just that it's so good and I miss it.

Gary Woodruff

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Q1 - what originally brought you to parkrun?

I was a keen runner from childhood but took a break in my mid-20’s following a severe bout of glandular fever. Before I’d recovered enough to resume, I injured both my knees in freak accidents. Fast-forward to my early 40’s, and I befriended a lady who it turned out was a bit of a parkrun queen. I’d never heard of parkrun before and despite her encouragement to try it, I initially dismissed the idea for fear of aggravating my injuries. I briefly mentioned it in the office and discovered that my manager was also a parkrun fanatic. He was a Little Stoke refugee and from that point on relentlessly pressured me into joining him at Pomphrey! Eventually I agreed to go “just once” to get him off my back!

Q2 - which running or volunteer story are you most proud of and would like to share?

The easy answer would be the moment I was awarded Volunteer of the Year. That would be too simple and besides, Martyn wanted me to write something longer to pad out this week’s feature! A great number of athletes have overcome physical and mental health challenges with the aid of parkrun. When they achieved their milestones, it was often a day of great importance and significance in their lives and I’ve had the honour of being there to capture many such occasions. If I hadn’t been there, those moments may have been lost or only recorded in a few blurry cell phone photos (like the day I ran dressed as a Nun)! When I see my photos on their social media profiles, I feel proud to have created something that meant a lot to someone else.

Q3 - what you are doing to remain positive?

I’m fortunate in that remaining positive isn’t something I’ve struggled with. My work is rewarding and busier than ever. The internet provides endless resources for learning and self-improvement too. Not gonna lie…some video games were involved too! Many virtual zombies have lost their lives! If indeed a zombie has a life to lose?

Q4 - what you are doing to remain active and fit?

I really enjoy going for walks and that was my main form of exercise prior to discovering parkrun. I’ve made the most of working from home as the hour spent in traffic is now bonus time for walking. I live on the border between the suburbs and the countryside so it’s only a quarter of a mile up the road and I’m walking along quiet lanes and appreciating some great views from atop the hills. A nice quiet walk can be great for mindfulness so that very much plays into the previous question about staying positive. For once I’m free of injuries so have been able to enjoy my running too…albeit very carefully!

Q5 - apart from Pomphrey Hill which is your next favourite parkrun and why?

that’s a tie between Page Park and Stratford-upon-Avon.

 

Page Park really is a wonderful facility and a great asset to the local community. There are a lovely bunch of volunteers, parents and athletes too. Plus, I love my post parkrun Mocha in the Beantree Café above all else! I really enjoy their marshal-in-motion role as it’s a unique opportunity for an adult to run the Junior parkrun course during the event. Not to mention it’s always very satisfying helping and encouraging the parkrunners of the future.

 

Stratford-upon-Avon was recommended to me by the same lady who first encouraged me to take up parkrun. She wasn’t wrong in thinking that it would be right up my street. They have a picturesque section along the river that runs past the Holy Trinity Church and Royal Shakespeare Company. During the summer months they have a spectacular big wheel too. It’s a photographer’s dream so whilst I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been, only two of those occasions involved running! It’s very flat and quicker than Chipping Sodbury, so if you are one of the types who seek out PB courses, it’s worth the drive! I’m always hoping to get shots of a famous actor/actress who might attend the parkrun whilst staying in the town for a production. No luck so far! They also have a huge carpark and I love the humour and culture of the core team. In that respect they are very similar to Pomphrey.

Q6 - is there anything else you would like to share?

I just wanted to say a big thank you to the Run Directors as they do all the heavy lifting but receive little recognition. The regular volunteers are thanked at the start of each event by the RD and athletes. As a regular photographer I’m always surprised by the amount of recognition I receive and how many athletes know my name. Yet I am sure many athletes (including myself before I started volunteering) couldn’t name the RD’s. Confession time…before I knew their real names, I’d given each one a Spice Girls-esque nickname! I wonder if anyone can guess who Posh, Scary, Baby and The Funny One were?! Anyhow, before I elaborate and get in trouble, I just thought I’d give the unsung heroes some recognition and appreciation for all the work they put in.

 

Thanks Rose and Gary for sharing your stories with us all!

If you'd like to see your name in lights, then please email us at pomphreyhill@parkrun.com with answers to the following questions:

- a photo of yourself (or a link to a photo)
Q1 - what originally brought you to parkrun?
Q2 - which running or volunteer story are you most proud of and would like to share?
Q3 - what you are doing to remain positive?
Q4 - what you are doing to remain active and fit?
Q5 - apart from Pomphrey Hill which is your next favourite parkrun and why?
Q6 - is there anything else you would like to share?

These will be published over the coming days and weeks on our parkrun website and our Facebook page.

Until next time; be safe, stay healthy and look after each other.
Martyn